Metronome and live playing

kuren84

Senior Member
So we have started using a metronome for gigs and playing live. Wow it is so different than using the metronome for practice or recordings etc. Anyone have any killer tips they care to share as last gig was a struggle. Thanks in advance
 

jansara

Junior Member
Why?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
Can you hear the click without struggling? Bermuda might tell you to set the metronome for 8th notes
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Bermuda might tell you to set the metronome for 8th notes
It's definitely easier to follow a higher click resolution for medium and low tempo songs. It's also easier to follow a drum pattern, since it feels like playing with another drummer.

But the most important part of playing with a click is to be able to hear it! A musical mix is nice, but when it comes to playing with a click, it should be perhaps the loudest thing in the drummer's mix. That doesn't mean the mix becomes louder, it means lowering/eliminating any sounds that might clutter the mix and your ability to clearly hear the click.

When a click is introduced into a performance (or recording), the drummer's role changes. It's no longer so much about playing with the band, as it is about playing with the click. It's a bit of a perspective shift, and it's important that drummers grasp that in order to remain viable for most popular music.

In concert, about 2/3 of our show is on a click and linked to video and pre-recorded audio parts, and any 'movement' on my part would be obvious and disruptive. Because I have a very specific click-heavy mix - probably unlistenable to anyone else - I can stick with it like glue. I've never, ever lost the click, and occasional inevitable straying/flamming is within 1/16 note and audible only to me. I'm not some amazing timekeeper, I'm just saying that I treat the click as the most important element of the songs in question, and that allows me to stay on it without fail.
 

kuren84

Senior Member
It's definitely easier to follow a higher click resolution for medium and low tempo songs. It's also easier to follow a drum pattern, since it feels like playing with another drummer.

But the most important part of playing with a click is to be able to hear it! A musical mix is nice, but when it comes to playing with a click, it should be perhaps the loudest thing in the drummer's mix. That doesn't mean the mix becomes louder, it means lowering/eliminating any sounds that might clutter the mix and your ability to clearly hear the click.

When a click is introduced into a performance (or recording), the drummer's role changes. It's no longer so much about playing with the band, as it is about playing with the click. It's a bit of a perspective shift, and it's important that drummers grasp that in order to remain viable for most popular music.

In concert, about 2/3 of our show is on a click and linked to video and pre-recorded audio parts, and any 'movement' on my part would be obvious and disruptive. Because I have a very specific click-heavy mix - probably unlistenable to anyone else - I can stick with it like glue. I've never, ever lost the click, and occasional inevitable straying/flamming is within 1/16 note and audible only to me. I'm not some amazing timekeeper, I'm just saying that I treat the click as the most important element of the songs in question, and that allows me to stay on it without fail.
Thanks for the advice and i think your right about the mind set shift.
 

kuren84

Senior Member
Can you hear the click without struggling? Bermuda might tell you to set the metronome for 8th notes
I think adjusting the level to give the click the focus maybe a good place to start tackling the issue and as Bermuda said a change of mind set.
 

SharkSandwich

Junior Member
But the most important part of playing with a click is to be able to hear it! A musical mix is nice, but when it comes to playing with a click, it should be perhaps the loudest thing in the drummer's mix. That doesn't mean the mix becomes louder, it means lowering/eliminating any sounds that might clutter the mix and your ability to clearly hear the click.

When a click is introduced into a performance (or recording), the drummer's role changes. It's no longer so much about playing with the band, as it is about playing with the click. It's a bit of a perspective shift, and it's important that drummers grasp that in order to remain viable for most popular music.
100%

My mix is about 75% click and 25% band.

I've grown to love the click. I used to constantly worry that I was speeding up or slowing down. Now I just lock to the click, pushing or pulling as
needed to get the right feel.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I use a click live for one of my bands.. I can't give you any secrets but I can tell you that it tell you that it will get easier as you do it more. With my other band I just watch it with my eyes and that's a lot harder The main thing with that band is that we start to song off at the right tempo. Keep working with it it'll become 2nd nature before long
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
So we have started using a metronome for gigs and playing live. Wow it is so different than using the metronome for practice or recordings etc. Anyone have any killer tips they care to share as last gig was a struggle. Thanks in advance

Is the whole band hearing the click, or just you? Do you use it for entire songs, or just to start off? Who is responsible for starting/stopping it?

