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  • click track madness

    As I am trying to make a high quality demo, I realize the need for a click track. Especially since my timing can sometimes fluctuate with the intensity/emotion of the song. My problem is this. Most of my bands songs are composed of multiple tempos. I cannot set one click tempo for an entire song as some songs have breakdowns that slowdown. Actually I have a few songs where the verse's are like 120 bpm and the chorus is about 95 bpm. So, using so basic editing software I am making some click tracks that have 8 measures(verse) of 120bpm into 4 measures of 95 bpm(chorus). I also have some songs where the difference between verse and chorus speed is only like 15 bpm. Should I flatten the timing in these song to one solid tempo. The song loses all its feel when I do this. I dont know if making these varying click tracks is a definite recording no-no. When we play live it all just comes together fine, but when we have to each track individually it much more difficult to hold it together through these changing tempos. Even with the click tracks it still sounds a little weird with these abrupt tempo changes. When we play live the changes are much smoother. Has anyone ever had to deal with this???????????????????????????????
    -Drumlogic, V-session, Visulite/roland cymbals, (2)Mackie srm-450's, bbe 482 sonic maximizer,

  • #2
    This can be very difficult. I played live with a click track for two years and it took me at least one to be totaly comfortable with it. The trouble with the changing tempo is that you are having to guess what the click is jumping to. All I can sugest is you get the various tempo's to exactly what you think they should be and then practice on your own hitting the right ones when it changes. There really is no easy solution. I would hate to think you would start useing the same tempo alway through as what you do would probably sound like the rest of the mono tempo stuff we here.

    If all fails then practice with a metronome and get the band to do likewise. This will help your own timing. Then when it comes to recording ditch the metronnome and get a natural feel.

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    • #3
      I think Mark is on target. Lately I have had to deal with requests to use the click track. Since I play with rotating musicians, timing can be a real problem. Different folks play different versions and styles so different mixes of people really add to normal time keeping problems. I recently noticed when listening to CD's that in many cases the click track only keeps up with them for so long and then it drifts. I'm not all that surprised and think it gives the song a natural feel. It seems to work when the musicians have the ability to keep time and drift is due to the emotion or intensity the piece requires. It doesn't work when drift is due to inability to maintain steady time.

      You could have someone else making the adjustments on the TD while you are playing. They can turn it off just before the tempo change, change tempo and turn it on again at the start of the tempo change. Some visual cues would be helpful to the band when they do this.

      If it's a gradual, smooth transition when changing tempo, I think you are out of luck and asking for something not found in any piece of equipment I know about (of course that isn't all that many). It would be possible to do this by defining the bars it takes to make the transition, the starting and ending tempo and then averaging the decay or increase over the number of bars, to get you to the new tempo, but... Again, having someone giving visual cues during the transition may be the answer rather than asking for a machine to do this.

      Bottom line is that it's a tool better used in practice to get you where you need to be for live performance.
      Kit Pic 1 Kit Pic 2 Kit Pic 3... And FOR SALE I have: 3 PD-9's, MDS-10 purple rack w/cables/pad and cym mounts. See classified posts for details or PM me.

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      • #4
        Just forget about using a click track and record the band as live as you can with as many tracks as possible. Then just dub in the parts that need replacing or added. The band members will be able to deal with it and it will have the energy and flow you are looking for. A lot of great music is not played at a steady tempo. Don't worry about it, unless you are trying to make highly repetitive hip hop or dance music.

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        • #5
          Sequencers that run on pc's can have ramped tempo changes.(I use cubase) I also use to use a roland mc50 and we could make ramped tempo changes on that too.

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          • #6
            I have been playing the drums for 27 years
            and I have a couple of suggestions.First about the click.Let it be your friend,most
            drummers try to FIGHT the click.Let the click
            flow naturally with your drumming.I know this
            can be hard if you have not had much experience with it.If you have good musicians
            you should be able to get away with NOT using
            the click on the songs that have varying
            tempos.All great drummers have used clicks-
            that's a fact.Second suggestion-practice with
            a click as much as possible.Remember not to
            concentrate too hard on the click,try not
            to listen specifically for the click.Use it
            as a background helper.If you practice enough
            with a click and then you go to record in the
            studio you will have NO problem.I recorded
            an album last year and had no problem whatsoever with the click.And we had a couple
            of songs with varying tempos and we opted
            not to use the click track.The album came
            out fine.Just remember that the click is
            your friend.Drumming all comes down to one
            thing-TIME.You can have all the chops in the
            world,but if you can't keep solid time then
            your drumming is useless.
            89vett
            Drumming for over 25 years.
            My uncle is a professional jazz\big band
            drummer in L.A. and has been in modern drummer for anyone interested.Look on page
            142 in the issue with Jimmy Chamberlin on the cover.He played with Woody Herman,Red Garland,Peggy Lee,Mike Nesmith,Richard Groove
            Holmes,etc.Jack Ranelli is his name.

            Comment


            • #7
              89Vett and all,
              Great posts. I have a question. I noticed that "great" drummers, drummers that have very solid time. Some of them do keep time with one of their feet, sometimes during a roll, or sometimes throughout the whole song.
              (Tapping or silent stepping to constant 8th notes, 16th notes, etc) either on hihat or bass drum. (Eg, Omar Hakim, Richie Morales)
              My guess is that this would surely help in keeping time.
              But I have also noticed some other great drummers not needing to do this at all. Eg
              Billy Cobham, Terry Bozzio, yet their time is still impeccable..

