Timing problems

Discussion in 'Ask the Pros' started by B60S70SWLBL2002PW, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. B60S70SWLBL2002PW

    B60S70SWLBL2002PW Well-Known Member

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    This question isn't directed to ANY particular "PRo" drummer.I've been told by 3 different musicians (2 drummersx 1 guitarist) that i have a "timing" problem.The guitarist who plays with 2nd drummer has been known to have timing problems of his own due to his use of smoking MJ,
    The 1st drummer mentioned this in reference to a party i attended&played at which i did get stoned,
    Which occured over 20yrs ago!,
    So OF COURSE my timing was off then (btw i no longer partake of ANY drug, i rarely drink also).My question is:HOW do i tell IF my timing is actually "off" (i.e. behind/ontop of or before the beat?).In my younger youth i didn't pay attention to what my drum teachers advised&wanted me to practice, i.e i NEVER EVER played along to&with a "click".Btw the 2nd drummer possibly has a hidden agenda as he left one of the guitarist's bands&knew i was after his gig in both bands,
    My other question pertaining to practicing with a "click" is WHAT&HOW to practice for a complete novice,
    Thank you all for both reading my long-winded question &for your assistance,advice&help.
     
  2. purist

    purist Well-Known Member

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    Record your playing. You can detect all kinds of things about your playing, both good and bad, by listening closely afterward.

    Ps. I'm no pro by any stretch (lol) but I have many years of gigging experience
     
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  3. drumbum91

    drumbum91 Well-Known Member

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    Live BPM (mobile phone app) is a great tool to use as well, set up a click and follow along. I use this when playing live and I see where I tend to push and pull, generally going into or coming out of a fill, dynamic changes, etc. Its hard sometimes to tell where you're at in regards to the beat while you're playing. I record myself as mentioned above and when playing live I listen close to the other players, my bass player and I tend to communicate very well.

    I'm no "pro" either, but I have been playing live (paid gigs) for years and teaching private lessons as well. I think I can speak for most of us and say we all have "timing issues", its something people work on constantly. Its also very subjective as some people prefer not to play like a time clock, I believe music needs to breathe and depending on your style you may want, or not want to be like a human metronome. I shoot to be as steady as possible with no major issues, fluctuation in the beat a few BPM really isn't going to be noticed by the average listener.
     
  4. blueshadow

    blueshadow Just Shuffling along Staff Member Moderator

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    I lost my first gig due to timing issues.... bought a beat bug which at the time was advertised in Modern Drummer and made by the guy at LT lug lock out of his home I think.... was before internet etc. had to send him a check etc...blah blah blah

    Anyway that was 1992, I've used some type of device live and for practice since. Went from the original beat bug to Tempo Ref (also made by LT Lug Lock) to the LiveBPM app that "Bum" reference above. Really will help with timing and also in my case it points out to the rest of the band that maybe they are the problem.
     
  5. ludslingerwig

    ludslingerwig Well-Known Member

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    Great point blueshadow. If you are not solid with your timing it is easy for others in the band to take you off course if they are rushing or dragging. Many times other musicians in the band have never played with a metronome so they have tempo issues, but ultimately it's the drummer that takes the brunt of the blame for fluctuations. Timing is everyone's responsibility not just the drummers. If I'm constantly pulling the reigns back or pulling someone along it gets to be too much of a job and usually won't last. Rant over...carry on.
     
  6. BillyGoodness

    BillyGoodness Pro

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    I'd emphasize two suggestions already made here:

    1) Use a drum machine/metronome whenever you practice.

    After a while you will begin to get very comfortable playing with (not to) that other drummer (the machine) that happens to have perfect time.
    You will be able to push and pull a bit (playing on top, behind, or dead-on) against the click without loosing the overall tempo.

    2) Record yourself

    I recommend recording yourself practicing and on live gigs. Like they say, the recording doesn't lie.
    It's hard, if not impossible, to listen to yourself critically while you're 'in the moment'.

    Here's a little exercise you can do to improve your internal time while you're away from the drums:

    While you're driving (or at any time really) and listening to a song you know - sing and/or tap along.
    Now, turn down the volume but keep the singing/tapping going.
    Start out with maybe a 4-8 measure span of silence and then turn the volume back up.
    Are you right with the song? Ahead of the song? Behind the song?
    This little exercise can help you focus in on your natural timing tendencies.
    The more you do this - increase the amount of time you leave the volume down.

    I hope this helps.

    Billy G.
     
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  7. stickinthemud

    stickinthemud Well-Known Member

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    I struggled with this with a band I was in (and got fired from over "timing issues"), and to a lesser extent now with some guys who are a bit more laid back, so now I am my own worst critic.

    IMO, there are two kinds of timing - tempo; how steady you can keep a beat, and accuracy (or micro-timing); how on top of the beat you are and how precise your fills are.

