App Review: Time Guru -- a Metronome That Tests Time

Have you ever practiced with a metronome and found yourself drifting in and out of consciousness at the repetitive click-click-click? Or maybe you've wondered if your time is any good away from the reassuring support of beats played perfectly for you.

Time Guru interface
Time Guru, an app for the iPhone can answer these questions by testing your ability to accurately feel tempos and beats in addition to functioning as a top notch metronome.

I bought Time Guru after watching a bass player friend of mine practice with it while working on grooves. He told me his buddy Avi Bortnick (who's backed up John Scofield on rhythm guitar) came up with the concept and got the app made and on the strength of these two recommendations I hit up the App Store and got mine.  I've been blown away by the versatility of this fantastic app since.

Time Guru's metronome function can play as slow as 5 beats per minute and up to 300 beats per minute making it extremely versatile at tempo and subdividing practice.

But beyond its function as a standard metronome, what makes this app worth paying $1.99 for? Besides the fact that you can't get a standard mechanical metronome for probably under $15.

In a nutshell, Time Guru is a metronome that randomly drops out a portion of the clicks you hear, testing your ability to keep accurate time when there's no repetitive sound source to lock on to. I emphasize that phrase because the ability to randomly be silent yet still keep time is what keeps you on your toes while working with this app. It's a surprisingly good test of your ability to keep time.

Time Guru allows you to easily set the percentage of clicks that are silent with a slider in the interface from 0% of clicks muted to 100% (the time indicator will still flash so the metronome basically functions in silent mode). There's even a function that allows you to decide how soon you want the app to start randomly silencing clicks so you can ease into it if you want to get comfortable with the tempo first.

One way to do 19/16: 4qtr notes + 3 16ths
If that's all Time Guru did it would be an invaluable tool for working on your time or just as a metronome that keeps you on your toes while practicing other concepts. But Time Guru also allows you to set up complex groups of beats enabling you to practice odd meters and odd metered phrases as well. Need to work on your 19/16? Piece of cake.

Because the metronome can be set to as low as 5 beats per minute, you can use the app to practice song forms like a 12-bar blues easily by treating each beat as a bar. Furthermore, with the ability to always silence one or more group of beats, the user has a tremendous amount of control over what exactly part of a phrase or song they want to test their rhythmic accuracy on.

I can't say enough how great this app is and what an addition it makes to my slew of practice tools. Time Guru accomplishes what I have been laboriously setting up on my home computer, drum machine and even tape deck for 15 years.

In the future I'd like to see the Meter select upped to 9 or even 11 but even stopping at 7, with all the ways you can combine meters, Time Guru gets the job done.