I’ve played with clicks in a variety of bands and settings. Sometimes with tracks, sometimes without.

The click ends a lot of arguments. But it opens up a whole other set of issues, too.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Is the whole band hearing the click, or just you?
This is where a lot of bands go wrong: giving everyone the click. Players can't serve two 'drummers'. If the drummer strays a bit from the click, the other players will go with one or the other, and the push/pull factor becomes very evident.

But if the players only have to listen to the drummer, they will effortlessly go as a group with whatever flow there might be. Only the drummer will know for sure if there's any straying.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Only the drummer will know for sure if there's any straying.
Then what? Do you speed up over the next bar, two bars, to get back? Or do you pretend you're Benny Greb with the click now on the 'e' of every beat? Or is there a kill switch for the click and the associated electronic track it's being used for?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Then what? Do you speed up over the next bar, two bars, to get back? Or do you pretend you're Benny Greb with the click now on the 'e' of every beat?

By straying I meant very loose flamming. There shouldn't be a situation where the drummer has to obviously catch-up. If that's happening, the drummer needs to be replaced with one who knows how to work with a click.

Or is there a kill switch for the click and the associated electronic track it's being used for?

There also shouldn't be a situation where the click needs to be abandoned, and in the case of a track or video synch, that cannot happen. If the drummer is having a problem, they need to be replaced with one who knows how to work with a click.

I know that many drummers have a natural aversion to the click, and if they don't want to do those kinds of gigs, I guess that's their call. But a drummer's inability to work with a click is inexcusable. It's not difficult, and the methods I described - drum part vs a sterile click, and high in the mix - will help anyone stay on it.
 

pocket player

Junior Member
This is where a lot of bands go wrong: giving everyone the click. Players can't serve two 'drummers'. If the drummer strays a bit from the click, the other players will go with one or the other, and the push/pull factor becomes very evident.

But if the players only have to listen to the drummer, they will effortlessly go as a group with whatever flow there might be. Only the drummer will know for sure if there's any straying.
good point !
 

kuren84

Senior Member
Is the whole band hearing the click, or just you? Do you use it for entire songs, or just to start off? Who is responsible for starting/stopping it?

I’ve played with clicks in a variety of bands and settings. Sometimes with tracks, sometimes without.

The click ends a lot of arguments. But it opens up a whole other set of issues, too.
I am the only one hearing the click and it is for the entire song. The click swithes via foot pedal linked to an ipad displaying lyrics /chords for the singer/guitarist. So he is responsible for changing as the song ends. I think changing the mix will be the best place to start.
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
I remember the first time I used a click with a band. By measure 4 I was off and the guitarist was laughing so hard he cried. By my third attempt I had only the lead singer/guitarist and bassist in my ‘phones, and the click was louder than the music. I had to ignore the performances of others and just play my notes according to the click. This felt very odd at first, but within a month or so it was the norm.

The problem that I discovered was that no one was on the click, and they were 100% following me. So if I began playing to/with the guitarist’s playing, it was off the click within 2 measures. I had to marry my beat to the click and let the others latch on. So when I’d hear someone lose the beat, well, too bad. Smile and make it look good.
 

felonious69

Gold Member
Would visual rather than audible help/work?
I was trying to find a "visual" metronome. Use it with a small tablet.

??
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I am the only one hearing the click and it is for the entire song. The click swithes via foot pedal linked to an ipad displaying lyrics /chords for the singer/guitarist. So he is responsible for changing as the song ends. I think changing the mix will be the best place to start.

You being the only musician hearing the click is a good situation.

As for changing your mix, it’s a good idea to have your own personal mixer, with at least 2 channels. Channel 1 should be your click, and channel 2 should be a mix of anything else, coming from the band’s mixer. This way, you can independently control the click volume in your ears, and turn up/down everything else, too.
 
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