Your mentor or drum teacher just told you to get practice with a metronome.
But how do you do that?
This guide will give you everything you need to know about metronomes, so that you can choose the right one that will help you improve as a drummer fast.
Best Metronomes Compared
|Name||Tempo Range / Accuracy||# of Rhythm Patterns |
|# of Beat Patterns|
|Ease of Use||Durability||Visual Cue|
Boss DB-30 Metronome
|30 - 250 BPM / ± 0.1%||9 rhythm patterns||24 beat patterns|
|*Best Metronome for Advanced Drummers*|
Boss DB-90 Metronome
|30 - 250 BPM / ± 0.1%||30 rhythm patterns||21 beat patterns|
|Tama Rhythm Watch RW200||30 - 250 BPM / ± 0.2%||4 rhythm patterns||10 beat patterns|
|Tama Rhythm Watch RW30||30 - 250 BPM / ± 0.2%||6 rhythm patterns||10 beat patterns|
|Korg KDM-2 True Tone Advanced Digital Metronome||30 - 252 BPM / ± 0.2%||9 rhythm patterns||10 beat patterns|
|Korg KDM-3 Metronome||30 - 252 BPM / ± 0.2%||9 rhythm patterns||10 beat patterns|
|*Best Budget Metronome*|
Luvay Digital Metronome
|30 - 280 BPM / ± 0.2%||NA||10 beat patterns||???|
|*Best Metronome for Versatile Drummers*|
KLIQ MetroPitch Metronome
|30 - 250 BPM / ± 0.5%||6 rhythm patterns||10 beat patterns|
Scroll right to view more columns
Here’s what we’ll cover, click on any of the bullet points to skip to the section:
- Best Metronome Compared [Comparison Table]
- What are Metronomes? [no history lessons here, just a quick intro]
- Best Metronome for Serious Drummers [Our Pick]
- Best Budget Metronome for Beginner Drummers
- All Time Best Metronome For Advanced Drummers
- Best Metronome for Drummers Who Play Other Instruments
- 4 Key Features You Must Consider in a Metronome (for drummers)
- All Drummers Must Practice With A Metronome, Here’s Why
- How to practice and improve your drumming with the metronome
- #1 myth of practicing drumming with a metronome
- Why Serious Drummers Should Avoid Metronome Apps on Mobile Phones
- Interesting Trivia about Metronomes
How I compared the metronomes
Confession: I did not buy all the metronomes listed in here.
Instead, I needed to shop for one and had spend about 71 hours researching on all of them, from reading through their specifications to watching video reviews and then heading down to the local music store to test them all and bug the staff for their advice, etc.
Yes, I’m a picky shopper. So what?
Anyway, I ended up with a bunch of notes and some takeaways about metronomes for drummers.
Although few would be as crazy as me, I hope you would be able to save just a couple of minutes or maybe hours with the information I’m about to share~
What are Metronomes?
Metronomes are devices that keep time at your selected rate.
It will produce play a clip (usually a beep, or in modern versions a human voice will count) at set intervals.
The rate at which the clip plays (aka tempo) is set at ‘Beats Per Minute (BPM)’.
A ’60 BPM’ setting means that the metronome will beep 60 times per minute.
And most importantly, metronomes are one of the key training equipment that every drummer will come to own in time.
Now with the basis out of the way, let’s get into the reviews of the best metronomes for drummers!
We’ll kick off with:
Best Metronome for Serious Drummers [Our Pick]
Boss DB-30 Dr. Beat Metronome [Official Site]
tl;dr: The Boss DB-30 metronome came with all the essential functions (good sound, easy to use interface, etc). Plus, it is compact and handy to carry around in my pocket. Lastly, it’s LCD display was comfortable to view despite it’s size.
Why the Boss DB-30 is the best metronome for drummers?
1) Good Design
The Boss DB-30 Dr Beat Metronome is a no fuss, handy metronome that most drummers will find handy.
It is small and handy [2.9 x 2.3 x 5.1 inches] and light weight [3 ounces]. This means that you can carry it around with you for practice or live gigs easily.
It is handy:
Plus, at its size, you’ll not need a separate stand for it.
It can be clipped onto your music stand.
