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Playing with a click track

Discussion in 'Ask Justin Meldal-Johnsen' started by ETThompson, Aug 5, 2012.


  1. ETThompson

    ETThompson

    Jan 3, 2011
    Hi Justin,

    I'm trying to get back into recording after mostly playing live for the past few years (did lots of recording early on, but not always with click).

    Anyway, I'm finding that I'm having a hard time getting used to playing with a click, or more specifically, my groove either goes out the window or I get off beat. I prefer to play without but then if I'm sync'ing up to stuff (like, I usually use computer drums), it doesn't work.

    Do you (or others on the forum) have any suggestions for how to get good at this? Other than (I guess), just doing it alot? I'm a good amateur player with a great feel but I cannot seem to get that into the box.

    Thanks Eric
     
  2. Practice, patience, concentration.
    You know the definition of a professional?
    An amateur is a guy who practices until he can play something, a pro is the guy who practices until he cant play it wrong.
     
  3. Just do it a lot! :) Start with quarters but half notes, whole notes, 2&4, +s, any displacement you can come up with is good.
     
  4. JehuJava

    JehuJava Bass Frequency Technician

    Oct 15, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Just keep practicing. Seriously.
     
  5. ETThompson

    ETThompson

    Jan 3, 2011
    Thanks everyone. I kinda knew that, but it helps to hear it anyway. Now just gotta find...time!
     
  6. pbass2

    pbass2

    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Try hanging "behind the beat" so you're essentially hearing the click a fraction of a split hair of a nano millisecond before you're hearing your note. Not that playing behind the beat ALWAYS fits the music, but it's a good way to get used to "sitting" with the click (my guess is you're trying to play dead on top of the beat which makes you anticipate the click too much, get off, etc. . .)
     
  7. Dan Bozek

    Dan Bozek

    Aug 3, 2011
    Outside Pittsburgh, PA
    Endorsing Artist, D'addario Strings
    You could try practicing with a click AND a drum sequence or loop. I work with people in the studio that aren't used to playing to a click from time to time, and I find that if I take two seconds and program a little drum track in Reason or something to go along with the click, BANG!! They have an easier time feeling were to play naturally.
     
  8. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen

    Mar 25, 2005
    I've written a bunch about this elsewhere in this forum, but I really think you should just spend lots of time doing it.

    J
     
  9. ljazz

    ljazz

    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    Jamstix is excellent for this...... we did some scratch/guide tracks this weekend, and my guitarist was having a horrible time with the click. It took all of about 2 minutes to get a drum track set up for each tune. LOL... I love that little program!
     
  10. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    There's no substitute for just getting better at it.

    A couple of years ago I was in a nice studio backing a local singer/songwriter with a couple of top-flight players on drums and guitar. We were booked for about six hours. The singer had already tracked his vocals using a click track, so he was there supervising.

    We had to restart the first song about a dozen times because we kept getting off of the click track. It was comical and frustrating, because our ability as players was obviously good, but we just couldn't find it for awhile. Finally we settled in and ended up getting around 7 or 8 songs down, never getting off the click track again.

    Practice makes perfect. When you're not used to doing it all the time, you just need to relax and adjust. It'll come.
     
  11. JehuJava

    JehuJava Bass Frequency Technician

    Oct 15, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    very true. We practiced with a click before we recorded our first ep. We started slow and worked our way up to full speed. It's amazing how tight those tracks sounded and as an added bonus they were all first takes for the main set of tracks (not doublings and vocals etc.).

    The second cd was recorded without click practice or click during recording and it was not near as tight nor first takes.
     
  12. lebaron

    lebaron

    Sep 13, 2008
    As people already said, practice and you might want to record as well when you think you got it, for me at least it can differ from what i think i hear (laid back or driving etc) when I play and listen to the playback.
     

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