Can't Groove To A Click!

Brian

Gold Member
How is your counting? Do you routinely practice counting out loud? To me, that is extremely important.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
Good job of being honest with yourself. That will serve you well. If you can't groove to a click, groove isn't in your toolbox yet. Groove can be learned, I'm walking proof. I didn't groove for most of my life. I finally started to get it in about 2009, not too long after I joined here. Related? I think so.
Hi Larry - would you elaborate a little...

What do you mean when you say you didn't groove for most of your life?

And what did you learn that involved learning to groove?

What are you doing differently?
 

Sebenza

Member
For learning how to play with a metronome, its like with any other drumming related learning process...slow it down first.
Program the metronome to the smallest subdivision of the groove you're playing (8th notes if you're playing 8ths on the hihat, 16ths when you play 16ths, etc...) and pay particular attention to going in and out of drumfills or feel changes, as these are the points where one is most likely to wobble behind or ahead of the click and throw you off. And slow it down....

As for grooving with a click, first get rid of the typical digital blip sound and set up a percussion sound like a shaker or cowbell.
Secondly, if you can, try to program something that a percussionist would play over the groove or some pattern that compliments nicely what you're playing. If you can get that click to feel like just another musician playing with you, thats great. He just happens to have perfect time...
Even a simple 3/2 clave will get you grooving a lot faster than just quarter notes coming out of your headphones.
 

Merlin5

Gold Member
If I may make a suggestion. If you can afford an electric kit with some built in songs, this is an awesome way to get used to playing with a click. On my electric kit, there are 50 songs, each of which I can switch the click on and off at any moment.The clicks are automatically set at the right tempo for each song. So if I'm playing along to a song with the click going, I can switch the click off in an instant without disturbing my playing and the song continues. Or I can switch the song off and leave the click going. By practising with music over a click, it's a better way to feel the time than just the click alone.

As you get experienced with this, you should turn the song off and just leave the click running, keeping that song in your mind. You'll be amazed how much easier it'll become to
feel the time. Most of the time, I play along to songs and have the click off. I have a quick record button on the kit that I use. Then when I playback what I recorded, I can switch the click back on and listen to my accuracy to hear how many of my backbeats are lined up, behind or even ahead.


I cannot recommend an electric kit highly enough just because of these really helpful functions. I would say that if you can invest in this, you'll most definitely see great results in a few weeks. It still comes down to regular disciplined practise, there's no shortcuts I'm afraid. But this will make things a whole lot better for you.
 

ricky

Senior Member
Bumping my own thread here....

still practicing! :)

here's another question.

How do you all feel about volume of the click, etc?

When I first started, I'd have to put the click up loud to get over the sound of the drums. Then I found a solution of using earbuds with ear protection earmuffs that you get at the hardware store. I think they are basically the same thing you get with those isolation headphones.

But anyway, I have found that the quieter I play, the better my timing...just more relaxed all around. I had a tendency with the earmuffs to play louder/harder because I couldn't hear the drums as well even though I could listen to the click now at a more comfortable level.

So what are your thoughts on that aspect?
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
i use to play with an civic orchestra-it had pros and novices. The novices were always counting out loud, tapping, or counting on fingers, which aggravated the pros to no end. "Don't do that it messes up with my time keeping". You keep time in your head.
A click is just at time interval-you can do anything you want to with it-play in time or off, shift any count to hit on the click-like one or three. Playing to a click with other musicians and to a song has context of how and what to play-but just grooving to a click can take you anywhere as you play with click.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Okay, I know...practice.

I have kicked up practice (just a part-time drummer here, wouldn't even dare to call myself one), so hopefully eventually I'll get it.

But it's so frustrating. I feel when I'm playing with the click that I'm in the groove, even the simplest of beats, but when I listen back, it's rubbish!

When I play without a click, it seems so much better to me.

How long did it take you to be able to groove to a click?


Oh man. I have been drumming for over 20 years. Click or no click. I'll play for a half hour, be in the zone and sooo happy with my playing and progress. I practice an hour a day every day lately.

I think to myself, lets make a social media post and record it. I listen back and contemplate selling my kit and wonder why it sounds so bad every time. haha.

That is life my friend. I have spoken to many other drummers, some pros, and they all say the same thing. I listen to my bands CD's and hear the mistakes more than the good parts too..

It is good to be critical on yourself though because it makes you better.


Now,, I'll give you two things to try.

One, Try recording to music instead of just you. I bet it sounds 1000x times better and in time. Keep it simple and within your playing range. It always seems to "groove" and feel better when I am playing to something.

You can also use recorded music as a click if it's in time. But at the end of the day playing to a click is a must know. And to be honest most people don't have perfect time.

You nailed the answer though. It's practice. and practice and practice. And slow it down.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Bumping my own thread here....

still practicing! :)

here's another question.