Or, you can insert a coin at the base of the battery opener and get a makeshift stand for the Boss DB-30 metronome
2) Good User Interface
I love the design of the Boss DB-30 metronome because everything you need has a clearly stated button. This means I didn’t have to refer to the user manual to figure out how to use it.
Just unbox, load the batteries and you are good to go!
Here’s a quick view of the basic functions that you’ll use most often:
3)Meaningful LCD Display
With a relatively small display, I was amazed by the amount of thought that has gone into the display elements.
Instead of emphasizing on the numbers, the display shows a swinging (digital) pendulum that swings in time with your set tempo.
Along with the blinking light, these are great visual displays especially when you are drums that tend to drown out the metronome click.
The designers have also include the beat count on the top right side of the display so that you can refer to it quickly, if you were to get lost during practice.
Great tool for beginners who are not used to playing with a metronome. [P.S. this might be a little small though]
4) Intuitive advanced features for drummers
On top of keeping time at the 4/4 timing, the Boss DB-30 Metronome also has advanced features that makes it a versatile metronome for most musicians.
You can toggle between 9 different rhythmic modes (quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, triplets, etc).
On top of choosing the rhythm, you can also choose from among 24 types of beats.
The beat setting will also be useful when you are ready to master odd time signatures like 5/4 or 8/9, and clavet patterns commonly found in Latin rhythms.
And, it comes with the tempo tap function that allows you to just tap on the button according to the tempo of your music to set the metronome according to that song.
Very useful if you have no idea what’s the exact tempo of a song.
Psst, it also can count up to 17 beats per measure, now that’s something to master.
5) Other functions that did not affect buying decision
The Boss DB-30 metronome has additional functions not mentioned above. These did not affect my buying decision as I have no idea if I would be using them as a drummer.
- ability to change reference pitch (perhaps useful for guitarists or pianists)
- memory function that saves settings when the power is off (perhaps useful for music teachers?)
Here’s a video review by Art4Artists that goes through the various function of the Boss DB-30C Metronome:
2 Disadvantages of the Boss DB-30 Metronome
Okay, let’s face it.
There’s no perfect metronome. Hack, nothing is perfect. #truthhurts
Here are some downsides of the Boss DB-30 metronome that you might want to be pre-warned in advanced:
1) Relative small LCD display
If you are placing the Boss DB-30 metronome on the floor while you are drumming, it’s going to be difficult to see the LCD display.
Unless you have superhuman eyesight.
But hey, it wasn’t designed for that purpose.
And, there’s the blinking light that helps as a visual cue for keeping time.
In short, you’ll need to place the metronome on your practice pad, or next to you while you practice in order to see all the details on the LCD display.
2) No jog wheel
Jog wheels are a great way to adjust tempo, however it is not part of the Boss DB-30 metronome.
Instead, you will have to pressing individual buttons to change the tempo.
Thank goodness, it recognizes continuous hold which means you do not have to press the same button 50 times to get from 50BPM to 100BPM.
Jog wheels also make it easy for a drummer to switch the tempo using their drum sticks. With the Boss DB-30 that is not an option.
I know you.
You want to make sure that you’re getting the best metronome for you, as a drummer.
Here are the 2 metronomes that I almost bought.
Honestly, the difference weren’t that far apart, save for a few disadvantages:
2nd Choice Metronome For Serious Drummers [Runner Up]
Korg KDM-2 True Tone Advanced Digital Metronome [Official Site]
tl;dr: the Korg KDM2 metronome lost due to its weight and some worrying complains from users, especially regarding its jog wheel
Why I liked the Korg KDM2 Metronome initially
1) Clear LCD Display
The LCD Display of the Korg KDM-2 provides you with the key details of Tempo and Beat in a glance.
And nothing else to clutter up the display.
Although it doesn’t have a visual pendulum like that of the Boss DB-30 metronome, the Korg KDM-2 does have a very obvious blinking light at the top.
2) Relatively Good User Interface
Like the Boss DB-30, the Korg KDM-2 metronome has well placed buttons, with a focus on the tempo jog wheel.
At a glance, you should be able to understand how to operate the metronome.
However, there have been unhappy users of the Korg KDM-2 who find changing the tempo difficult as the jog wheel was too tight.
