Drummer was not prepared for recording

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Ninja>Pirate, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. My band was recording this past weekend and the guitarists and I (the bassist) where prepared to record but the drummer was not. When we got into the studio he couldn't play our songs without us playing with him (not his fault), so the guitarist and I recorded our parts timing them to a click track so that the drummer could play to them and the drummer still couldn't play it in time, he kept speeding up.

    We don't stand much of a chance of getting another drummer as good at what we want as this one, he just didn't have timing alone in the studio (he was really nervous too) so don't tell me to get another drummer please.

    Any tips for him to practice at home? (he lives in an apartment and can't play his set at home)
  2. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    buy a second handed electrical kit and practice with clicktrack.
  3. Alun


    Jun 6, 2004
    Endorsing Artist - Elixir strings,Markbass amplification
    Has he got a practice pad? If so, he could use that with a metronome. Or play along to recordings or the radio and match the pulse perfectly, this'll get him used to focussing on the time.

    One thing he could try is out the radio on, listen to a song for a bit and tap along until he's happy with the time. Then keep tapping but mute the radio. Tap one bar and turn the volume back up. Is he still in time? If so, do it with two bars then three, four, etc. Sounds odd but is really good for working on your internal sense of time ( I do it in traffic jams all the time!)

    The nerves won't have helped either but they can be tricky to solve. What was he nervous of? The studio or did he already have concerns about his time before he went in?

    Hope that helps,
  4. WesC


    Nov 18, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    No offense but his inability to keep solid time has nothing to do with your songs. Any drummer who can keep solid time should be able to do it playing anything. The guy just needs to practice timekeeping. Even just a practice pad and a metronome will help. He doesn't need to practice your specific tunes unless he keeps messing up the form or something.

    I can't play my drums in my apartment either but I can still practice timekeeping with a pad and metronome.
  5. the way i record a few bands are for the first session to get all the band in, although no need for vox. Set your drumkit up and mic it, so you get your drum tracks down first. put the guitars and bass through DI boxes into their respective channels. Get the whole band to play the song recording everything. Now you will have all your dum tracks, and they will be in time (because your wearing headphones and using no amp there will be no bleed from guitar amps ionto the drums mics)

    After that, get your bassist to re-record his tracks with a miced amp, and record them over the crappy DI tracks. Then the same for guitars. And then vox last. easy, and your drummer will be much more comfortable.

    Peace :bassist:
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    It's a lot more difficult for a drummer to play to a click track than a guitarist or bassist. I've seen some pretty decent drummers get tripped up having to do that. I also personally don't like a band recording to a click unless it's completely necessary. Unless a drummer is really expereinced doing so, the click is going to seriously affect the groove and it's probably going to sound real stiff and weird. My opinion of course. I've also come to accept that drummers aren't machines and a tiny little bit of speeding up can add a human element that often fuels the songs.

    Why also didn't you guys play along with him? I'm not entirely understanding why you had to record the parts first, and then have him play along. It's a lot easier to have everyone play and then later go over the guitar and bass parts if you don't like them, than the other way around.
  7. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Dept. Mgr (Account Services) @ Long & McQuade (Burlington)
    +1, plus what Joe Nerve said...just play along with him to get your drum tracks down, and then overdub your bass and guitar parts, then your singer has everything to sing over...I don't see what was wrong with his request...
  8. draginon


    Oct 4, 2004
    reminds me of the band i just quit. A group of friends and I wanted to start a band but for some reason I had to lay my parts first so that the drummer and lead guitar player could get it. After much turmoil I quit... and never again will I play with any musicians who cannot record their own parts that they made up. Tell his SORRY ASS to get a click and practice to the click or get the hell out if he doesn't want to be serious about getting better. Excuse my language but F*** nervousness. There comes a point and time when you realize that studio time is costing the band money and you need to get sh*t finished. Someone who is prepared will never be overcome by nervousness. Seriously if your band is serious, get a real drummer who can keep time......difficult my ass.... practice is difficult...... Becoming the bass player you want to be is difficult, but people who are serious about their craft\instrument practice the basics. Tell him to get back to the basics

    (i'm sorry but I have issues with people who don't see the seriousness of preparing for recording)
  9. alapantera


    Mar 22, 2004
    Not all drummers are comfortable with using a click track. using a click track is only one way of getting a recording done. a lot of bands will record live (everyone playing together) and then rerecord any parts that need improving.

    and to expect a drummer to record his part without listening to the rest of the band is just rediculous. I can only think of a few drummers that could play their entire part with out any queues as to where they were at in any particular song.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I'm with Joe and Alapantera. What with you guys where you can't record with him? I always play along with the drummer (not record my part and make him play to that...that's phoning it in). You guys aren't realistic about your drummer, and regardless of his skill level, he IS your drummer and you guys need to support him rather than work against him, which is what you're doing. Get off your butts and play scratch tracks for him while he's playing. If you're worried about bleed-through, just use amp sims and DI's for the run-through and come back later and do your bass and guitar tracks for real.
  11. draginon


