Pre-"grid" musicianship

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I was listening to an 'oldies' station on XM radio in the car on a road trip this week and was enjoying an old Dusty Springfield number she sang back in the 70's when it occured to me why I was enjoying it enough continue listening to it and turn it up.
It wasn't so much her voice or any profound lyrics, it was the overall feel of the band as they played.

The good timekeeping that came from professional session musicians was a given, but the way the drummer and the band played cohesively yet loosely enough to allow the song to breath gave the singer a good foundation to build the message on top of was the best part.

Something rarely found in today's quantized track recording world. Okay It's dated, but I think you'll know what I'm referring to...
 
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Erberderber

Senior Member
Yes, you notice this especially when going back to music from the 60s and 70s after listening to recent music for a good while. You realize that some parts were slightly off, while at the same time giving life and energy to the song. I was listening to Tie Your Mother Down by Queen the other day and I noticed that some of the backing vocals are off time and some drum fills are a bit off but not too much. It seems that we are craving a return to the 'real'.
 

Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member
The Dusty Springfield number it´s to me pretty over arranged, violins, punching the piano, guitar with distorsion, choir, etc. (drummer was fine in the context, and is completly in time) It´s like going to a restaurant with ... guys, all talking at the same time (one louder than the other to overtake the whole conversation), but noone saying anything memorable or the ones than do covered by other...

Compare with:

BRASIL:


ITALY:

USA:
 
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offdwall

Active member
It was not uncommon to record to a click even back then. A really good drummer can groove "around" the click while the band follows him. I see it every week. I'm a recording engineer by trade. Mediocre drummer for fun. :)
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..The Dusty Springfield number it´s to me pretty over arranged, violins, punching the piano, guitar with distorsion, choir, etc. (drummer was fine in the context, and is completly in time) It´s like going to a restaurant with ... guys, all talking at the same time..

I think thats because this is a sort of 'leftover' song from her from (i think) somewhere at the end of the 70's..

Basically all her material from the 60's has way better production than this one..
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
The Dusty Springfield number it´s to me pretty over arranged, violins, punching the piano, guitar with distorsion, choir, etc. (drummer was fine in the context, and is completly in time) It´s like going to a restaurant with ... guys, all talking at the same time (one louder than the other to overtake the whole conversation), but noone saying anything memorable or the ones than do covered by other...
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
The good timekeeping that came from professional session musicians was a given...
That's a key point - pros were just as crucial then as they are now, and keeping time has never gone out of style. I know that music can ebb and flow a little, that - and often some microtiming from the drummer - is where 'feel' comes from. However, as soon as you can detect that movement, it's gone too far. I've found that many drummers who decry the grid do so because their time is so far off, they are unable to play to a click. So they rationalize their shortcoming with the old mantra "music has to breathe!" but in truth, they can't hold a tempo on their own.

Not all drummers... but many.

Bermuda
 
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Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
That's a key point - pros were just as crucial then as they are now, and keeping time has never gone out of style. I know that music can ebb and flow a little, that - and often some microtiming from the drummer - is where 'feel' comes from. However, as soon as you can detect that movement, it's gone too far. I've found that many drummers who decry the grid do so because they're time is so far off, they are unable to play to a click. So they rationalize their shortcoming with the old mantra "music has to breathe!" but in truth, they can't hold a tempo on their own.

Not all drummers... but many.

Bermuda
I don’t want to be mean, but I have to agree. I spent a couple months my senior year in college teaching myself to keep perfect time, and playing to a click is a giant relief to me. It makes it MUCH easier to just relax and play. The opposite would have been true prior to correcting my inner sense of time.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I probably could've used a better example than the song I posted. It was merely the era I had in mind is all.

Also, of course Bermuda is right we need to play in time, have good time & be able to play to a cick (metronome).

I'm referring to music that's been so corrected by software for accurate subdivision placement that it sounds homogenous.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I'm referring to music that's been so corrected by software for accurate subdivision placement that it sounds homogenous.
Back in the day, we used to revere drummers with excellent time and bands that played super-tight. Now that a click 'makes' us do that, it's somehow regarded as a bad thing.

Bermuda
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
2 extremely relevant and awesome videos by Rick Beato on this very topic.

How Computer Ruined Rock Music

What Makes This Song Great? One Armed Scissor.