It seems to be a common issue because Korg KDM-2 users have provided hacks that make the jog wheel easier to adjust.
3) Useful beat patterns for drummers
It comes with 19 beat patterns for you to choose from.
4) Other ‘Good to have’ Features
The Korg KDM-2 metronome also comes with other features that are ‘good to have’:
It comes with a built in tuner, however this would be more useful for advanced drummers, guitarists or pianists.
If you are not used to tuning using reference pitches, you will not find the build in tuner very useful. Get a drum tuner that is built for drummers instead.
ii) 3 different sound clips to choose from
You can choose between cowbells, agogo (high wood instrument sound) or clave (a little like the old school metronome ticking sound) as your choice of sound clip. Whatever rocks your boat.
I don’t forsee myself using this function.
3 Disadvantages of the Korg KDM2 Metronome
The Korg KDM-2 metronome is portable, but isn’t exactly pocket size.
It is comparatively heavier at 6.2 ounces (~175g), and larger at 6.3 x 4.8 x 2 inches.
2) Worrying Complains
Additionally, users of the Korg KDM-2 have also raised worrying complains that made it less attractive as a reliable metronome.
i) Short Lifespan
Several users have complained that their Korg KDM-2 stopped working within a year or even months.
Although this is not the large majority, it is still worrying because I really don’t want to risk having to replace my metronome after just a year.
ii) Tight Scroll Wheel / Jog Wheel
This was the deciding factor. Scroll wheels are great for drummers. Because you can adjust tempo using the tip of your drum sticks.
However, there have been complains that the scroll wheel is too tight and needs 2 hands in order to turn it.
This makes changing tempo difficult and tedious.
Plus, as a drummer practicing with a metronome, changing tempo is something I’ll be doing frequently.
Hence, I decided against the Korg KDM-2 metronome.
The New Korg KDM-3 [Official Site]
Taking in the feedback of the Korg KDM-2, Korg has released the brand new KDM-3 metronome.
Comes in black and white, it’s design is inspired by the original metronome.
The clean LCD display and obvious blinking light remains. The start / stop button is still placed at an easy to reach region on the top of the metronome.
The flat scroll wheel has been redesigned as a dial, and less important buttons have been moved to the side.
However, based on the marketing materials on Korg’s website, it looks like the Korg KDM-3 is designed for strings or pianists.
There are too little user reviews available at the moment as the Korg KDM-3 is still relatively new. But the design is certainly attractive.
Check out more about the new Korg KDM-3 here:
3rd Choice Metronome For Serious Drummers [2nd Runner Up]
Tama Rhythm Watch RW30 [Official Site]
tl;dr: the Tama Rhythm Watch RW30 only includes key features that drummers would find useful in a metronome.
Why I liked the Tama Rhythm Watch RW30 initially
1) It’s portable
Pocket sized [2.4 x 4.7 x 1.2 inches] and lightweight [3.2 ounces], the Tama Rhythm Watch RW30 is great for carrying around.
Plus, it runs of common AA batteries too.
2) The Jog Wheel
Go to admit, I loved the jog wheel design on the Tama Rhythm Watch metronomes.
Makes it so much easier to toggle tempos during drum practice. Plus, the Tama Rhythm Watch metronomes allow you to instantaneously change tempos even when the metronome is on too.
Here’s how the Tama Rhythm Watch works:
Why the Tama Rhythm Watch RW30 didn’t win my pick
1) Limited Rhythm / Beat Patterns
Like the Tama Rhythm Watch RW200, you can’t play odd time signatures on the Tama Rhythm Watch RW30.
Not the most feasible option for a drummer because you’ll want to be practicing those sooner or later, especially if you want to improve your timing on the drums.
2) LCD Backlight Doesn’t Stay On
If you plan to use the metronome during gigs, this might be a consideration.
Yes, the Tama Rhythm watch does have blinking lights as a metronome cue, but if you need to be changing or checking your tempo between sets, this will be something that might hinder you.
3) Poor Power Switch Design
The power switch will likely be the 2nd or 3rd most used button on the metronome.
Instead of the usual powder button on the side, Tama has incorporated the Power Switch with the Tap Tempo function.
