What are drummers for?

roncadillac

Member
We are for the boomin' and a bappin'. All'bout them boom baps, baby.

Lol, I jest. In moments of band related frustrations I've been known to joke about "I just sit there and boom bap".

As to the topic of the post, I don't have a problem with programmed drums. I have a drum machine and a midi controller and an ekit and have dabbled with acoustic drum looping, it's great fun and you can do really cool stuff with it. It's also an economical way for a producer to put out a million dollar song in a few days, it makes business sense. There also is an art to it.
 

Benthedrummer

Well-known Member
I know you meant it tongue in cheek but you just described me fairly accurately. Uncanny, really.

I like to think that people will eventually get tired of the perfection (auto-tune, snapping to the grid etc.) and will one day crave a more authentic, organic experience. Flesh and blood musicians will hopefully never go out of style.

I like this.

I think there's the personal element too that is forgotten here.

The drummer is another member to bounce ideas off, another member to talk to about a personal issue a band member may have, another member in the band's social network, another member to share the joy with a successful gig, another member who can pick up a broken down singer or guitarist.......we are more than "boom-boom-tish".
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Platinum Member
Meshuggah's Catch 33 album is entirely programmed (drums). I'd never know it if I hadn't been told.



It's a sad commentary on music and society in general. The things we do, because we have "discovered" how to, don't necessarily amount to something better for us as a species.
We are human, and we seem to be doing all we can to take that away from ourselves. What will we have then?

What is there more to cherish and admire in music than the musician's performance?

agreed 100%!!

we will not die out due to nuclear war, or climate change or whatever...we will die out b/c we are making ourselves obsolete with all of the automation that is happening...
 

JimmyM

Gold Member
I can't imagine Buckethead gets a 6-figure recording budget on his albums. The more stuff he can do on his own, the less it costs him, and the less time it takes to get what he wants. And if he can't play drums, he can program them.
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
I'm not familiar with programing, but do you get the same dynamics as a real drummer?
For the stuff I'm talking about, I think the programmer goes in there and picks every note and can set the dynamics. When they do it right, the parts are all realistic in the sense of being able to be played with four limbs, and the drum software puts in some timing and dynamic randomness to make it sound real.
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
Another thought. In the context of modern recording, where (I think) it is quite common for the musicians to do their parts one at a time to a click, is there a big difference between (a) drummer develops his drum part, writes it down note for note and practices until he can play it, (b) a band leader (say Zappa) writes the drum part and hands it to a drummer (Bozzio) who practices until he can play it, or (c) the band leader writes the drum part and feeds it into a realistic drum program that immediately renders it with a programmed amount of timing and dynamic "error" for extra realism?

If you think of Neil Peart as an example. I think he meticulously designed his drum parts and played them note for note every time. Does it matter if he plays them vs. just programs them for a machine to play? It's a rhetorical question. For me, there's something huge about experiencing the music knowing that someone really played it. But at the same time, I'm probably fooling myself since lots of music I love is probably a composite of multiple takes with timing fixes and substitutions all over the place...

Missing from this, of course, is live improvised music.
 

C. Dave Run

Well-known Member
For the stuff I'm talking about, I think the programmer goes in there and picks every note and can set the dynamics. When they do it right, the parts are all realistic in the sense of being able to be played with four limbs, and the drum software puts in some timing and dynamic randomness to make it sound real.
I did some programming for a local hip hop artist I worked with during the day. He used Reason to create drum tracks. He could go in and control velocities of each sample. It was pretty easy to tweak the robot out of the drum parts.

He could also control parameters of sounds, add effects to them, etc. This was around 02-03.

He looped his melody and I played drum parts with a keyboard. He would then go in and listen to what I did, cut/paste/loop what he liked, and then manipulate stuff accordingly. I was really only there for efficiency.
 

JimmyM

Gold Member
Another thought. In the context of modern recording, where (I think) it is quite common for the musicians to do their parts one at a time to a click, is there a big difference between (a) drummer develops his drum part, writes it down note for note and practices until he can play it, (b) a band leader (say Zappa) writes the drum part and hands it to a drummer (Bozzio) who practices until he can play it, or (c) the band leader writes the drum part and feeds it into a realistic drum program that immediately renders it with a programmed amount of timing and dynamic "error" for extra realism?

If you think of Neil Peart as an example. I think he meticulously designed his drum parts and played them note for note every time. Does it matter if he plays them vs. just programs them for a machine to play? It's a rhetorical question. For me, there's something huge about experiencing the music knowing that someone really played it. But at the same time, I'm probably fooling myself since lots of music I love is probably a composite of multiple takes with timing fixes and substitutions all over the place...

