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To use a metronome or not to use a metronome?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by muljoe, May 21, 2012.


  1. muljoe

    muljoe

    Mar 8, 2011
    Boston
    Hello TB,

    I searched for a thread on this because I thought it would be an interesting topic to discuss. Couldn't find anything....so here it goes.

    I have seen, at least it seems, hundreds of posts about drummers not being in time or the band not gelling well rhythmically. Anyways, our band plays with a metronome 100% of the time unless we are doing a jazz gig. This includes practices and even acoustic type gigs. A lot of times we don't have IEMs but our drummer will play with a click in one ear and listen to the band with the other. I do not understand why a band would not do this...especially if their drummer/band is struggling with time. Even then, I could be wrong, but it seems like most professional acts use clicks, it just makes the band feel and sound so much tighter. I guess if you are changing time signatures through the song often it might be hard to swing unless you have tracks for your songs...anyways does your band use them? Why or why not?
     
  2. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I have never used one even when recording. Its not for me but and think my band and my timing is pretty good. If you like it great if not that's great too.
     
  3. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Inactive

    Jan 20, 2011
    You should. & use 8ths.
     
  4. Richard_P_Harve

    Richard_P_Harve

    May 19, 2011
    Many drummers I have played with in my past have really struggled with a click track mainly because they don't have good internal time, and that perfect click messes them up. Really good drummers that have very solid time don't need a metronome at as as they themselves are the metronome. In my current band our drummer is very solid so we don't use one for live sound but we do when we record.
     
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    I've never even heard of a band doing this live, interesting.

    I've used a metronome/click track a few times in the studio, never been a big fan, but I understand why some producers like it.
     
  6. worshiprocker

    worshiprocker Tonepump Junkie

    Aug 12, 2011
    Mesa, Arizona
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    we don't use one live.... we might in the future if we start using loops. every other practice we use a click. I personally do not like them. I have played in bands and live session work with clicks but I'm just not a fan... In the studio we always use it
     
  7. BelleNoireBass

    BelleNoireBass

    Apr 18, 2012
    Bay Area
    We have the drummer of my band playing to a click at rehearsals and we all played to a click track for our EP that we recently recorded. I definitely think playing to a click will help you smooth over any flaws and really get the band sounding tight.

    edit: all the people saying they don't like the click is because you are off! practice to a click and train yourself to stay in time perfectly.
     
  8. muljoe

    muljoe

    Mar 8, 2011
    Boston
    It seems to be a theme that people don't like them that much? Why is that?
     
  9. worshiprocker

    worshiprocker Tonepump Junkie

    Aug 12, 2011
    Mesa, Arizona
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    for some, yes that is true. For me, that is not true. I played to a click 5 gigs a week for 7 years... I just like playing with feel better.
     
  10. worshiprocker

    worshiprocker Tonepump Junkie

    Aug 12, 2011
    Mesa, Arizona
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    click has a tendency to make a lot of people play rigid. It does take some getting use to, but its not hard to play with a click
     
  11. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Well, there is one big assumption you are making, which is that listeners prefer music that has a consistent, metronomic rhythm... In my experience, audiences respond well to some push/pull with the tempo. Also I am "old school" in my production preferences and prefer records from the pre-Protools era. YMMV.
     
  12. BelleNoireBass

    BelleNoireBass

    Apr 18, 2012
    Bay Area
    But you did play to a click before, so knowing that you are internally on time and not liking the click, you can play without and be on time.

    Should have specified I was talking about people that just don't like a click and have never practiced trying to play to one.
     
  13. mikegug

    mikegug

    Oct 31, 2011
    Because, as a drummer, you have to really work at it and you also have to ask the band to suffer the learning curve along with you, as the drummer. There is a bit of a learning curve.

    And many sound guys don't give a rip about timing of a band,... they just want you do check the channel when they yell, "KICK!",.... "SNARE!,.... "HI-HAT!"..... When you tell them that you need to run the monitor feed into your personal monitor system, some will try to discourage it just because of the "unknown" factor.

    (I am now speaking in general here... YMMV) I feel the band sounds more professional when a click is involved. Especially if your drummer has tempo issues. Also, if you want to evenetually use backing tracks, getting used to a click helps that transition.

    And, some recording guys/gals flat out roll their eyes when a young band tells them, "We want to record with you, and we NEVER use a click." Usually when the engineers roll their eyes, the price is going up.
     
  14. worshiprocker

    worshiprocker Tonepump Junkie

    Aug 12, 2011
    Mesa, Arizona
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    this is true and a good point
    ya that is a good point. A lot of people have never played to a click or have poor meter and thus don't like it... lol
     
  15. odin70

    odin70

    Dec 26, 2007
    If you drummer is struggeling with his time i bet he doesnt sound very good with a metronomein in his ear. And besides..does all music have to be in time all the time? Maybe your band sounds better when you are more relaxed about keeping time. That doesnt mean that you drummer should not work on keeping time, but maybe not when you are performing.
     
  16. Factor88

    Factor88

    Jun 21, 2011
    Define "professional". I made a living exclusively playing music for a good decade, and have made part time money for 2 other decades. I never was with a group that used a click track consistently, although I have been in some acts that used at least some sequenced filler.

    If you like them great, but IMHO they are not required in order to be a good band. That said, I spent countless formative hours as a bassist playing scales, arpeggios, riffs, etc. along to the beat of a metronome.
     
  17. muljoe

    muljoe

    Mar 8, 2011
    Boston
    I guess by professional, I meant a big touring original band. Like I said, I'm not sure if this is the case, but most of the ones I've talked to say they play with a metronome. I'm certainly not attacking those who do not play with or do not like a metronome. Like most things in life, there are plenty of right ways to go about things. I'm just curious as to what other people do when they play/practice.

    I do have a question though. I'm not sure how playing to a metronome would make you sound rigid or not fluid. For the style of music I play, we want it to sound like something you would hear on the radio or a studio session. So those of you who say playing to a metronome makes a band sound rigid, I personally do not buy that. If that is the case, a lot of what you listen to would sound "rigid" or not dynamic. I guess I don't hear that when listening to recordings...

    Anyways, good points, some stuff I haven't thought about before. :)
     
  18. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
  19. One reason a band who is struggling with time would not do this is because if the band is struggling with time period, a metronome in the drummer's ear is not going to fix that - and probably make things worse.

    A band that struggles with time in rehearsal should seriously rethink performing live until they resolve what is essentially one of the most fundamental prerequisites in performing live music well. You can use a metronome to help you individually and as a band improve your sense of time, but you should be able to feel it individually and as a group without one. You most certainly should NOT fall apart time-wise without a metronome.

    You will find that people who don't really need a metronome to demonstrate a solid sense of time can play easily with or without a metronome. You will find that people who struggle with time struggle with it with or without a metronome.

    A metronome does not fix a bad sense of time. It's a tool to help develop your sense of time, but it's not a way to manufacture it in a person who doesn't feel time instinctively - and it most definitely will not fix a band who cannot play together in time live.

    While there are circumstances where playing with a click is required that doesn't mean playing with a click should be the status quo. Frequently when a strict click is not required, allowing the band's time to breathe naturally as a result of musical push and pull is preferable and significantly more musical than it would be locked to a fix bpm.
     
  20. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    If your drummer needs a click track to keep good time, you definitely need another drummer. Its a little like a singer who can't sing on key.
     

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