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I want to buy my first metronom. I‘ve been successful in avoiding it so far but now is the time wink

I was about to buy a nice Wittner Taktell wood but now I ask myself whether it’s a stupid idea to buy a mechanical metronom in 2021.
I habe even heard piano teachers on YouTube say that people should dump them if they still have one and go digital.

Basically, I like the analog touch of a piano and would like to keep it analog as das as possible. I find playing the piano a Beruf nice way of secluding oneself from the digital world. However, if those metronom apps are simply much better in terms of learning how to play correctly, I cannot deny this finding and will also go digital here.

If it’s just the price that makes the difference, it’s fine with me. But if an app is definitely better (not only in theory), I will sacrifice optics and emotions and get an app.

What your take? Anyone who’s still in favor of mechanical Metronoms?

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I use an app, and a nice grand piano (Yamaha C3). Doesn't seem incompatible to me. I also use a tablet for reading music.

I like the app because I can define my own "setlist" of steps. If you look at the steps on a traditional metronome, they are not smooth in transition. For the most part, each step is about 6% faster (or slower), but there are jumps in places. By defining my own steps, I can keep a smooth transition.

I use the "Tempo" app - no complaints.

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I have the Wittner wooden metronome from my childhood, but I use the digital metronome ((Pro Metronome) downloaded to my cellphone. It is just more flexible in options in setting number of beats, configuring beats per measure, types of sounds or visual only etc.

Try a digital on your cellphone and see what you think.


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If you have a smartphone you can try various metronome apps and see what you think. Personally, I like the look and feel of a traditional crank-up pyramid metronome.

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The App is better. Mechanical ones are imprecise, and over time they drift.

For example the taktells, The inner spring shaft they use on some models isn't completely rust proof. Overtime the oxidation causes the shaft to increase slightly in diameter and the spring losses enough energy to it such that the metronome stops working all together.

Yea, it's got a lifetime warranty , but you gotta do that whole dance with the mail and risk it getting lost. So, it's just not practical.

The Apps have far more precision than the mechanical versions, not saying that you'd need more precision, it's really just a matter of durability, to which the mechanicals are finicky and require servicing over time.

Last edited by jeffcat; 01/17/21 09:15 AM.
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The decision today is simple. I rely 100% on a phone app. A few years ago I acquired 2 digital metronomes. The older model has a round dial to set the BPM and the new one uses buttons. They both have a 440-A for tuning string instruments. Gave the older one away and kept the newer with the LED display.

I still kept a digital metronome in my violin case. In my younger days I took up playing violin with a mechanical (hand-wind) metronome in the room. Sometime ago, the family moved (downsized). Not sure what happened to the mechanical metronome. Today I travel a lot. My instruments have to be portable or I would leave them at home. I took a violin on a flight and it fitted nicely in the overhead bin. Recently I acquired a "Folding Piano 88". During the most difficult time when many countries are in lockdown, I had to travel due to a family emergency. I didn't want to give up playing piano so found a portable keyboard I can pack in a suitcase.

I did take several piano books along, there are scores that I keep as PDF on a portable computer backup drive. Makes a lot of sense when I'm out of town. Nowadays my piano teacher would send PDF copies of music to my Email.

We all have certain attachment to old things some of us grew up with such as a mechanical typewriter, a hand-wind metronome, a mechanical camera with a spring operated shutter.

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With an app you can have a different sound on the first beat or beat 2 and 4 or select odd metering.

But cellphones don’t last, after 5 or 10 years you need another one. Mechanical metronomes are like acoustic piano, they are beautiful and can last a pretty long time.



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Thanks a lot for your response! They help me to make a decision.

I am surprised that basically no one (of those who answered here) relies on mechanical metronoms anymore. Seems to be very clear.

Originally Posted by Serge88
Mechanical metronomes are like acoustic piano, they are beautiful and can last a pretty long time.

This is a very important aspect to me. You are the first who says they can „last a pretty long time“. Well, it‘s still the question what you consider a long time. 5 Year? 15 Years?

I wanted to buy one of those here: https://wittner-gmbh.de/wittner_metronome_maelzel_wooden_casing.html

But of course, they are not cheap. My model (polish black) costs about 170 Euro. If it‘s true that they are imprecise and drift over time (again, when will this be a problem?), 170 Euro are too much money. Even though I really would like to keep it analog and I like the look. But it must work and still be a reasonable purchase => effective/usable.

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Originally Posted by zeitlos
Well, it‘s still the question what you consider a long time. 5 Year? 15 Years?

I have had the cheap basic Taktell since I started the piano in the mid 1970s - so 45 years now - and I haven't noticed any drift. (https://www.amazon.com/Wittner-832-Taktell-Piccolo-Metronome/dp/B0002F745W - it's totally unchanged). Could be that the constant tock sends me to sleep!

There is a nice ritualistic element of setting the beat with my mechanical metronome, but a digital app with a softer tock might be less distracting.

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Originally Posted by zeitlos
Thanks a lot for your response! They help me to make a decision.

I am surprised that basically no one (of those who answered here) relies on mechanical metronoms anymore. Seems to be very clear.

Originally Posted by Serge88
Mechanical metronomes are like acoustic piano, they are beautiful and can last a pretty long time.

This is a very important aspect to me. You are the first who says they can „last a pretty long time“. Well, it‘s still the question what you consider a long time. 5 Year? 15 Years?

I wanted to buy one of those here: https://wittner-gmbh.de/wittner_metronome_maelzel_wooden_casing.html

But of course, they are not cheap. My model (polish black) costs about 170 Euro. If it‘s true that they are imprecise and drift over time (again, when will this be a problem?), 170 Euro are too much money. Even though I really would like to keep it analog and I like the look. But it must work and still be a reasonable purchase => effective/usable.

