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Playing to a click track.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by ClydeMcAllister, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. My drummer and I thought it'd be a good idea for him to start playing to a click track to try and get the overall sound of our band (especially the rythym section) tighter.

    We know that there a good bit of ways of doing it, so how bout some suggestions for setting up a click track?
  2. We use Pro Tools and it has a click track as part of the set up. We run the click track through headphones to our drummer or each individual. I personally am not a huge fan of click tracks. Maybe I haven't used it enough. IMO it takes away some of the feel of songs because you get locked into the click. They are nice for keeping a driving song in time though with no dips in the speed.
  3. My whole band plays to a click, and I really like it. We have a macbook running cubase 4, and have the click sent to in ear monitors. Give it a go, he may like it.
  4. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    If your first sentence is really true: "My drummer and I thought it'd be a good idea for him to start playing to a click track", I sincerely congratulate you on having a drummer that is more intelligent, more mature and less defensive than the vast majority of drummers. The cheapest way to do this would be to buy a low-cost metronome with a headphone jack. There are about 20 of them at Musicians Friend starting at $10. If necessary, run the output through your PA to boost it a bit (or a lot).
  5. Ha, yeah, I feel fortunate to get to play with this guy. He's always working hard and trying to improve himself and is always open to suggestions.

    The only problem with using a metronome are that there are some tempo changes in some of our songs. Are there metronomes that allow you to program things like that in?
  6. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Korg Beatlab, maybe?
  7. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Personally, I would rather only have the drummer get the click, and then me and the rest of the band lock in with him (or her). The situations I've been in, that seems to give a more "natural" sounding result.

    But that's just me... I know of other situations where the whole band is on the click and they do fine, too.
  8. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    For Recording, a click track is very necessary, good on your drummer for trying it.

    I've recorded in few decent studios where this was the standard, no questions asked.
  9. heath_r_91


    Jun 3, 2006
    Topeka Area, Kansas
    Is there some kind of program you can use to make a click track with changes in tempo?

    I know my band has talked about using a click track but most of our songs have at least 1 time change.
  10. but you'll need a drum machine to do it. Just program the time & tempo changes and create your own "click".
  11. Motioneso


    May 4, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Best solution:

    Ableton Live. It's MADE for live performance and is incredibly versatile. You can program in tempo changes, signature changes, whatever you want. We run samples and transitional parts through ableton, and we produced our entire album with it. I cannot express just how great this program is for live bands.

    Also, it works great as a recording software option for your DAW. This thing is a beast and does it all.

  12. Rob Lewis

    Rob Lewis

    Feb 23, 2006
    I find it very difficult to do, but it's unerringly accurate. Sorts the men from the boys...
  13. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    A lot of people think that but in reality it's not true. "Feel" is about how you interpret the beat not how you interpret a sense of constant time. You can play to a click and still push and pull the beat. It takes practice and experience though.

    Playing to a click and learning how to play to a click well is essential to anyone who wants to do any kind of session and recording work.
  14. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    Very good point. I agree completely, and I wish the rest of my band would realize this! (even the drummer, who I love love love)

    I think you can definitely still "breathe" or whatever, while maintaining a consistent beat. The beat doesn't have to change...
  15. drcool


    Jan 9, 2008
    Our drummer uses a click track. He started using it during recording and felt so comfortable with it he uses it for our live shows now. Not sure what brand or model it is but it seems like a pretty robust unit. He will program our sets into it so he just has to hit one button and the next song is cued up.

    I am kind of torn on it. On one hand it does help us to lock in and play pretty consistently but it does take away a bit from overall feel. Also we are pretty much stuck with him counting us off to start songs.
  16. skb5string

    skb5string Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2007
    Clinton Township, MI
    We use Garage band running "Loops" as the click. percussion, ect, ect. This integrates the loop as "Another instrument". So it has its own dedicated channel on the board and we send it back to our in-ears. To take the mental block part out, we told our "young drummer" to treat it as another musician in the group to "play with" and not "Follow". Using this "mental method" as I call it he really embraced this and adapted very quickly....we love it!!
  17. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    That's why I like to have the drummer on the click and the rest of the band without. For me at least, I've gotten to the point where I can pretty easily push and pull the beat around a "live" drum beat, but if I have the click in my own ear, I still tend to lock on to it and the feel stiffens up.
  18. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    I would love to run a click track to my drummers just when I'm soloing. They must think that I WANT them to pick up speed as I increase the intensity.
  19. fenderphil


    Sep 1, 2006
    Houston, TX
    my drummer has in-ear monitors that has an extra 'line in' for a click track.

    only he hears it, and keeps the rest of us on time.

    it helps SOOO much when we play live. theres no more deviations in tempo.
  20. ilikethump


    Jun 17, 2008
    We use a click track because we have synth beats playing along with us - ie, if the drums get the slightest bit out of time everybody notices.

    It's really a great idea! Everyone says we sound incredibly put together, especially considering how new we are as a band.

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