How do you all feel about volume of the click, etc?

When I first started, I'd have to put the click up loud to get over the sound of the drums. Then I found a solution of using earbuds with ear protection earmuffs that you get at the hardware store. I think they are basically the same thing you get with those isolation headphones.

But anyway, I have found that the quieter I play, the better my timing...just more relaxed all around. I had a tendency with the earmuffs to play louder/harder because I couldn't hear the drums as well even though I could listen to the click now at a more comfortable level.

So what are your thoughts on that aspect?

Also deal with this often. Sometimes I'll have muffs over just one ear when I record. Or put an earbud in just one ear with the click... Next step would be to put mics on your drums and run an interface and have the drums AND click together.

I find using a software click track on my pc where I can choose the sample helps. If it's a song I have issues with I use a VERY loud cowbell.

Playing both soft and loud are good things to learn anyways.
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
Regarding the volume of the click: I need it just loud enough, but no louder! Just so it sits in the mix in my ears/head, rather than dominating it.

FWIW, I found that my ability to play to a click improved when I stopped thinking of it as a click per se, and started thinking of it as kind of another band member to listen to and play along with.

As a result I have noticed that I sort of balance my attention between listening (to the click) and playing. This required a bit of extra headspace for a while, but it has made a big difference to my ability to stay on the click (especially during fills, where I traditionally tend to rush a little), and it feels more like I'm playing 'with' the click, rather than fighting it.
 

Richard.Awesome

Senior Member
a few things that helped me:

-playing everything, 1 limb, then 2, 3, 4, whatever - at 30bpm to really develop control. if you can groove at 30, 100 is nothing.
-i like using a cowbell tone vs the traditional beep noise on the metronome. makes me feel like i'm playing along with somebody.
-play along to dance/hip hop or any music definitely recorded to a click
 
Practice by setting the metronome tempo as close to the tempo you most often groove at.

And as for volume, try playing it at different volumes.

I personally like metronomes that make a different sound on the 1 (beep, bop, bop, bop).

Experiment to find what works best for you.
 

John Lamb

Senior Member
best metronome advice ever given to me many years ago ...

...don't play TO the click. play WITH the click
Absolutely. You can't groove to a click, it won't work. There is a big mental game that goes into playing really well. One thing I have my students do is play a pattern that they already know well and to put all their attention into a particular sensation: such as the stick tip hitting the surface of the drums/cymbals or the vibration of the stick with every stroke, or the feeling of pressure between the hips and the throne.

Often, I'll have them play along to a song. More often than not, they start to bury the drum track. As in the entire track disappears for extended periods. Even beginner students. It works wonders. Now this isn't why I have the students direct their attention in this way: I want them to learn about the stick rebound, or their grip, or their posture ... but it works. I got the trick from watching master classes in college weekly and watching students react to the teacher's suggestions, and consolidating those observations with what a lot of pros say about tricks they use to keep the groove going.


In any case, it IS possible to groove with a click early on. Not only possible, but as a drum teacher, I think it is something that should be built in from the start (but I gotta stop there or I'll rant)

+1 to the click replacement ideas, though ... by click track I really mean a steady tempo. A metronome click itself isn't the easiest to work with for anyone.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
My metal band is pretty limited in the dynamics and is more about technical extreme music and quite locked into to a grid..

When I record at 230/240 bpm with a loud cowbell click my head starts to hurt pretty quick.

I find it is a good thing to put the click in half time and learn to play. then set it at 1/4 of the tempo and learn to play. If you are still nailing the one your time is good.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Hi Larry - would you elaborate a little...

What do you mean when you say you didn't groove for most of your life?

And what did you learn that involved learning to groove?

What are you doing differently?
I had 2 phases in my drumming life, phase one lasted about 14 years and in that time, I had no concept of groove. I didn't think about steady time when I played, I very much played from an emotional space.

Then I quit drumming for almost 20 years to learn how to make money

When I came back in late 2003, (oddly enough 14 years again) I played Blues, and I had to unlearn my Rock upbringing, my dynamics, my feel, pretty much everything major. It also took awhile to shake the rust off. In about 2006 I finally started to get the concept of steady groove and in late 2008 it finally started showing up in my playing as related to me by the players around me. So most of my life I did not groove. I thought repetition was boring in phase 1 ha ha. I had unequal abilities in each hand, and in about 2010 or so I decided to go for equality. Which helped my groove a lot...eventually. Recording myself from Day 1 of phase 2 is the single best thing I've ever done to improve my playing in general. A distillation process mainly.

That and Larry8's suggestion of 40 BPM alternating strokes. That was the single best thing I've done for my quarter note. I did not mentally subdivide to keep my place. I listened to the reverberation decay of the drums around me. I wanted the quarter note ingrained in my head.
 
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