My metronome started to make unpleasant squeaky noises when I wind up its spring. It's still working perfectly - this doesn't hurt the actual timing of the clicks. But the squeaking is really annoying, so I guess it's time to grease some parts in there.

However, do I risk ruining some delicate balance there if I open it? Or maybe the spring will jump out and I won't be able to stuff it back inside (this happened to me with some watches)?

  • 1
    I suggest that your local clock repair place is the best place to do the maintenance for you. – Joe McMahon Nov 3 '15 at 0:53
  • 1
    Just bite the bullet and buy an electronic one. For $25-30 you can get a Korg TM-xx unit that will far outperform the mechanicals. – Carl Witthoft Nov 3 '15 at 15:57
  • @CarlWitthoft While I upvoted your comment (it's always good to have a cheapie electronic metronome available - there are smartphone apps also), there doesn't seem to be anything with the same nice sound quality of a traditional metronome. Even sampled metronome clicks are still grating. At my age, an annoying click is what I need to be able to hear it and keep time, but some of those electronic metronome beeps are just horrendous. – Todd Wilcox Nov 3 '15 at 18:24

Assuming you get everything opened and closed properly without having the spring explode at you, do you have the right grease for clockwork in your house? Stuff that does not attract dust and does not get sticky over time? Do you know the right points to apply it to? So that timing is unaffected?

As an extreme example, I had some smart guy use some oil he considered a good idea on the bass mechanics of an accordion. Cue forward a few decades, and it's very hard to clean literally several hundreds of parts from sticky films rendering the instrument unresponsive and unreliable.

A metronome is comparatively coarse clockwork compared to a watch and the case has a lot of space so it's unlikely to be constructed in a way where all parts explode at you unless you don't open it as intended. But the spring has to take a considerable amount of energy it has to give off as sound again, so if you do mess it up, it will likely eject its parts with some insistence when the spring departs its mounting.

At any rate, a clock maker will know how to deal with a squeaky spring regarding both the kind of grease to use and where to apply it (and probably more importantly what not to use and where not to apply it).

That knowledge and the respective skills is most of what you am paying him for, not the actual work and material, both of which will be mostly trivial.


Run it until the metronome stops ticking, and maybe help it tick a few more times. At that point, the spring will be at rest. Usually, springs will only free themselves when pulled off. Use oil that is very thin, something like WD40, so it won't gum up the works later. Clean off any accumulated dust carefully with a lint-free cloth - that's probably the main culprit.

  • 1
    Never ever EVER use WD-40 as a lubricant. It is not a lubricant and will create far worse problems than you have now. First clean the parts with a solvent, then apply a very thin layer of light machine or sewing machine oil; or silicone spray, or even graphite powder. – Carl Witthoft Nov 3 '15 at 15:58
  • @CarlWitthoft - I used it on my metronome about 7 or 8 years ago, it solved the problem, and it's been working fine ever since. I only suggest something that's proved itself to me, otherwise it would be irresponsible. – Tim Nov 3 '15 at 16:56
  • 1
    Then you are very lucky. Take it from an experienced pinball machine (the old electro-mechanicals) hobbyist: WD40 will collect dust & turn into black gooey gunk. Either you wiped things very clean after the WD40 or you've got a sealed interior to your metronome :-) – Carl Witthoft Nov 3 '15 at 17:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.