How long could you do it?

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Play with a click for a few measures then turn off the volume, then back on.

1. How long do you think you could continue with NO deviation.

A) Playing a simple kick, snare, HH beat

B) Adding simple fills

C) Playing complex beats or fills.


2. How long could the top name super drummers do it?


My guess is, not very long.....less than 20 seconds. And don't fool yourself and make a tiny adjustment when it kicks in again.

I will go try it right now.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Lot's of us do this. There's even free online apps that will do it for you.

It's great for your time, and certainly challenging, but I think 20 seconds is sort of a low goal. Sometimes when playing to a click, especially if it's going well, it gets totally buried and I don't hear it for a while anyway.

A few folks around here also like to set their metronomes to the lowest possible bpm setting, and then either just play a long, or use it as a basis for subdividing in different ways. It tests your internal time in a similar manner as dropping bars of clicks.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's not something I'd normally do. If I have a click, I have a click. But I also keep great time without one, varying maybe 2 or 3bpm by the end of a song. It also depends a lot on the tempo - 85bpm is tougher to hold than 120 would be.

I did suprise myself, and Al one day in a session for the guy who does cartoon music and underscore (My Little Pony is one of his accounts.) We were cutting a 30-sec piece to a click, then tried it without. The guy was amazed - we were absolutely dead-on the markers in ProTools, for the whole piece! He wrote us afterward: "You guys are all so stupid humble talented I don't where to start so I won't. Wow. Grateful and astonished." It's one of the nicest emails I've received.

So I guess a 30 second waltz without hearing the click is do-able for me!

Bermuda
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
It's great for your time, and certainly challenging, but I think 20 seconds is sort of a low goal.
I like to set obtainable goals so I don't get discouraged. :) How long can you go Watso?

I was going to look for an online app but it was easier to make a simple test file.

https://soundcloud.com/sick-of-the-game/glass

It starts off easy enough with only a single bar break, then goes to 2 bars, four, then eight. The eight bar break @ 118 BPM is less than 15 seconds and I failed it a few times.

I play with a click very often and it was hard for me. I nailed the eight bar gap only a couple times. I wasn't missing by enough to matter in a live setting but I could certainly hear a milisecond in there, usually late( I think).. It helped if I focused on the one count and struck it with conviction.

I would bet real money that most people couldn't do the 20 second mark 100% accurately without some serious practice.

One of my bass players always claims to have perfect tempo and the click has made him break down and cry more than once. I use it a LOT and I know how tough it is to be perfectly in tempo.


We were cutting a 30-sec piece to a click, then tried it without. The guy was amazed - we were absolutely dead-on the markers in ProTools
A lot of people might scoff at a mere 30 seconds but I am certainly impressed . It's not as easy as it sounds.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I like to set obtainable goals so I don't get discouraged. :) How long can you go Watso?
I have no idea, and wouldn't care to try. On average, I probably practice this kind of thing for maybe 5 or 10 min once in a while. In my view, timing myself until I make a mistake is both un-musical, and un-helpful. I like the challenge of dropping measures of click for what it is, I know when I've made a mistake, and I think there's more to be learned from how I choose to recover from my mistake than there is by looking at a timer to see how long I was "perfect" according to a machine's time.

A lot of people might scoff at a mere 30 seconds but I am certainly impressed . It's not as easy as it sounds.
I wasn't scoffing. Some people are more into this kind of clinical, measurable, testing of themselves than I am; and that's cool, too.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
A lot of people might scoff at a mere 30 seconds but I am certainly impressed . It's not as easy as it sounds.
It's not easy, and we certainly weren't doing it to test ourselves, we just wanted a little breath in the piece. Turns out my tempo was right on, all the way through. Could I do that again as a test? Maybe, but I wouldn't bet on it. :)
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Some people are more into this kind of clinical, measurable, testing of themselves than I am; and that's cool, too.
All I am after is to keep decent time and look pretty. Only one of those goals in within sight.

I was just curious.

Again, it goes back to a bass player who claimed he could keep tempo all the way through a song. He got mad when I laughed and was seconds away from an angry tirade when I demonstrated that he couldn't do it for more than a couple measures :)

My contention has always been that you don't have to be anywhere close to perfect to make really good music.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
My contention has always been that you don't have to be anywhere close to perfect to make really good music.
Whil true, some drummers use that to rationalize their poor time or inability to work with a click.

Bermuda
 

wombat

Senior Member
I have never worked with a "click".... a metronome yes....but largely without.

Its interesting when I played classical guitar ( many years ago) I would generally be too slow on "faster " sections...but made my teacher laugh as I was "metronomically slow"

unbeknownst to me neighbours have had band members / drummers over who have eavesdropped in on my playing.... they have said to me later that I keep "spot on ( sic)" time.

I am not saying this by way of being of "figjam" but rather that the irony of this is if I use a metronome, or "think" to much about time rather than relax and "feel" my playing I am all over the place.

I would be horrified if I ever had to play to a click or similar.

Its a bit like sport...if I had time to think about catching a ball I would invariably drop the catch. but would grab the ones that came at me at a pace such that I caught the ball before I realised it was coming at me.

I wonder if theres others on the board who are feel players ? I am sure there are more than would admit..... drummers got by just fine without click tracks in the past....and if there were imperfections it added to the "realness" of the music.

I must say I am a bit saddened by societies strive for perfection. Laying a recording down to a click track seems to me to be the drumming equivelent to EPO in what used to be "Le Tour de France" now known as The Tour de Drugs.....
 

