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  #1  
Old 12-15-2009, 07:52 PM
brownie1969 brownie1969 is offline
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Is it fair to play live while using a metronome.......before you answer a simple, "yes"...I challenge you to think about the older generations, not having access to these tools. THEY were the metronome, the time-keeper using hands, feet and brain....i.e. Is it fair to the, "art" . Because to me...the very definition of drumming...is the art of keeping time, in the context of music...YOU are supposed to be the metronome.

Last edited by brownie1969; 12-15-2009 at 08:38 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2009, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

It's all fair. I myself couldn't do it, wouldn't want to do it. The music comes out too sterile sounding for me, and the human-ness is quantified right out of it.

I think it's good to practice to one, to show you how the fills and grooves sounds like in perfect time, but for performing, give me human time everytime.

If you're playing along to a loop I guess you don't have much choice though.

I love Motown. I can also keep pretty steady time. Trying to play Motown stuff....the meter isn't steady throughout. I never realized this until I tried playing to the old recordings. It breathes, and it found me too much in front of the beat sometimes, too much behind at others, and right with it, not enough. Those songs touch my soul. Yea, give me human time.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

I think that playing along to a click is a necessity for modern working drummers and I think its definitely not a bad thing as it enables artists to use backing tracks etc. in live situations.
Although Id agree it can sterilise the music I think thats where the art of playing to a click comes in because you have to be able to manipulate that click to make it sound more human and to prevent you from becoming a drum machine! Playing slightly behind/in front of the click are valuable tools in this and make a huge difference in a live situation.

But Im with you in that the job of the drummer should be to keep time and in my opinion all drummers should have good time. Even if they can manipulate a click so it sounds as human as any motown great, what happens when there isn't a click there?
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Oh man it's not a bad thing, it's a heckuva skill.
Also, if playing along to a click, the other musicians have to be good at it too, a tall order. How many stringed instrument players do you know who practice to one? I can't name any.
It's relatively easy for me to play to one, but the minute the others come in with their "non metronomed" sense of timing, that's when it gets derailed for me.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Haha, too true, when I first tried playing to a click live it was crazy, felt like I was getting pulled apart by the band and the singer told me to speed up even though she knew I was playing to a click! Good times...I realised that the only way to do it is to just ignore the rest of the band and just play and hope everyone locks in and if they dont...hopefully the clicks for a backing track so the rest of the band look wrong rather than me :D
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Define fair?

What makes it "unfair" ?

Using the analogy above, it's not fair that any of us use a decent drum kit, because drummers of 100 years ago did not have access to tunable tom-toms, well functioning bass drum pedals, or well made hardware. Drummers of 150 year ago, well, didn't have drum kits period. And this can go on and on down this road (see the thread on close mic-ing).

Music has no rules, and what rules exist are made to be broken.

Otherwise, the only music in existence would be Gregorian chants and primitive tribal music.
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:18 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

I think there are a few challenges involved in playing to a click. Two of the bands I play in have sequencers as well, often with 16 or more bars of silence in the middle of the track, so it's imperative I play to a click. The challenge is making your parts groove to a click, playing around the beat subtly, but still holding it together.

You've also got to make sure your internal clock is strong without a metronome as well, I often do exercises with 8 bars with a click, then 8 bars with it muted on loop, to make sure i'm in check.

I read Vinnie Colaiuta say "Make the metronome your friend, not your enemy" I never looked back.

Because I play live to a click so often, I only notice the click in my headphones when i'm out of time, which makes my studio playing so much more comfortable.

So to answer your question, yes it is fair to play live to a click.
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  #8  
Old 12-16-2009, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Metronomes were invented in 1812 so any drummer who played without one in the history of the drumset CHOSE not too.

I think playing live with a click is something every drummer should be able to do. Practice with a click is ESSENTIAL.
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  #9  
Old 12-16-2009, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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I think playing live with a click is something every drummer should be able to do. Practice with a click is ESSENTIAL.

