Should you practice to a metronome or click trak?

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Should you practice to a metronome or click trak?

Yes
10
63%
No
2
13%
Not Sure
4
25%
 
Total votes: 16

bassjones
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Should you practice to a metronome or click trak?

Post by bassjones »

So, a funny thing happened in the studio the other day... Due to conflicting schedules, our drummer (Tim from Jam Crib) had to leave before we had a chance to record one of the songs we were planning to lay down. I suggested we record to a click and have Tim come in and lay down drums later. Jon asked me if he could play to a click, to which I responded with, "I would assume so", to which Jon responded, "Now why would you assume that?" to uproarious laughter. :lol:

Now Tim's a really good drummer and he's been playing longer than most of you have been alive, so I really do think he could play to a click if necessary. It does raise an interesting question though... Is this a necessary skill for a drummer? Should it be?

There's an interesting debate I've been following between Jeff Berlin and Steve Bailey about the benefit/harm of practicing to a metronome/click. Both of these guys are among the top echelon of professional players and I consider them both to be bass heroes of mine.

Bailey is in favor, while Berlin is quite outspokenly opposed. Berlin's argument is that the metronome was never intended to be used as a practice tool - it was a device for composers to set tempo of their compositions - and shouldn't be used as such. He believes that one should practice out of time if necessary to learn the notes of a piece and let the rhythm come naturally. He believes that practicing to a metronome results in a robotic-like rhythmic sense and that players used to using a click have difficulty with feel when tempos change within a song. He makes a pretty strong case.

Bailey believes using a click helps cement tempos in ones head and can help build the internal rhythmic clock, so it should be used as tool for practicing. He also makes a strong case.
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Post by Sankofa »

I say try both and determine which works best for you. As I didn't have the beat, I had to write a guest verse to a metronome and it turned out just fine.
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Post by =^-..-^= »

I would say yes, you should do some of that while learning. The click will show up your deficiencies. Don't become dependent on it.

Other musicians say my time is rock solid; but a metronome STILL shows how off I can be, even after 20+ years of drumming. I wish I had played with a metronome more when I was learning. When the whole sequenced thing came in, the drumming got simpler, I think mainly because drummers were too busy concentrating on keeping perfect time, instead of letting the song breathe a little.

Recording to a click, then having the drummer fill in later? Sounds like a recipe for disaster, unless you have an exceptional drummer. Even after 20+ years, I would have trouble!
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Post by MrSpall »

For years my band wrote and recorded our songs without any sort of metronome (plus we don't have a drummer). We played to the time that was in our heads. However, about a year ago we played around recording with a computer program that fed a metronome through the headphones.

We couldn't do it. We weren't even close. It was miles off. Like not even in the same ballpark. We were too fast, then too slow, then too fast again.

Our music has always relied heavily on emotion and feeling to dictate the rhythym, and I've always known that sometimes we changed pacings midsong, but this was awful. I began to wonder how I'd never noticed it on previous recordings, or had anyone mention it before (though it did explain why drummers always seem to throw us off when we jam).

Since then we've started using a metronome once in a while in our practices. It's something we pull out about once a month or so, no very often, but it allows us to figure out where we are deviating horribly from any sense of rhythym. They can be a useful tool, but I wouldn't use it too much. Allow it to influence your style, and give you ideas for things to improve on, but don't become dependent on it.
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Post by Al Quandt »

Playing to a click is an excellent skill.

I can play guitars and piano to a click perfectly.

But I am horrible at playing drums to a click.


I have always been in bands where I led and everyone followed as far as how things were played out. So I have never had to be forced gain that skill. I mean Pleasing Melani laid down 14 tracks in 5 hours because we werent using a click track, and because of that I never had to do a single retake on my drum lines. I think alot of that has to do with how tight you are with your fellow musicians Nate(guitars) and I have been playing together seemlessly for about 5 years, and well the singer is my brother so we kinda think the same anyways.

So i think for a studio project with musicans that may have not had the history together, maybe a click is needed. Not so much if you have chemistry though.

but being a solo electronic musician I have had to record all guitar and keyboards to a click track or sometime a very simple beat. Then I go over it and record the more complicated drums after removing the click track.

So its wierd, i cant record on the same click track, but once I have recorded piano or guitars I can play seemlessly.

May also go hand in hand with me not reading drum sheet music for 7 years now

my take

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Post by Morphine Child »

Interesting topic. There are some bands like The Police that like the natural speed ups in songs, where as there are bands like Dream Theater that record everything to a click.

I have heard of drummers that have trouble playing to a click. I'm not sure I'd say they suck or anything, and I'm not sure how necessary it is. I guess it depends on the type of music.
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Post by Silencio »

The question is not "Should you record/perform to a click track?" The question is, "Should you practice to a metronome?"

The answer is yes, at least a majority of the time. It improves your internal clock. Since music is completely based on one's sense of time, this is an essential skill.

I'm with Steve Bailey in this regard. You need to know where the solid beat is to play effectively "around" it.
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Post by MrSpall »

kimaliz wrote:So i think for a studio project with musicans that may have not had the history together, maybe a click is needed. Not so much if you have chemistry though.
I think Al just summed up my entire post in one sentence.
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Post by adam atherton »

=^-..-^= wrote: Recording to a click, then having the drummer fill in later? Sounds like a recipe for disaster

and, jones, you know as well as i do that song HAS to be recorded with a live drummer. i understand you wrote it, and i understand you are really really excited to record it, but let's take the time and do it correctly, not quickly.
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Post by bassjones »

I agree. I was more raising the entire issue for discussion. So far, everyone seems to be in agreement with Steve Bailey. I'll have to post a link to the Berlin article for an in depth look at his arguments.
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Post by sevesd93 »

Here is some advice, if your a drummer and can't play with a click, take two weeks off and quit. Time to find a new hobby.
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Post by Hutnick »

Jeff Berlin is an assbag. Use the click.
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Post by doubleshot »

Jeff Berlin is an assbag. Use the click.
Aren Winebrenner is a pass blayer...I mean, ass bayer, I mean face sprayer...JJJEEEZZUSSS. BASS PLAYER!!!

Feel the click. Be the click. :lol:

PS-- As Aren knows, the best option is to play with a rhythm guitar player who has no sense of timing. :wink:
man I love those certain things
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Post by Al Quandt »

sevesd93 wrote:Here is some advice, if your a drummer and can't play with a click, take two weeks off and quit. Time to find a new hobby.
that is very wrong.
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Post by bassjones »

Hutnick wrote:Jeff Berlin is an assbag. Use the click.
I'm a fan of using the click as well, but I don't know if I'd go that far. The guy is a monster bassist - although highly opinionated - Gee, I don't know any other bass players like that, do you :?: :lol:
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...your tunes and your playing sound really great... all the best to you and god bless-
adam nitti" www.myspace.com/adamnittimusic

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