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Old 06-09-2017, 07:35 PM
Furrow Furrow is offline
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Default Feel vs click

Playing live to a click is new to me. I can’t seem to pull off a “behind the beat” feel. You folks with experience, is there any hope? Will I get used to it? Right now it has to be the loudest thing in the mix too.
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Old 06-09-2017, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

As you get more comfy with it you will be able to drop it in your mix a bit.
It takes a lot of getting use to, but you will be able to dance around it. Playing behind it or in front of it.

Using the click has really helped me fall in the pocket more. I have a natural tenancy to play just a little ahead of it, so practicing with it and leaning back on the feel more, knowing that the click can't fluctuate, REALLY helps.
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Last edited by Living Dead Drummer; 06-10-2017 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 06-10-2017, 04:11 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

Thanks for the encouragements! It seems in my circles there are a lot of players coming up with bad meter. In talking to them I find out that in their personal practice time they are not using any reference tools for meter. Now in this new situation (live w/click) they seem almost addicted to it. At the mere suggestion of not using one, I get a fearful deer in the headlights look. Back in the day if you didn't have good rhythm, or could not stay on pitch you did not get the gig. All very interesting.
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Old 06-10-2017, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

I've never played to a click live but have used one at band rehearsals. I was the only one on the click. One guitarist and the bassist locked in fine. The other guitarist was constantly pushing and rushing ahead. It was too the point of being extremely uncomfortable. it let us know just how much we had been adjusting to him.
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Old 06-10-2017, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

What Andy and Nicholas said resonates for me, that it tends to go best when I'm playing in and around the space. And I think some songs better lend themselves to feeling/sounding more quantized than others. For those that don't, it can be easy to end up sounding mechanical and machine-like.

You might also try programming a percussion part with some dynamic variation to play to instead of a quarter note pulse. A quantized part can feel a bit better with a mixture of accented and unaccented notes. You can also place an audible reference on a different subdivision of each beat. For example, when I've had to record shuffles to a click track, it tends to feel better if I'm hearing something on the third beat of each triplet.
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Old 06-10-2017, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

The more you do it, the easier it gets. I'm using it all of the time - practice and live. At some point it becomes like another instrument in the mix or something like that. You will never have to deal with the argument of "you were rushing or dragging". The challenges I have sometime is when I count the song and the guitar starts (yes, it's always the guitar players) they ignore my count in go with their own tempo. In cases like this, I start following the guitar ignoring the click and slowly bringing everything to the right tempo and back on the click. It's a bit a mind trip and usually that happens live, but stuff like this rarely can get picked up by the audience.

About the feel vs. click, you can definitely have both, especially when you get to the point to be able to control if you want to play on it, behind or ahead. You can mix these based on a feeling.

Last edited by mitkoni; 06-10-2017 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 06-10-2017, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bull View Post
I've never played to a click live but have used one at band rehearsals. I was the only one on the click. One guitarist and the bassist locked in fine. The other guitarist was constantly pushing and rushing ahead. It was too the point of being extremely uncomfortable. it let us know just how much we had been adjusting to him.
That's the key, and has to do with the concept that keeping time is everyone's responsibility. That doesn't mean everyone needs to keep time... it means everyone needs to be able to keep time. Same with a click. Not everyone needs to hear the click... but they need to be able to play with the drummer who hears the click.

If a player doesn't have a reasonable sense of time, they'll always be pushing and pulling, regardless how well their bandmates can regulate the tempo, or if there's a click to make it absolute.

So, a click is not the problem. It's not the enemy. Musicians who can't keep time are the problem, and always will be. That's where the feel goes bad, click or not.

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Old 06-10-2017, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitkoni View Post
The challenges I have sometime is when I count the song and the guitar starts (yes, it's always the guitar players) they ignore my count in go with their own tempo.
UGH! I HATE THAT, and I work for a bunch of guys that do this. It's ALWAYS the Guitarist, and drives me nuts.

