Playing to a click - help needed

hoddy

Junior Member
I recently had to record a track in a proffesional studio having only ever played live in small venues before, the problem I had was the engineer (who has worked with just about everyone in the music business !) insisted on me playing to a click track, unfortunately I just couldn't keep time with it and the more we tried the worse it got ! at home I have spent hours playing to a metronome with no problems before so I am baffled by this, has anybody any ideas how to rectify this as I am back in the same studios in 2 weeks.
 

Trip McNealy

Gold Member
Maybe you had an off day?? When you said play at home to one, was that on the drumkit or just doing rudiments/practice on a practice pad? Big difference.

Anyway, maybe start at a very slow tempo on the metronome and work your way up to the one(s) that you need to play along with.. obviously play on the drumkit! Ingrain it to muscle memory!
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
On short notice, I would take the tunes you know you're going to be recording that day and work them with a metronome day and night. Once you get that out of the way, make working with a click - especially at slow tempos - a daily routine. Learn to count and subdivide at slow tempos to help you internalise the space between notes.
 

elpol

Senior Member
I recently had to record a track in a proffesional studio having only ever played live in small venues before, the problem I had was the engineer (who has worked with just about everyone in the music business !) insisted on me playing to a click track, unfortunately I just couldn't keep time with it and the more we tried the worse it got ! at home I have spent hours playing to a metronome with no problems before so I am baffled by this, has anybody any ideas how to rectify this as I am back in the same studios in 2 weeks.
Kinda sounds to me perhaps like a case of the "Pro-Studio Heebie Jeebies" - Everything seems different, even if nothing is. However, do you practise at home with professional close-backed Studio headphones where you can hear yourself like you might not be used to? Even the sound of the click, if it's different from your metronome, can throw you off. The brain is a funny thing, how it messes with us... See if you can find a way to 'trick' yourself into believing that the studio is home, or is the stage.
 

hoddy

Junior Member
Thanks guys, most helpfull, I use a click on my Roland TD3 to practice with and don't have any problems so I think it is a case of the heebee jeebies !
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's hepful to have as much 'resolution' as you can manage. That is, you may have a problem keeping up with a 1/4 note click, but an 1/8 note click will help you lock-in better. If the song is a little slower, you may even want 1/16s.

Better still is to have a drum sequence/loop to play with, again making sure there's at least 1/8 notes on the hat. It's much easier to play to 'another drummer' than just a sterile click.

Bermuda
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Hoddy, are you in Preston Lancs? My sister-in-law was born there! She moved to Australia then came to the US over 30 years ago. Small world!

Bermuda
 

hoddy

Junior Member
Hi Bermuda, yes good old Lancashire ! small world indeed. thanks for the tips - I might ask the pros at the studios about playing a drum loop instead of a click, sounds like a really good idea.
 

rmandelbaum

Platinum Member
It also helps to not play to the click but with the click.

Most people that are not used to a lock will focus on the click and listen to them selfs and focus on if things are lining up. This leads to speeding up and slowing down, constantly trying t find the click.

Try grooving with it, think of it as another musician in the room with a cow bell or clave. Lock in and feel the tempo, It takes a little practice but once you get there it makes a click a good thing.
 

spirit

Senior Member
Hoddy, are you in Preston Lancs? My sister-in-law was born there! She moved to Australia then came to the US over 30 years ago. Small world!

Bermuda
Hell my daughter and my neice and a friends girl all go to Uni in Preston too!!!
Regards the click track, see if he can set it on the first beat of each bar, thats easier for me to work with, I cant bear the click on all four- drives me mad...Also my Roland td8 has a choice of click or voice- I hate the voice, cant concentrate with that in my lugs!
Good luck and I hope you crack it mate...maybe suggest you use your Roland brain for the click as it may break down the obvious barrier you have as you can at home but not in studio. If you set the BPM yourself I think you will be good to go mate!
 

DestinationDrumming

Senior Member
Thanks guys, most helpfull, I use a click on my Roland TD3 to practice with and don't have any problems so I think it is a case of the heebee jeebies !
I used to go to Uni in Preston. Spend a huge amount of time in the New Brit.

I do hope it's just nerves on the day. My ex-bass player would always say he could play perfect to recorded tracks and that he was bang on time....unless you recorded him. Without recording yourself there is the possibility that you think you are on time but in reallity you are a tad off. If you haven't already done so try recording yourself and play it back so you can hear how in time you are.

Best of luck and well done...playing in a studio would leave me scared rigid!
 

Ethan01

Senior Member
had was the engineer (who has worked with just about everyone in the music business !) insisted on me playing to a click track
Did he insist on you using a click track? You at least should've tried to record without a click to see if it was any good. Anyways, if you aren't comfortable recording with a click, then don't. Nothing wrong with that, trust me.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
Hi Bermuda, yes good old Lancashire ! small world indeed. thanks for the tips - I might ask the pros at the studios about playing a drum loop instead of a click, sounds like a really good idea.
I have some hazy tour memories with Preston as the backdrop...
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
Better still is to have a drum sequence/loop to play with, again making sure there's at least 1/8 notes on the hat. It's much easier to play to 'another drummer' than just a sterile click.

Bermuda
I started doing something kind of like this last year.
A basic studio will most often give you a beep, rim-shot, or cowbell for a click track, but I had a few guys change it to a Hi Hat sound. It was real easy to play with Vs. a super loud click that makes your eyes hurt after 5 min. I still use 1/4 notes, but I make beat one a off sound from 2, 3 and 4. That way I always know were 1 is.
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
Hey guys, forgive my ignorance here, but is this the state of the recording business now? I mean - listening to Kieth Moon, John Bonham, Ian Paice, from the 70's and 80's,did they use click tracks, or is this some studio executive direction coming from a suit instead of a real musician?

I don't mean to sound arrogant, but GEEZ!! Why even pay a live drummer, just punch the beat into a drum machine and do a bit of editing and you have the drum part! Will studio drummers even exist in the next 10 years? I prefer to listen to my music live as it came down, rightous, and not "manufactured". Or am I waaaay off base here?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Hey guys, forgive my ignorance here, but is this the state of the recording business now? I mean - listening to Kieth Moon, John Bonham, Ian Paice, from the 70's and 80's,did they use click tracks, or is this some studio executive direction coming from a suit instead of a real musician?

I don't mean to sound arrogant, but GEEZ!! Why even pay a live drummer, just punch the beat into a drum machine and do a bit of editing and you have the drum part! Will studio drummers even exist in the next 10 years? I prefer to listen to my music live as it came down, rightous, and not "manufactured". Or am I waaaay off base here?
You're overreacting a bit, clicks have been in place for a long time (movie soundtracks, commercials) and do not signal the demise of live drummers. Be happy there's a click - that usually means a live drummer needs to hear it!

Clicks certainly existed prior to ProTools coming along, but as a result, they're probably here to stay. There is a clear benefit to having a solid, consistent tempo in terms of making edits & changes later, which may be necessary for a number of reasons.

I've found that people who have a problem with the 'concept' of a click, also have a problem playing to it in the first place. I'm fine with or without, and given the choice - honestly - I have no preference. It's part of making music, just like playing different styles and creating samples and sequences, and that's what I do for a living. Anyone wanting to survive in today's (and tomorrow's) music world needs to embrace the 'current' methods of making drums sounds.

There's a backlash though... I've run into drummers who simply can't keep time without a click. That's obviousy not good either.

Bermuda
 
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