People Who Count Off The Song At A Different Tempo To The Song's Actual Tempo


Senior Member
hmmm, Stevie did it about 130 bpm.....218 is insanely fast.

I know the drummers often count in, but I actually prefer a band leader do that. The whole band keeps time.
Louis, this is a jazz arrangement and not anything like what Stevie sings to. I'll ask the band leader if I can post the mp3 here and let you guys listen. It's still swing eighths as far as I can tell. I think 218-220 bpm is still within range of swing eighths. Any faster and it's straight eighths.

The cool thing is, there is another big band group that plays weekly there as well. I'm putting my name in the hat for both, maybe just to sub. Who knows, maybe this will lead to something :)


New Tricks

Platinum Member
In the examples I just listened to, I hear the difference but I don't understand the concern.

IMO, the count in is just to get everyone to start at the same time on the first note. After that, it's gonna go wherever it goes. Granted, it would be logical to count in at the songs tempo but it certainly isn't always necessary. The lead person in the song will push or pull it into his comfort zone rather quickly.

Personally, I KNOW I can't count in at a prescribed tempo out of my head and I doubt that most players can. We can certainly get close but, dead on? Uhhhh,.... no.

In rehearsal, I generally count in with a click and sometimes reactivate it during the song if something seems amiss.

When we'd finished three numbers, the guitarist gave me "the look" and said I was slowing them down
A simple metronome/click solves all of those arguments. People that don't play with them are always surprised how far they can stray in a short time. I've had people insist that the click was changing lol.


Senior Member
Well the only way to stop this is,.
Stop the bad count in.and look for a count in that works for all.If the band needs a count in?
If one of your band members ,counts in ,in a manner that do not work for you ,just say it!
How cares what he thinks ,it has to work for everybody!
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Diet Kirk

Silver Member
A simple metronome/click solves all of those arguments. People that don't play with them are always surprised how far they can stray in a short time. I've had people insist that the click was changing lol.
I've definately been quilty of this in the past. Some nights everything just seems slow, or fast. Must be either too much caffeine or not enough or something.

In one of my old bands in particular there was one song in particular, that seemed to stump me at the count in. But like the Maiden scenario we were so rehearsed and tight as a band we always came in at the right tempo.

having said that, I think like the comment above the best thing is to have a metronome to hand. No matter how good your internal time, some days things just end up slower. The only way to be sure is to set your count off to a metronome, that way if a singer or guitarist comes up to you after th gig and says we played "x" slow tonight, you can say actually we didn't, maybe lay off the red bull!


Silver Member
An old drummer that I used to play with always counted every song off at the same tempo. Then we had to guess how fast he was going to start playing, because the count-off tempo was NEVER the tempo of the song. Eventually we got used to it, though, and we able to lock in as soon as the song started.


Silver Member
Every once in a while I play with a group where the leader can't play the heads at faster tempos. If I'm feeling nice, I'll stop him when he starts counting off and be honest with him: "that sounds a bit too fast". But if I'm feeling like a jerk, I'll let him bury himself.


Senior Member
Too late! You're now a resident pro here, with two hit singles, and who's now primary responsibility is to make sure the rest of us here are doing it all right now.
Actually, I do that - but for writers, via a little website you can access HERE.

Come and visit, rhumbagirl, any time.

Is it okay to put that link in this forum? Hope so. If not, a thousand apologies.


Platinum Member
I've just found this old thread, and I can relate to this issue, not just counting in wrong, but when other people start the song at the wrong speed.

In one recent band, around half of the songs were started by other players in the band. Songs like 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' 'Johnny B. Goode' 'La Bamba' or 'Unchained Melody' started with guitar, then we all joined in later. Almost every time we played one the guitarist would quietly say to me 'That was a bit quick - can you keep it back a bit next time'. Once or twice I pointed out that he had started the song, so if he wanted it slower, he should just start it slower, but he just didn't get it. It was firm in his mind that the tempo was entirely the drummer's responsibility/fault. He was quite old and a respected player around town, so I didn't want to make a scene. After a hundred gigs or so I really began to doubt my internal clock. Eventually I left the band, and immediately felt relieved! I'm in another band now, and it's great. Everyone keeps time, we sound great together, and no-one complains.