Yes, I highly recommend practicing with a metronome.
When used properly, the metronome can make you far faster than you currently are. You may even get faster than you thought was possible!
When people tell me they can't get faster at something, and that they DO use a metronome for practice, something just seems wrong to me. And, whenever they tell me how they are approaching their metronome practice, it turns out they're approaching their practice incorrectly.
Practice doesn't mean anything. Playing along with a metronome doesn't mean anything.
Only PERFECT practice delivers the results you want!!!
What does that mean?
Perfect practice means you play things correctly as you practice them.
If you practice a scale with a bunch of mistakes, you're not getting better at playing the scale correctly. If you hit an incorrect note when running through your scale, you NEED to fix it IMMEDIATELY. Do NOT just keep playing. Hit the correct note, and then start your scale over again.
Just because a metronome is on doesn't mean you'll get some kind of magical speed transference. You HAVE to use it CORRECTLY.
Because this is a lesson on when metronome practice does NOT work, I won't be getting into details on how to use a metronome.
However, the basic idea of using a metronome is to time your notes to be played when your metronome clicks.
You could also aim to have 2 notes be played, evenly spaced, over the time of a click on your metronome. To do this, you will play a note when your metronome clicks, and then the second note directly in between the click you just played on and the upcoming click.
It's best to start by lining up one note per click until you can actually hear when you're on or off with the metronome.
When people use the metronome for the purpose of getting faster there are some common mistakes being made by a LOT of you. Here are some of the mistakes being made:
Some people, like Shawn Lane, never had to do a lot of metronome practice to get fast. I'm pretty sure you're not Shawn Lane. You're probably going to have to really work your ass off if you want to be blazing fast on guitar. But, you're in good company.
Most of us have to put in time with the metronome. That's just the way it goes.
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photo credit: Sarble <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/32014910@N00/2962901352">Tick Tock</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>
John Taylor - guitar and bass instructor for Mile High Shred.