One thing that most musicians struggle with is playing accurately in a groove. It’s a huge necessity to be able to play things on the beat especially when you’re playing with other musicians. That rhythmic pulse is what keeps us all on the same page when we’re playing together in groups. I’ve played with bass players and guitar players that have a tough time even playing an eighth-note rhythm consistently. I myself struggle to play extremely fast guitar solos on the beat from time to time and it used to be a real struggle for me until I started practicing with a metronome. The metronome did me well but boy is it boring and irritating after a while.
I want to tell you about a fantastic tool I’ve found to use for practicing to a rhythmic groove. It’s also extremely useful in other situations. The device is called the:
ToneWorks Pandora PX4D Personal Multi-Effect Processor
and it’s made by Korg. The Pandora is a battery powered guitar effects processor with excellent sounding amp models. You can also tweak the sounds to fit your personal style. You can use it in an emergency at a gig if your amp goes down or your effects units go down. It’s small enough to take anywhere and can fit in your guitar case. I’ve made some really good recordings just using the Pandora to process the guitar.
The Pandora’s secret to playing in a groove is in the fact that it has 100 rhythm and bass patterns built into it that you can have the Pandora play while you work on scales or chordal rhythms. These patterns are groove based by which I mean they are in different meters and feels, or grooves. Here are some examples:
- 44 Shuffle
- Pop Feel
- Rock Feel
- Thrash Feel
And those are just a few. Another beautiful thing is you can turn on or off a bass line accompaniment that plays with the drums. The bass parts are great to have on if you’re practicing soloing in different keys since you can choose the key that the groove will play in. Playing over the drum and bassline is a great way to prepare for a jam session in the fact that you’ll know where to solo over different song keys. You can also program chord changes for the bass lines so you can make unique practice grooves to work on more complex music and solo theory. It will even let you record your own playing over the rhythmic groove and then loop your playing back with the groove so you can then solo over your own rhythm playing.
My point of this whole article is that the Pandora makes practicing to a “metronome” fun. I’ve said it before, if you can make practicing fun then you’re going to practice more. The more you practice the better you’re going to get. The ToneWorks Pandora is one of the very best investments I’ve ever made in my career as a musician. For what you get, the price is an absolute steal. So throw that old metronome away, pick up a Pandora, and get practicing!!