Building a good musical rhythm with a metronome is very easy, provided you have a metronome that is loud enough to be audible over the sound of your musical instrument. While there are many digital metronomes out there, you must verify that they have a durable build quality and can provide a loud sound output. Also, a mechanical metronome might be a more suitable option for some musicians, due to their easy-to-use battery-less design. Based on these factors, our team has chosen the best cheap metronomes for their excellent build quality, easy-to-use design, attractive appearance, and exceptional accuracy. Here are some of the best cheap metronomes in 2021 to perfectly keep time.
If you’re trying to make sure that your music sounds on point, then a metronome is what you need. We know that you might be unsure of which metronome to get, so we’ve created a guide to help you understand everything you need to know.
How does a metronome work?
The most important thing to know about metronomes is that they help you stay in rhythm by producing a click at a regular interval in time. The metronome, then, works in beats per second, which you can adjust to as fast or as slow as you’d like. They will even sync in rhythm with other metronomes when placed near each other. The oldest metronomes worked by having a pendulum that swung back and forth, but nowadays there are electronic metronomes. Keep reading to learn as much as possible about metronomes and which one is right for you.
How is a metronome best used?
Ever wondered how to use a metronome? It’s pretty easy.
Acquire a metronome. Based on the ones we discussed above, you’ll be able to find the one that’s best for you.
Figure out the units of measure you want your metronome to click out. Essentially, this means you need to identify the beats per minute that you need to play at.
Select a metronome marking where you can play all the notes in a piece at all the right rhythms. It might seem counterintuitive to play a piece slower than it’s supposed to be played, but it’s extremely helpful to do so when first learning a new piece.
Gradually increase the speed of the metronome as you master the piece you’re playing. This can be done until you reach the tempo the piece is supposed to be played at.
Keep reading to find out what an average metronome might cost you, the various types of metronomes, and which one might be best for you.
What is the price range of metronomes?
Prices can vary for different metronomes, but the good thing to know is that even a good-quality metronome won’t set you back a pretty penny. On average, you probably won’t have to spend more than 40 dollars on a metronome that will get the job done for you. You can find metronomes that range up to 100 dollars, but there is no need to invest in one that is that expensive. At the end of the day, one of the main factors that go into the metronome that you decide to purchase should be your budget.
What are the types of metronomes?
There are two main types of metronomes: mechanical and electronic (sometimes also called digital)
Mechanical metronomes are the more old-fashioned metronomes on the market, with their bulky pyramid shape. They feature an adjustable weight mounted on an inverted pendulum rod to control the tempo. In order to change the tempo, you slide the weight either up or down. Mechanical metronomes are most often made with wood, which can range from genuine walnut to stained hardwood, but you can also find ones made out of plastic that tend to be a little cheaper.
Electronic, or digital, metronomes are a little more with the times than their counterpart, as they are powered by batteries. At their most basic, they keep track of tempo, but they do have additional built-in features that can vary depending on the metronome you get. The most common electronic metronomes are the dial, clip-on, and credit card metronome. A dial metronome has a large dial on the front that you turn to control the tempo, and most come with flashing lights that give you a visual reference to follow along with as well. Clip-on metronomes do just as they suggest: clip on to various surfaces, ranging from your pants to even your guitar’s headstock. Credit card metronomes are thin and conveniently slip into your pocket just like a credit card would. Even across these three types of electronic metronomes, the shape and size can vary.
While mechanical and electronic metronomes are the most common types, there are also metronome apps you can get on your smartphone. While these can be an especially budget-friendly option, we don’t recommend them. Can you imagine your phone dying when you need to be in rhythm the most? Yikes!
So then how do you decide between a mechanical and an electronic metronome? We recommend an electronic metronome if portability and versatility is important to you. Electronic metronomes are small and light enough to carry around to shows or practice gigs. Plus, like we mentioned above, they tend to have extra features that you might find useful. If you like the classic look of a traditional mechanical metronome or you’re not planning on moving it around, a mechanical metronome is a good (and fun) way to keep track of your rhythm.
Two more things to keep in mind when choosing between a mechanical and an electronic metronome is the tempo range and the click volume. If you practice music that has many tempo changes, you’ll want a metronome with a wide tempo range. In this case, electronic metronomes tend to be better, as they range from 30 bpm (beats per minute) to 250 bpm, whereas mechanical metronomes range from 40 bpm to 208 bpm. Click volume refers to how loud a metronome’s output is. Although the volume you’ll need ultimately depends on the instrument you play (a drummer will obviously need a louder metronome than a cellist), electronic metronomes are more likely to allow for greater volume adjustments than mechanical metronomes.
That’s all the main types of metronomes, so you’ll need to keep the above things in mind when making your final decision.
Derek is a professional musician who specializes in percussion and works with the independent WGI group Cap City Percussion. With a Bachelors of Music from Capital University, specializing in Music Industry studies, he consistently finds himself playing and teaching percussion to anyone who has the will to learn. Derek is also a former member of DCI groups Legends (2014-15) and Colts (2016-18); he is also the percussion technician and instructor of the drum line at Olentangy High School. You may find him playing a gig throughout the greater Columbus, Ohio area.