Back home in WNY I was the only guy on the scene who played with a click. It was really unheard of there. But here in LA it's almost mandatory. The number one question I get asked by every group that hires: "can you play to a click". I think there is only 1 guy that's ever asked me not to use it (because he is one of those guitarists), however for a good chuck of his set I still use it and just don't tell him, hahaha.
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2017, 10:47 PM
Rosemarydrumco Rosemarydrumco is offline
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Default Re: Feel vs click

You can do it! Just like with anything, the more you practice it, the more natural it will become and the better you will be. I believe once you really have it down the pocket and groove you create has more "feel" to it because musicians aren't focused on ever changing tempo and they can just lock in.
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Old 06-10-2017, 11:18 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

what is the best method to playing with click? as in sound-wise
what program do I hook up to what speaker?
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  #11  
Old 06-11-2017, 02:46 AM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

experiment with using quarter, eighth, even 16th notes on your click almost as important is what you hear in the cans I eventually found that a higher pitched cowbell work better than stick clicks, ultimately because I hated wearing cans (especially live) our computer guy came up with a blinking light placed inside the rack tom directly in front of me and that worked really good but took awhile to ween myself off the cans. I know that when it is all dialed in and everything works and the band sounds like an orchestra it is all worth it!!when it goes wrong...you will learn to say train wreck in three languages.
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Old 06-11-2017, 03:12 AM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

It's a funny thing today that people can't just play music without being guided by a machine. Well, often they can play, and extremely well, but they are sort of not allowed to play without a robot time mediator due to their human imperfections and the demands of the market. Recording with lots of dubs is different - it's a long process without clean time from the rhythm section and clicks are super helpful.

In hindsight, I think the important thing for amateur bands with genuinely dodgy time is to either:

1) get used to having a lousy groove for a fair while as you gradually work together on getting the time feeling right with a click (and all get lessons) or

2) play loose styles of music or in a generally unfussy way that don't suffer from being played by a bunch of nongs pushing and pulling the time.

When playing live you can tell if the tempo is wrong if you notice tension and panic in the body language of other musicians or vocalists as they struggle to play their lines many BPM above the starting meter :)
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  #13  
Old 06-11-2017, 03:47 AM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

Quote:
Originally Posted by Furrow View Post
Playing live to a click is new to me. I can’t seem to pull off a “behind the beat” feel. You folks with experience, is there any hope? Will I get used to it? Right now it has to be the loudest thing in the mix too.

You need to know your monkey. Drummers are either heavy handed, or heavy footed, figure out what you are. Is your snare always louder than your kick when playing by yourself? Once determined that's what you're going to apply to the click to bring about a 'behind the beat' feel.

Let's say your snare is naturally dominant, what this usually means is you're going to have more control over its facility than your foot, and so it would be laid 'on' the click, or easier to lay on the click, calling that the center of the beat.

Once you get a little comfortable nailing the snare in the center, go into auto mode and shift your consciousness to your foot. Mess around with flaming the bass drum with the snare, make it an obvious/wide flam to start, then narrow it down. Flam behind (the beat) and ahead of the beat (before the snare) to familiarize yourself with the effect.

There's no hard rule on either snare or kick bringing up the rear to create a behind the beat feel, but getting used to one first will make it easier to get the other down, so I suggest starting with your dominant (in this example the snare) first, then work on the kick, it'll come easier. Snare being vs kick behind are diff feels, their subtle and have their place, need to learn one first.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Furrow View Post
Thanks for the encouragements! It seems in my circles there are a lot of players coming up with bad meter. In talking to them I find out that in their personal practice time they are not using any reference tools for meter. Now in this new situation (live w/click) they seem almost addicted to it. At the mere suggestion of not using one, I get a fearful deer in the headlights look. Back in the day if you didn't have good rhythm, or could not stay on pitch you did not get the gig. All very interesting.

Poor time isn't exclusive to just beginners, some top level iconic pros have an undeveloped, poor sense time. Poor time is just something you're going to have to deal with if you plan on being a musician, you will run into playing with these types of people.
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Old 06-11-2017, 05:39 AM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Ismore View Post
... Poor time isn't exclusive to just beginners, some top level iconic pros have an undeveloped, poor sense time ....
Really? Who are you including in this list Les?

