Playing to a click... how easy/hard is it?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by MichaelK, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Branching off-topic from loudboy's thread, I'm interested in hearing about how easy or difficult people feel it is to learn to play to a click. Not the pros or cons about having a click at all – which has already been beaten to death (in no small part by yours truly) – but people's personal experience with learning (or not) how to play to one.

    Me, I was not blessed with an inate "inner groove," and my natural inclination was to play ahead of the beat and speed up. It took me years of regular practice before I felt I could play well with a click, and years more before I felt really and truly cool with it. Some friends of mine who were studying at the same time grasped it sooner, some later or not at all, but we all had to work at it. Most musicians I've talked with about this say it took them a long time to get really good.

    The flip side: a couple of months ago there was a guy in his twenties who wanted me to produce a few of his songs in a very specific style and had enough funding to do it right. He was on fire and totally focused; he knew exactly what he was going for. During the planning I suggested that for best results we work with a click, if he could. He readily agreed and assured me that though he never had played to a click before, he would practice hard and learn by the time we started. We were three weeks away.

    So he practiced, and when the big day came he was true to his word. It took him a take or two to get up and running, but he was determined to nail it and he did. By the third song he was completely at ease with the click. I've never known anyone to learn that particular skill so quickly, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Proof again of the power of determination, and that one man's Everest might be another man's stroll in the park.
     
  2. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    i'm so used to it.
     
  3. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    For me it depends on the part. Sometimes I lock in with the click, others I do better with the snare soloed.
     
  4. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    I'm still trying to get good at it, but I usually cheat and use a drum track from the Adrenalinn or BFD or what have you. With just a metronomic "deet-deet-deet" sound, I always rush past it. :(
     
  5. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    The first item I purchased after they released me from from the rehab facility,after my stroke in 07/06,was a metronome,I am continuously working with a click.I have for 25 years of the 36 years I have played.
     
  6. Sunbreak Music

    Sunbreak Music Member

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    Practice routinely w/ a metronome, so playing to a click isn't difficult.

    If my parts are the foundation, it's a necessity. If I'm adding something to an existing piece w/ a definite tempo, not so much.
     
  7. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    My time and experience spent recording doesn't come close to a lot of the guys here, but the times I do, I find it (the click) not too difficult. It also depends on the drummer you're working with. I'd rather lock onto a good drummer, it's just easier to me.
     
  8. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    I feed the click to the drummer only, and then play along with him. If everyone has it, it's just that much harder,

    Loudboy
     
  9. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Same here.

    It's kind of torture when the drummer in the band I play with rushes or, more often, drags the occasional tempo or section. Drives me nuts.
     
  10. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    why?


    for whom, exactly?
     
  11. DonW

    DonW Velocity Town Angel Silver Supporting Member

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    I didn't find it hard, took some getting used to when I first used it but I'll bet you'll get the hang of it quickly. I use a metronome and a CD entitled "Mr. Click" with different click settings for practice which helps allot when I work in the studio.
     
  12. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

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    I hate it.



    +1



    I can't speak for Loudboy, but what happens is I start playing to the click, like it's an actual instrument or part of the arrangement. I end up exaggerating parts of the groove that might be a little ahead or behind so they're really pulling against that square @ss click, and when you remove that click on playback it doesn't sound right. Leave it in there and it does.

    Also I'm doing a lot of writing, and I'll often get a quick idea and lay it down, then add to it later. I've found the times where I take a minute to figure out the tempo, set up a click and then track that idea to it, evenutally I end up redoing that part when I get the rest of the mix going as it doesn't feel right. But if I just hit record, don't use a click and figure out the bpm later I usually end up keeping that original track.

    As I said, I end up playing with the click, not to the click, if that makes sense.
     
  13. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    sounds like your issue with the click, not the click itself.
     
  14. FlyingVBlues

    FlyingVBlues Gold Supporting Member

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    Not a problem for me. I’ve been practicing with a metronome since the first day I started on guitar. My mom was a professor at Julliard, and insisted that if I was going to play guitar I had to be able to sight read, know a reasonable amount of music theory, and be able to keep time properly. It was a real drag as a kid, but I’m grateful that she made me do this.

    FVB
     
  15. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    i practiced with a metronome for decades. now it's internalized. easy enough to rush, play right on top of or behind the click, depending upon the demands of the music.
     
  16. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    For me, getting to that point took years. There was a long time and a lot of work between being able to stay with it and being able to internalize it. I wish I could say it came naturally to me with a minimum of effort, but no.
     
  17. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Isn't that what the OP was looking for?
     
  18. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I can't imagine that flowing smoothly. I would think that would make the drummer's job much harder, having to keep time for the whole band with no one hearing the tick but him.
     
  19. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Speaking as the OP in question...

    Matte's response actually steered the complaint back on topic.
     
  20. doublee

    doublee Member

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    Its f---- difficult! I spent I think months at it. I did improve my sense of time for sure so its important for that, but I think the idea is to mess with it then hopefully your sense of time will develope where you dont need it. I bet Miles didnt use one...
     

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