FATpick's regular tablature view is great for playing along with actual songs, but it's important to mix that with practice that's a little less prescriptive and more free-form. For that you tools that are a little more stripped-down or basic than the full-on tab player. That's why FATpick includes a digital metronome.
UPDATE: The stand-alone metronome tool was updated in FATpick v2.4.3 to add several new capabilities. This post describes an older version of the tool. Most of the content in this post is still accurate, but it is incomplete. Please see this metronome tool update for information about the latest version of the feature.
A metronome offers an external, objective sense of time that's especially useful for beginner, or anyone working on something challenging enough that it's hard to focus on both the new skill and whether or not you're keeping time accurately.
Playing with a metronome will help you develop an internal "click track" that you can use when you're playing without one.
A metronome can teach you both to speed up and to slow down. With a metronome you can easily tell whether or not you're keeping up with a fast tempo. But a metronome can also help you when playing at a very slow tempo, where you might be tempted to rush things along.
A metronome helps you learn to play at a consistent tempo, so you're not dragging or rushing the tempo based on phrasing or difficulty.
A metronome even helps you prepare to play collaboratively with other musicians, by training you how to pay attention to and respond to external cues.
In short a metronome helps you learn to stay "in the pocket" in a variety of circumstances.
How To Use FATpick's Metronome
When you're practicing with FATpick the metronome is never more than a couple of clicks away. It's found in the tools menu, along with several other handy gadgets and charts. To access it just hit the toolbox button and choose "Metronome" from the menu that pops up.
(You can also do this via keyboard shortcuts. Hit
T to open the tools menu the
M to open the metronome.)
Once opened, the tool itself is pretty straightforward. There's a big play button in the center of the screen for starting or stopping the metronome. When it's running, there are both audio and visual cues to help you keep track of the beat. The audio cues are short "tick" or "click" sounds like the ones made by an old-school, mechanical metronome. The visual cues are more modern: a ring of segments that "light up" in sequence as you count your way through the bar. The first beat is emphasized with both a slightly different click sound and a visually distinct beat-indicator (that's always found in the 12 o'clock position on the ring).
In addition to starting and stopping the count, you'll find also find a couple of other simple metronome controls:
The "beats" control determines how many beats there are in a bar or measure — how many notches there are in the circle and how often the special emphasized beat comes up. This is basically the top (numerator) part of a time signature — you'll want the default 4 when playing something in 4/4 time, and to set it to 3 when playing something in 3/4 time like a waltz. Sometimes you may want to work with longer or shorter "phrases", so you can for example set the number of beats to 8 in order to hear the stressed click every other measure, or set it to 2 in order to hear it every other beat. But anything from 2 to 64 beats is supported, so go wild.
The "BPM" control is just that — the tempo that the metronome plays in Beats Per Minute. Again a very wide range of tempos are supported, defaulting to a typical 120 beats per minute (one beat every half second).
Each of the controls is both a dial that you can scroll up and down as well as a text field so that you can enter a value directly (rather than trying to dial it in).
You can also control the metronome with some easy and intuitive keyboard controls. When the metronome is open:
The space bar (or the
P) will start and stop (Play and Pause) the metronome, just like they do with FATpick's primary tab player.
The left and right arrow keys control the number of beats per bar. Arrow right to increase the number of beats per measure, arrow left to decrease it.
The up and down arrow kys control the tempo. Hitting the arrow-up key will increase the number of beats per minute,, hitting the arrow-down key will decrease it.
Just like FATpick's other "pop up" dialogs, you can dismiss the metronome by hitting the
ESC key, using the close/back button in the header, or just clicking anywhere outside of the dialog pane itself.
Tips on Using a Metronome for Guitar Practice
Looking for ideas?
Here are a couple of videos that walk you through some of the ways you can use a metronome to make your practice more effective.
How to Play Guitar - Stage 2 Guitar Lesson”
After you noodle around for a bit it isn't hard to come up with exercises of your own, and there's no shortage of ideas in articles, videos and discussion forums you'll find online.
This post describes an older version of metronome. The latest version of the feature is described in a another post: Stand-Alone Metronome Tool
FATpick is a practice companion for guitarists of all stripes. In addition to tools like the metronome, chord dictionary, and fretboard reference charts it's also a "rhythm game" that's played using real instruments and is designed to help you learn to play real songs.
Open any Guitar Pro file — or choose a song already shared by other users — in FATpick's interactive tablature viewer. Each song includes backing audio that's synchronized with the tabs for each track in the score. As you play along with your guitar, FATpick listens to your performance and gives instant feedback on your accuracy and timing.