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Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by lefty, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. lefty


    Sep 25, 2004
    what do you think about a jazz band playing with a drum machine? i think it sucks the life out of a preformace, i think that playing jazz, if you don`t have a drummer that night, play without drums i see it done all the time and i think it sounds good even without drums. what do you think?
  2. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    It's better to have no drums than a drum machine. You would be limited in styles of music, or alteast it will be very challenging.
  3. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    +1 Our drummer couldn't make it to the last open stage, so they used the drum machine from the keyboard. Blahhhhh. I would rather have no drums.
  4. CanadianBass48


    May 8, 2005
    Ont, Can
    I say forget it man. That is just way to cheezy. I think that if I was in the audeance that I would be more distracted but the drum thingy the watching the band. Of course, most people are so dense that they would probably ask you after the show where the drum set was. I don't know. I would say that it would throw off you groove man.

  5. ok - I am getting ready to duck for cover here... :bag:

    but I program drum parts regularly due to the fact that it is very difficult for us to find drummers for our project bands. And if I do say so myself, since I have a strong appreciation for good drummers and good drum parts, I program what I consider to be very 'real' and 'human' parts. What I have found is that when the drum part is crafted properly it can be an awesome substitute for a missing drummer. For a live situation... well... not so sure about that, but I do believe it can be done. The audience would always prefer the real thing, but if the robot is a good one and the players playing off of that robot are on their game, it can be a fine way to do a performance.

    However, I have also been in situations where I have played with multiple guitar players and no drummer and as long as one of the guitar players adopts a very heavily rhythmic role, you can go drummerless pretty effortlessly.

    It all depends on the drum machine program and if you are simply relying on default patterns or hand-crafted, human influenced programs.

    Finally, there is a software drum machine called "Groove Agent" that is pretty amazing in the fact that it has a ton of 'human' built into it. Including 'random', 'humanize' and other settings that insert random human elements into the tons of awesome pre-built patterns.

    But nothing beats playing with a GOOD DRUMMER! Nothing.
  6. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    Ewwwww!!! I hates drum machines. Hates 'em, I tells ya!

    They're ok for practice, if you just *have* to, but, honestly, better to not have any drum at all, than to have a machine. *Especially* for jazz!

    I prefer to play with a drummer, but won't play with a drum machine unless someone makes me, and pays me to do it.

  7. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'd rather play with a real drummer, but many times I'd rather have a drum machine than no drums at all. Even for Jazz.

    For practicing, I'd like to hear the swing of the ride cymbal so that I get the feel of the tune. Drum machines now a days swing pretty well, and if you're using sampled drum loops, they swing pretty d@mn good. It's also a way to learn new beats that your drummer isn't familiar with.

    For practical purposes, playing with a drum machine isn't much different than playing along to a CD. You're not interacting with a CD any more than a machine.
  8. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    personally, i am very bad with programming drum parts so i try to find non-drum sounds to mess with. i would also suggest keeping the drums to a minimum, such as having just a light snare and a light ride/hihat pattern going.
  9. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    +1 I too program drum parts for all kinds of music and for different reasons. Sometimes they are simple 'scratch tracks' for studio work and are eventually left out of the mix, or the 'real' drummer plays around them, depends on the music and the effect.

    But the basic idea here is that a badly programmed drum track is almost worst than a bad drummer. Why almost? The drum track will keep steady tempo. What most people think is that computers, MIDI, drum tracks can be turned on and will function at the same high level as a live musician. Sorry, it just isn't that way. The drum machine is an instrument and MUST be mastered just like any other instrument (and practiced too!).

    The next step is difficult too, if you are playing with a drum machine or track, you have to approach that playing situation differently than with an all live band. Don't expect the track to respond to you, it won't and if you can't keep steady tempo or follow the click track in a musically meaningful way, you'll be found out.

    Just because a machine or a track shows no mercy doesn't mean its bad, it just means you have to be on a different game. If you don't practice with a drum machine, don't expect to play out with one successfully.

    Yes, you have to make some compromises if you play with machines. And if you are in a live band and the guitar player doesn't read, or your live drummer is too loud, or can't keep a steady time, if your singer goes flat and needs all the music transposed to unfamilar keys, well..... you'll be making compromises too.
  10. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    tZer and BassChuck, you both take the time to program drum parts. You must know in advance what is going to be played.

    I think most of use are used to "Which do you want, Shuffle 1 or Shuffle 2?". You cannot have dynamics, pauses, or tempo changes because the drum machine is going to go "Boom Chucka Boom Chucka" ad infinitum.

    In fact the guy "running" the drum machine is probably busy playing and is going to either muff the ending or let the drum machine run on a bit too long.

    And, let's be honest here, these machine can also do the bass line. Why hire a bass player and drummer and have to split the cash with them if a machine can do it?

    So some of the animosity towards drum machines is that we lose gigs to them. They are the competition.
  11. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Not necessarily, they are tools and when used by someone competent, they make music like any other instrument.
    The best programmers of drum machines tend to be drummers. Why? They understand rhythm and drums. Synthesizers and groove boxes won't replace bassists either. I don't see why a techno-midi junky would program a cooler groove and play a funkier synth bass line better than a competent bassist?

    There's the human element that can't be replaced, but don't forsake know how in using the tools. Musicians will usually have the upper hand over technicians.
  12. lefty


    Sep 25, 2004
    playing jazz for me is about playing real music with real musicians, so when i play a live gig and our drummer can't be there, it think in my opinion that we just play without drums that night. so far all the musicians playing jazz that i have gone and seen either have a drummer or they don`t (without a machine) i can't see using something like a drum machine playing LIVE jazz.
  13. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    Well then, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. I have yet to hear a drum machine I liked the sound of. And, as I said, they're ok for practice, like cd's are. But I wouldn't want to perform with one.

  14. remember, some groups work with a drum machine

    "Scary German Guy was probably the biggest surprise of the night. Not only do these guys have a unique stage presence, but they also had a drum machine. Most bands I listen to don't use a drum machine, so this was a bit of a new flavor for me.

    SGG had a metal core kind of sound, but they blended just a pinch of melody into the mix, making the sound appealing for me. They were so good, that I couldn't resist, but buy their record."

    or this: http://www.side-line.com/forum/threads.php?id=12666_0_20_0_C

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