As is being able to play live... without one.
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  #10  
Old 12-16-2009, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Originally Posted by TimSimmans View Post
Haha, too true, when I first tried playing to a click live it was crazy, felt like I was getting pulled apart by the band and the singer told me to speed up even though she knew I was playing to a click! Good times...I realised that the only way to do it is to just ignore the rest of the band and just play and hope everyone locks in and if they dont...hopefully the clicks for a backing track so the rest of the band look wrong rather than me :D
Yep, that's the big issue with using a click live, it'll only work if you're playing with musicians who are good enough to know to listen and follow the time of the drummer. Most amateurs play in their own little world and expect the drummer to follow them.
Less a case of 'is it fair', more, 'is it possible?'.
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  #11  
Old 12-16-2009, 01:26 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

If playing to a click live is unfair because drummers of old didn't have access to it, there are a long list of things that should also be counted as unfair:

- Playing on modern drum heads is unfair, because in the old days drummers had to use animal skin.
- Playing the hihat with sticks in unfair, because in the old days it was on the floor, and only played with a pedal
- Playing with microphones is unfair, because in the old days drummers had to be able to make themselves heard without them

...and so on. If you go far enough back in time, drummers had to use rough pieces of wood or their hands to play on hollowed out tree trunks. Is it unfair that we have access to more finely crafted instruments?

Advances happen all the time. You're free to choose whether or not to take advantage of them, but using them does not make you a worse player. In the end, the music is what counts, and if you produce better music with the help of certain tools and gadgets, more power to you.

I play to a click for a couple of songs live, where we play to a prerecorded backing track (some keyboard patches and background vocals), and the songs sound much better than if we were to only play it using what we have available to use live as a band. Playing live to a click was a challenge at first, but like any skill it gets easier and more comfortable with practice, and now I don't even think about it.
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  #12  
Old 12-16-2009, 02:52 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

My answer is a very simple "yes". It's actually harder to play to a click live than not to, I think. But it's ideal for a backing track.
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  #13  
Old 12-17-2009, 06:21 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

They should also ban sheet music on stage! This is not an open-book test, people. You should have studied and done your homework. Anyone who objects will also be blind-folded.
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:52 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

You make it sound like its a competition as to who has the best time. And not just making music.
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  #15  
Old 12-18-2009, 07:43 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

It's not about fairness. What is "fair" in music? It's about what works for your playing situation. If you are using a lot of sequencers and backing tracks live, it's nearly impossible to carry through without one. I personally prefer not to use one live, but that doesn't give me any moral advantage over someone who chooses to.

Stop imposing rules on my deliberately anarchic instrument! (grin)
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Old 12-19-2009, 12:02 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

I play in strictly cover band and I could not imagine having to play live with a click. Just playing along to cd's of the songs we cover (70's 80's classic rock) I can tell they are not all perfect time and thats something that adds to the greatness of the songs IMO.

I practice to one all the time but I notice when I do get off time with the click I do whatever it takes to get back in line with it and it sometimes sounds like crap for a a note or 2 and I can't imagine doing something like that live. Thats just something even the most drunk listener will hear.

I did see a guy playing to something he had on his snare drum, I forget the name of it but he said it told him what speed he was playing the snare at, anyone know what this is?
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:07 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Tempometer

http://store.drumbum.com/skuA-102.html
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  #18  
Old 12-20-2009, 02:27 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Cool thanks,

anyone have any experience with this?
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

I used a click live 5-6 nights a weeks for over 10 years. My internal clock is much better than it was before I started using one. Sometimes that controlled emotion we all play with becomes a bit skewed and the click will keep us straight. I can sense a tempo change instantly. It has made me a much better drummer and I highly recommend using one (if not live, then at least in rehearsal).
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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don't play any rolls..... lol
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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They should also ban sheet music on stage! This is not an open-book test, people. You should have studied and done your homework. Anyone who objects will also be blind-folded.
Don't think this is ever gonna happen. There are too many gigs where the band gets hired at the last minute or the arrangement gets changed. My friend is a crazy good sight reader and actually prefers the gigs where he shows up the day of the gig, does a few run throughs, performs and cashes the check!

