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Need some advice with drum tracking

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by ShipwreckSoundWorks, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. ShipwreckSoundWorks

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    So here I am, all set up with a punk band in the area. Drum tones are sounding good everything is ready to go. One minor issue. The drummer is not bad, per se, however he has a hard time tracking and staying on time with a click. We've spent about 2 hours now tracking, and only finished 1 song. This isn't a bad project to be working, and I know he can do it, and it will be really beneficial for my portfolio as well. I just need him to.. Be better..
    What do I do at this point?
    I've thought about triggering everything, which sucks because I wanted the natural drums in the project, but.. You know.
    Advice please?
     
  2. RevoltStudios

    RevoltStudios Member

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    Edit, Trigger, Rock on with no worries. The biggest problem with engineers these days is that they won't just do what needs to be done. Time is money and that's way too much time for one song. Do what works, what sounds good, even if it makes no sense.
     
  3. greyskull

    greyskull Member

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    Do the song in sections, if he's struggling with his feet; don't let him use them
     
  4. Kita

    Kita Member

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    If it's a punk band get rid of the click and let him jam like he's used to. Then let everybody go to lunch while you tighten up what can be tightened and create click parts for the placed that need them (guitar breaks, vox breaks, etc).
     
  5. 006

    006 Member

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    If it were me in that situation, I would just track the drums without click, then figure out all the tempos and everything and edit it afterwards. Then record guitar/bass/vocals/etc. after the drums have been edited. You will spend way less time on tracking if you do it this way. The time spent editing would virtually be the same either way.
     
  6. Ericlingus

    Ericlingus Prettiest Hair Around

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    what do you mean by that 006? Would you create a tempo map in cubase with the automatic tempo map creation thing it has? I'm curious about this question myself because there is definitely going to be a time for me where a drummer is not going to be able to or want to play to a click.
     
  7. The StabbinCabin

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    I would do it live with no click and DI's going through sims for everyone to hear. Just make sure the drummers performance is consistent and just punch in wherever the guitarists mess up. Reamp. Viola.
     
  8. bryan_kilco

    bryan_kilco Member

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    Wow, either our drummer sucks or.....?! He averages one song in about 2 hrs.
     
  9. greyskull

    greyskull Member

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    SIGH.. why do people assume punk means "shit music that doesnt need a click"
     
  10. 006

    006 Member

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    I don't use that because it isn't consistent that way. I use the tap tempo tool ("beat calculator") to figure out the average tempo for each section (or the whole song if they don't change tempo, of course) and map it out. Then I go in and edit it.

    PM sent btw

    Also, I refuse to work with anyone that doesn't want to use a click these days. They either use it or go to someone else.

    Exactly! Just because it's "traditionally" done with a shitty sounding production doesn't mean you have to do that. Just like black metal bands... consistency with timing is good for any style of music IMO.
     
  11. Kita

    Kita Member

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    And just because click works for 10 bands doesn't mean it works for the next 10. You're trying to get the BEST PERFORMANCE, not the MOST PERFECTLY IN TIME PERFORMANCE. They are not always the same thing.

    Some drummers sound like absolute garbage when trying to play to a click. Especially if they don't PRACTICE to a click. I'm betting this band just showed up, you picked out tempos, and it's not working? Probably no preproduction done to a click to get the drummer comfortable with the click? If there was prepro done and he STILL can't play to it, then he may just not be comfortable with it, in which case it's your job to make him comfortable enough to play "not bad."
     
  12. mva801

    mva801 Member

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    Do what you have to to make it work. If the FEEL is ok without the click, go that route. Sometimes it's about making the artist COMFORTABLE, not about forcing them to a grid. I bet if he's more comfortable without the click, he'll probably play in better time anyway.

    that said, MAKE SURE that guy knows he didn't perform well. I've worked with many artists who couldn't pull off what they were trying to. I'll sure as shit let them know, and give them advice on how to step their fucking game up. Every one was thankful in the long run. Many drummers just need to be told flat out that they should quit being pussies, practice way more, and hit HARD AS FUCK.

    Don't be a dick about it either, cuz more than likely he'll know he isn't hitting the mark. It's a delicate dance but he'll need to know why he doesn't sound good and how to get better.
     
  13. ShipwreckSoundWorks

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    Seriously. This is going to be a GREAT sounding project, whether it be real, or triggered drums. I'm tracking to a click, and to be honest, that's not changing. He's a great drummer, he just isn't used to the whole click thing.
     
  14. 006

    006 Member

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    @Kita: I understand what you are saying, but I've been doing this so long my experience has been every band using a click has always sounded better. Even bands that come work with me for one release, don't use a click, then the 2nd time they work with me we use a click, they are always happy they went with the click. Like I said, consistent timing is good for any style, and any band. Of course as engineers we want the best performance. But, to me, part of having the best performance includes the timing be great as well, those are just my standards.
     
  15. Linerndunch110

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    If it sounds how you want it without the click, and the only thing that is stopping you is the simplicity of editing to a grid, go without it.

    As was said before you want to absolute best performance possible. IF that is achieved without a click, by all means. Note, 90% of bands sound better to a click, even if they suck at playing to one. Every so often you get a drummer that drives right through the track and all us groovey. Not often though.

    That said, scratch tracks are your friend. If the drummer can't play to a click but the guitarist can, or bassist, have then record scratch tracks(ie if the bassist is the only one that can play to a click bassist records rhythm guitar scratch tracks, and optionally you can record a scratch mix.) Blast that to the drummer and voila, click but no click.
     
  16. Ericlingus

    Ericlingus Prettiest Hair Around

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    how do you guys go about editing without a click track? 006, you said you find the average tempo? so then you make a tempo map? Then what? do you actually slip edit everything to the grid after? I'm just confused on how to edit without a click.
     
  17. 006

    006 Member

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    Yes, exactly. I don't record final guitars/bass/etc. until after the drums have been edited to the mapping.
     
  18. Linerndunch110

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    For me personally, without a click, I edit the drums more for feel, than tempo. That said, the take should not excessively drag, or get ahead, but should simply be together and in time. Needless to say, it should not have any mistakes in it. High standards for tracking please. Ideally you dont want to have to move to many individual hits, but rather nudge some out hits around to emphasize a dynamic feel, if you need to of course.

    no I dont put it to a grid if it does have a click.
     
  19. ashgallows

    ashgallows resonant manipulator

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    it's their record, ask them. if they want consistency or if they want a live feel. engineers ake the music sound the best that it an within the rules set by the artist label or producer.
     
  20. nowherecatastrophe

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    the problem is too many people confuse "live"/"natural" feel with sloppy and inconsistent timing. good drummers can still push or pull the groove within the confines of a click track, and if that isn't enough, you can program subtle changes into the tempo track - 1bpm ramps over the course of a 2 bar fill leading into the chorus, pushing the final chorus up by 2bpm to give it abit more excitement etc. get it all sorted when doing preproduction/guide tracks, make sure the drummer's present during the process and paying attention..

    i've had many drummers who have never played or practiced with a click ever and were understandably terrified of using one in the studio, but once we figured out the right tempos for the song everything just falls into place.
     

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