Not the wisest design in my mind.
I’m worried that the button will wear out fast, especially if used by rough drummers who have no control of their strength when tapping…
And a metronome that you cannot switch on will only end up in the bin.
Now…if you really are budget constrained don’t be dismayed. You might want to consider:
Best Budget Metronome for Beginner Drummers
Luvay Digital Metronome
tl;dr: the Luvay Digital Metronome is a fuss free, affordable metronome that all beginner drummers should own, if you don’t want to invest too much into drumming yet.
Why I Think The Luvay Digital Metronome is the Best Budget Metronome for Beginner drummers
I suspect that this digital metronome is one of those white label products because there are many versions of it on Amazon and Ebay.
But the reviews have been very encouraging thus far.
It just works as a no frills metronome that keeps time.
If you are not fussing, or not ready to go all-in to drumming yet, this is a great budget metronome to start practicing with.
Should you stop learning to drum, you can still use it to practice any other instrument – piano, bass, guitar, you name it.
That being said, it does have features that almost put it on par with the rest of the metronomes mentioned in this article:
Like the Boss DB-30, the Luvay Digital Metronome was built to be portable.
It is light weight at 1.12 ounces and pocket size [3.7 x 2.6 x 1.1 inches].
You can drop it into your bag and take it with you to practice or live gigs too.
It comes with a clip at the bag so that you can clip the metronome onto your music stand as well.
2) Good User Interface
The Luvay Digital Metronome is elegantly designed, if the main ‘Play’ button was of a different color it would have been better. But that’s just me nitpicking.
3) Simple LCD Display
In a single glance, you can tell the Tempo and Beat via Luvay’s simple display screen.
A blinking light provides good visual cue when the metronome is in use too.
The volume can be mute should you need to.
2 major Disadvantages of the Luvay Digital Metronome
Before you purchase it, you’ll need to be forewarn of these disadvantages:
1) Unknown Durability
There are very little documentation of the Luvay Digital Metronome, and as mentioned above, I suspect it is a white label product probably made in China.
Reviews don’t mention much about its durability, although one user does mention that you should not abuse the Luvay digital metronome physically.
However, the Luvay digital metronome has been embraced by the running community as a pacer. It should be durable enough to withstand a few drops.
But knowing this, you might want to purchase 2 or more as spares.
Plus, at its low price point, it might be worth the risk.
2) Metronome sound is annoying
This is a common user feedback on any platform where you can find the Luvay Digital Metronome on sale.
If you plan to practice with a metronome for a long period, this might not be for you.
3) No Odd Time Signature
But at it’s price point, by the time you are ready to start mastering odd time signatures, you’ll probably be thinking of upgrading to a better metronome.
Speaking of better metronome, let’s talk about the all time best metronome for drummers:
All Time Best Metronome For Advanced Drummers
BOSS DB-90 Metronome [Official Site]
tl;dr: the Boss DB-90 metronome is a lifetime investment, suitable for pro drummers or advanced drummers who want to add variation to their drum and band practice sessions
Why the Boss DB-90 Metronome is the Ultimate Metronome for Drummers
Boss was definitely aiming to blow their competition out of the water with the Boss DB-90 metronome.
It has gained the reputation of being the metronome with all the functions a musician will ever need. And it comes with a price tag.
But if you are a drum teacher/educator, or a pro drummer this would be perfect for you.
If you are a self-taught drummer, you might also want to consider the Boss DB-90 Metronome as it comes with an in-build Rhythm Coach that works electronic drums, and ‘Dr. Beat’ drum patterns that could help you improve your drumming.
The following features are why the Boss DB-90 Metronome stands out from the rest:
#1 – Built
The Boss DB-90 feels sturdy and reliable and has an ancient old-school design (despite what it sounds like, i do think this is an awesome plus point!)
Here’s an image as a reference for its size:
#2 – Elegant User Interface
Despite its long list of functions, the design of the Boss DB-90 remains elegant and simple with well labelled buttons.
You should be able to access the key functions like:
- starting the metronome
- adjusting tempo and beats
- volume control / muting
With all that said, there are still key functions that require you to read the owner’s manual though.
