Playing to a click track

joerockhed

Junior Member
I've been playing drums for a long time, however in all these years, i've never once played to a click track/metronome. Were recording a 14 song cd, the singer who is also the guitarist, has played professionally for about 30 years. The bass player and I have never used a click track before so he was trying to avoid using one.....but we are. I'm having nightmares with it! Is there anyone who can give me some advice on how to adapt to playing to a click track. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
I've been playing drums for a long time, however in all these years, i've never once played to a click track/metronome. Were recording a 14 song cd, the singer who is also the guitarist, has played professionally for about 30 years. The bass player and I have never used a click track before so he was trying to avoid using one.....but we are. I'm having nightmares with it! Is there anyone who can give me some advice on how to adapt to playing to a click track. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Sounds like it's just going to require a bit of practice to get comfortable with it. Maybe you and the bassist could practice together, without the rest of the band? I'm playing w/ a bassist now that has a "funny" sense of time. We did this a few times, away from the rest of the guys...and we're playing tighter now, for sure.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
You have to mentally accept that you're no longer the time keeper, and that the other players won't simply follow whatever you do. That is, you have to accept that there's another timekeeper, and you have to follow it.

As Zambizzi said, it's a matter of practice, but mostly you'll need to focus on following rather than leading.

If they're not already doing this, you'll find it easier to play to a sinple drum loop rather than a sterile click. But if a click is all you get, be sure you have at least 1/8 notes or possibly 16ths. The more 'resolution' you get, the easier it is to lock in. Think of it this way - it would be almost impossible to lock into a tempo if all you got was a click on the "1" of each bar. You'd get a little more help if you got a 1 and 3, and even more help if you got 1, 2, 3 and 4. Well, getting 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & makes it easier still, and if the tempo is slow enough enough, you may want to make it 16ths.

The more clicks you have to work with, the easier they are to follow. I'm actually just as comfortable with a lot of clicks as I am with a sequence (although it is more fun to lock in with another 'drummer'.)

Bermuda
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
It's just practice. I don't agree to use 1/8th and 1/16ths unless it is a very slow tune around 50 BPM. Otherwise the clicks will be distracting. They also need to be quite loud.

You'll soon get used to it and find that the click is your friend.

Davo
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's just practice. I don't agree to use 1/8th and 1/16ths unless it is a very slow tune around 50 BPM. Otherwise the clicks will be distracting. They also need to be quite loud.
Matter of preference of course on the note values, but they will need to be loud so they can be clearly heard (obviously.)

This does introduce another scenario, which is leakage. If the click is really loud, there's a good chance it will be picked up by some of the mics on the kit and will be audible in quiet sections and breaks.

For that, a good pair of isolation phones saves the day and also lets you get the best mix without your drums acoustically interfering. That is, you will need to have them put into your mix because the phones will block them to a large extent, even though you're sitting right on top of them and playing hard.

I have yet to be in a studio where they have good isolation phones, so you'll need your own, and really, they're good to have beyond just studio use. You can cheap-out and get the Extreme Isolation phones, which I don't find sound very good. I use the GK Music Ultraphones, as do a number of pros. www.gk-music.com They sound wonderful (Sony 7506 drivers) and the isolation is excellent (they use Peltor industrial hearing protectors.)

They're not expensive, but they're not as inexpensive as the others. But this is truly an example of 'you get what you pay for' and when hearing is involved, you need the best in order to do your best.

Bermuda
 

mrmike

Silver Member
For me, having a good set of isolation headphones is a must. That way I can have the click a little louder than the drums in my headphones which make it easier for me the lock on to the click. I know some people can have the click not as loud and are able to "bury" the click, which I can do for a while but I am more confident if I absolutely know where the click is. It may help to subdivide the beat into 8ths or 16ths which in that case some kind of percussion loop could help keep things a bit more musical.
 

Tropellor

Senior Member
I think it's easiest to subdivide in your head, not have the click set at 16ths, but just have 16ths going in your head... so you'll be hearing the click but counting in your head 1 e + a, 2 e + a.. etc etc. (Unless it's swung, then you'd be counting 1 + a, 2 + a... etc)

It really helps you find the gaps with the click.
 
C

Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
You have to mentally accept that you're no longer the time keeper, and that the other players won't simply follow whatever you do. That is, you have to accept that there's another timekeeper, and you have to follow it.
...Bermuda
I always ask to be the only one to hear the click. So far, I have been granted that. This means that I am still the timekeeper, in partnership with the click.

Casper
 
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