To the OP:
Why are you using a click? If you don't need to synch with video or sequenced parts, have you considered using something like LiveBPM to give you a reference to your tempo? That may be an easier way of playing at (or very close to) a target BPM without the iron will of a click to make your life difficult.
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  #15  
Old 06-12-2017, 12:50 AM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

Like others have posted. Just practice with it because it does take some getting used to. I have gigs that use a click and some that don't. I also play with guys who like to start the song with a click but then cut it off after a few measures. Playing with a click was weird for me at first because for years I had never played with one. After a while though you get to where you don't hear the click.

Then one day in the middle of a gig, you realize you don't hear the click. Which causes you think about it and then you suddenly can hear it....and you realize you're right in sync with it :)
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:05 AM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

As an part-time orchestra conductor, I love the flexibility to flow the tempo to suit the musical expression. I do the same with ballads on drums - push a bit in one section, ease back in another. Obviously not in dance music, but in most other styles I find playing to a click can make the song feel mechanical and lifeless.

Sorry that doesn't really answer the original post, but its a pet issue of mine...
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:28 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
It's tough - very. It's very rare for me to play live with a click, but I have done so a few times. It's not that different to the same scenario in the studio. You eventually learn to play around the click rather than play to the click. Frankly, it's a gig mileage thing.
In a nutshell.

If you're not used to it will feel as if the click is deliberately slowing down or speeding up. It's just your natural metronome and you can overcome that with practice and patience.
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Old 06-12-2017, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

Whenever conversations about playing behind (or ahead of) the beat come up, I feel the need to clarify what we are really talking about.

There are multiple factors here. There's how the drummer spaces notes within her own playing (space between backbeat and bass drum, for instance), and there's how the drummer sits relative to the rest of the band. There is overlap, but I think of them as separate things.

For the drummer to play behind the beat in a live music situation (as opposed to tracking in the studio, which changes things, obviously), the rest of the band needs to "agree" to play in such a way that the drums remain behind the beat. Because if they don't and they make a subtle adjustment, then the drums will no longer be behind the beat.

That's the thing with this concept, it depends as much on the rest of the band as it does the drummer; it can't be dictated by the drummer alone.

The confusion comes in when talking about the click. Yes, you should be able to play behind, on and ahead of the click. That's part of how you learn to do it with a band. And in a recording situation, that may be exactly how you get the drum track to "sit" in the right place, relative to the rest of the band, when you're tracking instruments separately. But if you're the only one listening to the click, it really doesn't make any difference where your drum part sits relative to the click. Nobody else can hear the click, they're just listening to you. You could be playing with the offbeats of the click and they'll never know. Now if the rest of the band can hear the click, that again is a different situation. You may be able to use the click as your point of reference to sit behind the beat by just listening to it.

I just feel like there's a lot of misunderstanding, or a lack of clear definitions, about what some of these terms mean.
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  #19  
Old 06-12-2017, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

There's no versus. The feel is always in interpretive reference to the click.
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Old 06-12-2017, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

I've been playing live to a click for about 8 years now. I simply view the click as another instrument in the mix and often play around or against it.
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Old 06-13-2017, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

Yoda said it best. "Feel the click Luke. Let go!"
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Old 06-13-2017, 04:17 AM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
Really? Who are you including in this list Les?


To the OP:
Why are you using a click? If you don't need to synch with video or sequenced parts, have you considered using something like LiveBPM to give you a reference to your tempo? That may be an easier way of playing at (or very close to) a target BPM without the iron will of a click to make your life difficult.


Not gonna mention any names, they're out there tho, I have played with them. Its follow the leader in that situation, or you bow out gracefully (quit the band), if you raise an issue prob gonna get fired has been my experience.



A tempo tachometer devise/app is easier, but unless you have a triggered devise (TEMPO REF) there's going to be lag in the reading- like LiveBPM produces, and that reading lag isn't helpful in that situation, but here you want to develop the ears to 'hear' the effect of behind/ahead, so the kick/snare are the feedback mechanisms and its sonic. In the OP's case he can kill two birds with one click (being comfortable w/click playing ahead/behind the beat).





Quote:
Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
Whenever conversations about playing behind (or ahead of) the beat come up, I feel the need to clarify what we are really talking about.

