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  #41  
Old 03-09-2015, 06:08 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

OK, interesting this topic comes up right as we're recording our new album!

My band RDG usually plays without a click. For consistency purposes I've taken to piping a click into my IEMs and playing that tempo. The rest of the band don't have the click, only me. Granted, we sit down and figure out what the tempo is beforehand by playing a little and making the adjustments, etc... we find the place of least resistance "where the tune wants to live" and go with that. I think that's the most important thing if you're gonna play with a click, find that golden tempo.

So far it's been working; and I'm keen enough as a player that should we get off of the click, it's not going to mess me up because I can hear where it falls every beat. I wouldn't want to impose too much of a static feel on the tune anyway. Not for that music.

A click track is only a measurement in time that is audible. It's binary for the most part in its unwavering nature, but also dynamic in that you can control its pace. So whether it's live or Memorex (recording tape for you younger folks) it's merely a point on a line.
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  #42  
Old 03-09-2015, 09:15 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

I have done it quite a bit, though my present gig doesn't require it. I played in a U2 tribute for a couple of years and used to write the MIDI sequences and play them off my TD-6V module. Before that my old original band used to run some audio stuff from a laptop. I don't mind it but the band has to be well rehearsed. If the singer doesn't start singing at the right bar all bets are off. There is no room for improvisation. Although in the U2 tribute I arranged to trigger some sequences from hitting a pad which gives more wiggle room for mistakes and such.

I was certainly willing to do this stuff but would rather not if given the choice. It's good practice for playing with a click, keeps tempos in check and can give a small band a richer sound but it also has an element of "fake"-ness to it. I am much happier playing in a band with a keyboard player and horn section so I can focus on groove instead of worrying about technical stuff going wrong. Still, it is a skill I don't mind having and learned a lot from the experience.
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  #43  
Old 03-09-2015, 12:21 PM
lindsayannemusic lindsayannemusic is offline
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by richkenyon View Post
I've done it a fair bit live and of course pretty much all the time recording. I really enjoy it I must say. The point that has already been made about the standard of the musicianship around the band is crucial.

I depped in a band last year where they had backing tracks that we had to play to. To be honest it made fundamentally dull material much more interesting to me.

Very often I will trigger loops of some kind via my Roland SPD-SX and that's cool. I may have a loop for the verse that I have to cancel for the chorus and trigger it back for the next verse. Sometimes I have done it without a click to see how accurate the time is when I come back... very interesting! Usually I use a shaker-click to just make it easier.


Nice post!! It brings up an interesting subject. I find it too stiff to play with a click live, but this is just in general. I like giving the music room to breathe - a little. Being the drummer you have to keep solid time, and if you're all over the place it's better to be stiff than be like that.
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  #44  
Old 03-09-2015, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

For a side project that was Symphonic Metal, I had to play live & rehearsals with a click to keep the whole band in sync with pre-recorded Symphony instruments and Operatic backing vocals (click in left ear, symphony & vocal in right). Sometimes it was unnerving as some people would rush, and I know they heard me because I'm pretty loud.

It was a very big responsibility to have on my shoulders and a lot of the drum parts were brutal double bass, so it was real test. However, when everyone was in synch, it was a very rewarding and proud experience.

As for headphones, I always used full ear cover Bose, no in-ear monitors. The old-school ENT I go to warned against them as I have a history of bad ear infections. My advice to anyone with recurring ear infections is to do the same - avoid IEM's.
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  #45  
Old 03-09-2015, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

my latest chapter in live click adventures is iPhone app [Polynome Pro is the best metronome app i have ever seen] w/ setlist and volume OFF / Flash screen ON. i am getting into it. this way, i can leave the click on the whole tune & check the tempo if i need to as the band push / pulls things around.
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  #46  
Old 03-09-2015, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

On the subject of Bonham's timing, I honesty get more pleasure out of the Fool in the Rain drum isolation than I do 99% of songs recorded in the past 10+ years.
It feels just right, and that's because it's perfect in terms of feel, which is what matters most in music. Again, I think clicks are valuable, but shouldn't be a way of life in music.
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  #47  
Old 03-09-2015, 11:35 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Let's have a little fun. Here's a track I played drums on - https://soundcloud.com/bermudaschwartz/cattinaround No, it's not a live gig, but it's certainly played live by humans, and it's obviously Americana (one of the blanket genres which I said doesn't normally benefit from a click.) It's only 2min if you care to listen to the whole thing.