Missing from this, of course, is live improvised music.
A lot of bands try to avoid punching, especially with drums. Drums aren’t too easy to punch. And having once programmed a pseudo YYZ part on a drum machine, it makes a huge difference to hear an actual drummer do it. Depends on the music, the players and producer whether programming works out. But considering that so many bands still use real drummers, even hip hop nowadays, I think you’re in no danger of becoming obsolete.
 

Sausagetoad

Member
I think a live drummer is a focal point...I always like to watch the drummer. Matter of fact, I always hate when they have a 'boy band' performing and they're just singing and dancing and you can't see the band. Even old Motown acts. They're great, but show the band too.
 

jda

Active Member
(physical drummers/physical drumsets) drummers are for covering tunes live locally to local audiences sometimes outdoors in the afternoons.. Local..
Like the song goes 'they can't take that away'..

whats' done on big stage's or in dark studio's who cares;
can't take away the joy of a live (not dead) drummer on a drumset
 

calan

Silver Member
To me, besides being very pro-living breathing drummer vs. programmed.......I can see how today's programmed drums are fantastic tools or canvases for songwriters and players to practice or write to.

Conversely, programming is also great for drummers like me to communicate melodic concepts since my facility at actually playing strings/keys/horns/woodwinds/etc is well below the level required to demonstrate my ideas.

If I were to program a part well enough that it lives through to a final version, so be it. It's not always strictly necessary or viable to replace those things with human players.

I'd still rather have my rudimentary parts and concepts explored and fleshed out by a person because I just like the interplay and collaborative process of music making in a group setting.

To that end, I also have little issue with programmed drums. I have an issue with poorly programmed drums, or boring songs and lazy songwriters, but those things are greatly subjective.

I don't care that a future emphasis on programming may make drumming a less lucrative or viable career if programming becomes more prevalent. I can still listen to recordings with live drummers. I can still play my drums. I imagine the bands I enjoy that use live drummers will continue to do so.

I also don't care that a future emphasis on programming may (for better or worse) make music of the present and future sound different than the music of yesteryear.
 

JimmyM

Gold Member
Drums are coming back just like tube amps because the alternative wasn't better, just cheaper and more convenient.
Truest statement in the thread, especially the tube amp part (drums really sound great run through high quality tube pres, too). And now we have drummers trying to emulate drum machines just because even when they try to cop the machine sound, it still sounds better.
 
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calan

Silver Member
Truest statement in the thread, especially the tube amp part (drums really sound great run through high quality tube pres, too). And now we have drummers trying to emulate drum machines just because even when they try to cop the machine sound, it still sounds better.
I don't think that statement holds a lot of water either.

Most bass players I see live around here ( whether on the local, regional, or national level) are using small format amps with Class D power sections. In the past 10 years, I'd wager I've seen an actual tube head as part of a live bass rig less than 5 times.

It's certainly not as common yet in the world of treble guitar, but direct to PA floorboards, Axe FX are becoming more common. There are also some newer amps (like the Orange CR 120 and some of the Boss stuff) that have carved out their own niches.
 

jda

Active Member
don't disagree with Jimmy or else he post a picture portion of his drum set not ready to see yet
just say; "yes Jimmy yes'.. : 0 lol
 

JimmyM

Gold Member
I don't think that statement holds a lot of water either.

Most bass players I see live around here ( whether on the local, regional, or national level) are using small format amps with Class D power sections. In the past 10 years, I'd wager I've seen an actual tube head as part of a live bass rig less than 5 times.

It's certainly not as common yet in the world of treble guitar, but direct to PA floorboards, Axe FX are becoming more common. There are also some newer amps (like the Orange CR 120 and some of the Boss stuff) that have carved out their own niches.
This thread is about recording, I thought.
 

calan

Silver Member
This thread is about recording, I thought.
Well, it is. But also composition and live performance. And probably also things like interpersonal dynamics, logistics, and all the other myriad things that may be important to anybody who plays music with one or more people.
 

JimmyM

Gold Member
Well, it is. But also composition and live performance. And probably also things like interpersonal dynamics, logistics, and all the other myriad things that may be important to anybody who plays music with one or more people.
Well no question that solid state is finally making some real headway in its quest to be as good as tubes, and no question many bassists (if not as many guitarists) like solid state better. I like the schlep of my micros better, I'll tell you that. But tube amps have made a huge comeback in bass over the last 20 years, especially on major pro stages. Nobody really wants to schlep an SVT and 810, but I'm even seeing more of them on mid-level stages these days. I'd still do it if I could, but I do have a little 50w Ampeg. Plenty of juice.
 

GretschedHive

Silver Member
Huh! Good gawd, y'all!

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Rock Salad

Junior Member
Heck I'd probably be a percussion programmer if I had the chops and especially patience for that type of WORK, you can do anything with it. But music for me is Play

So to answer the question: drummers are for play (some are anti work too)
 
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