Recording technique

Morbid

Junior Member
Hello all, I need a little help.

Im not new to drumming, just new at trying to record them for an actual song. I'm a multi-instrumentalist, so I'll be recording elec guitars, accoustic, piano and drums, etc.... by myself and I'm baffled as to how to get the drums flowing smoothly with the other instruments..

Currently im taking guitar parts in REAPER and then trying to play drums over the guitar parts, it just never seems to work out. So I guess what im asking is; how do you guys record drum parts? Do you start with the drums then fill in guitars or what.

Do you play with a click track? What is the benefit of that?

Oh, and the genre of music i play is metal / black metal.

Thanks
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Traditionally, the drums and bass parts get laid down first. Those two instruments are basically the glue that holds everything else together, so naturally, those would go down first. Although I have to admit, the advent of the drum machine was monumental because when the Police recording the Synchronicity album, Stewart Copeland said they used the drum machine to lay down a basic beat, and then Sting and Andy could record their parts, and Stewart would sometimes get to lay down his parts after they were done (he was usually the first to be done otherwise). With the drum machine, he was able to think and re-think what he would play and he didn't have to settle for drum parts he laid down in a rush.

That said, if you could play to a basic click track, you could lay all the instruments down first, and then lay down your drums. Or play your drum part along with the click, and then add the other instruments.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Personally, if its a very rhythmic song I would do the drums and bass first, using the other instruments to highlight and accent the sound. If its a riff heavy song you can lay the guitar track down to a click then see what space is left for the drums.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
If the first track is a click track or drum machine then I can synchronize additional tracks. Everything will be in rhythm. I then mute the click or drum track and record a new drum track.

One approach that I use is to record guitar, vocal and drum machine as a pilot track. Then re-record everything using the pilot track as a guide. Then mute the pilot track and use the other tracks.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
I usually record Vocal and Guitar to a click as a throw away track.

Then record Drums. If the drummer is good at playing with a click and they are synced I'll leave the click in when I record the rest. Though there are a bunch of drummers that can't really play with a click so a number of times the click will be turned off after this.

Next comes bass.

Then guitars, lastly vocals.

Clicks are nice to get things synced, but they are no means a must. One thing I like is having a 4 beat intro before it starts recording as well. Usually helps things start correctly. For some bands using a click will completely derail them because they aren't used to it, so that'll have to be your call.

I remember I played bass on one album, and went in and asked why there was no click and I was told the drummer was a bit all over the place and was so off from the track they just turned it off. The stuff still sounded good, it just wasn't laid down perfectly to a click.
 

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
I remember I played bass on one album, and went in and asked why there was no click and I was told the drummer was a bit all over the place and was so off from the track they just turned it off. The stuff still sounded good, it just wasn't laid down perfectly to a click.
Unfortunately then the poor other musicians have to effectively learn the tempo fluctuations in the song. Which means that they have to be really on it if its all over the place!
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Unfortunately then the poor other musicians have to effectively learn the tempo fluctuations in the song. Which means that they have to be really on it if its all over the place!
There is a big difference between "Not perfect", and all over the place. I try very hard not to use a click, I would much rather a song flowed and felt great than it being perfect tempo wise.

If its that far out that someone dancing notices, then that is very bad, but small fluctuations will not be felt by the vast majority of people.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
I've laid drums down first with a drum machine and a scratch track. I personally don't like it because I enjoy melding with the band.

You don't have much choice if you're home recording yourself, though.

You might need to wait for drumming fluidity. Multi instrumentalists whose main instrument isn't drums, in my experience, tend to be less fluid than dedicated drummers, barring a few freaks of nature. Fluidity comes with practice.
 
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