Based on what you hear, what can you tell about the track and the performance? (apart from my interesting intro...)

Bermuda
Well I clocked it to a metronome app and it varied quite a bit so at my own personal peril I'd say it wasn't done to a click. I got anywhere from 167 to 175 and it didn't stay in one place too long. Did the track work? For me, most definitely, because it's roots are clear.
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  #48  
Old 03-10-2015, 01:47 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by drumdevil9 View Post
I am much happier playing in a band with a keyboard player and horn section so I can focus on groove instead of worrying about technical stuff going wrong.

Ahhhh. You're livin the dream man!!

Someday I hope to be there also. Until then I will keep banging on the SPD :)
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  #49  
Old 03-10-2015, 02:42 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Good topic.. I think there are some real benefits. I used to play with one in a pop band that used backing tracks, and recently took over the drum chair in a big band from a drummer who used a click (I think he did a lot of theatre stuff), so started using one just because they were used to it. It's a mission trying to sight read and play with the click sometimes, as well as thinking about dynamics and playing tastefully (especially in small group sections of arrangements). I play in another couple of big bands without one and realised how susceptible I am to other people pushing or pulling, and then there are our individual tendencies to think about.. With the click I can hear objectively where the band pushes or pulls, and we discuss that in rehearsals and iron out creases, it really helps things for the group as a whole. And I've noticed that when playing with the other big bands with no click I'm slowly developing at hearing when others are wavering and feeling more confident about laying down (disclaimer: what I think) is a steady tempo.

Definitely good to do for some things, but its fun to turn it off and play 'naturally' too.

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  #50  
Old 03-10-2015, 02:45 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Well I clocked it to a metronome app and it varied quite a bit so at my own personal peril I'd say it wasn't done to a click. I got anywhere from 167 to 175 and it didn't stay in one place too long. Did the track work? For me, most definitely, because it's roots are clear.
Thanks, and you're right, it was not cut to a click. In fact, I wasn't even there when the 'music' was recorded - I came in some time later, not having heard the song before, and added the drums to it.

Perhaps its roots aren't so clear now. :)

I just wanted to point out that playing drums to an existing recording, a "track" if you will, can sound perfectly natural as if it was performed by a group at once. Yes, I felt the same slight pushes and pulls that the players did, and I locked in with them. But I didn't control or guide the tempo, my job was to follow the track. I also think it worked well, and I got my $25, so there ya go. :)

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  #51  
Old 03-10-2015, 05:35 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Nice job on following something that's not perfectly even Jon. I would have never known you came on board later.

So they recorded without drums? That would explain the time. For real, I don't feel bad now saying it was a moving target with me constantly adjusting my metronome.

I was a little hesitant to state that technically, the time wasn't to a grid. But like always, I have to call them like I see them. Now it makes sense. They weren't playing to a click or to a drummer.

On paper it sounds like I'm negging the track for not being perfect. I'm not. It's nice to know that in a song that varies by my rough check by about 8 BPM, it's not really noticeable unless you are timing it. Which is why it felt more human and natural to me.

I've been thinking about this thread and I would just like to state that yes, the goal is to be able to keep with a met, without the met. The big problem I have is that solos, transitions and choruses don't vary one bit to the click. Each individual part I want to hear steady for sure, but certain parts of the song it's natural to push...or lay back... a couple few BPM, to put a finer point on a mood.

