Drum Click Tracks – Good or Bad?
So what do you think of a click track to play along with? Whatever you may think of it, the majority of recording/performing industry today revolves around that ‘annoying tiny beeping’ sound and it’s more than certain that you’ll be asked to work with one sooner or later. Click tracks can be your best friend and your worst enemy.
In this article Dan Peranic examines what it means to play with a click and gives examples from his experience of performing with click-tracks live on stage and in the studio
Getting ‘into’ the click
When I first started using one I was really sceptical and it took me a long time to learn how to work with it properly and how to make my drumming sound right.
Many drummers think that the most important thing is to lock in with every beep but in fact truth is far from it. You’ll hear people say “Hey that’s a rock solid drumming!” but again, truth is far from it. It may be rock solid but rocks, as we know them, are static, they don’t move around and they don’t have any emotions. And you wouldn’t like your drumming to sound like that would you?
Locking in constantly with the click will make your band sound dead and groove-less so it’s really important you look into this and try to master it. Playing “ahead” and “behind” the click is very ambiguous to explain and to teach. Mostly because it depends on the natural feel and the way everyone hears things differently.
In the pocket
The secret lies in working in the spaces between the beeps. Every beep is just a guideline that tells you where the main pulse is and it’s what every instrument references themselves on before taking place in the space around it. That space is called the “pocket”. When band members are aware of their place in the ‘pocket’ is when ’playing music’ actually begins.
No matter how good your chops are, if you want to be a performing drummer and not clinician, having a great time, feel and groove is what will give you the work and put you in demand.
If you decided that you want to start practicing with a click, track you will need a pair of sticks (obviously), practice pad and a metronome set to 40 bpm. Play single strokes and try to lock in together with every click. If you can hear the click it means you are not locking in.
Spend 10 minutes per day on that and after a month you will hear the difference in how you hear things and the way you perform. Only after that you will be able to take it further and understand the concept of ‘around the click’
We’ll end this up with cheesy but true statement from Mr.Dennis Chambers: “If the audience is not moving, you ARE doing something wrong.”
Take care and enjoy the beep!