For example, if you want to keep the light on the display on throughout your use, you will need to press and hold the ‘Power’ and ‘Light’ button simultaneously until the display blinks.
#3 – Rhythm Coach Function
Rhythm coach has 4 settings aimed at helping you improve your timing as a drummer.
Some of the settings are in line with our Guide to Improving Your Timing as a Drummer too.
If you are serious about your drumming, you will find this function very useful.
#4 – Other Good to Have features
The Boss DB-90 Metronome has too many features to be covered in this article. Here are some of the notable ones that you might find useful:
- MIDI Input: To allow you to synchronize the tempo from an external track
- Footswitch Control to Start/Stop the metronome: If you have a footswitch, you will find this function useful
- 50 memory settings: this is useful for drum teachers, or bands who have a huge set list of songs.
Here’s a quick video of the functions of the Boss DB-90 Metronome, by a fellow drummer:
Why the Boss DB-90 Metronome might not be for you
Here are the downsides that might steer you away from the Boss DB-90 metronome, you’ll want to consider them:
#1 – Too Many Functions
Let’s be honest. There’s really a lot of functions in that single machine. 😂
If you will not be using at least 50% of the features, you might not want to get the Boss DB-90 metronome.
Then again, if you want to go pro, and don’t want to waste time shopping for another metronome in the future, then just get this.
#2 – Not the best option as a portable metronome
The Boss DB-90 is huge [8 x 6 x 2 inches], not very light [1.25 pounds].
If you are looking for something portable, go for the Boss DB-30 instead.
#3 – Price
The Boss DB-90 metronome is undoubtedly one of the higher tier metronomes in terms of pricing.
You’ll want to consider if you can maximise the use of the functions.
If you are a pro drummer, you will find that many of the advanced functions are not available on other metronomes.
If you are a beginner who is serious about drumming and wants to play with a band sometime in the future, you will definitely find the build in Rhythm Coach and Dr. Beats drum patterns well worth the price.
However, if you are unsure about your commitment to drumming or music, this is not the right investment for you.
If price is still holding you back, then the runner up might be the metronome that suits you:
2nd Choice Ultimate Metronome For Advanced Drummers [Runner Up]
[2019 update: The production for Tama Rhythm Watch RW200 seems to be halted in lieu of the all-new Tama Rhythm Watch 2. We have not gotten our hands on the new Rhythm Watch, but we didn’t seem to spot any significant improvements, despite the huge increase in price. Will update once we get more information!]
tl;dr: the Tama Rhythm Watch RW 200 metronome is suitable for drummers who need a good range of features for both band practice and live gigs.
Why the Tama Rhythm Watch RW200 might be for you
#1 – Built
The Tama Rhythm Watch RW 200 is relatively lighter (15.4 ounces) and smaller 7 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches, compared to the Boss DB90.
It looks and feels sturdy too.
Plus, like the Boss DB-90, the Tama Rhythm Watch RW200 has a really old-school design too, ha!
#2 – Convenient Jog Wheel
The jog wheel is well designed and nicely placed on the side. It scrolls smoothly too.
Plus, you can change the tempo on the fly when the metronome is on. This is useful if you are in practice and want to move quickly into the next set without having to stop and reset the metronome.
The indent on the jog wheel allows you to turn it easily with the tips of your drum sticks as well.
#3 – Similar key functions as the Boss DB-90
The Tama Rhythm Watch RW 200 comes with some of the main functions that are also found in the Boss DB-90:
- Tap Tempo Function
- Footswitch control input: Allows you to control some programming as well as start and stop of metronome
#4 – Individually assigned ‘volume’ control for various note sub divisions
Tama has arranged the control of the rhythm in an interesting way here.
Each knob in the image above controls the ‘volume’ of each rhythm pattern, all you need to do is to bring up the volume to put accents on different notes.
The rest of the buttons are also relative easy to understand, although this design is relative more cluttered compared to the Boss DB90.
Why the Tama Rhythm Watch RW200 might NOT be for you
Despite its wide range of functions and lower price point, the user feedback on various platforms point out several disadvantages that you will need to take note of:
#1 – No Power Adapter
The Tama Rhythm Watch RW200 can run on a 9V battery, so this may not be a major inconvenience depending on your usage.