Echoing what Tony said, if the drummer is the only one with the click, and the drummer feels it's appropriate to push a solo slightly, or part of a solo, he can go off the grid and settle back in when it's verse time. That's cool, as long as there is no video sync or backing tracks. I'm not implying I want my meter to go all wonky during a verse, just that I want the option to push or lay back certain passages at my discretion, which a full band click won't allow.
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  #52  
Old 03-12-2015, 06:40 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Excellent points all around. Not a gigging musician, more of a hobbyist. Waiting for my new metronome to arrive so I can use it with my IEM (the old met doesn't have a headphone jack.) Lots of things to think about now. My tendancy is to warm up ( pg.1 of stick control) with the met, then practice without it. I have a feeling there will be a noticible difference in my playing once I become more consistant with the click. I am a fledgling in the world of drumming and am still progressing well. It's exciting to think more progress is just around the corner.
Cheers to all, I am learning tons from this site.

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  #53  
Old 03-13-2015, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

We play for the dancers, so a click is required, and I have grown to love it. If there was no click, the rushing of our guitarist could cause me to rush too, and then...off to the races !! PROBLEM: When the guitarist rushes the bpm, it FEELS like it makes the rest of the band sound draggy. PROBLEM: Have you ever been on the click for hours, and then try to play a song without it, and the BEAT STRENGTH of the DRUMS seems wimpy ?? Off the click for one song...do your drums and cymbals sound harsh and trashy ? PROBLEM: IF you use something like Tama RhythmWatch, do you need a BOOSTEROO, like I do, or some other amp device to make the click loud enough over the music ?? Do you use just regular earbuds? I find the 32 db earbuds are louder than the 16 db....thanks.
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  #54  
Old 03-13-2015, 07:03 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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If there was no click, the rushing of our guitarist could cause me to rush too, and then...off to the races !!
That's a good argument for using a click to manage tempo... it doesn't mean the drummer can't keep time. As has been discussed before, tempo is everyone's responsibility, with the drummer's job being the primary regulator. But if you're "in" the music, and someone is pulling, it's tempting to start following them (especially the vocals!) It's much more distracting forcing time with pushing and pulling going on, than to have a click as something to focus on.

But in a situation where a player is causing timing and feel issues, I'd expect them to be fired. If it was the drummer, the band certainly wouldn't hesitate to let them go!

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  #55  
Old 03-13-2015, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

We started to play with a click around a year ago............at first it was uncomfortable..........felt like I was always fighting it to some degree.

Now I'm used to it and enjoy the fact that the whole band is "on"...............though I think I may be becoming a little too reliant on it.

Last edited by longgun; 03-14-2015 at 06:11 AM.
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  #56  
Old 03-13-2015, 11:21 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

So, I just joined a band a couple of weeks ago and they just now suggested if I was adverse to using a click track. So this thread shoots to the top of my priority list. I don't know what I'm walking into.

Will all the band members use IEM? Just me? How do I reconcile when the rest of the band is at different speeds other than the click. Starts, pauses, stops in the song?

Another discussion caught my attention with this drummers use of a click at a live gig.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M-kj-EZky0

and his post...

Quote:
This is my stock TD-30KV, rackless with all stock sounds. You're hearing my personal IEM mix in the first video (so it doesn't go to the FOH with this mix)- The verbal cues are something that I added in the beginning to distinguish parts from other parts and helps with learning and keeping my band locked... they all hear my voice, and my click as well! No more count-in's! VERY clean to play with I must say.
Here if you want to follow the disscussion
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  #57  
Old 03-14-2015, 12:37 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by longgun View Post
Now I'm used to it enjoy the fact that the whole band is "on"...............though I think I may be becoming a little too reliant on it.
I don't think one should rely on a click, any more than they can rely on not ever using one. Flexibility and comfort with either is the smart goal.

While a click is only sometimes necessary on the gig, it's a great rehearsal and personal practice tool. Not that one necessarily needs to develop perfect time, but it instantly identifies figures that cause rushing and dragging, and allows you to make corrections. Soon, you'll find you automatically make those corrections in a live situation, and help keep the tempo steady.

I always rushed a bit on fills in general, but triplet fills were revealed to be the biggest problem. I've learned to sit on them a bit, knowing that if they feel a little slow, they're actually just right. :) But that's just me... everyone should discover their own weak spots and adjust accordingly.

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  #58  
Old 03-02-2018, 04:01 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Live? Krupa? Rich? Blakey? Bellson? Roach? Jones? Clarke?

