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getting better performances

Hi Spindrift.
I use this click trick for years now, and you're right, drummers love it !
One matter should be considered though : if your click is too "groovy", laying rythm tracks along with it makes it "unmutable". I mean it becomes part of the song groove ! It happens to me once, and the click pattern ended up as a synth perc track in the final mix !
Man, I love this job !



JeffreyMajeau Mon, 09/11/2000 - 00:14

This is a great suggestion. It seems so obvious once you think about do most really good ideas. And it's certainly easy enough to execute at this point in the evolution of the technology. I know that, as a bass player, even practicing is a much more musical endeavor when I work with drum patterns (midi or pre-recorded) as a timing foundation rather than just a metronome. And it's all about making it musical.

Jeffrey Neal Majeau
Audio Designer/Recording Engineer
Wave, Inc.
11 California Avenue
Framingham, MA 01701
Phone: (508) 626-9900
FAX: (508) 628-3698

anonymous Tue, 09/12/2000 - 04:16

Yeah, that sound like a really great idea except I have one problem. What do you do if you have a tempo or feel change in the song. Do you have to sequence the whole song structure before the band plays it? As I'm writing this I'm considering the time wasted doing that, but I'm also thinking how quickly the "real" band would get it right! Also, there would be less guesswork. What do you guys think?

anonymous Sun, 09/17/2000 - 16:17

The other problem is that a number of drummers actually find it distracting to hear their own drums at the same time and so actually prefer a click that is totally unlike any part of their kit.

This is particularly so with drummers who practice with a click e.g. those headphones with a built in click.

Duncan Whitcombe
Mirror Sounds,
Perth, WEstern Australia

anonymous Tue, 02/13/2001 - 07:12

Another problem is that cutting to a click (or a loop, or a drum pattern, or whatever) just plain sucks. :D I try never to make anybody do it. The drummer, IMO, is and should be the foundation of a tune, and should be driving the car - not a computer.

If there are some timing "imperfections" as a result of working this way, oh well. It is what it is, and there is probably still more excitement in the performance. Unless somebody specifically requests it, I never encourage using a click. And it's amazing how many delighted smiles break out on drummers when I say, "What click? Fuck the click, you don't need it!"


Guest Tue, 02/13/2001 - 10:10

Hey Lee!! Great to see ya here!! There have been a couple of cases where I've found 'loops' absolutely necessary. I believe I sent you a copy of the 'El Camino' thing?

There is a song on there called 'Dues' where the guitar has the "intro". During preproduction we realized that the guitar player's time was all over the place during this part, as in not even close, as in impossible to do an overdub on.

The entire percussion track in that song is a loop. The congas, the claves, the cowbell...each section was pre-programmed. The key was getting the band to groove to the loop, when that happened, we had a performance!!!.

alphajerk Tue, 02/13/2001 - 18:03

i'll check that song out again.

the other way is to use the chord changes as a synth click instead of a monotonous 'tick' if you MUST use a click track.

you can easily map tempo changes in a click track these days with the proper DAW if needed as well. the say dont build a house with a sand foundation.

but im with lee for the most part, just let em rip if at all possible. lee is just spoiled, she seems to have a stash of good drummers [not to mention a SWEET drumset], some of us are quite jealous.

if the guitarist cant get the timing right for an intro i just keep whacking him with a 2x4 until he does. if it knocks him out, put him under the piano and get a real guitarist who can. same goes with the drummer.

anonymous Tue, 02/13/2001 - 19:01

LOL yeah Alpha, a 2x4 is a handy thing to have around a studio. :) The occasion was going to Digiworld. Digi stuff was OK, but the coolest part was seeing your buddy's 9098 Fletcher. Knocked our socks off! We were trying to figure out how we could walk out with it and whether it would fit in the back of my Jeep. :eek:


Kevin F. Rose Wed, 02/14/2001 - 07:29

Lee, How's things in Atlanta?

Some drummers (and guitarists) freak when a click is involved in the process and I take Lee's approach most of the time but there are no set rules except for what works best.
I programmed a 2/4 and a 3/4 beat for a bluegrass project and after the bass, guitar and vocals were added the drummer came in and kicked ass with just a kick, snare and highhat but the stoner rock band the night before couldn't count to 8 so I had to count them in through talkback. The only thing that got them to relax was the Saturday Night Live skit that features the line, "I've got a fever and the only cure is more cowbell."

2x4! Reminds me of having my partner standing there with a 2x4 ready to hit me if I hit hot power in the wall with my drill.



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