Remember tempos when about to count off.FRUSRATING


Platinum Member
Rather than sing the chorus in your head, which is affected by your inner clock and you're basically right back where you started... try to 'hear' it playing instead, as if listening to a recording.
That's basically how I do it. I imagine the recording playing (that's what I'm singing to myself) and get my tempo cue from that.

Are you saying not to do that?


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Well, I guess imagining it is the same as 'hearing' it, just make sure you don't do anything to affect what you hear in your head - no foot tapping, no singing to youself, no bobbing your head, etc. Otherwise, you're imposing your tempo on the song. Just hear it, let it play in your head. Don't generate the song in any way. I know, it's kind conceptual, but it works if you do it right.

If you're not getting the right tempo, pick a song that's about the same tempo that you're very familiar with.



Silver Member
Gregg Bissonette used a drum machine while on tour with Joe Satriani to nail every tempo. No shame in using one.
You can use a metronome with a blinking LED light to quickly switch tempos without hearing anything too. Although for tight transitions having a metronome in-ear is really useful.

I once played with a rock band whose lead singer would arbitrarily comment on a song being too slow, although we had played it for months to the same BPM. Made me laugh because over the months I noticed all our song tempos converging in the 160-165 BPM range. The same vocalist also insisted on doubling as a garbage can percussionist at certain points in our show, often causing trainwrecks by speeding up or coming in noticeably off time and plowing on ahead with disregard to the timing of the rest of the band.


Senior Member
This is something that pretty much comes with experience. Right before you begin clicking the song off, sing the chorus to yourself. This will automatically give you the tempo. Stay relaxed, too. Try not to get frustrated at this. You'll get it : )

Jim Mattingly

Senior Member
I don't care what anyone says, if you are setting the tempo for say even 1/3 of the songs out of 4 sets you will never get everyone right every single time. The important thing is that if all the members in the band are professional and none of them are of the "DIVA" personality it is expected and they will be able to adapt/adjust as needed, play the song and move on to the next without it being an issue, until "discussed" at break. I have literally seen a bass player stop a song while playing live a few bars into it and say it needs to be started over because the tempo was not right, never, ever stop and and start over, unless it is at rehearsal. Even the real pros never get it right every single time, it is just hard to notice it happens, just the nature of the beast.


Junior Member
I use the Tama Rhythm Watch RW105, you can program up to 30 tempos. By programming the set I can advance to the next song with the tap of the program button. I turn the volume down and glance at the flashing lights. Sometimes at rehearsal, I use the stereo mini headphone out directly into my in ear bodypack and use the volume on the RW105 to get the mix between my monitor and the click. I can hear the metronome but nobody else can. I am ALWAYS on the mark, which is good because that is my job.

Singing the the first few lines in your head is good if you don't have the fancy tools, but I can't imagine a drummer spending thousands on a kit and not spending $90 on a full featured metronome. It's all about time and space.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I use the Tama Rhythm Watch RW105, you can program up to 30 tempos.
I had the RW100, and it wasn't as programmable, and certainly didn't hold the tempos when turned off.

I got the Korg Beatlab, which is programmable as well, but lets you key in the tempo you want on a keypad. If I need 98bpm one song and 168 the next, it's just three keystrokes.