I find the idea laughable in a live setting. You're supposed to listen to each other. That's what makes a live performance magic, and what separates great musicians from great technicians.

Quote:
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Ask a working pro how lame a click is. I know more than a few pro drummers - names you know - and this is not a discussion I've ever had with any of them.

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  #59  
Old 03-02-2018, 07:57 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by Rattlin' Bones View Post
Live? Krupa? Rich? Blakey? Bellson? Roach? Jones? Clarke?

I find the idea laughable in a live setting. You're supposed to listen to each other. That's what makes a live performance magic, and what separates great musicians from great technicians.
So can you play to a click? Most who find clicks ridiculous are those who can't play with them.
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Last edited by ineedaclutch; 03-02-2018 at 08:00 AM. Reason: Hell of a necro post btw
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  #60  
Old 03-02-2018, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Never tried. Don't wanna try. It would interfere with me listening to bass player and then what leads are doing n their solo breaks. Music is a conversation it's all about listening to each other.

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So can you play to a click? Most who find clicks ridiculous are those who can't play with them.
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  #61  
Old 03-02-2018, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

I still feel that really great time is a huge asset, while perfect quantitised time detracts from the feel, especially in solos. This is just my own opinion.

Steely Dan is great (all recorded to click I'm told) but I have to say, it doesn't emotionally grab me. In almost every other way it does grab me. The emotional factor is what I really go for in music. Probably a big reason I gravitate towards Blues. I'm not saying the Steely Dan thing is solely due to perfect time, but I'm willing to wager that it's one of the major factors.

I never got chills from a Steely Dan record, but it does stimulate my intellect. With music, I look for emotional content to a far greater degree than intellectual content. Having both is a great balance.

It's hard to put my finger on exactly why it is, but clicked music...it just doesn't move me like I'm looking to be moved. It's the one thing all quantitised has in common for me.

Revisiting the "Stairway to Heaven" example...that song emotionally grabs me, the solos especially, yet the time is kind of like a moving target from one section to another. Then you listen to Steely Dan, whose time is perfect. Those records aren't capable of moving me nearly to the degree that Zep can.

What's more important here? That answer will vary. For me it's human emotion. The further music moves away from that, the less I care about it.
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  #62  
Old 03-02-2018, 09:13 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by Rattlin' Bones View Post
It would interfere with me listening to bass player and then what leads are doing n their solo breaks.
I disagree with this. Once you get used to playing with a click, it just fades into the background. It's just a reference point, and it doesn't interfere with listening to other musicians at all.

If you choose musical situations that never ever call for a click, that's fine, but I like being able to do either.
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  #63  
Old 03-02-2018, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

there are records played with a click that you would never know where because when played with properly the drummer possesses the ability to still be elastic.

if the click is the nucleus we are the cytoplasm ... we are free to wander all around it ... lay back for affect ... push for intensity and everything in between

it often takes years to fully comprehend how to execute this in a convincing fashion

like I always tell my students ... play WITH the click not TO the click ... huge difference

I played in live situations for years where I was required to play with a click for various reasons ... and I was the only one with it ... never had one problem ... mainly because I was so used to having it sort of floating around that it just became another member of the band so to speak ... just another "instrument" riding the wave with me

for anyone not used to playing with a click I highly recommend putting some time in and getting used to it ... and used to being able to completely be yourself with it ... even if you never intend to use it live or recording ... it can only do good things for you
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  #64  
Old 03-02-2018, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

my band is starting to consider it, but IEMs are expensive.
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  #65  
Old 03-03-2018, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by Rattlin' Bones View Post
Never tried. Don't wanna try.
So....that's a no lol :)

Larry, I'm not certain that Stairway moves you and Steely Dan doesn't has anything to do with a click.

I just took a look at Kid Charlemagne and the intro was dead on but it slipped off in the the drum fill transition to the verse. It could have been an editing thing but, if they were shooting for perfect, they would have gotten it perfect.

I can't generally hear the waver in unclicked music so I doubt I could hear the perfection in clicked tracks.

On that note, I can often hear the waver in my isolated drum tracks which are played to a click because there is nothing else going on to fill the space. Even with a click, we are always wandering a bit.

