Practicing to a beat…not a metronome.

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
  • 44 Shuffle
  • 34
  • 68
  • Pop Feel
  • Rock Feel
  • Thrash Feel
  • Reggae
  • Blues

    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!!

ToneWorks Pandora PX4D Personal Multi-Effect Processor ToneWorks Pandora PX4D Personal Multi-Effect ProcessorThe Toneworks Pandora PX4D Personal Multi-Effect Processor combines vintage amp models, a wide range of cabinet models, plus a combination of classic and unique effects for great guitar or bass sound whether practicing, recording, or even playing live. The processor’s 158 effects deliver fantastic tones, including 25 amp types from high-end tube amps to rare vintage amps and everything in-between. Each of the 23 cabinet effects that reproduce the acoustic and structural resonances of a speaker cabinet were newly created especially for the PX4D. The creative possibilities are practically limitless. For example you can combine a guitar amp with a bass cabinet. The PDX4 delivers a versatile range of tones with numerous realistic modeling effects in addition to standards such as compressor and wah. Pickup modeling transforms the sound of a single-coil pickup into that of a humbucking pickup (or vice versa), a guitar (bass) synth that lets you play synth sounds, an intelligent pitch shifter that automatically harmonizes with your playing, a talk effect that produces the impression that your guitar is speaking, a slow attack effect that creates violin-type swells, a feedback effect that allows feedback playing techniques that are normally possible only at high volumes, a rotary speaker that changes speed in response to your picking or fingering dynamics, a fretless bass effect that simulates the distinctive sound of a fretless bass, and many more are all at your fingertips, ready to spur your creativity.The PX4D Multi-Effect has 200 programs, including 100 preset programs and 100 user programs. Like other Pandoras, the PX4D offers an intuitive, knob-based interface and backlit LCD display. The TAP button can be used to set delay times or a rhythm pattern tempo. A sophisticated phrase trainer can record up to 30 seconds from an external audio source for looped playback, which can then be slowed down without affecting the pitch. While in Phrase Trainer mode, users can record any of the 100 PCM-based, built-in rhythm and bass patterns and their instrument simultaneously, then practice soloing over the recorded phrase. The AUX IN jack lets users play along with external audio sources, and a key transpose function can shift the key of the external audio for versatile rehearsal. An auto chromatic tuner with a mute function is also included.The Toneworks PX4D can be powered by 4 AAA batteries for up to 10 hours of continuous use, or by an optional AC adapter.

[Click Here to find Pandora PX4D on eBay]

Author: Live Musician Central

My name is Matt Rushton. I have been playing in bands for 27 years. I've been playing professionally for 21 years. I have opened for Sheryl Crow, Barenaked Ladies, Joan Jett, Little River Band, and Quiet Riot.

4 thoughts on “Practicing to a beat…not a metronome.”

  1. I need more rythym. That for sure.
    Say hello to Ulysses Ronquillo for me.

  2. Just gotta rock it with a Korg Pandora! Oh, and Mr. Ronquillo sends his best.

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