DRUMMERS, How do or would you handle falling off the click on a song with a backing track?

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Thanks for the life lesson. Typical social media claptrap, the accepted " expert " chimes in everyone else toes the line all good. someone else swims against the grain , not acceptable! It is also anyones choice to be an Organ Grinders Monkey.. what did all the great Professionals do before click tracks ? gee the mind boggles. If you are not on you shouldn't get the gig! simple.
 
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paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Your point is taken, but the OP doesn't have the option of not playing to a click/backing track. Like it or not, it's part of his gig.



There is no Animus , I just don't accept the premise of absolutely needing click tracks, if that's ok? here is another Jung revelation, I Ching. Perseverance Furthers. Good Advice especially for Drummers don't you think? If the fear of falling off the beat isn't reason to strive to be a better drummer I don't know what is.







Why all the animus?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
There is no Animus , I just don't accept the premise of absolutely needing click tracks, if that's ok?
The topic of this thread is about using a track, which necessitates playing with a click (or just the track if its sufficient to lock into,) and what happens when you lose it. It isn't about the click as a timekeeper. I have said many times that if a drummer needs a click to keep a decent tempo, they need to be replaced.

Bermuda
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for the life lesson.
No problem, it's part of what I do as a member of this forum and as an active member of the drumming community.

Typical social media claptrap, the accepted " expert " chimes in everyone else toes the line all good.
If I'm the expert to which you refer, I'll take it. And while I have only 35+ years working with clicks and tracks live and in the studio, I will graciously defer to anyone here who's been doing it longer.

what did all the great Professionals do before click tracks ? gee the mind boggles. If you are not on you shouldn't get the gig! simple.
Agreed, however synching with video and tracks is far more prevalent than it was even 20 years, and almost non-existent before 1980. Did Buddy need a click? No, his music swung and ebbed and flowed. Would he have ever played with a click? We both know the answer to that! Could he drum circles around all of us combined? Of course.

But he could never do my gig. :)

Bermuda
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Exactly. Nobody has to take every gig that comes their way. For example, if the musical style isn't your expertise, it's a good idea to turn down that kind of gig. But turning down work just because it involves a click isn't smart. There are precious few drummers who can afford to pick and choose their gigs. I'm talking about Vinnie, Kenny, JR, Gadd, etc. and I'm pretty sure none of them ever turned down a gig just because it had a click.

You get offered a gig, in a style you can play, and you accept it, period. Click or not. That's how being a pro works. That's how musicians get to be pros with a career in music.

Bermuda
Interesting thread. I'm enjoying it.

I have played to a click in the studio. I did OK. No problem.
However, I have never played to a click in a live band situation.
How can I practice playing to a click in a live band situation so that I can be proficient at it?
Any ideas?

I play in three bands. None use a click. And I use LiveBPM on my cell phone while I play.


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bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
However, I have never played to a click in a live band situation.
How can I practice playing to a click in a live band situation so that I can be proficient at it?
It's partially a matter of practicing, but mostly a matter of being able to hear the click while you play. You have to let go of the idea that you need to hear a good band mix, and embrace the click/track as your 'band'. The less musical clutter in your mix, the better you will stay with the click, in the same way you like to hear yourself prominently in the mix so you know what you're doing. Panning the click/track to one side - away from your kit - will make it easier to lock into.

Yes, we play in bands to be part of the music. But introducing a track & click puts the drummer into another role, almost as musical director.

I play in three bands. None use a click. And I use LiveBPM on my cell phone while I play.
LiveBPM is a nice reference, but you can also become too occupied chasing and adjusting the tempo. It's fine if you look at it once or twice just to see where you started and ended up, but it can be maddening if you try to use it to constantly monitor tempo. Much better and more fun to keep your mind on the playing.

With respect to how that's different than playing with a click, the click is essentially another bandmember or percussionist that you play along with, except that their time is better than yours. 😯

Bermuda
 
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donzo74

Junior Member
Great advice from Bermuda, as usual. I would also add that, in my experience, a lot of the other (non-drummer) instrumentalists will have their mix set just the opposite. They are frequently not accustomed to using clicks and they will have lots of themselves and other instruments in their mix. The click will be buried and they will be listening to the drums to keep time. I know this because they have told me that they are listening to me and not the click. So, as the drummer and chief time keeper, we have to invert this philosophy and keep the click at the forefront of what we are hearing in our mix. I will usually adjust the click volume to just about peak and use that as a reference to set the main mix volume off of. Then I will bring some other key elements (guitars, keys, vox, etc) up for reference but never so loud that they compete with the click.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
They are frequently not accustomed to using clicks and they will have lots of themselves and other instruments in their mix. The click will be buried and they will be listening to the drums to keep time.
As it should be. If the drummer strays a bit and corrects, it's usually only noticeable to the drummer, and everyone else follows along naturally while that section 'breathes' a little. But if they're listening to the click and the drummer and there's a discrepancy, suddenly the other players don't know which to follow, they're distracted, and the band as a whole can get loose. Much better for them to follow just one timekeeper.

Bermuda
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
No problem, it's part of what I do as a member of this forum and as an active member of the drumming community.



If I'm the expert to which you refer, I'll take it. And while I have only 35+ years working with clicks and tracks live and in the studio, I will graciously defer to anyone here who's been doing it longer.