Playing with a click is just like playing with a really good bass player. If you do a fill, he will be there for you to come out of it properly. When the vocalists or instrumentalists push ahead or lag behind, you can count on him to remain steady. The only drawback is that he only knows one annoying note.



Quote:
I played in live situations for years where I was required to play with a click for various reasons ... and I was the only one with it ... never had one problem
That is because you played with good players. Try it with a bad bass player who can't or doesn't like to follow, a guitarist that struggles with a fast tread or a singer who sings a fast song slower because they have trouble remembering lyrics. It's a constant battle.
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  #66  
Old 03-03-2018, 01:22 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Like Larry, I can also often hear the difference in recordings with or without strict time guides. For me it's a bit of a mood thing... Sometimes I want to hear things that are super clean, near perfect and technically really cool, and other times I want to hear things that are fast, full of energy and less focused on someone else's idea of "perfection".
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  #67  
Old 03-03-2018, 02:24 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

I used to play theatre shows most of which were with clicks. I love playing with it. It does become second nature after a while, so much so that you almost don't want to play without it. Was a tough gig though, because the clicks would often segue tempo and time signature changes throughout a single song, plus I was eyes down reading it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rattlin' Bones View Post
Live? Krupa? Rich? Blakey? Bellson? Roach? Jones? Clarke?

I find the idea laughable in a live setting. You're supposed to listen to each other. That's what makes a live performance magic, and what separates great musicians from great technicians.
Welcome to the 21st century. :D There is still live music performed just like you described, and there is music performed with a click often just for the sake of keeping everything tighter and cleaner and perfectly in time. But there is also live music augmented by pre-recorded tracks.

Broadway musicals, Bermuda's gig with Al Yankovic, and many pop and rock band situations have backing tracks with extra instruments and vocals to supplement the live musicians and fill out the overall sound. This needs someone, usually the drummer, with a click in their ears to keep everyone in time with the tracks or it can quickly become a train wreck.
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  #68  
Old 03-03-2018, 03:00 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

I play to a click live 99.9% of the time. And probably 50-75% of the time there are backing tracks.

I use In-Ear monitors when playing, typically I'm the only one on stage hearing the click. The other band members will have the tracks pump through the floor monitors, or if they use ears also they will stick them in there, but never the click.

I prefer it over going in raw.
Having the click running keeps the performances consistent from one gig to the next, and from the rehearsal room to the stage.
Using backing tracks does the same thing, and actually lets me relax a little while playing. Knowing that it's one element that can't screw up and derail the performance is a nice safety net to have.
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  #69  
Old 03-03-2018, 03:20 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

I don't like playing with a click. However I think it's because I'm not use to it yet. I've used them in the studio when recording about 3 or 4 times. I used it for a little while before recording, so when we were in the studio, I would be able to do it. I've played along with records since 1970. In the late 90s my band wanted me to use one. I might of played 10 gigs or so with it, and many rehearsals too. I never did really like it. The band said it really tightened up the band though. I've not used it again until recently. My band leader wants me to use a click now. I told him I would at rehearsals, but not at gigs until I'm comfortable with it. I've used it for 3 or 4 rehearsals so far. Using a phone app is a lot nicer than the metronome I used in the 90s. So far I've got 50 some songs listed on the app and I put them in the order of the song list. All I have to do is tap the song on the screen and it starts and stops. Very cool. I figure I'll be using it live before long. Right now I feel it restricts my playing. My concentration is not on the music, it's on the click. I'm counting on that going away as I use it more. Also I'm using ear buds to hear the click, and that isolates me from the band in way. I don't think that will happen live because I'll have the band in my buds also. At rehearsals we just play med. vol. in a garage, no in ears going on there. So I'm optimistic that it'll get better.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:25 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

I recall back when I first starting playing to a click/backing tracks live back in the late 90's, it was pretty rare. Only a handful of bands were doing it.

These days, it seems like more bands use clicks than not.

Most huge bands use clicks, either with backing tracks, or simply to have consistent shows.