There are multiple factors here. There's how the drummer spaces notes within her own playing (space between backbeat and bass drum, for instance), and there's how the drummer sits relative to the rest of the band. There is overlap, but I think of them as separate things.

For the drummer to play behind the beat in a live music situation (as opposed to tracking in the studio, which changes things, obviously), the rest of the band needs to "agree" to play in such a way that the drums remain behind the beat. Because if they don't and they make a subtle adjustment, then the drums will no longer be behind the beat.

That's the thing with this concept, it depends as much on the rest of the band as it does the drummer; it can't be dictated by the drummer alone.

Pretty sure the OP isn't applying this to a live situation, just practicing with a metronome, but live if the drummer has command of the art, placing either the kick, or snare ahead/behind is doable w/o a signed agreement from the rest of band members.

To further define the technique, if more than on piece of the kit played ahead/behind the beat herein lies a problem. To put both kick/snare behind the beat for example would more than likely be perceived as the drummer dragging and its then I'd agree you would need a signed agreement with the other band members, or you're going to get some turned-head-stares onstage.


Onstage a singer doesn't get approval for singing ahead of the beat, they just do it and hope the rest of the band holds back, same with some guitar players during a solo, they can play ahead of the beat, but there's no notice given and they hope the rest of the band holds back. Its a slippery slope if you start letting other band members influence your playing and time live onstage, when it comes to the groove/time the drummer has to (try to) be the boss.

With vocals especially and guitar, playing a sliver ahead of the beat allows one to hear themselves more clearly/accurately, not everyone onstage is sonically canceling ea other out, more prevalent in the days of yor with ancient monitoring and very loud stage volumes. Drummers rarely play ahead of the beat, and 'if' they do, the others are tempo conscious.
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  #23  
Old 06-13-2017, 02:14 PM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: Feel vs click

I'd recommend practicing with the band using it much more before trying live. I don't pull out any new tricks or toys at shows. That is where I preform polished material and know what the outcome will be before I am there.

The click is bang on so if there is an issue it is always me or a bandmate.. I play in one band that the guys tend to rush.. I find if they hear the click also it slows them down.

For the speeds we play at (200-240 bpm usually) It is blazing fast and we have many tempo changes.. so the only issue is if one guy goes off the click I can not stop playing, or transition to where he is. I sometimes notice at practice if one guitarist will mess up in a spot, and the other guy will end up jumping to him. The rule is the guy that messes up needs to find his spot. Heck quit playing if your totally lost. Just jump in at a spot that sounds natural. Playing for 20 years my messups are always fixable by changing a beat, extending a fill etc, but the audience never knows and I never stop dead.

As far as behind the beat. That is a tough one. Watch Benny Grebs the art of groove and he talks about it a fair bit. It is a good DVD. It is something to practice for sure. I am more of a grid player myself. If anything I tend to play on the front of the beat. It's something you need to spend HOURS practicing
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Old 06-13-2017, 02:27 PM
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Default Re: Feel vs click

My problem is that I can't find a metronome that actually works! The ones that I use always slow down during the chorus of the song. ;)


Kidding aside, I use one all of the time. The band I'm in only uses one when we record; however, we use one all of the time at church. Our "click track" is actually more of a performance track that includes the click, auditory cues (which is REALLY nice because we have three Sunday morning services), and additional instrumentation e.g. strings, extra piano, loops, etc.

If you want to practice "grooving" with a click, see if you can find some looped bass lines that have a click in the background. I used to use my old Roland 505 with sequenced bass and a click. It really helped establish a groove as opposed to just playing along with the "tink - tink - tink - tink."
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Old 06-13-2017, 05:18 PM
Furrow Furrow is offline
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Default Re: Feel vs click

So I sat in again this last weekend. It was a little easier playing with the click this time. But like ruts in the road it just sucked me in. It's going to take a while before I can play around it. Mind you this group likes to improvise and there can be large dynamic swings as well. Seems to me it would serve the music better if like Morrisman says "flow the tempo to suit the musical expression." I probably won't get the call again anyway. We got so far off a few times I shut it off and tapped it back in to the time.
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