I sold a plastic Wittner Taktell and have had an electronic one and also phone apps. However I now have a wooden high gloss black Wittner with bell which I bought new for £125. Some mention their accuracy but we are not talking synching audio to video here and when you are not using a metronome can you say you are keeping to the indicated tempo throughout the music? Some also say that the brain does not match the pendulum visual limit with the click or bell. All that aside I just admire its simplicity and heritage of the Metzeler design. Its the same reason that I have an expensive automatic wristwatch and not a cheap battery operated one would keep better time.
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I'm using only an analog metronome, a wittner taktell piccolo.

Never had rust issues, and I have this maybe 30 years. I had to clean it only once, when it started to run shorter and shorter on a spring, after cleaning it out it works like new again.

If the spring is at the very end, mine gets a tiny bit faster, but barely noticeable.

I think the tiny inconsistency compared to digital is not relevant. The point of the metronome is to detect where the technical issues are and fix them. You don't 6 decimals of accuracy to detect and fix this. In fact completely the opposite, you want to drop the metronome as soon as you have the technical issues ironed out.

I like the analog sound. I like the look with the swinging arm which allows you to also see the ticking. Sometimes the look of the swinging arm is more important than the tick.

I think you already gave a good reason as well, stay analog when playing piano. The feel of analog is different from the very exact digital clicks. Similar to how the modern, bluish lighting is very differnt from the 'old' incandescent lighting which is very different from the older gas lanterns and candles.

The wittner taktell piccolo is about $50. No big deal compared to the price of a decent piano or even a bench.


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When I restarted the piano and my teacher saw my electronic metronome, she laughs and said everyone is using their cellphone. She's young and probably never heard of a mechanical metronome.



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https://www.etsy.com/market/restored_metronome

I found some restored antique metronome for sale. Who said they don't last. grin



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Thanks for all your answers. I‘m leaning towards the mechanical one right now. Simple because I think it will also do the job (I hope).

However, since I inform myself as well as possible, I just came across this one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcXLsGUjC3Y

Anyone who uses this vibrating Metronom watch when playing the piano? Does it make sense to you?

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Originally Posted by zeitlos
I want to buy my first metronom. I‘ve been successful in avoiding it so far but now is the time wink

I was about to buy a nice Wittner Taktell wood but now I ask myself whether it’s a stupid idea to buy a mechanical metronom in 2021.
I habe even heard piano teachers on YouTube say that people should dump them if they still have one and go digital.

Basically, I like the analog touch of a piano and would like to keep it analog as das as possible. I find playing the piano a Beruf nice way of secluding oneself from the digital world. However, if those metronom apps are simply much better in terms of learning how to play correctly, I cannot deny this finding and will also go digital here.

If it’s just the price that makes the difference, it’s fine with me. But if an app is definitely better (not only in theory), I will sacrifice optics and emotions and get an app.

What your take? Anyone who’s still in favor of mechanical Metronoms?

Definitely not stupid to get a traditional metronome. I use both and enjoy both equally, If I could only have one I'd keep the traditional one over the phone app any day. I love the look of analog metronomes and the sound. For me, I do a mix of digital and traditional for all things music. Some sheets and books on paper and some on ipad. I avoided using a metronome for the longest time, keep in mind it takes some time to get used to playing along with a tick.

Originally Posted by wouter79
I'm using only an analog metronome, a wittner taktell piccolo.
I like the look with the swinging arm which allows you to also see the ticking. Sometimes the look of the swinging arm is more important than the tick.

I second this. I use this model and love it, got it as a gift many years ago. Every once in a while I check it against a digital app and years later it's still spot on. I like the look of it and style. I like the arm swinging although often it distracts me.

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I have two old school metronomes, several apps that I can use as a metronome and 1 dedicated metronome app. No question the metronome app is the most versatile. It has a dozen features I’ll probably never use. Without question I use the old school metronomes the most and enjoy using them. I dislike the sound from all the apps and I’m not as good at following them for some reason despite the fact that they are likely far more accurate, but not practically so. I actually like my cheap, plastic metronome the best just because it fits in my guitar case. I do wish it had a bell like my big wooden one. The bell has come in handy for a few pieces I have learned.

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I have a 50 year Seth Thomas tube metronome (go to wait a few seconds to warm up). Made of wood that matches perfectly to my Yamaha U 1 and it looks cool sitting on top and I use it for anything 4/4 but you have to love technology of today.
6/8 never been better than with my digital apps.

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Not mutually exclusive

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https://www.sii.co.jp/music/english/products/metronome/epm5000.html

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This is a good quartz metronome that is disconnected from the internet.
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https://www.sii.co.jp/music/english/products/metronome/sq200.html

Last edited by newer player; 01/17/21 05:19 PM.
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I have a mechanical one, but I prefer to use my phone one. The reason I prefer it is that it can be set to ‘ding’ on the first beat of the measure.

For me, with the mechanical one, I have a hard time. I sort of tend to ‘race’ with it. But using the phone, with the ding on the first beat, this is less of an issue.

I play from ForScore, on my iPad. The ForScore app has a metronome, it sort of pulses a visual frame around the edge of the screen, but I still like the phone app better.

I really do not like using the metronome. At all. Which probably means I need it more.


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I have a "classic" Maelzel metronome in mahogany which must be more than 70 years old. It still runs, but I don't use it but it's a nice accent piece near the piano. When I do need a metronome, I use this basic and very serviceable quartz metronome. No buttons to press to search for the tempo; just a simple twist of the dial. It has a flashing light, two different "tones" and a volume control. What more does one really need?

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Last edited by BruceD; 01/18/21 01:29 AM.

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