another tempo related thread


Senior Member
Hi all,

On listening back to a recording of a recent rehearsal with my band I decided to just set a metronome to some of the songs out of interest, just to see if we were keeping time and how it compared to the songs we are covering.

To the ear it all sounded fine, I wouldn’t have picked up on any variable tempo, but…. the harsh reality of the metronome revealed slight variance of plus and minus 3-4 bpm throughout the songs. I’ve now started wondering….”is it me?” …. “is it them?” …. “does it matter, a few bpm is nothing… or is it?”


Junior Member
I don't think it matters. +/-3-4 bpm might seem like a lot compared to professional recordings but it's actually pretty solid for a live band with no click IMO. Did you notice whether the changes occurred during transitions into other sections? Like, did you speed up for the choruses for example? To me, certain parts of a song perhaps ought to be a slight change from the rest. More urgency in the chorus might work better slightly sped up. Then slowing down a hair for the verse will give that a different feel. There was a time when it was not just normal, but intentional for tempos to change during a musical piece. Just that modern production methods dictate precisely consistent tempos for pop music.

No Way Jose

Silver Member
3 or 4 BPM tempo variation during a live gig is fine, in my opinion.


Junior Member
Not bad at all. In spot checking songs to determine their average tempo, I've found a lot of old songs on the radio will differ by that much from beginning to end or in some transitions. This hasn't stopped them from becoming classics and it hasn't stopped people from loving those songs. I've done this experiment with groups I've been in but it's mostly just to baseline so that everyone can get on the same page and practice at the same general tempo and to let them know what the natural tendencies are in a particular song.


Well-known member
I’ve been learning a bunch of blues tunes for a gig I just got and referenced all the original tunes. SRV, Hendrix, Allman Brothers and so many others all had tempos that fluctuated at least 3-4bpm in each of the tunes I learned. Seems 3-4 bpm is even good enough for studio recordings (in the 70’s anyway).