Music Player Network Home Guitar Player Magazine Keyboard Magazine Bass Player Magazine EQ Magazine
Topic Options
#2497258 - 05/29/13 08:58 AM Click Track Question
The Bear Jew Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 7703
Loc: Philadelphia,PA,UNITED STATES
I'm getting ready to track a new set of songs with my band in a "big boy" studio. This studio has all the bells and whistles, and the engineers always track with a click.

Now, I've recorded with a click in the past, so it doesn't bother me, but I have never recorded with a click in this particular band. As a result, we've been practicing together with a metronome running through the PA system. It's kind of like having the world's best cowbell player sitting in... It sorta sucked at first--finding the correct BPMs, getting used to hearing that "clonk-clonk" all the time, etc--but we're learning to work with it, and we're starting to bury that damn click most of the time now. That feels pretty good, and the songs groove nicely. That metronome is a bastard--it doesn't listen to anyone else or vary--it just plays the same thing over and over. At least it starts and stops at our request.

Some of our songs have tempo or feel changes, and, try as we might, keeping the same tempo (or double-timing the tempo, etc) against the metronome doesn't always sound or feel right. So we've been stopping the songs at the changes and setting different tempos for those parts. When we do that, they sound right, and we bury the click every time. And then, of course, we have to re-set the metronome to go back to the other parts. That's a lot of starting and stopping, and that's not how we play the songs in real life, but we do get to play along with a metronome throughout the different parts.

So... here's my question...
How the hell do we track this stuff? If we play without a metronome, we can just play through without a problem because we just feel the tempo changes together... but then we're not playing with a click, so the tracks won't have a reference for editing and overdubbing. If we record with the click, we'll have to stop at each new section and re-set the click for the proper tempo. But then what? We have the engineer edit the everything together to make the whole song?

Thoughts?
_________________________
\m/
Erik
"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."
--Sun Tzu

Top
#2497500 - 05/30/13 04:06 AM Re: Click Track Question [Re: The Bear Jew]
Griffinator Moderator Offline
TPS cook & bottle washer
20k Club

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 20318
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
Most of the material I write has non-linear (i.e. not strictly double or half-time) tempo changes. What I do is produce a click track in a drum machine app like FL studio that reflects the tempo and time signature changes so it's all seamless. That way, when we rehearse/record, I can just play that track back in everyone's cans (or over the PA) and there's no interruption.

Great job getting the rest of the band playing to a click, BTW. That's always a tough thing to do with metal guys, particularly drummers, who tend to want to race the tempo...

Top
#2497545 - 05/30/13 07:10 AM Re: Click Track Question [Re: Griffinator]
The Bear Jew Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 7703
Loc: Philadelphia,PA,UNITED STATES
Ah, good idea... but... ugh. Big pain in the ass. I guess we'll have to knuckle down and make the track, though. I was kind of hoping there would be an easier way to make this happen (aside from just flying without a click), but I guess there isn't.

You should hear us at rehearsal with the metronome app on my phone. It's pretty hilarious, really. We've got the phone plugged into the PA, so the click is an obnoxiously loud cowbell. We play through the songs until we reach the parts with new tempos, then we stop, re-input the tempo and continue. When we're nailing it, the click really sounds great, when we're not... well, not so much. On the plus side, playing with the click as a band makes us extremely conscious about the way our riffs interact against straight beats. It's an education.
_________________________
\m/
Erik
"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."
--Sun Tzu

Top
#2497659 - 05/30/13 11:49 AM Re: Click Track Question [Re: The Bear Jew]
Griffinator Moderator Offline
TPS cook & bottle washer
20k Club

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 20318
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
Pain in the ass? You don't know the half of it. Try a 9 minute prog epic with 11 parts, including 9 tempo changes and 5 time sig changes, not including 12 bars of alternating 7/4 and 9/4... took me a WEEK to get that one perfect...

Top
#2497675 - 05/30/13 12:15 PM Re: Click Track Question [Re: Griffinator]
The Bear Jew Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 7703
Loc: Philadelphia,PA,UNITED STATES
Ugh. Indeed. Not looking forward to programming that...

See, we're not so different, really... I guess some of our stuff is proggy, but we never set out for that to be the case... we just wanted to write stuff that felt right to us. And now we have some tunes that fall around the seven-minute mark or so... with wacky turn-arounds and whatnot.
_________________________
\m/
Erik
"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."
--Sun Tzu

Top
#2497798 - 05/31/13 02:26 AM Re: Click Track Question [Re: The Bear Jew]
Griffinator Moderator Offline
TPS cook & bottle washer
20k Club

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 20318
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
I can only think of one song I've ever written that I could say I maybe "set out" for it to be proggy - it started out with a riff in my head that was in 13/8, which I wrote out while sitting at work, not even having access to an instrument... It got weirder from there, especially when the lyric started to fill in...

Hell, Sabbath used to (in the early days, anyway) write stuff that had wacky turnarounds and whatnot too - remember the break section of Sweet Leaf? grin

Top
#2498928 - 06/04/13 12:08 PM Re: Click Track Question [Re: Griffinator]
The Bear Jew Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 7703
Loc: Philadelphia,PA,UNITED STATES
So it looks like we can use a tempo map. The engineer says it's no biggie.
_________________________
\m/
Erik
"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."
--Sun Tzu

Top
#2499034 - 06/04/13 06:09 PM Re: Click Track Question [Re: The Bear Jew]
Griffinator Moderator Offline
TPS cook & bottle washer
20k Club

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 20318
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
Awesome.

Top
#2501455 - 06/12/13 09:21 AM Re: Click Track Question [Re: Griffinator]
Russkull Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 647
Loc: So Cal
I know I'm late to the party here (well after the solution has been found), but I just read this review:

Pedal Sync Master Control

Will be the first to admit I know next to nothing about all this, so perhaps this product would not be helpful for this scenario? At any rate I thought it was interesting.
_________________________
"Of all the world's bassists, I'm one of them!" - Lug

Top


Moderator:  Griffinator, Griffinator