Should I stay or should I go?

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Oh, his last drummer keeps giving excuses to not show up. The Bassist quit him some time ago... He's solo now except for me trying it out. This lead was given to me by a friend. I felt obligated to at least try. By himself, it sounds great.
this is important...follow up. Even if it leads to a situation like this, you have to do the pro thing and follow up on a lead. Even if the follow up is telling the guy that you can't. Glad to see you say that!
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I'm an amateur and if I didn't play with anyone who couldn't follow a click, I'd never play with anyone. I don't think I've met a non-pro musician (other than drummers) who can play with a click or practices with a metronome regularly.

I've taken a different approach, where now my time is very fluid and I go with the flow. My mental image is that of a pianist hired to accompany a tenor for a recital. In that scenario, the pianist might be the more accomplished musician, but the spotlight is on the tenor.

Of course, the same guys who can't keep time then complain that the drums aren't forceful enough. So you can never really win, but you can work with what you've got - or move on.
Same here.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I'm an amateur and if I didn't play with anyone who couldn't follow a click, I'd never play with anyone. I don't think I've met a non-pro musician (other than drummers) who can play with a click or practices with a metronome regularly.
Many of us in the over-40 crowd didn't have metronomes (in today's sense of the word) when we began. Yes, we had pendulum/mechanical metronomes, but I spent more time practicing fly-fishing to one than I did guitar. Pre-90's, the drummer was the metronome. Drummers would sometimes use the early electronic rotary-dial metronome to get the tempo, turn it it off, and begin the song, but that wasn't the norm.

I still have studio charts from the 90's with descriptions like "Fast 100bpm", which means approximately ~105 BPM.

I wholeheartedly agree that any remote-collaborative-recording efforts go a LOT smoother if there is a metronome, and probably wouldn't subject myself to the alternative again.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
When I was a kid first learning how to play I would practice to one of those electric metronomes that were a black box with a dial on the front. I think it was called a Franz. Some had a light on top. Mine didn't. But the only time I would practice to it was when I was doing pad work and rudiments.

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Woolwich

Silver Member
To carry on with the metronome comments, I don't think we're talking about musicians keeping absolute metronomic time here. I use Live BPM and I'll see that some songs have tempo changes of a BPM or two as they get into the solo or middle eight or whatever. And sometimes I'll not keep perfect time and a song will cross the finish line a BPM or three ahead of how it started. This is stuff that can be rectified with fine tuning. The OP is talking about a situation where the song starts at 87 BPM and finishes at 101. Now if it's a song about a train journey and the tempo change is there to add urgency then that's fine. But if it's a song that's supposed to go in a relatively straight line from A to B then a 14 BPM difference doesn't sound acceptable.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
I agree with Woolwich. Unless you are playing to a click then time is bound to fluctuate a bpm or three from beginning to end. More than that and you have a time problem. Unless of course that is by design.

Funny thing was said to me last night. I jammed for the third time with a group of guys. Just for fun. No real intent on playing out, at least not yet. Last night the bass player didn't show so the time was all on me. Until I started playing with these guys I hadn't played with people for 15 years. And I know that I need lots of brushing up on stuff. But the lead singer said to me after we were done, that when I lay back and try not to play too loud, my pocket isn't great. But he said when I let loose and play harder, he said I really lock into the pocket and sound a lot better. At this phase of my playing days, at age 57, I'll take any compliment I can get. I took it as a compliment rather than a critcism. Although it clearly points out that I need to shake off the rust. And that's exactly what playing simple classic rock will do. I hope I didn't derail the thread.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
I agree with Woolwich. Unless you are playing to a click then time is bound to fluctuate a bpm or three from beginning to end. More than that and you have a time problem. Unless of course that is by design.

Funny thing was said to me last night. I jammed for the third time with a group of guys. Just for fun. No real intent on playing out, at least not yet. Last night the bass player didn't show so the time was all on me. Until I started playing with these guys I hadn't played with people for 15 years. And I know that I need lots of brushing up on stuff. But the lead singer said to me after we were done, that when I lay back and try not to play too loud, my pocket isn't great. But he said when I let loose and play harder, he said I really lock into the pocket and sound a lot better. At this phase of my playing days, at age 57, I'll take any compliment I can get. I took it as a compliment rather than a critcism. Although it clearly points out that I need to shake off the rust. And that's exactly what playing simple classic rock will do. I hope I didn't derail the thread.
I feel that when I'm pulling back, the whole of the product suffers. And it confounds me. Coming up with that balance, of not being too loud versus lacking the pizzazz...you are not alone, MntnMan62.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Having more elastic time is okay when it's done well. But the thing is to do it well ALL the players have to be listening with huge ears and adjusting to each other as things change... Having one guy dragging everyone else around the tempo stage usually sounds pretty bad to me and maximizes/amplifies his individual rush/drag issues.

Honestly this thread was done the moment that guitar player said the click was "messing up his time". Even if you don't normally want to play to a click, not actually being able to do it signals you aren't really listening or playing with the other members.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Having more elastic time is okay when it's done well. But the thing is to do it well ALL the players have to be listening with huge ears and adjusting to each other as things change... Having one guy dragging everyone else around the tempo stage usually sounds pretty bad to me and maximizes/amplifies his individual rush/drag issues.

