Metronome and live playing

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I've noticed of the last 4-5 years more and more bands don't count in songs anymore. They just miraculously all start together in perfect tempo. This means the entire band is getting a click in their in-ears. Now if it's only the count in or the whole song, I don't know.
Most likely there's a stereo click, one channel for the drummer, the other for the rest of band. The band's channel is just the count-off, maybe continuing as long as needed for a vocal or guitar intro, then muted. The drummer's channel may or may not continue for the rest of the song.

Assuming everyone is in-ear, the monitor person may also mute the click/count-off to the band's ears after the song starts.

But it's unlikely that everyone has the click for the entire song, and sounds good doing so. 😮
 

SVBJECT

Active Member
My "when I fell in love with a click" anecdote is about practicing etc and not live, which I've not done live with drums for years and I didn't use a click in my teens, so it's all a development of the last few years.
However I am 100% going to use a click live when I play with my band in our new real-instrumenta-not-laptops incarnation.
My ekit goes into ableton anyway, it's all there and we will use a backing track so it just stands to reason.
My guitarist had planned on having it to so I am interested to see so many opinions saying it should just be me! This has been a really interesting thread. Thanks all.
My question though, some parts I prefere a 4/4 click, some an 8/8 click. Some parts are in weird rhythms some are sensible but odd like 9/8.
Do I a) program a midi click section perfect for what I want to hear, and if so, do I add any queues and then only have that?
B) use the ableton click, but you can't change time signature at the hit of one control button (like start stop etc easy but you can't midi control the actual signature, and I can't trigger whole new scenes (that could do that) because of other things were going on in the daw), so I'll have to just have either 4/4 or 8/8 and play everything (Inc 9/8) to one of them. Maybe that would make me the better drummer?
Or c) some combo of the two?

Thanks
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I'd recommend doing something electronic, adding in bass/drum sequencer or even a dj turntable with a looper/sampler, if you can find the musicians. I've been jamming out to different loops it is fun.
 

JimmyM

Silver Member
My "when I fell in love with a click" anecdote is about practicing etc and not live, which I've not done live with drums for years and I didn't use a click in my teens, so it's all a development of the last few years.
However I am 100% going to use a click live when I play with my band in our new real-instrumenta-not-laptops incarnation.
My ekit goes into ableton anyway, it's all there and we will use a backing track so it just stands to reason.
My guitarist had planned on having it to so I am interested to see so many opinions saying it should just be me! This has been a really interesting thread. Thanks all.
My question though, some parts I prefere a 4/4 click, some an 8/8 click. Some parts are in weird rhythms some are sensible but odd like 9/8.
Do I a) program a midi click section perfect for what I want to hear, and if so, do I add any queues and then only have that?
B) use the ableton click, but you can't change time signature at the hit of one control button (like start stop etc easy but you can't midi control the actual signature, and I can't trigger whole new scenes (that could do that) because of other things were going on in the daw), so I'll have to just have either 4/4 or 8/8 and play everything (Inc 9/8) to one of them. Maybe that would make me the better drummer?
Or c) some combo of the two?

Thanks
I like the idea of programming a handful of different drum loops to suit your needs a lot better than a click.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member

JimmyM

Silver Member
Here's the drum/perc loop from Word Crimes (Blurred Lines.) You can't NOT lock into this! Enjoy!


This is what I play that song with in concert and there's never any straying from it.
Got a good beat and you can dance to it.

Jon, in all seriousness, would you please be my patron saint of drumming? I swear, you're a lot of fun but all business when it comes to performance level, there is nothing you can't do, the Weird Al catalog proves it, your polka drumming is on point, and you always play in ways that I'd want to play. You're younger than me, but man, I want to be a drummer like you when I grow up, and that's no joke.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Got a good beat and you can dance to it.
More importantly, you can drum to it! I have no shame about making a click from the song I need the click for, and playing along. That's the main reason I've never lost the click - I make it super easy to play with.

Jon, in all seriousness, would you please be my patron saint of drumming? I swear, you're a lot of fun but all business when it comes to performance level, there is nothing you can't do
Thanks, but Vinnie, Terry and Buddy would disagree. But I will confess to adapting and learning and growing as a drummer and musician thanks to my gig with Al. I do a lot of things that most drummer's don't, or won't do. One of the best compliments I received from a major pro after seeing us live was "I couldn't do what you do." Actually, he may have said "I wouldn't do what you do." Either way, I was flattered. :)
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
I’ve found that how easy it is to follow the click live, depends on the rest of the band. I use a click on every song with my top 40 band. Staying with the click was easy with that band from day one. There are times when the click disappears and I have a mini panic attack thinking I forgot to turn it on. But no, we are just all right in time together. My church worship team is another matter. After years I still struggle staying with the click with that group. Everyone’s time fluctuates so much that I get pulled this way and that time wise. I have to take Bermuda’s advise and turn the band way down to the point that I can barely hear them and turn the click way up. As far as using the click live in general, I agree that it frees me up from worrying if I’m speeding up. I don’t think I’ve ever slowed down in my life.
 