Agreed, however synching with video and tracks is far more prevalent than it was even 20 years, and almost non-existent before 1980. Did Buddy need a click? No, his music swung and ebbed and flowed. Would he have ever played with a click? We both know the answer to that! Could he drum circles around all of us combined? Of course.

But he could never do my gig. :)

Bermuda
I'll just stick to drumming then , maybe you should try it. you can stick to Video Sync. Try a little Free Form, it might do you good, there's a life lesson.
 
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bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Thanks Pete, The majority of what I play Is free form. Sadly, that doesn’t pay the bills. But I’m onstage in 20 minutes, gotta run. I’ll think of you with every click, and the resulting salary.

Bermuda
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I'll just stick to drumming then , maybe you should try it. you can stick to Video Sync. Try a little Free Form, it might do you good, there's a life lesson.
Please do stick to drumming, instead of sh***ing sentence fragments all over a conversation you apparently can't leave alone.
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Please do stick to drumming, instead of sh***ing sentence fragments all over a conversation you apparently can't leave alone.
[/QUOTe Hey man just push the ignore button, I will state my case as I see it. not swayed by some of this nonsense . Try not to swear it's not really effective. .Stick to your Clique folks. it pays the bills ha!
 
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paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Please do stick to drumming, instead of sh***ing sentence fragments all over a conversation you apparently can't leave alone.
Thanks Pete, The majority of what I play Is free form. Sadly, that doesn’t pay the bills. But I’m onstage in 20 minutes, gotta run. I’ll think of you with every click, and the resulting salary.

Bermuda
Don't waste your headspace on me, Me, I'm recording no click, ah free space...
Every click will echo Organ Grinders Monkey ha ha ha. keep repeating it you won't fall off the beat.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Once again Pete, this is not a discussion about the click as a timekeeping method. It’s about the click necessitated by a track or video used in many of today’s performances.

Im with ya on the timekeeping part.

Bermuda
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
From what I was reading "click tracks" have been around since the 30s to synchronize movie, TV, and music. It's just a technical device so no matter when or where a band member, actor, etc. is recorded (like in an isolated sound booth) they will be synchronized with other musicians, movie scene, or TV spot. It isn't for the drummer but for everybody to be in same time frame. None of the people involved "have" to have it to be a good performer (whatever their job)-just need it for a good performance. I think with the onset of "digital" it's synchronizing abilities became more in vogue. I've only played once with it-at church when the orchestra decided to try it. Some of the band members just couldn't do it. If I concentrated on it to much it was distracting so I'd just "play normal" and keep it in the back of mind like another instrument chiming in snapping their fingers LOL.
 

donzo74

Junior Member
Real world scenario of having to use backing tracks this morning at church. It made me think of this thread so I'm back with my man on the street beat report. We were without piano and rhythm guitar already this week and the music director played piano on some tunes and acoustic on others. Our lead guitar player had a death in the family on Friday so he couldn't be there either so we piped in lots of tracks today to cover various parts. There were no issues with the performance. I had the click cranked and levels set as discussed. Here are some additional observations from the moment:

At rehearsal this morning, I found myself thinking that this was basically a karaoke band-in-a-box situation with so many players out. I felt a little silly but I had a job to do so I let that go quickly and got on with it. While rehearsing, even while focused on the click and knowing that falling off or not counting measures properly could tank the whole operation, I didn't feel constrained by it. Even though half of the band was canned and I was listening to a click, I didn't feel that my musical creativity was impaired. I took the approach that I had great freedom of expression because the band was gonna be there no matter what I did. There was no way I could throw them! It was fun and I threw in some extra crazy fills just enjoying the freedom being in the moment. Of course, that was just the run through and I was heavily caffeinated. I kept it appropriate for the actual service. Even though most of the actual notes coming from the stage were from me, it's not all about me, for sure.

If you are controlling the click and/or the stopping and starting of the tracks from the throne, here is something worth mentioning. When one track is finished, a personal best practice for me is to advance to the next track immediately and get it ready to go, even if I'm not going to start it right away. Sometimes you roll right into the next track but sometimes there is a pause for dialog and if you haven't already advanced, there is a danger of starting the previous track again. To keep things running smooth, my advice is to advance the software to the next track immediately after the previous track plays out and then double check before starting the next track that you have indeed advanced to the next track on the set list. I know this thread started as a question about what to do if something goes sideways during the song but you can also cause a major issue if you start the wrong song to begin with. I can recall seeing that happen to acts on live TV before, so it's a real world scenario to avoid while dealing with sync'd tracks.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
I don't really know about playing live with backing tracks, but i do know all about things getting off the rails out of synch live.
Funny because when at practice we sometimes use a click everything is solid. But we don't like the feel.
Our bassist is way out front agressive with the pulse (& it works- high energy, but at times very difficult to play with.)
So, sometimes we loose our synch at shows. If the singer and i are together i will make a strong sixteenth note roll to point to where everybody ought to be. If the singer and i are out, i will slosh the hats, take a breath and come back stong-like with a crash.
While obviously it would be nice if this never happened, those two things seem to work well enough for the audiences that they can keep dancing and enjoying themselxes.
 
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