Best metronomes for musicians of all abilities
Time-keepers for shedding and shredding.
Our ability to keep time is what keeps the band together, ensures dance moves are in sync with music, and even allows runners to develop an optimal gait based on steps per minute. Practicing music at a slow tempo allows musicians to develop the muscle memory needed for accuracy at lightning speeds, essentially training our brains to remember and reproduce patterns with efficiency. Some people love it, some people hate it, but we all know it: in order to truly rock out, you’ve got to practice with a metronome. We’re confident these choices will give you new inspiration to conquer your scales.
A spring, a weighted pendulum, and a clicking mechanism work beautifully in tandem in this analog model from German company Wittner, which has been making metronomes since 1895. It does just one thing—provide a loud and steady beat at tempos from 40 to 208 beats per minute. Slide the weight up to slow the pendulum down, or slide the weight down to speed it up. If simple machines delight you, you’ll enjoy winding this one with its tiny key and listening to its pleasant “tick-tock, tick-tock” as you practice.
This battery-operated metronome has two settings that produce high and low sounds similar to a mallet striking a woodblock. Unlike a mechanical metronome, you get a volume knob—and you can forgo sound altogether and use the red LED light at the top as your accountability partner. Turn the dial on the front to your desired tempo, and plug in headphones to help you focus when practicing with lots of background noise (just note that the clicks are in mono, not stereo).
For drummers, percussionists, and other professional musicians who play complex rhythms, this top-shelf device has everything you’ll need for technical mastery. Feel like you’re performing instead of practicing as you play along with drum machine patterns or customize subdivisions and accents. Bands can use the memory to program tempos for set lists, and the built-in Rhythm Coach works with an electronic drum pad to monitor and improve your skills. The Dr. Beat also has a MIDI input and reference tones for tuning. It also doesn’t have the problem associated with even the best phone apps: getting a call from your parents when you’re just starting to groove.