Saturday, April 07, 2007

SEIKO DM-70 Digital Metronome

Well, I got the SEIKO DM-70 I ordered, and just as I suspected, it is just a slightly enhanced version of the two DM-20's that I bought back around 1988.

As you can see, the DM-70 is marginally larger, it has a fold-out stand versus the earlier pencil hole, and it has real raised buttons now to replace the earlier plastic film version. Operation is slightly different, as you now "power" up, "select" the feature you want to adjust - tempo, beat, volume, or A 440 Hz tuning tone - and then "up & down" whichever you select. The earlier DM-20 only had "tempo" up and down, and a "beat" select that only went up (And circled back to the beginning), and that included the A 440 Hz tone in the beat list. DM-20's had no volume feature.

The LCD screen is also larger now, and there is a flashing red LED light too. I'm betting batteries won't last me seven years in this one. The list of beats is more complete now as well: There are sixteenths available with dropped elements, which might help out learning funky rhythms.

I've been using the DM-70 in my daily Modal Mastery practice, and I like it quite a lot, as I did the earlier DM-20's. Now, I have a DM unit for each guitar case/gig bag I use. One nice feature is that if you hold the up or down buttons in tempo mode, it starts to scroll in intervals of ten. It takes a bit of practice, but it soon becomes easy to just hold for a second and increase or decrease by ten. This makes mode practice a tad quicker.


Speaking of the Modal Mastery project, here is a mini progress report.

For pattern one (Playing the modes as scales straight up and down) I had the following failure points for eighth notes:

01) Ionian: Failure @ 189 BPM

02) Dorian: Failure @ 183 BPM

03) Phrygian: Failure @ 189 BPM

04) Lydian: Failure @ 193 BPM

05) Mixolydian: Failure @ 191 BPM

06) Aeolean: Failure @ 195 BPM

07) Locrian: Failure @ 193 BPM

Like I said, I'm the slowest scale player on the planet, despite having worked on them for decades. Results were similar for pattern two, which is actually an improvement because it is marginally more difficult.

PATTERN II: (Seconds 2)

01) FAILURE @ 184 BPM

02) FAILURE @ 191 BPM

03) FAILURE @ 196 BPM

04) FAILURE @ 191 BPM

05) FAILURE @ 195 BPM

06) FAILURE @ 198 BPM

07) FAILURE @ 187 BPM

Pattern three, the first of the thirds patterns, was where I experienced my first breakthrough.

PATTERN III: (Thirds 1)

01) FAILURE @ 198 BPM

02) FAILURE @ 202 BPM

03) FAILURE @ 206 BPM

04) FAILURE @ 210 BPM

05) FAILURE @ 210 BPM

06) FAILURE @ 204 BPM

07) FAILURE @ 206 BPM

Eighth notes at 210 is quite slow in the grand scheme of things, but it is better than I have ever gotten before using alternating finger tech with the right hand. I could play sixteenth notes at 160 BPM with a pick, but that is much easier.

I'm just finishing up pattern four now, and it is coming along nicely.

01) FAILURE @ 186 BPM

02) FAILURE @ 191 BPM

03) FAILURE @ 195 BPM

04) FAILURE @ 201 BPM

05) FAILURE @ 207 BPM

06) FAILURE @ 206 BPM

My goal is to get to where I can comfortably play sixteenth notes at 130 BPM, but I may simply not have the genetics to do it. Though frustrating, it proves me right, and many "teachers" wrong. I had one guy tell me he could teach a monkey to play scales fast. That may be true if the monkey has the right balance of fast twitch to slow twitch muscle fibre, but there is no way you can teach a man to play fast if he does not have the proper muscle fiber balance.

Sometimes I really hate being right about everything all the time.


For example...

I saw that coming.


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