Wish I could sight read better. It would really cut down on rehearsal time!
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

click tracks steals the soul

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Old 01-19-2010, 10:31 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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click tracks steals the soul

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Not if you learn to play with them properly.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Not if you learn to play with them properly.
you can't improvise period, nobody ever has nobody ever will.

you are put in a tight little box with no way of getting out of it.

I like having the freedom to take the tune where ever I want too take it.

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Old 01-19-2010, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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you can't improvise period, nobody ever has nobody ever will.

you are put in a tight little box with no way of getting out of it.

I like having the freedom to take the tune where ever I want too take it.

Bonzolead
I'm sorry, but what kind of crap is that? You can improvise within it. If you want to take it outside of the box, turn the thing off. But saying you can't play creatively with a metronome is bunk. You clearly haven't given it enough time. Enough time with one widens that tight little box.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat View Post
I'm sorry, but what kind of crap is that? You can improvise within it. If you want to take it outside of the box, turn the thing off. But saying you can't play creatively with a metronome is bunk. You clearly haven't given it enough time. Enough time with one widens that tight little box.
just press the button and go right? the best thing in that reply was "Turn the thing off" again no soul with metronome I agree to disagree with you but it's not the first time you disagreed with me but then again you're not the first & I know you won't. be the last

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Old 01-19-2010, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Incoherent spelling and punctuation are two reasons why I hardly post here any more...
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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...I realised that the only way to do it is to just ignore the rest of the band and just play and hope everyone locks in and if they dont..

woah. ignore the band. hmmmmm.....not sure thats a good idea...
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:16 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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woah. ignore the band. hmmmmm.....not sure thats a good idea...
I know what you're saying but, in context, there's not much he can do if the band's timing is out and they are ignoring him. It can really do your head in when a band with inaccurate timing is pulling ahead of the click and you're hearing two pulses in your head - the band's and the click - it defeats the purpose of having a click and something has to give (hopefully not your sanity).

The band is supposed to follow us, especially if we're synchronised with a click that everyone agreed on, dammit! :) Not much point having a click if people are getting excited, hearing the correct tempo as being too slow and then pulling ahead.
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:27 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Originally Posted by bonzolead View Post
you can't improvise period, nobody ever has nobody ever will.

you are put in a tight little box with no way of getting out of it.

I like having the freedom to take the tune where ever I want too take it.

Bonzolead
I beg to differ.

Dennis Chambers :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxfC09J0xUo

There was also a video of Steve Gadd playing to a clicktrack and he grooved just as well.

If you dont want to use a metronome, then fine, but dont try to convince everyone that metronomes take out the soul of everything. If people didnt practice to metronomes they would be sloppy and be all over the place.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:04 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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I beg to differ.

Dennis Chambers :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxfC09J0xUo

There was also a video of Steve Gadd playing to a clicktrack and he grooved just as well.

If you dont want to use a metronome, then fine, but dont try to convince everyone that metronomes take out the soul of everything. If people didnt practice to metronomes they would be sloppy and be all over the place.
All i'm saying is that the internal clock is more important, In the studio I understand using a click just not live. I knew there would be haters out there when I did my posts. If you don't. have a good internal clock and you don't. feel the beat inside you, It doesn't. matter how long you spend with a metronome it just not going too happen. you might as well get a drum machine & hit play.

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Old 01-20-2010, 11:14 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Nothing wrong with drum machines either...
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:14 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Nothing wrong with drum machines either...
yeah if you can't. play LOL

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Old 01-20-2010, 11:28 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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All i'm saying is that the internal clock is more important, In the studio I understand using a click just not live. I knew there would be haters out there when I did my posts. If you don't. have a good internal clock and you don't. feel the beat inside you, It doesn't. matter how long you spend with a metronome it just not going too happen. you might as well get a drum machine & hit play.

