When your guitar player starts a song way too slow or fast..

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ganeshgiri
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Post Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:42 am

BillRayDrums wrote: "The drummer is there to play music, just like the rest of the band. It's everyone's job to keep their own time. The second you acquiesce to becoming a human metronome is when you become no better than a floorscrubber."

Um, DUH.

As I understood it, this forum was about what do you do when the guitarist fails at keeping their own time. In reality, I have never encountered a "human metronome", so I can't say whether they are better than some of the floorscrubbers I have known, who were really very nice guys (or hardware), and some were good musicians.
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BillRayDrums
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Post Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:19 am

ganeshgiri wrote:BillRayDrums wrote: "The drummer is there to play music, just like the rest of the band. It's everyone's job to keep their own time. The second you acquiesce to becoming a human metronome is when you become no better than a floorscrubber."

Um, DUH.

As I understood it, this forum was about what do you do when the guitarist fails at keeping their own time. In reality, I have never encountered a "human metronome", so I can't say whether they are better than some of the floorscrubbers I have known, who were really very nice guys (or hardware), and some were good musicians.


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Whoa there,Sparky!! I'm not wanting the floorscrubber's union #789 to come picket in front of my house! No disrespect to the floorscrubber was intended. I know some pretty cool ditchdiggers as well. If one is happy in life doing what they do, then that's all that matters, right?

I've met human metronomes. They are those who think that by playing 100% straight up&down time that that gets them a gig. I know guys who use a clicktrack as a crutch on stage. If the guitarist tries to bump it up a notch, he can't because of the drummer's strict adherence to his little bleeper stuck in his ear.

I try to dispel the notion that drummers are "timekeepers". Rather, drummers are "time players". Everyone has to maintain good time in the band. If the guitar player is rushing, usually the bandleader looks at the drummer as if it's his fault. It's the default function of a drummer, just like you had stated a couple of posts back. I say that if there's argument regarding tempo, follow the vocalist.

When I was just starting out with Ike Turner he was constantly railing me over tempo. So, I took a Tama Rhythm Watch to rehearsal and started nailing down his tempos. He kind of looked confused about what I was trying to accomplish, but went along with it. So he starts a tune that I had nailed down at about 126bpm at 100bpm, and sang it with as much conviction and grace as he did at 126bpm. There I was, trying to reconcile this deficit of beats-per-minute to myself and he told me "There's only one tempo and that's your heartbeat. Everything else is just feeling." The Rhythm Watch went back into the closet.

If you read any of my posts here you know that I'm all about helping. I'm not here to start fights.
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Post Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:55 am

This is a problem for all bands at some time or another...anyone who says that it is not is full of it. As far as I go as a drummer, I keep eye contact with 2 people...my bass man (who is like my left wheel) and my lead man (singer). If you have a connection then all it takes is a look. One to or from one of them and it is passed along. If you have a tight group then you know what I mean. Bottom line ...you are the tempo man! Try not to let the hype throw your tempo off. In many cases, the crowd will not know the difference, so if you have a stubborn one in the group...roll with it and try to correct it off stage. Don't let the crowd know that something is wrong by making it obvious.
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ganeshgiri
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Post Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:17 am

BillRayDrums: That's cool... I agree with your points.

It is everybody's job to keep time, but I thought this forum is about what to do when someone doesn't. If the bandleader wants the tempos to fluctuate, fine. Anybody else, ask the bandleader (read: person writing your check) first. I kind of thought we were talking about errors anyway, not an intentional tempo change, so my answers are from that perspective.
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Post Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:25 am

Everyone has a great point. The difficulty is that we are all guilty of misjudging time. Some nights we're wound up others we're not. I feel that all drummers need some way to justify their time. I always set the tempo for whoever starts the song. Me personally, if it's a dance song that is supposed to be straight time i'll play it to click. If it's a rock song that may dance around the time then i set the metronome and use the visual light to keep on track or start the tempo by the vibration from it. Any way I choose i'm always keeping time with my left foot so that I don't stray to far from the tempo.
Again, just IMO. Hope that helps.
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Post Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:38 pm

Fudman wrote:I just play at there speed. If they give me shit I through a stick at them, not hard though (it happen once)


I've done that. Hit him right on the back of the head in the middle of the song. ^_^ He tried to tell me and the rest of the band what the tempo was after I'd given him (and the rest of the band) it, so he tried to change it in the middle, confusing the **** out of the bassist and second guitarist, completely ruining the song. My stick throwing kinda saved the set weirdly, 'cause it made the audience laugh and they thought it was a little 'act'. :lol:
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Post Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:53 am

It all depends on the situation. Everyone's right on with their posts. We're all voicing our frustrations with people's changing expectations and being prepared. We can only do so much.

So when the situation calls for a metronome, use one.

When it calls for 'feel' then just play to the vocalist's phrasing.

Sometimes I use a click the whole time. Sometimes I use it just to get the starting tempo, then ignore it. Sometimes I don't use it at all. We are all playing for different bands/shows/tours with different expectations.

There are varying degrees of timekeeping needed. If you can't lock into a groove while playing with AND without a metronome, there's work to do. It's our job as drummers to be flexible and not get an attitude about things. Keep professionalism as the highest priority.
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Post Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:32 pm

I just either speed up or slow down accordingly....or maybe I'm making up excuses for my own crap timekeeping!
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Post Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:05 pm

when that happens they think its drummer who's off time.
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Post Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:12 pm

I play with him. My guitarist is pretty good about keeping the same tempo, but the odd time that he does play a bit too slow, or a bit too fast, it's not enough to ruin the song, or make the vocalist feel uncomfortable, so the entire band just takes it in stride.
_...:::/ Jimbob2020 agrees \:::..._
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