Even going down to a local bar to see a buddy's cover band, they were using a click, backing tracks, etc so each song sounded like the record.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:10 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Playing with a click is definitely something you learn how to do. After a while, you don't even hear it because you just learn how to lock in with it. It is kinda' weird, because when you're off, you hear it. When you're on, you don't hear it.

I did a lot of MIDI sequence work in the 80s and 90s and basically treated the sequences like the band member that played in perfect time, and I learned how to listen and lock in with it, without the use of a click on a separate track only I can hear. It seemed more human that way.
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Old 03-07-2018, 07:30 PM
throughthecities throughthecities is offline
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Playing with a click is definitely something you learn how to do. After a while, you don't even hear it because you just learn how to lock in with it. It is kinda' weird, because when you're off, you hear it. When you're on, you don't hear it.
I like to mess around with where the clicks are along the measure.

Sometimes, I like to bury the click, and as you say, as long as Im on time, you dont really hear it.

But Ive found it not only easier for me as a drummer, to play along to a click when its the second note of two eighth notes or something like this:
1 *click* 2 *click* 3 *click* 4 *click*
Or on the &s of 1&2&3&4, if you prefer.

This works for me as many of the bass and snare hits are on the 1 and 3 and/or 2 and 4. I think it frees up the expressions Im trying to convey because my snare/bass doesnt have to bury the click. It makes it more of pulse to my playing rather than a strict guideline.

To Larry:
No, never played with a kick live, but the music I play currently wouldnt work, for reasons youve already stated. I would be open to trying it out with the full band.


What Ive hated though is when I go to jam with someone (key word: JAM!!!), and they have a metronome pulled up for their personal use (and I cant see nor hear the thing). They then start giving me pushback when I want to play around the beat (behind, ahead, etc.). If you want to jam with me, but then follow your metronome, and not a human drummer, then you should just create some drum machine tracks and not call me up. Like I somewhat jokingly tell the bass player all the time: Im following you. And he replies no, Im following you and we both say in unison whos following who?
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
I don't think I've ever had a click or track running with my local bands, they just don't play music that demands it. but with Al, the ability to play to a 'click' (and keep the band synched to a video) is probably the most important aspect of what I do.
[...]
What I hear is crucial to the success of working with a click. I don't need - or want - to hear a 'nice' mix of the song, because the click is more easily masked when everything's going on. I have a very 'need to know', minimal mix.
[...]
As for playing with or without a click or track, I have no preference. It's just part of being a drummer, I'm perfectly comfortable either way.

Bermuda
Although on a much smaller scale, I'm in a similar position.

With the band I'm in, we don't play with any sort of click or backing track or anything. As a matter of fact, when we recorded last, we did it all live - no click. It turned out really good IMO. Playing Americana music, this vibe works really well. I feel like using a click would stifle what we do simply due to the (lack of) comfort level everyone else has with it.

At church? It's IEM's, Aviom system, performance, and click tracks all the way! I think it works well here because just about every singer we have is a choir-member-turned-praise-and-worship singer. When it comes to singing, all they know is the "big chest voice" with lots of vibrato. Another trait for this type of singer is to drag and to sing behind the beat. Nothing drives me more insane than this. When we have a singer who is dragging, you'll see all of the musicians subconsciously start tapping their feet more pronounced. We also look at each other and shake our heads. When this happens, I use my Aviom system to turn down that particular singer and I start humming the tune in my head so that I can stay on beat. I'm really selective what I listen to in my mix. Lord knows I don't mix in everything. It works well with what we do.
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy View Post
Although on a much smaller scale, I'm in a similar position.

With the band I'm in, we don't play with any sort of click or backing track or anything. As a matter of fact, when we recorded last, we did it all live - no click. It turned out really good IMO. Playing Americana music, this vibe works really well. I feel like using a click would stifle what we do simply due to the (lack of) comfort level everyone else has with it.