This song is raw and imperfect in the best way. The guitars are even out of tune, yet it still works!

 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
That's a key point - pros were just as crucial then as they are now, and keeping time has never gone out of style. I know that music can ebb and flow a little, that - and often some microtiming from the drummer - is where 'feel' comes from. However, as soon as you can detect that movement, it's gone too far. I've found that many drummers who decry the grid do so because their time is so far off, they are unable to play to a click. So they rationalize their shortcoming with the old mantra "music has to breathe!" but in truth, they can't hold a tempo on their own.

Not all drummers... but many.

Bermuda Forgive me Bull Manure would have been more appropriate. Quantized Swearing yeah.
 
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Mongrel

Silver Member
Sad noone heard the songs I posted...
I listened to, and enjoyed all three songs all the way through, Alex. :)

I am trying to understand why you posted them as a response to a thread on non-quantized feel of older music?

Your critique of the Dusty Springfield song seemed to have more to do with your dislike of the style and production of the song rather than anything relating to timing or feel. The songs you provided are all modern songs with completely different feels and production. That Dusty Springfield tune would have sat quite comfortably on peoples "record players" back in 1977, and had the common for the period Carpenters kind of vibe. I'm not really of fan of it either, but I think it's a little unfair to knock it because that's just the way it was. Songs like that were popular, and honestly, I read your post before I listened to the Dusty Springfield tune and was expecting something much worse lol. I didn't think it's as bad as you made it out to be honestly.

Anyway, just thought I would toss my two bones into the mix...

Take care
 

Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member
I listened to, and enjoyed all three songs all the way through, Alex. :)

I am trying to understand why you posted them as a response to a thread on non-quantized feel of older music? (1)

Your critique of the Dusty Springfield song seemed to have more to do with your dislike of the style and production (2) of the song rather than anything relating to timing or feel. The songs you provided are all modern songs with completely different feels and production. That Dusty Springfield tune would have sat quite comfortably on peoples "record players" back in 1977, and had the common for the period Carpenters kind of vibe (3). I'm not really of fan of it either, but I think it's a little unfair to knock it because that's just the way it was. Songs like that were popular, and honestly, I read your post before I listened to the Dusty Springfield tune and was expecting something much worse lol. I didn't think it's as bad as you made it out to be honestly.

Anyway, just thought I would toss my two bones into the mix...

Take care
1 . Because those I posted are "recent" songs and the drummers don´t use click track.
2 . I posted those three songs to compare the production and arranging to make a point in what I thought it was the mistake of that song, not the timming.
3 . I don´t know if you realized that by 1977 not only I knew the Carpenters pretty well I was already professional musician, not only appearing in clubs but MAJOR TV and tours and records ... i prefere not to get in comparing The Carpenters with this song, anyway, part of the idea was people to get exposed with other kind of music that I SEE and READ they are exposed too (see, for example thread about: "wich songs i like to play")
4 . Thank you for listening to all the three songs

 
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Mongrel

Silver Member
1 . Because those I posted are "recent" songs and the drummers don´t use click track.
2 . I posted those three songs to compare the production and arranging to make a point in what I thought it was the mistake of that song, not the timming.
3 . I don´t know if you realized that by 1977 not only I knew the Carpenters pretty well I was already professional musician, not only appearing in clubs but MAJOR TV and tours and records ... i prefere not to get in comparing The Carpenters with this song, anyway, part of the idea was people to get exposed with other kind of music that I SEE and READ they are exposed too (see, for example thread about: "wich songs i like to play")
4 . Thank you for listening to all the three songs

Hi Alex. Just to be clear-I meant no disrespect to you, and I wasn't trying to call into question your impressive record as a professional musician and drummer. I had no idea "that by 1977 I (you) knew the Carpenters pretty well". What a privilege to know songwriters of such stature as Karen and Richard Carpenter personally! From reading your previous posts I was aware that you had done major tv and tours and records, and had articles written about your skills as a musician. My apologies if I came across as disrespectful in some way, that was not my intention at all. You have my ultimate respect for your status...

