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Thomas Leeb – Rhythm as a Musical Framework

Fingerstyle guitarist Thomas Leeb shares insights on the importance of rhythm and practicing with the metronome

Inspiration by Metronome Online with

ARTIST FEATURE: We are joined this week by fingerstyle guitar phenom Thomas Leeb. Thomas is faculty at California Institute of the Arts and a wildly followed musician, so we couldn’t be more happy that he agreed to answer a few questions for us:

1) Why is rhythm important?

Because it provides a framework for understanding what is being communicated musically. Taking this language analogy a little further: stuttering or pausing randomly you speak will make speech harder to follow and the message might get lost. It’s the same when you rush/lag/stutter music on an instrument.

2) How often do you practice with a metronome?

Whenever I have new work finished or go out on tour with a new program, I like to polish things with a final metronome check. It’s always surprising to find I’m not always as solid as I think I am!

"I like to polish things with a final metronome check. It’s always surprising to find I’m not always as solid as I think I am!"

3) Why is it important to practice with a metronome?

Because it prepares you for the day when you actually need to record or perform with one. If you’ve never done this, the metronome will feel like an enemy. If you’ve practiced with a metronome, it can become a dependable friend.

4) Can you name one thing that you like about the metronome on

It’s sleek and it’s neat to be able to keep track of things.

VIDEO: Check out a viral cover of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb that Thomas did a while back:

Thomas Leeb – Rhythm as a Musical Framework

Thomas Leeb

Thomas Leeb played his first solo concert at the age of fifteen and released his first acoustic guitar album at seventeen. Leeb is a frequent performer at concerts and festivals in Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa and has been featured in guitar magazines all over the world. Every year, he teaches workshops and master classes in universities and colleges and his album “Desert Pirate” was voted one of the essential albums of the last twenty years by Acoustic Guitar.

His peculiar guitar style owes as much to percussive techniques as traditional fingerstyle guitar. What sets Thomas Leeb apart from some of his contemporaries is his ability to make pyrotechnics serve the music. Three years studying West African traditional music give him a sense of timing and groove that is unusual in a guitarist. All this has earned him a loyal world-wide following and influential fans such as Eric Roche who was his guitar teacher, “for about five minutes and then I heard him play”, Jon Gomm awarded him “ten out of ten Gomms”, Guthrie Govan (Official) who thinks that “what Thomas does on an acoustic guitar probably shouldn’t be legal.”

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