              What are you guys' opinions on this.. ?


              Fon

              Fon.

              TD8 with PD7's, 2 KD7's (From previous TD7)
              Tama Rockstar with mix of Sabian, Zildjian and Paiste.

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              • #8
                To me this depends on what the song needs. It can sound good to have the hi-hat or bass drum running but at other times it does not. I tend to do both. When not tapping a foot I kind of feel the tempo/beat in my head so I can then physicaly play around with the drums but the metronome in my head keeps going (Not always though).

                I agree the notion that the click is a friend. I found after playing live with one for three years I could sit back on the beat or push forward and still stay in time. I think this is where I got my metronome in my head from as I found I could play around with time incredably while the click kept the reference for me. Could also play some very strange fills as the click helps you know were you are.

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                • #9
                  Mark,
                  I don't mean keeping the hihat or bass drum
                  sounding all the time, but I am talking about
                  the "silent" steppings on the hihat(or bass), with foot always down on the hihat. But only legs move. Thus hihat is always down and silent.

                  Anyway, yes, I know what you mean about the strange fills with the help of the metronome..

                  Fon.

                  TD8 with PD7's, 2 KD7's (From previous TD7)
                  Tama Rockstar with mix of Sabian, Zildjian and Paiste.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hello? You're in a studio or recording environment here. Not live. That's what the studio and tracking are all about.(unless you absolutely have to have a live feel demo this is what I suggest You can do punch ins or just track say the drums first. Play the first tempo with click while recording all the way up to the tempo change and stop. then set your click to the next tempo and punch the drums in. play that full new tempo, etc. do this for each change. then, your band will have a solid, full drum track as a foundation to build on. Then say record the bass guitar. You won't to worry about click track after you lay the drum track, cause it's already there. Good luck.

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                    • #11
                      exactly...record the parts separately. Don't kill the song by flattening the tempo.

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                      • #12
                        In a recording situation, it's always spontaneous. I've found that when I start a new project with someone, I always talk over how we're going to do things, and if timing is really important to the song, it's always a good idea to bring up with them how we will keep time. I suggest just playing through the song without a metronome and just see how it works out. In the world of recording, every situation is different, and you need to be well rounded to accomidate for all artists and their ways of doing things.

                        Good Luck!
                        The best damn kid in the record industry. Maybe.

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                        • #13
                          Don't forget

                          The suggestion of recording the parts of the song separately, is how many progressive bands have achieved what in the final result seems complex.
                          I've tracked entro chorus bridge---and so on,in parts to my multi tracks and then after my mix down to two tracks, I spliced them together with Cakewalk. I've even used T-racks in this scenario. So many good editors to choose from.
                          I'm sure there are many different technique's but this way has worked for me the best,when It comes to tempo changes.
                          Good luck

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                          • #14
                            I've pracitced w/ metronomes a lot. I'm not sure if it's the same thing as playing with a click. In the playing situations I've been in, I haven't had the ability to use a click live. There have been some where I would have given a lot to do so.

                            For one of the bands I'm in right now, I got tired of basically "guessing" tempo for each song. You know what I mean, not really guess, but human behavior dictates it won't be exactly the same every time.

                            I took my sampler and recorded a few bars each of count-off tempos w/ various instruments, and just left it at a few bars each. This way, we can start off the song in the same place, but still be able to push it a little this way or that if we want.

                            -Jaay

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                            • #15
                              Ok, I have NO idea if this will fit your need but I played in a wedding band at one point in my life(don't tell anyone else on this board).

                              Wehad to play a song called "mountain music" by Alabama. We didn't have a bass player, so that, and many other parts were sequenced. In that song, the is a little drum fill/breakdown before a fiddle solo. The breakdown was more felt then in time AND at one point the bass comes in with the drums. I'm thinking this was done visually with the actual band...because I've played it live with a bass player with no problems as well.

                              Anyway, this breakdown starts slow and gradually speeds up to double time. To get the click to do this seemed almost impossible. So we did the opposite. I knew how it went, so we had the click follow me for that part! It was in a program called performer (i'm sure others have this) but it would calculate tempos based on tapping, and map a tempo map accordingly...I may even have a file of it yet. It worked really well, because it was based on what I FELT. To my amazement I flet it the same every time. It was odd hearing the click stop, doing my drum hing and all of sudden this bass line would come in with me. Pretty cool. But I followed the standard click for the first part of the song, had the breakdown recorded with MY feel, then it kicked back into a standard click again! So, it may be possible for you to play to a standard click, then have the click follow your feel when needed, then go back to following it again. It is pretty amazing when people here you in near perfect time, go off of it, and nail it again!

                              Wow, long explanation.

                              My gut feeling though is to just record it. Sometime music is meant to be imperfectly perfect.

                              Good luck.

                              Also, MD had an article recently on what pros use in their clicks. It seems, at least from the article, hardly ANY use jusr 1, 2, 3, 4. Most use a bunch of different sounds playing different parts at the same time.

                              woodblock on 1
                              cowbell on 2,3,4
                              Shaker on eigths
                              percussion to imply groove
                              4 hits on tamb to imply chorus next
                              ...things like that.

                              hope that helps!

                              Chad
                              There are only three kinds of people in this world, those who can count and those who can't!

                              Chad

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