Honestly this thread was done the moment that guitar player said the click was "messing up his time". Even if you don't normally want to play to a click, not actually being able to do it signals you aren't really listening or playing with the other members.
pretty much, this....
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
I feel that when I'm pulling back, the whole of the product suffers. And it confounds me. Coming up with that balance, of not being too loud versus lacking the pizzazz...you are not alone, MntnMan62.
Yeah. At this point I chalk it up to the fact that I'm very rusty. I also think that to play well but somewhat quietly or reserved takes some real skill. Skill I definitely don't have at the moment. It's possible I may never have had that skill. If I ever did, it was a very very long time ago. Like back when I was in college and actually had chops that I was somewhat proud of. But not since then.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I'm an amateur and if I didn't play with anyone who couldn't follow a click, I'd never play with anyone. I don't think I've met a non-pro musician (other than drummers) who can play with a click or practices with a metronome regularly.

I've taken a different approach, where now my time is very fluid and I go with the flow. My mental image is that of a pianist hired to accompany a tenor for a recital. In that scenario, the pianist might be the more accomplished musician, but the spotlight is on the tenor.
Whilst I agree with you to a degree, as I play with some players who really don't like a click because they find it too naked a reference, by implication, any musician who finds it impossible to follow a click, also can't follow a drummer who keeps good time excepting very close interpretation cooperation between players.

Don't get me wrong, 95% of my playing is without a click, & in that context, there's all the usual push / pull and energy driven tempo changes, but those changes are either agreed in advance within the arrangement, or communicated during the performance via a close musical "conversation".

It's clear the OP is getting zero back in terms of accommodating or fostering a close interpretive musical cooperation. A drummer stands no chance of "following" another musician who wants to float time without any attempt to communicate required changes.
 

TMe

Senior Member
It's clear the OP is getting zero back in terms of accommodating or fostering a close interpretive musical cooperation. A drummer stands no chance of "following" another musician who wants to float time without any attempt to communicate required changes.
Agreed. My usual excuse is that the music would be better without drums.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
Yeah. At this point I chalk it up to the fact that I'm very rusty. I also think that to play well but somewhat quietly or reserved takes some real skill. Skill I definitely don't have at the moment. It's possible I may never have had that skill. If I ever did, it was a very very long time ago. Like back when I was in college and actually had chops that I was somewhat proud of. But not since then.
I went 20 years without playing, as well. I've been back gigging for about 5 years now, so I can't say that its still "rust". Perhaps I never had that skill, either. It also depends on the music that I'm playing, the more energy the song requires will dictate my effectiveness at lower volumes.

Sorry for the derail, folks. I cannot imagine trying to work out the scenario the OP is in right now. It certainly appears that his guitarist should pursue a solo act...and the OP should play with some folks that have a basic sense of time. Both would be happier, methinks
 

skinslapper27

Junior Member
Well I'm a little "behind the beat" on this one myself actually, in terms of response time!

Didn't want to sift through the numerous comments here so if this is a reiteration of another's point then please forgive me.

Did this gentleman you're collaborating with really say that the drummer's "'only' purpose is time keeping"? Not only is that untrue, and a very bland view of the art of drumming, but it seems a bit offensive and rude, no? That attitude alone would put me off!
As for my recommendation in this situation:
  1. If you desire stay in this project: since you went to the trouble of objectively ascertaining that his timekeeping was inconsistent, show him these results; he can't argue with the metronome. If he still tries to deny the issue or pass the buck, walk away.
  2. If you desire to walk away: just make up an excuse for the gear: "my friend/local church/whatever needs to borrow it". He can hardly make a fuss about you doing what you like with your gear, particularly when (purportedly) helping others in need!
    If he does, again sounds like ya gotta walk away!

    Hope that is helpful.
 

mrfingers

Senior Member
I would really, really like to know the cause(s) for this lack of time awareness on the part of guitarists and singers. Have they never played or sung in school group where they followed a director? Do they just sit in a room and play or sing alone with nothing to follow?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I would really, really like to know the cause(s) for this lack of time awareness on the part of guitarists and singers. Have they never played or sung in school group where they followed a director? Do they just sit in a room and play or sing alone with nothing to follow?
I don't know what the causes are but my guess is that guitarists for example never really studied time for time's sake. Guitarists can drop out at any time, so they are not responsible for maintaining the time like we are. They are kept busy with all the chord/melody/lead/harmony stuff. As long as they are a good follower, learning great time is not that pressing of an issue is my guess. Ever had a guitar player play a song just to familiarize others with the chord changes, and it's all out of time, but still way understandable? I can completely understand what the are trying to get across, even out of time. Now if a drummer was showing me something, we don't have the luxury of being able to play out of time because the stuff we play doesn't make any sense out of time. The drum HAS to be in time to make sense. So IMO, it's way more understandable that the melodic players time isn't up to snuff, in the same way that drummer's melody/harmony theory aren't up to snuff, generally speaking.
 
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