#2 – No Odd Time Signatures
For a product that prides itself as a metronome for drummers, not having the ability to count in odd time signatures is kinda strange.
If you foresee yourself requiring to count in odd time signatures, this might not be for you.
#3 – No Coaching Function
Okay, this really isn’t a point for consideration since it is not a key feature of a metronome. But hey, if you are looking into the Tama Rhythm Watch RW200 as a cheaper alternative to the Boss DB-90, take note!
It also does NOT come with MIDI input.
If the Tama Rhythm Watch RW200 is too much for you, you might want to consider the Tama Rhythm Watch RW30, it’s like the mini version of the RW200.
OK, enough of the pro metronomes. Let’s move onto the ‘jack of all trades’:
Best Metronome for Versatile Drummers Who Play Other Instruments
KLIQ MetroPitch Metronome [Official Site]
tl;dr: the KLIQ MetroPitch is known to be the metronome for all instruments. If you play multiple instruments, you should find this useful.
Why Versatile Drummers will love the KLIQ MetroPitch Metronome
It was build for portability and comes with a carrying case.
Weighing 3.2 ounces with batteries, the KLIQ MetroPitch is heavier than the Boss DB-30 but way lighter than the Korg KDM-2.
Plus, it is a comfortable size for people with small hands at 4.3 x 0.6 x 2.4 inches.
It also comes with a A/C power adapter in case you run out battery.
2) Great LCD Display
The KLIQ MetroPitch has a great LFD display both for the metronome and the tuner (i’ve got to admit).
The visual swinging metronome provides a great visual cue along, and the tempo is reflected in large numerals allowing anyone to immediately see the tempo you are playing to.
Although the metronome screen doesn’t light up like the tuner mode:
3) Additional Functions
KLIQ MetroPitch prides itself for packing 3 functions into this nifty device – Metronome, Tuner and Tune Generator.
The tuner function is really easy to use with great cues to let you know when you are in tuned.
Here’s a video walkthrough of the KLIQ MetroPitch [5mins]:
Disadvantages of the KLIQ MetroPitch Metronome
1) Built for Guitarists First
KLIQ MetroPitch Metronome comes with a functional tuner as well as quarter inch input and output for guitarists or electronic music makers.
It’s tuner is also designed for string instruments, with various modes for violin, ukelele, guitar, bass, etc.
So if you are the rare versatile drummer who also plays the guitar or the keyboard, this metronome will be a great fit for you:
4 Key Features You Must Consider in a Metronome (for drummers)
With the competition in the market, metronome makers had to up their game and throw in additional features to for their metronomes to stand out.
But if you were to go back to basics, the metronome’s purpose is only to keep time.
So before you get distracted by all the additional, cool sounding features, look out for these 3 key features first:
- Beat / Rhythm Patterns
- Visual Cue
Let’s break down each feature.
#1 – Design of the metronome
Design is a vague term.
You should look at these 3 things when it comes to metronome design.
i. Ease of Use
I want to be able to set up the metronome fast the first time, and every time I use it instead of having to fiddle around with the settings for 5 minutes.
This means you should look for images of the metronome and unboxing videos or reviews and check these boxes:
- Can I immediately tell how to switch it on?
- Can I immediately tell how to change the tempo?
- Can I quickly change the tempo within 2 actions? [if you are required to access some menu to set the tempo, avoid at all cost!] or Can I use my sticks to change the tempo quickly?
If you’d have to rely on the user manual for the basic function of changing tempos or starting the metronome, you might want to avoid that metronome.
You’ll want a metronome with an easy to read display so that you can refer to it quickly tell the tempo settings, even while playing.
On top of the LCD display, you may want a metronome with LCD lights that blink along with the beat. These are great for noisy environments.
Display and Portability may be on opposite ends of the scale, but the key is to find a balance that suits you.
Ask yourself if a metronome is durable enough for you to carry around?
Mechanical metronomes are beautiful tools, but are not the best option when it comes to portability.
I’d be worried about breaking something half the time if I need to carry it around.
Hence, I avoided mechanical metronomes when choosing a metronome.
You’ll also want to take note of the size and weight of the metronome you are considering as well.