BFrench501

Senior Member
I must say I am a bit saddened by societies strive for perfection. Laying a recording down to a click track seems to me to be the drumming equivelent to EPO in what used to be "Le Tour de France" now known as The Tour de Drugs.....
Some music simply HAS to be metroniomically perfect. Try playing Death Metal without a metronome. Some styles lend themselves more to a laidback feel.

As everyone records seperately though it is important that a good guide is laid down and the mentronome is crucial for that. You dont have to play bang on to the metronome, you can play ahead or behind. But if you are ahead in parts and behind on others, that isn't a good thing.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
The question was:
Play with a click for a few measures then turn off the volume, then back on.
How long do you think you could continue with NO deviation in rhythm?

Suppose I could keep a perfect beat on my own with no click for the entire song.
It is not all that important.

What is important is; can you keep a four or five piece band playing together and in rhythm for the entire song.

Thursday night we were playing “Turn The Page” by Bob Seger.
The guitar player who was singing the song wanted to rush that song and would have slowly sped us up while we played the song.
However, I kept the rhythm where it belonged. But it involved some close listening and concentration on my part.
At times it also took playing just a millisecond behind the beat. Slowing down a moving train with no one noticing that you are doing it.



.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
In truth,I couldn't care less if I couldn't maintain 100% perfect metronomic time.What did we do before click tracks?Did we not make music?Did we not make music that people could dance to?Did you ever turn on a metronome,against a Coltrane record,and see if the the time was perfect?I guess it's just not that important to me.My internal metronome works just fine within a few BPM,here or there.

Steve B
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Lots of defensiveness here guys :)

The question came to my mind after reading another post.

I never suggested that we are somehow supposed to be able to accomplish this feat or that we should be able to. I just wanted to know how long you THINK you could do it. It seemed like such a simple question. :)

Watso thought 20 seconds was setting the bar too low and Hollywood thinks he could do the whole 3 minutes. Thanks :)

I'm sure there are threads about the necessity of playing in perfect meter. That wasn't my intention here. It was simply a curiosity on my part.


Slowing down a moving train with no one noticing that you are doing it.
Now THAT aint easy. For me, it's easier to force the tempo up than down. What I started doing in rehearsals is is just let it go and eventally some one will say "we are playing too fast/slow". I agree, it's a majority rule and we take steps to fix it (turning on the click) Eventually we get it figured out.....usually :)
 
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The SunDog

Guest
Strong ability to maintain tempo is important though. Whether you chose to play with a metronome or not. To be able to play the same song within a couple bpm up or down every time. That sort of deviation can't be heard (by most humans). We've all seen (or been) the drummer that starts a song at one tempo and finishes at another. Playing with a metronome can at times be necessary, for example when playing with a sequencer or other pre-recorded material. If the pre recorded horns come in at 00.34 and you are slightly ahead of or behind the tempo the rest of the band will be in time with you but the horns will come in at the wrong time. It's not an easy or needed skill for everyone but it should be practised. Occasionally we all find ourselves in untested waters.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
when playing with a sequencer or other pre-recorded material. If the pre recorded horns come in at 00.34 and you are slightly ahead of or behind the tempo the rest of the band will be in time with you but the horns will come in at the wrong time.
I've found a way around that without a click. The drummer triggers the horns at appx 00.34 . It may not be exactly at 00.34 but it will be in exactly in time at the right time.


Wombat said:
I would be horrified if I ever had to play to a click or similar.
You would go from horrified to enlightened in a very short time. It's no different from playing along with band members, it's just that this one plays only one note and never speed up or slows down. :)
 
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The SunDog

Guest
I've found a way around that without a click. The drummer triggers the horns at appx 00.34 . It may not be exactly at 00.34 but it will be in exactly in time at the right time.. :)
What do you do when those sequenced horns keep playing for the rest of the song? I played in four piece singer,bass,keys,and drums. The songs we played were a mix of Latin and classic rock, Miami Sound Machine, Chicago some Steve Winwood, Bruce Hornsby. All guitars, horns,assorted percussion some harmonies were all sequenced. My ability to play with a metronome got me that gig as they had invested considerable time creating the sequenced material.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Lots of defensiveness here guys :)

I never suggested that we are somehow supposed to be able to accomplish this feat or that we should be able to. I just wanted to know how long you THINK you could do it. It seemed like such a simple question. :)

I'm sure there are threads about the necessity of playing in perfect meter. That wasn't my intention here. It was simply a curiosity on my part.

No defensiveness here, I understood the spirit of your question. And it was an interesting question.
It would be interesting to see how "on time" other band members would be with no click or drummer.

.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
It would be interesting to see how "on time" other band members would be with no click or drummer.
It would be predictably ]interesting :)

Drummers are trained and accustomed to being the tempo guys and it can be a challenge for us to keep up with a machine (when it is turned off). I think the other members would not do well.

I think the bass players would have an edge over the six string guys.

The six string guys are used to having a strong rhythm section to "hide" behind, kind of like playing along with a recording. You can screw up or deviate a bit but the song stays solid and you can jump right back in place.

No defensiveness here
I was referring to some other replies Jim. You simply answered my query.


SunDog said:
What do you do when those sequenced horns keep playing for the rest of the song? I
Hell, then it's easy. You just follow them....assuming you can hear them :) Following is a lot easier than leading.

I usually break my sequences into logical segments. They are easy to trigger (usually at the top of a measure) and it avoids a possible train wreck. Like, If the whole band mistakenly jumps to the bridge at the wrong spot, I can kill it in a second and we can get back on track when the next segment comes along.
 
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The SunDog

Guest
Hell, then it's easy. You just follow them....assuming you can hear them :) Following is a lot easier than leading.


You're a better man than me bubba. Click track at double time and loud in my ear, and of course the kill switch. Always amazed to see how many ways we come up with to tackle the same problem.
 
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