At church? It's IEM's, Aviom system, performance, and click tracks all the way! I think it works well here because just about every singer we have is a choir-member-turned-praise-and-worship singer. When it comes to singing, all they know is the "big chest voice" with lots of vibrato. Another trait for this type of singer is to drag and to sing behind the beat. Nothing drives me more insane than this. When we have a singer who is dragging, you'll see all of the musicians subconsciously start tapping their feet more pronounced. We also look at each other and shake our heads. When this happens, I use my Aviom system to turn down that particular singer and I start humming the tune in my head so that I can stay on beat. I'm really selective what I listen to in my mix. Lord knows I don't mix in everything. It works well with what we do.
You can't tell the singers to sing on beat? You'd rather turn them down?
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
You can't tell the singers to sing on beat? You'd rather turn them down?

Yes, I'd much rather turn them down and stay on track as opposed to listen to him/her in my head and try to play "against" it.

They've been asked for years to sing on beat.
Some have gotten better.
Some have not.
Heck, some have gotten worse!

I don't know what it is about choir members, but the culture is to sing behind the beat. Always has been. I remember as a kid when someone would sing during the offertory, they would sing with some sort of track (be it a tape or CD...showing my age here!). They would always see a little behind the downbeat. Most of the time it wasn't a big deal. However, the problem therein lies if a person is accompanying on a piano, the song would drag, and drag, and drrraaaaggg. It's not nearly that bad now, but unless you've done it, playing worship music can be some of the most difficult in various terms.
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

First post on this forum :-)

For the past 20 years or so, I've used a click and/or tracks at probably 95% of the gigs I've played. I do lots of fill-in gigs and even some of the bands are asking me (and other drummers) to play to a click at their shows ... this just makes all the songs/tempos the same for every show.

I actually prefer to use a click at gigs as it makes my job easier for counting songs off, etc.
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Old 03-10-2018, 04:48 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post

I never got chills from a Steely Dan record, but it does stimulate my intellect. With music, I look for emotional content to a far greater degree than intellectual content. Having both is a great balance.
Alright young man, march up to your room, put on Aja, play it until you suddenly realize that Steve Gadd is laying down a perfect track, in a perfect song.

j/k, to some degree. It is a perfect song. The very human story about returning home to your love after another bullshit day at work, the performances, its impact on music, everything. Every A-list drummer out there shat his or herself when Steve played that. Some of them changed their hairstyles to look like Steve, they guy who hits cymbals without a bass drum.

Anyways, people make more of a click than it is. Fear not, when your time is dead on, you don't magically turn into boring robots. But your guitar player stops launching into the breaks like his pants are on fire, your singer can't simply discard whole bars on a whim, and if your band is lucky you all learn about micro timing by pushing and pulling against good time, instead of just lazing off like Bonham did way too many times if we're being honest here.

If you take the Gadd approach and find the smack dead center of that beat, you will have a fat pocket like you never get without great time. Then your fellow players can lean into or lean away from the time to create that fat feel or that angsty teenage feel. I can guarantee you it will make you a better drummer.
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Perfection IMO is way over rated in music. Let others do it is my stance. There's room for everyone, including people who don't go with the status quo on every front. Perfection doesn't exist in nature, so perfection is unnatural....to me anyway. It simply does not grab me like less perfect music does.

This is my opinion only. I'm not trying to change minds.
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Perfection IMO is way over rated in music. Let others do it is my stance. There's room for everyone, including people who don't go with the status quo on every front. Perfection doesn't exist in nature, so perfection is unnatural....to me anyway. It simply does not grab me like less perfect music does.

This is my opinion only. I'm not trying to change minds.
Funny you mention this. In the 70's I did not like The Rolling Stones and Credence Clearwater Revival, Young Rascles, etc. Recently I have discovered that I really like their music. And I'm sure it's because that most of the music today sounds very sterile. And so I'm beginning to the appreciate some of the old "sloppily played" rock and roll.


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Old 03-10-2018, 11:05 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Steely Dan music is not "perfect" because of a click

it is silly to think so

they created a clinically sterile sounding environment by design

beyond the first record everything is very clean and slick ... on purpose ... from chords progressions to production ... soup to nuts ... they were making very clean records.

if you don't like the sound you probably just don't like Steely Dan ... which is cool

but it has nothing to do with a click

listen to what Rick Marotta says about the nuance they were capturing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waIBA6_0GQc
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