    Oct 4, 2004
    If he can't stay on beat to a click how in the hell am I supposed to help him? I am listening to click and listening to him. If he gets off beat, who am I supposed to follow? THe click but wait.... its pretty freakin hard to follow a click while listening to an off beat drummer. IF you have the luxury of recording in seperate rooms, maybe that will work. WHen you practice your band's songs for hours and hours and practice multiple times a week, each note, each change and all of the lyrics should ring through his head. My band's songs were about as complicated as greenday\yellow card type songs. Not very complicated at all. Each song layout was simple. I have no problem recording while standing and singing out loud to myself the lyrcis and memorizing the intensity of each verse\chorus. ITs not because i'm good, its because I'm serious about what I'm trying to get done. You sit through a few 5 hour recording sessions and walk away with nothing... you'll understand what I'm talking about
  12. Get a studio drummer? I don't know...
  13. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    My band just recorded a demo where that was the case. Pretty impressive considering there was a 7/8 section in the song with multiple breaks that our drummer nailed.
  14. Thanks everybody for your awesome input. I think we just need more practice. Oh and BTW the studio we were only had one guitar amp, and one DI (studio time was free) and we have two guitarists and we didn't have a whole lot of time to do it in, that's why we couldn't all play at once. I don't think it was my drummer's fault, he's never been in this situation before. I'm going to show him this thread and hope that it helps him out. Oh and I kind of agree that not playing to a click track would probably help our groove, because we change timing in most of our soungs allot. But i also think that him playing to a metrognome (I'm funny) with a practice pad would help him out. The next time we record i think we're just going to use one good mic, it won't sound as professional, but that will come with time.
  15. Showed drummer post.
    Drummer is really pissed.
    He's my best friend, so I'm pissed now.
    I'm a jackass.
  16. draginon


    Oct 4, 2004
    y in the world would you show him this post? lol. All I ask of a drummer is that he play his own parts to a click the way he always plays them. I don't ask for perfection of someone else's composition. ONly your own, and only during recording. You can mess up all you want (being reasonable) live.

    to be totally honest with you ninja... EVERY drummer ( i have played drums for 6 years, bass for 1 year) speeds up (it is a natural tendency that is fixed by practicing to a metronome). Speeding up during rolls shows a drummer that does not practice to a metronome. I'm sorry but that is the truth. I have a friend who can't keep good timing because he speeds up during his rolls and comes back to the beat, off beat.

    He doesnt need to practice to a pad. He needs to practice on a DRUM SET. Anyone can keep time beating some sticks against a table. He needs to play to the click tracks to your band's songs and practice that ahead of time (duh...., it only makes sense). Then he needs to practice to a LOUD click in his ear when he practiced alone. Every song or beat he knows needs to be played with a click ringing in his ear. He will know when he's off beat unless he's an absolute lost cause. A drummer that has poor rhythm and timing is worthless... because thats all drumming is about. seriously..
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    First off, I consider the click track the bane of the music industry. Music isn't supposed to be a rigid click that regulates your every move. Fills should sometimes be rushed, and sometimes whole songs should be, too. I remember cutting a song with a band with no click track, and the tempo was all over the place but it sounded good. Then the drummer insisted on using a click when we cut a "better version" and the feel was totally gone.

    Metronomes and click tracks are for practice. Once you get to recording, throw out the click. All it does is make the music sound stilted and regimented, the very antithesis of good music IMHO.

    BTW, if you're recording a track and you insist on using a click and the drummer gets off the click, don't follow the click...follow the drummer. Nobody's going to hear the click when you play the final track. Or better yet, stop the take and do it without a click.
  18. R.Lee


    Nov 12, 2005
    +1,000 on what JimmyM said. If you still want a perfect monotonous drum sound then use a drum machine.
  19. Unless you're doing a pro-tools chop and edit session, forego the click.

    Go for that "intensity and feel" you want over a rigid stale drum track.

    I do agree that a good drummer should be able to swing to a click, but if yours cannot, work with him, as was said earlier. You wanna alienate someone really quick, this is the way to do it. I can't BELIEVE you showed him this thread. That's crazy.
  20. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Everybody in your band needs to keep this in mind for perspective:

    The most difficult instrument on which to nail a performance recording in a studio is drums. By a very large margin. It is much more difficult and more exacting than bass, guitar, vocals, anything except possibly piano. Punch-ins and isolation are trivial on everything else, difficult or impossible with drums. I've seen really good drummers have difficulty in the studio. Your drummer should not feel bad about this.