JimmyM

Silver Member
More importantly, you can drum to it! I have no shame about making a click from the song I need the click for, and playing along. That's the main reason I've never lost the click - I make it super easy to play with.


Thanks, but Vinnie, Terry and Buddy would disagree. But I will confess to adapting and learning and growing as a drummer and musician thanks to my gig with Al. I do a lot of things that most drummer's don't, or won't do. One of the best compliments I received from a major pro after seeing us live was "I couldn't do what you do." Actually, he may have said "I wouldn't do what you do." Either way, I was flattered. :)
Who wouldn't be? So the patron saint is actually an honorary title. There's little or no responsibility on your part. I might ask for money occasionally but I'll pay it back in 5 or 6 years.
 

PorkPieGuy

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

The more you do it, the better it will be and the more comfortable everyone will get. It really does cause you to focus when using it live. As others have said, have a good mix in your head along with the click.
 

DrumWhipper

Member
I use a click along with my guitarist, and he is solid enough that he is able to stay spot on with me. The other two guys in the band just follow me and it works for us.
 

Caz

Senior Member
Most likely there's a stereo click, one channel for the drummer, the other for the rest of band. The band's channel is just the count-off, maybe continuing as long as needed for a vocal or guitar intro, then muted. The drummer's channel may or may not continue for the rest of the song.

Assuming everyone is in-ear, the monitor person may also mute the click/count-off to the band's ears after the song starts.

But it's unlikely that everyone has the click for the entire song, and sounds good doing so. 😮
I’ve just been filling in on bass on a show where we all have the click. Not sure about the cast / singers though. We’ve all got mixers so could turn it down but I find it really useful. On drums you can hear when other instruments are wavering and choose to focus in on the click, or focus on both the click and other instruments when things are going well, that also seems to work when playing bass.. if I hear the drums waver slightly can make a decision to lock in with those or the click. There are also note lengths, if playing along with backing tracks with synth sounds etc the timing of when to finish each note is important to match up, especially if there are lots of tenutos, staccatos etc in the part, the click helps me with note length precision, which is helpful when sight reading a show. I think working with the click live as a drummer helped with all that, it’s maybe harder for other instruments to get experience with the click for it to be a help rather than a hinderance live but it’s probably a useful skill for everyone to work on.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
I used to have to play with a looper live. I couldn't do it consistently. I give myself about a 40% success rate with a looper. I never have monitors, my ears are always a few feet behind any of the amps. Always always behind. I am in THE worst place in the room to hear a looper, period. Plus the drum volume is right in my face. It's amazing to me how I wasn't cut any slack for messing up. The rhythm chords of the looper would get lost within his much louder (and similar) lead tone. I couldn't pick it out. I hated the looper like I hate playing with a click live because I don't like following when I'm playing live. I like leading. If I'm following, I don't even want to be there TBH. I'd rather play guitar if I have to follow. Get a drum machine if you want machine time is my feeling. I have decent human time not perfect human time. I'm so glad I don't rely on music for a living.
 
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Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
Most likely there's a stereo click, one channel for the drummer, the other for the rest of band. The band's channel is just the count-off, maybe continuing as long as needed for a vocal or guitar intro, then muted. The drummer's channel may or may not continue for the rest of the song.

Assuming everyone is in-ear, the monitor person may also mute the click/count-off to the band's ears after the song starts.

But it's unlikely that everyone has the click for the entire song, and sounds good doing so. 😮

I'm currently touring with two acts that the click is available for everyone's in-ear mix. I know the keyboardist has it running for the whole song like I do (same keyboardist for both bands too, lol), I think maybe the guitar players have it running, but I don't know for sure. I doubt the singers run it at all, but I've never asked.

More importantly, you can drum to it! I have no shame about making a click from the song I need the click for, and playing along. That's the main reason I've never lost the click - I make it super easy to play with.

I took a page from your book on this one. I have a couple of groups I work for that I started having the drum track from the album running on my in-ear mix, and just play to that. None of these groups have "real" drums on their records because it's all industrial music. So the drums from the record is just programed midi stuff, samples and loops, all perfectly placed on the grid. So, there's no chance of falling off the "click." The snare will always be on 2 and 4 no mater what.
 
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kuren84

Senior Member
Well after two gigs this weekend I can honestly say altering the mix and a bit of a mindshift. It is like night and day and is so mich easier. Don't get me wrong you wouldn't want to compare me to a Swiss watch bit definitely better and easier. Thanks for all the helpful comments and advice.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Well after two gigs this weekend I can honestly say altering the mix and a bit of a mindshift. It is like night and day and is so mich easier
It's almost a revelation once you actually do it. It's as simple as understanding - and accepting - that when you have a click, your focus is playing with it, not the band. The click becomes all-important, and if the other players have a decent sense of time, they'll play along just fine.

I dare say I wouldn't have the successful gig I do without being cozy with the click both in the studio and live. That click paid for my house! :)
 
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