Interesting Experience (playing live with a click track)

yesdog

Silver Member
I had gig the other night with one of the bands I play in.I decided to do the show with a click . I loved it, I was able to focus my energy on the groove with out the worry of speeding up. Any drum fills or transitions in the songs felt so locked in. After the first set one of the guitarist told me not to use the click because it like the tempo was to even (W.T.F) He was not happy and some other band members were very pleased. The other thing I noticed when playing with the click was the feeling of getting pulled to play faster. There are nine people in this band and they tend to go off into there own tempo, it sounds horrible. This was the first time I ever played with a click live. I listened to the recording and was very pleased. We have some high profile shows coming up. We play at the local festivals in the Chicago area. We will be opening for Blue Oyster Cult, And possibly Huey Lewis. I am not going to go out in front of tons of people and sounding like crap. I just want to sound as pro as possible. I think when you have nine people in a band you need a click there is just to much going on. with a smaller band like four or five people, its very easy to communicate with each other. The other band I am in has five members we have not had any tempo issues because they play off of me the time keeper, and we all have a lot of experience playing music. were as the other band
is a mixed bag of experience.
Thanks for reading this, I wanted to share this with my fellow Drummers.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

Like most drummers I practiced with a click often. I go back to the days when you had to wind up the metronome.
I brought an electronic metronome to band practice one day and we played the first tune.
It only took the band a few measures to try and pull me faster.
They told me that I was playing to slow! (I had set the tempo to the album speed of the tune that we were covering)
I raised the tempo to the bands liking and they still had trouble staying even with me.
They were slowing some parts and speeding others.
They complained so much that I stopped using it with the band.

I would like to use the click with the band! I like the click very much! Its makes tempo one less thing that I have to worry about while playing.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

Thanks for reading this, I wanted to share this with my fellow Drummers.
Glad you did, Doggie. Thanks! Just this evening I was listening to a playback from last rehearsal. It was exactly like you said, "they tend to go off into there own tempo, it sounds horrible".

I've always been a top-of-the-beat drummer but in this band I often seem to be behind the beat. When we play stops it's like whooshBANG instead of BANG. It's a nice effect in a way but it's something that should ideally be controlled rather than accidental.

Thing is, what they should be doing - both your people and mine - is taking their tempo cues from us. We're their click track. The raggedness comes from focusing too hard on their own lines and not enough to their lines in the context of the band sound. I know because I've done it myself, but at least I'm in synch with the drummer ;-)

Also, when it comes to tempo it's only our word against theirs. If it takes a click to provide the "authority" - the last word - to get everyone to follow the drums then that's good, though it might take getting used to for some.

So everyone has ear buds? Are the tempos preset or do you tap them in?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

Thanks for sharing that Scott. Didn't you find it tough? You're a better man than me Scott. I couldn't do it.
Bob that is such a typical story. Keeping perfectly even time to a metronome....is really a difficult thing to pull off and still sound organic. It must be hard to play to for excitable musicians who most likely never practiced to a metronome.
Scott, you lucky dog, congratulations on being an opener for a name act.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

Bob that is such a typical story. Keeping perfectly even time to a metronome....is really a difficult thing to pull off and still sound organic. It must be hard to play to for excitable musicians who most likely never practiced to a metronome.
The reason that I brought the click to practice in the first place is because I was tired of hearing about how I played to fast or to slow, etc!
Yes, these musicians are self taught for the most part and they never had formal instruction like I did. They never followed a conductor in a marching or school concert band situation.
I was taught to use a metronome at my first private drum and also trumpet lessons. I was taught the importance of learning how to play even at different BPM's.

People who never had formal lessons simply weren't exposed to things like this.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

Excellent performance, and a good example of how the click helped to produce an even tempo.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

The reason that I brought the click to practice in the first place is because I was tired of hearing about how I played to fast or to slow, etc!
Yes, these musicians are self taught for the most part and they never had formal instruction like I did. They never followed a conductor in a marching or school concert band situation.
I was taught to use a metronome at my first private drum and also trumpet lessons. I was taught the importance of learning how to play even at different BPM's.