Bonzolead
Yes, the internal clock is more important, I agree. I'm not a "hater", but I see the potential in technology to make everything better.
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:16 AM
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yeah if you can't. play LOL

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I'm sure you've never used one at least.
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  #36  
Old 01-21-2010, 12:37 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

i'm trying to imagine a stituation where I'd need to have a click track to play to live. No, I've never done it and the only time I've ever seen it done is when Keith Moon had to wear headphones to play along to the sequenced tracks the Who were using at that time.

It all seems pretty high-tech. Is this something that is being done more and more these days, drummers playing to click tracks? Do only the drummers have the click tracks or do all the players have it?

In other words, is pre-recorded music being used more on stages these days, thereby requiring that the players sync with the recordings, and if not then why use a click at all?
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Old 01-21-2010, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Of course its fair, unless you are truly good enough to play without one. I use one when I'm playing stuff that I can't quite lock into on my own, and I don't feel like a cheat. Who said you have to use it all the time. If it makes your job easier, I say go for it. Just make sure your band can stay in time aswell, otherwise it can get very messy.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:29 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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I use one when I'm playing stuff that I can't quite lock into on my own, and I don't feel like a cheat.
Well, how do you use it? Do you wear headphones? Do you have to set the click track tempo before every song?
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:07 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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i'm trying to imagine a stituation where I'd need to have a click track to play to live. No, I've never done it and the only time I've ever seen it done is when Keith Moon had to wear headphones to play along to the sequenced tracks the Who were using at that time.

It all seems pretty high-tech. Is this something that is being done more and more these days, drummers playing to click tracks? Do only the drummers have the click tracks or do all the players have it?

In other words, is pre-recorded music being used more on stages these days, thereby requiring that the players sync with the recordings, and if not then why use a click at all?
Yes, there are more bands using pre-recorded bits, loops, sequences, or just additional layers, and thus you do need a click to lock in. In the bands I've done it, only I have the actually click, and everyone follows me. Which is cool, because then I'm in charge!! hehe..

As for clicks live in general, even without pre-recorded music, there are a few things at play (which I'm not saying are right, just my observations).

So many albums are done with clicks, or with drum machines or sequencers instead of drummers, there is a certain level of perfectness associated with the music. So in order to replicate it live, a click is used.

As I pointed out in another thread, in 1985 maybe 3 songs in the top 10 of any given week didn't have real drums on it, but today, zero songs in on average Billboard top ten have a real drummer.

Any one under 30 has lived their entire life with music featuring machines. So a perfect machine drum part is almost engrained in many people's minds as the way music sounds. So more and more bands use the click to embrace the way either they and/or the audience expects that music to be played.

In the 60's and 70's, few albums were made with click tracks. Times could be all over the place, but as long it felt good, producers, record companies and audiences were happy with it. But now, anyone with a computer can put a drum track up on a grip and analyze the perfection of time to death. And because it can be done, more people expect it to be done. Which might not be right, but it's certainly been my observation that's how more and more music is made these days.



Which in many ways is sad that the great feels of Led Zeplin or the craziness of The Who have gone out the window in favor of constant perfection, but what can ya do?

There is one benefit of using a click live: No one ever fights over the tempo of the song! It doesn't matter is the singer tired and exhausted or the bass player drank 10 cups of coffee, no one can claim the song is at the wrong tempo because the click over rules anyone subjective feelings on the subject.
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  #40  
Old 01-21-2010, 06:09 AM
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Pocket-full-of-gold Pocket-full-of-gold is offline
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Can't quite believe this thread is still unresolved. In my most humble opinion, YES it is definitely fair to play live with a metronome. I can't quite believe it's actually a point of conjecture.

Bonzo.....I fully respect your decison NOT to play with one. It's your call and I'd never try to argue that. Truth be known, I've had no real need to use one myself on an ongoing basis. Many cats do though, and they can be a neccessary tool to many musos in many live situations. But, to suggest they don't have their place is completely futile and unworthy of further argument.

Conrad, I think you'll find that they have made their way further into the mainstream due to the fact that so many more acts are relying on sequenced or sampled music/backing track to accompany their live tracks. In this sort of situation the click can be ideal.
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