#2 – Beat / Rhythm Patterns
Most metronomes offer some variations of these:
- Beat Patterns: these refer to the number of beats the metronome can count to in a single bar, most can go up 9.
- Rhythm Patterns: these usually refer to sub note divisions as well as other rhythm patterns like the clavet for latin rhythms.
As a drummer, this will key function. The only reason it comes in second on this list is because most metronomes tend to fulfill this requirement.
Hence, design should be the first factor you use to eliminate metronomes that are not suitable for you.
Odd Time Signature
As drummers (in fact, most musicians too), you will encounter odd time signatures.
And these are difficult to master by relying on theory. You will find it easier with a metronome.
Hence, it is advisable to look for metronomes that allow you to keep time in odd time signatures.
#3 – Functionality
I had assumed that most metronomes would be able to keep time accurately.
So there’s nothing much to test there.
Alas, there are 2 features you should check as part of a metronome’s functionality.
i. Sound Clip
I’ve also heard some pretty annoying metronomes click tunes.
And I wanted to make sure my metronome would not be any cause of frustration especially when trying to master difficult grooves during practice.
(I think) You should avoid metronomes with:
- Very high tune clicks: these will get on your nerves, here’s an example:
Oh, these also tend to be common with metronome apps.
If you feel like you’d have an urge to smash the metronome against a wall, it’s not for you.
On top of irritating sound clips, you will also need to avoid:
- mid or low tuned clicks: these tend to get drowned out easily
ii. Volume Control
How loud can it go?
Most electronic metronomes allow you to control the volume of the metronome.
Or even mute it to allow you to continue using the metronome while playing with a band.
Speaking of muting a metronome, you’ll also want to look for the next feature:
#4 – Extra Visual Cue
Electronic metronomes work by providing a sound clip as the feedback of the tempo.
Today, most metronomes also come with an additional visual cue, usually in the form of a blinking light.
This is a great function to consider if you intend to play with a new band where everyone isn’t well acquainted yet. Having everyone start out playing to a blink is a great way to start playing together smoothly, with relative ease.
Also, this a good alternative to have if you are practicing in an apartment with a quiet set up, and hate using wired earpieces that get in the way.
#4 – Additional Functions
Now that you have compared the key features, it’s time to look at some of those additional functions that may be built into your desired metronome
It’s convenient to have a metronome that also functions as a drum tuner…only as a back up. Most often, these metronomes do not function well as specialized drum tuners, or they require you to tune in very quiet conditions.
Good to have, but getting a stand-a-lone drum tuner is a better choice here. Check out our drum tuner guide.
#2 – Recorder
Now this, I have an issue with. Avoid at all costs if you are using this for drumming.
First up, you’re a drummer. A single recorder will not give you good recordings of your drumming. Unless you only intend to use it as a review system to improve your drumming.
Secondly, you’re going to be wasting time fiddling with the metronome / recorder during practice.
Well, if you are going for it just for the color then well…🤷
#3 – Thermometer / Hygrometer
Yes, there is such a metronome:
Why do you even need this as a drummer? #weirdshitdrummersbuy
That is a mystery to me, if you have a clue let me know in the comments below!
Maybe there’s a very good reason that I’m not aware of at the moment but seriously this is an overkill.
I’d prefer to spend my money on a good quality metronome that helps me focus and practice to improve as a drummer.
#4 – Wearable / Vibration Cue
Another unnecessary feature in my opinion.
Maybe it helps with muscle memory.
But as a drummer, you’re going to be moving your hands and legs throughout your practice.
Although…if this fits around my chest, I wouldn’t mind experiencing how it’s like to be Ironman for 1 gig:
In all honesty, I doubt that I’d be able to concentrate on the vibration while trying to play fast.
All Drummers Must Practice With A Metronome. Here’s Why
#1 – Keeping Time
Let’s put aside all the awesome things we can do as drummers, and go back to basics.
The main purpose of a drummer in a band is to keep time and tempo for the band.
If the drummer is a mess and have issues maintaining a steady tempo, the band will fall apart. And this will usually happen during the climax of the song.
And it’s never a good experience.
As a new drummer or musician, there is usually a tendency to either drag or rush a beat. You might not notice this until you practice with a metronome.