People who never had formal lessons simply weren't exposed to things like this.
I was taught the same way. I remember being a kid playing along side Mr metronome.
There are three other members who had formal instruction. The lady singing in the song I posted the percussionist he is a music major and a blast to play along with and the keyboard player.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

The song felt right where it should be. I couldn't tell that it was played to a metronome. Nice job Scott.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

The song felt right where it should be. I couldn't tell that it was played to a metronome. Nice job Scott.
Thanks Larry, I have always used a metronome for practicing. Once you learn something new like beat or snare solo, you know you got it nailed when it can groove with a click.
There is a fine line between playing with a click and being dependent on one. I was so frustrated with these guys going off in there little tempo wonderland, I decided to give them a wake up call.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

Wait, I'm confused. You used a click, but only you had the click, right? The rest of the band couldn't hear the click. And they all stayed with you, even if they didn't like how it felt? If so, it sounds to me like you need to either work on asserting yourself as the timekeeper in the band more (even without a click), and make the members understand that they HAVE to stay with you, click or not, or that you need to work on staying steady and not following other band members.

I never play with a click live, because I have a good sense of tempo. When I hear other band members speed up or slow down, I don't follow them (except when I think it's what the song needs), I bring them back to me.

I'm not knocking playing to a click, it's a good idea for some bands, especially ones that don't have tempo changes written into their songs. But it sounds like you may want to address some issues, either in your role in the band, or your own timekeeping, if it made that much of a difference.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

Well all they have to do is view the video if they think the metronome is a bad idea. The tune sounded like it was supposed to.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

Wait, I'm confused. You used a click, but only you had the click, right? The rest of the band couldn't hear the click. And they all stayed with you, even if they didn't like how it felt? If so, it sounds to me like you need to either work on asserting yourself as the timekeeper in the band more (even without a click), and make the members understand that they HAVE to stay with you, click or not, or that you need to work on staying steady and not following other band members.

I never play with a click live, because I have a good sense of tempo. When I hear other band members speed up or slow down, I don't follow them (except when I think it's what the song needs), I bring them back to me.

I'm not knocking playing to a click, it's a good idea for some bands, especially ones that don't have tempo changes written into their songs. But it sounds like you may want to address some issues, either in your role in the band, or your own timekeeping, if it made that much of a difference.
It does not matter if I only heard the click I am the time keeper. The point I was making is some people in the band tend to wander when playing live. Yes I have good feel and timing . that was the first time I played live with a click. I understand when playing live the tempo will vary and it should with in reason. Even at rehersal I have to stop them because they are not listening to me or the music they are more into what they are playing.
 

utdrummer

Senior Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

Yesdog---hear here! Ha!...kindly disregard what chttr said and use that metronome if you want to. That's a LOT of folks on that stage and if they all went where they wanted you'd never sound right. Good job BTW...the song was as I remember it.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

It does not matter if I only heard the click I am the time keeper. The point I was making is some people in the band tend to wander when playing live. Yes I have good feel and timing . that was the first time I played live with a click. I understand when playing live the tempo will vary and it should with in reason. Even at rehersal I have to stop them because they are not listening to me or the music they are more into what they are playing.
That's exactly what I was saying, dude. You played live with a click, and suddenly the band was steady. This means one of two things...either:

1. You need to assert yourself as timekeeper for the group. What I mean by that is you need to absolutely make sure that everyone in the band understands that they need to stay with you, whether you have a click or not. This is not at all a bust on you...if anything, it's a comment that your bandmates need to understand and accept your role as timekeeper.
OR
2. You need to work on not following band members when you don't have a click (because there will be times that you can't have a click most likely, whether it's songs that have multiple tempos, or playing a pickup gig, or sitting in with another artist, or whatever). As you said, you are the timekeeper. You can't follow the bandmates that wander if you don't have a click.
 