    A great tempo trainer than is also fun is a collection called "The Test of Time" from drumfun.com. The song plays, you play along, then the song drops out entirely for a few beats, a measure, or even more. The challenge is to continue laying down the groove until the song starts back up and see how accurate your groove really was. It makes you really concentrate on finding what I call your Inner Gadd - that part of your brain that knows exactly where every hit belongs and trusting yourself to put it there.

    For me, I find my accuracy improves when I can discipline myself to practice my fills slowly, with a metronome, and at an even dynamic. You have to develop a really critical ear, and teach yourself to analyze whether you are rushing or dragging your fills.

    I'm sure you can find much more useful advice from a good teacher. If you can afford the money and time, it would behoove you to seek one out.
     
  8. Cwelch

    Cwelch New Member

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    Find some of your favorite bands and play along,this is a great practice for conditioning yourself to prevent rushing and being consistent with your playing,also don't get to amped up with adrenaline and learn how to breath and relax,this is very essential for live playing and you may just get flack from your band for playing too slow but if you play covers play a tune with them then put in the song by the artist and compare the tempos.this works!!!
     
  9. lucianthorr

    lucianthorr New Member

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    I'd definitely second BillyGoodness's recommendation about recording yourself. I'll occasionally take video on my phone of myself playing and I can both see and hear my weak spots when practicing.

    Another thing to do if you find a cheap or free drum machine/metronome on your phone or computer, make a really long bar, like 64 beats and only fill the first half with clicks. Then you're free on the second half and if your timing is right, you'll land right back onto the click when it comes around on the 1 again. So 32 clicks to get the tempo and then 32 rests to hold the tempo on your own.
     
  10. green glass drum

    green glass drum Well-Known Member

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    Most of the tracks I play to are in Pro Tools.
    Live and in studio.
    So I am used to the Pro Tools click all the time.
    If you do any recording, make some tracks or loops and just play to the click.
    Do this for 2 years.
    It becomes natural.
    In the meantime, use your iPhone.
    Download Ludwig metronome app.
    Plug in some headphones or buds.
    Start the app, choose a tempo, Start the click and count your band in.
    Your the boss.
     
  11. Houndog

    Houndog Well-Known Member

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    Why is it that playing to records doesn't seem to have the effect that playing to just a click does ?
     
  12. xsabers

    xsabers World's Second Most Okayest Drummer

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    Depending on the record, many are not nearly as consistent as a click would be. Which would likely mean you would be learning the song with the ebb and flow with which is was recorded. Is that a bad thing???
     
  13. xsabers

    xsabers World's Second Most Okayest Drummer

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    This is my M.O...

    * Record gig
    * Listen to gig
    * Vow to give up drumming forever
    * Lather, rinse, repeat...
     
  14. RIDDIM

    RIDDIM Well-Known Member

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    Billy said it all.
     
  15. gbow

    gbow Well-Known Member

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    Great advice here!

    Another tip, if you've never played to a click you might find it hard at first. One thing to do is play without a click and count. Learn to count out loud as you play. If you've never done it, some people also find it tricky to do. But it might be easier than initially playing to a click.

    Once you get comfortable with playing and counting, then introduce the click and let the click stabilize your counting. You'll be playing accurately to a click in no time.

    gabo
     
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  16. moodman

    moodman Lone Wolf

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    I play with one guy who rushes. To make sure I don't, I silently count 16th's.
    Drummers must play confidently, you must prove to yourself that your time is alright, then you can.
     
  17. Pounder

    Pounder Well-Known Member

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    Anyone who thinks the drummer is the only person keeping time in a band is wrong. So I'm gonna address both the critical remarks you received and some other things on your post:

    You gotta trust your own perceptions musically, short of hiring a trusted drum instructor to work with a short period of time to work those things out. They should be honest, reputable, and you should find them from a local music store or another independent source, not from a competing drummer or musician. Honestly you could screw yourself up more than help yourself if you take lessons from anyone without the same interest in helping you at heart.

    So, if you dont want to use an instruction then try getting an electronic metronome or drum machine, and put some headphones on. Play with the metronome or click, and record it. If you have a 2 channel setup, record the click while recording your drums. Listen to the results. People talk about burying the click. Try to do that. Even if you dont record, try to bury the click.

    Lastly, the only constructive criticism is that which you react to constructively. I would not ask a prospective competitor about timing. Just get to work and work on it. Good luck getting the critical drummer-guys gig.
     
  18. aldenyc2012

    aldenyc2012 Well-Known Member

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    Live BPM ( app ) is the way to go .. for me anyway. I initially thought that if i started to drift either fast or slow from where the song started and I corrected the tempo with the aid of this app, it would be very noticeable but I found just the opposite was true. When you see that the timing is fluctuating, you can correct it but gradually. At most ( depending on the song, fills, etc) my tempo didn't fluctuate more than around 2-4 BPM. The other downside ( I assumed ) was that you could develop a dependency on this tool .. well that is partially true but it actually helped me to maintain a steady tempo because, as someone else pointed out, I could see where my timing for fluctuate and I then became more aware of this.
     

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