Don’t believe me?
Test yourself with this free mobile app: Rhythm Trainer [Android]
I bought a metronome immediately after testing my tempo on that app. It was eye opening to see that my timing isn’t as ‘on time’ as I thought it was.
#2 – Speed
Training with the metronome will help you build up your sense of tempo.
With sufficient practice, it will be internalized, and soon it will be something that you can do unconsciously.
With a strong foundation, you’ll be able to go start speeding up around the kit.
As a favorite author of mine always say: “It’s faster (to improve) when you do things slowly”
#3 – Better Drum Fills
There are 2 main ways to master the ability to play drum fills.
i) Practice it to death
You can be like Clive, a hardworking drummer who learn to play through rote memory.
He build his repertoire of drum fills by watching other drummers and learning from videos on Youtube.
He’d see a drum fill he wants to learn, then practice the hell out of it until he felt he had master it.
But if you asked him to break his drum fills down and explain how he plays them, he wouldn’t be able to give you the details. He knows what comes next, but he doesn’t understand the workings behind the fills.
ii) Build a foundation that lets you create fills on the fly
The other way to master drum fills is to work from the “bottom up”.
When you build a strong foundation by practicing with a metronome, you’ll master the science of timing in music.
As you get more advanced, you’ll come across odd time signatures and unique tempos.
These will come together and give you the foundation that Clive lacked.
And this foundation requires you to train from the bottom up, building on your understanding of time and tempo, master the rudiments and then finally be able to put these parts together to create fills on the fly.
How to practice and improve your drumming with the metronome
Depending on what you want to work on, you will definitely be able to find a drum metronome exercise that will help you improve.
Just head to Youtube and start searching.
Or, start with the exercises in our:
#1 myth of practicing drumming with a metronome
“The clip will restrict my drumming, and kill my creativity”
That was what I used to think before I had incorporated the metronome into my drum practice sessions.
The truth is, if you find yourself being restricted by the clip (or the ‘beep’), it’s a clear sign that you really need to work on your timing AND your drumming.
Once you have put in the hours, you’ll be able to use the clip as a distant guide that keeps you on time.
And, you should be able to play your drum fills and even odd time signature grooves at ease.
If the beep is restricting your playing, or if you find yourself waiting or losing track of what you’re playing, you’re probably focusing too much on the beep.
Just keep at it. You will start to internalize the timing, play at ease with the metronome and “become one with the timing”.
If you are still reading up to this point, I think you’re pretty much convinced about the importance of the use of metronome in your drum practice.
Here’s a pitfall that most drummers stumble on:
Why serious drummers should not rely on metronome mobile apps
From free mobile app metronomes to physical metronomes, drummers today are spoiled for choice.
In this article, we focused on electronic metronomes because we don’t particularly love metronome apps.
Mobile app metronomes are handy to have, but they are definitely not my go-to choice when it comes to drum practice due to the distractions that tag along.
I was relying on a metronome app previously.
But I’d noticed that once the practice got boring, or if I hit a wall during the practice, incoming phone messages or notifications started becoming a major distraction.
I started taking excessive amounts of breaks just to ‘run away’ from the practice.
Soon, I realised that I had been spending 1/3 of my time on the phone, especially during difficult practice sessions. I rent a small drumming room at a local studio for practice, and each session were becoming less efficient and a huge waste of my money.
These days typically when I’m practicing on the drum kit, my mobile phone is usually tucked in my bag in silent mode.
If you have a high level of discipline, they might work for you.
But I’d rather not have to fight against any unnecessary distractions during my drum practice sessions.
Interesting Trivia about Metronomes
Ok, now time for some fun facts that I picked up during my research.
Nothing important here that will help you as a drummer, although you could use some of these tidbits to impress a girl at the club (just kidding).
Here goes nothing:
- The metronome originated from the pendulum – originally, it had no sound, musicians had to watch the metronome while playing!
- Beethoven was the first notable composer to use metronome markings (timing) in his music scores (thank god). And it was fairly recent in 1817!
Okay, that’s all for now.
Share this with a friend who’d find this useful!
Still around? Why are you still reading?!
Get your hands on a suitable metronome, get down to business and start PRACTICING!