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Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

You need to assert yourself as timekeeper for the group. What I mean by that is you need to absolutely make sure that everyone in the band understands that they need to stay with you, whether you have a click or not. This is not at all a bust on you...if anything, it's a comment that your bandmates need to understand and accept your role as timekeeper.
I agree. It's something I need to do with my band too - get them to treat me as their metronome. But as I say, part of that is getting them to focus less on their own parts and instead focus on their parts in context with the band sound. Confidence plays a role here.
 

arthurk1

Senior Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

I had gig the other night with one of the bands I play in.I decided to do the show with a click . I loved it, I was able to focus my energy on the groove with out the worry of speeding up. Any drum fills or transitions in the songs felt so locked in. After the first set one of the guitarist told me not to use the click because it like the tempo was to even (W.T.F) He was not happy and some other band members were very pleased. The other thing I noticed when playing with the click was the feeling of getting pulled to play faster. There are nine people in this band and they tend to go off into there own tempo, it sounds horrible. This was the first time I ever played with a click live. I listened to the recording and was very pleased. We have some high profile shows coming up. We play at the local festivals in the Chicago area. We will be opening for Blue Oyster Cult, And possibly Huey Lewis. I am not going to go out in front of tons of people and sounding like crap. I just want to sound as pro as possible. I think when you have nine people in a band you need a click there is just to much going on. with a smaller band like four or five people, its very easy to communicate with each other. The other band I am in has five members we have not had any tempo issues because they play off of me the time keeper, and we all have a lot of experience playing music. were as the other band
is a mixed bag of experience.
Thanks for reading this, I wanted to share this with my fellow Drummers.
I'm curious as to what click you are using. I used to play along with an old Yamaha QX-3 sequencer and it mapped out the entire show, but I didn't program it, nor know how to.
my current band literally plays 3 hours straight and very few stops in between songs so I am trying to figure out what to get to program an entire show like that with.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

I'm curious as to what click you are using. I used to play along with an old Yamaha QX-3 sequencer and it mapped out the entire show, but I didn't program it, nor know how to.
my current band literally plays 3 hours straight and very few stops in between songs so I am trying to figure out what to get to program an entire show like that with.
I was using an I-Pod touch with a metronome app from frozen ape. It is killer you can program tour whole set list tap out tempos from the song you are playing. I have it mounted in a cradle off of my hi hat stand. you set up your set list hit play when the song is over hit the next button/arrow and the next click sequence starts. you can program any time siginture and any form of note values, ie quarter notes to broken triplets for shuffle songs.
it only cost a 2 dollers for the app. anyone who owns an ipod touch or i phone i highly recomend this app. frozenape.com.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

Nice work Scott. Not easy to pull off, and you played the piece without any outward indication of sterility or micro correction usually associated with live click playing. Not for me though. That's partly ability and partly preference based on my part.
 

jonescrusher

Pioneer Member
Re: INTERESTING EXPERIENCE

That's exactly what I was saying, dude. You played live with a click, and suddenly the band was steady. This means one of two things...either:

1. You need to assert yourself as timekeeper for the group. What I mean by that is you need to absolutely make sure that everyone in the band understands that they need to stay with you, whether you have a click or not. This is not at all a bust on you...if anything, it's a comment that your bandmates need to understand and accept your role as timekeeper.
OR
2. You need to work on not following band members when you don't have a click (because there will be times that you can't have a click most likely, whether it's songs that have multiple tempos, or playing a pickup gig, or sitting in with another artist, or whatever). As you said, you are the timekeeper. You can't follow the bandmates that wander if you don't have a click.

How can he assert himself anymore than playing to his own tempo and not moving when other band members start slowing or speeding? In my experience, ignoring a drifting musician can sound awful, and if his time is particularly bad can end in near disaster.
The fact is, many amateur musicians (guitarists especially) have very little knowledge of their own timekeeping, let alone the concepts of pocket and following a rhythm section. As the guy with the best understanding of time, it may well be left up to you to try and accomodate the other players.
 
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