I also had no idea whether or not the three songs you posted were done without a click track as there was no indication of that in this post of yours:

"The Dusty Springfield number it´s to me pretty over arranged, violins, punching the piano, guitar with distorsion, choir, etc. (drummer was fine in the context, and is completly in time) It´s like going to a restaurant with ... guys, all talking at the same time (one louder than the other to overtake the whole conversation), but noone saying anything memorable or the ones than do covered by other...

Compare with:"


In point 2 above you said: "2 . I posted those three songs to compare the production and arranging to make a point in what I thought it was the mistake of that song, not the timming."


And THAT is what prompted my post regarding the contemporary production vs. the Dusty Springfield song. You said "not the timming (sic) (timing)". So I was lead to believe that you were simply making a comparison to what you felt was better production vs. the Dusty Springfield production. Which, now that I read your latest post is exactly what your were doing initially...

My *only* point was that, as far as I recall from a listener's position, NOT as a professional musician (I was 14 in 1977), in it's day the production of the Dusty Springfield song would have seemed "normal" and not "overdone". And, to my ears anyway, was similar to a Carpenter tune's production. Not trying to imply whether Dusty Springfield was better or worse than The Carpenters. Just looking at what I feel is a similar production style-especially when compared to the three tunes you posted.

Now that we know the examples you posted were done without a click track, it is not only refreshing, but wonderfully reassuring that there are artists today who can still bring forth great compositions and recordings without having to utilize a click.

Take care
 
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Rock Salad

Junior Member
There is a difference between using a click and using a grid isn't there? I don't have experience to know beyond having watched Rick Beato's video.
When we use a click, I like for it to be just me and let the other players continue to push and pull against it and my playing.
We are looking at trying to book (first time!) studio time and it seems important to at least have an idea about these things.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
There is a difference between using a click and using a grid isn't there? I don't have experience to know beyond having watched Rick Beato's video.
When we use a click, I like for it to be just me and let the other players continue to push and pull against it and my playing.
We are looking at trying to book (first time!) studio time and it seems important to at least have an idea about these things.
Yes there is a difference. The click is just the metronome. The grid is the section of music broken up into deviations like 32nd, 64th, and you can physically snap notes to it. It's the computer. You can fix mistakes with the grid.

The two can work together. If you can lock to a click, it makes being on the grid easy. If you lock to a click but leave the grid alone, you still get that human feeling without being off time. The music can still breathe. If the music requires a more robotic/less human feel, the music can be snapped to the grid for extreme accuracy.

They can work against each other. If you want gridded music (EDM, metal, whatever) and you can't play to a click, the notes are going to be all over the place. Shifting them could be a nightmare.

Basically, the click keeps you in time. The grid allows you to fix/manipulate things easily.
 

Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member
Hey, Mongrel,

Not a problem, your post was not disrespectfull at all, I think sometimes my English is not good enough for me to make myself understand. I never met The Carpenters in person, I did play with people WAY more important than them ´though, but what I meant before is that I know their music very well FROM THE RECORDS (that´s why it was easy for me to post that song specifically), I´m older than you. In 1977 I was 19, and already playing professional, my first profi jobs i played at 15, but then were isolated situations, at 19 i was playing almost everyday.

Then, to me it was evident that the music I posted was recorded without any metrom or similar device, I thought i didn´t even needed to clarify it. That is the way MOST music is recorded and played still today.

The opposite, with metronome, etc. is not the usual, and not just in Jazz. The norm is to have a drummer that plays in time with musicians that do the same and there is no need to use those devices unless very specific circunstances, or "something"...(let´s not get into that).
 
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aminoo

New member
I listened to, and enjoyed all three songs all the way through, Alex. :)

I am trying to understand why you posted them as a response to a thread on non-quantized feel of older music?

Your critique of the Dusty Springfield song seemed to have more to do with your dislike of the style and production of the song rather than anything relating to timing or feel. The songs you provided are all modern songs with completely different feels and production. That Dusty Springfield tune would have sat quite comfortably on peoples "record players" back in 1977, and had the common for the period Carpenters kind of vibe. I'm not really of fan of it either, but I think it's a little unfair to knock it because that's just the way it was. Songs like that were popular, and honestly, I read your post before I listened to the Dusty Springfield tune and was expecting something much worse lol. I didn't think it's as bad as you made it out to be honestly.

Anyway, just thought I would toss my two bones into the mix...

Take care
I listened to, and enjoyed all three songs
 
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