View Full Version : Tempo vs precision

07-07-2011, 06:34 AM
I'm reading a lot about various methods for practicing, and have found some great tips. One thing I see a lot is that it's better to play precisely than quickly, so I should focus more on making sure I'm forming the chords correctly than on quickly changing between them. But I also see a lot of people advising that it's better to use a metronome and try and move smoothly between the chords, even if you don't hit them exactly right at first.

Which do you think is more important, and why?

07-07-2011, 06:42 AM
Using a metronome is good, but it is critical to get things correct before building speed. You are building muscle memory that will pretty much establish how you play those chords forever. So, if you are going to use a metronome, start with it set very, very slow. So slow that you can get the chords perfect. Then, gradually increase the speed of the metronome, never advancing it much past the point where you can get the chords perfectly every time.

Unless, of course, you are playing delta blues, then you can pretty much slap it down any ole' way. <just kidding>


07-07-2011, 06:48 AM
Get the chords perfect? I don't need a metronome, I need an hourglass!

07-07-2011, 07:24 AM
I'm a newbie, and I have made steady progress by focusing on getting the chords right first. With most songs, some chord transitions are easy and some are harder. If you turn on the metronone too soon, you will likely find yourself flying over the easy transitions and stumbling over the tough ones. And, if you're like me, you will just keep stumbling over the tough chords until you turn off the metronone and focus on practicing those problem transitions over and over (and over and over and over!). I would suggest waiting to turn on the metronome until you are reasonably comfortable with all the chord transitions in a song.

07-07-2011, 07:27 AM
Precision is the key. Now, if I could just train myself to do it that way. Also -- I've been told to really practice the stuff that's hard. I like to play a song from beginning to end. Wrong! Stop and go over the spots that give you trouble. Over and over and over. Use a metronome. Speed up by 2 bpm at a time.

07-07-2011, 07:32 AM
Which do you think is more important, and why?

Precision. One of my instructors put it this way: nobody cares how fast you can play it if you can't play it correctly.

Coconut Willie
07-07-2011, 11:43 AM
Precision. One of my instructors put it this way: nobody cares how fast you can play it if you can't play it correctly.

That is a GREAT statement!!!! Always play slowly until you get that muscle memory in place.

07-07-2011, 12:59 PM
Sounds like you are getting all the best advice. Metronomes good, but folks with extremely good sense of rythym may not need one as much as some who don't. Some beginners express problems keeping a steady beat.....for them, a metronome is certainly a good way to go as generally, you can "train your brain."