tempo pushing/pulling

michaelg

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Looking for tips on how to remain relaxed when other band members are rushing tempo.

One guy i play with always seems to be pushing ahead of me with his rhythm guitar and it drives me crazy after a while, I have a habit of tensing up in my hands and legs and end up playing harder and more forcefully to lay down the tempo.

Is there something i can practice to help me be less affected by swaying tempos of other band members ?
 

stickinthemud

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Like stickchopper said. You can manage the tempo by looking for places where you can pull it back. Come the end of the day, it's more important the band play together than play in perfect tempo. You may want to suggest rehearsing to a click so your offending bandmates can hear where they are rushing.
 

Blackdog

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When you get the hand signal from the bass player to slow down, at the exact same time you the hand signal from the guitarist to speed up.. you've found nirvana, vindication and a smug grin.
 

wolfereeno

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Practice to a metronome when rehearsing with the band, Then start to make them aware of it.
 

Morello Man

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Joe Morello said there's one way: play on the beat...ahead you're rushing, behind you're dragging. Sounds like your bandmates are not very good, frankly, if they can't play in tempo and end up either blaming you or playing with your head.
 

nanashi

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Joe Morello said there's one way: play on the beat...ahead you're rushing, behind you're dragging. Sounds like your bandmates are not very good, frankly, if they can't play in tempo and end up either blaming you or playing with your head.
Its not about playing on, on top of or behind the beat. The trick is to keep it steady where ever you place it.
 

RIDDIM

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Rehearse the band with a click. If need be, mic it.

I do that with one of my projects if time questions arise. It works well, although we are generally able to play low enough that a mic is not needed. It's gratifying when we all start and end at the same time. it also makes clear, in real time, who is and is not warping time.
 

gwbasley

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A player who rushes can be a run-away train (wreck). Lock in with your bass player on the down beat, and together you can keep the tempo in line.

Rushing is usually and emotional thing...nervous energy that causes a player to push ahead for fear of losing their place or falling behind. A rhythm section holding a steady groove can give a reassurance to the one pushing the tempo.
 

Stretto

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When you guys say "play in tempo" and then say that someone who drags or rushes isn't playing in tempo and is not a very good, this doesn't say much because perfect tempo is "subjective". That is, real perfect tempo is playing exactly on the beat without any mathematical error. e.g., if the click is 60bpm then the time between playing two beats(e.g., the moment when the kick drum is struck on beat 1 to the moment the snare is struck on beat 2) should be 1 second. No more, no less. That is perfect time. Obviously no one can do that, not even once.

So, what is the error in time that good drummers have? What about pro drummers? What about the best drummers in the world? what about the the typical cases when a pro drummer gets off? how often and how much(timing wise) does this happen? It is also important to know how well the audience can sense the timing issues too.

So what is the range of timing that one needs to be at to offer a good performance? That is, something more quantitative than "They must play in tempo" because that really isn't saying much except that you shouldn't play out of tempo.
 

Sinclair

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Few things are more unnerving than a band member that's rushing. Always beating you to a downbeat without even being aware of it.
Often it won't matter what the tempo is, as the same thing will happen on a ballad, medium tempo or up tempo feel. This takes all the air right out of a groove and makes even the simplest feel sound uncomfortable. Even though 99% of listeners can't put their finger on it, they're affected as well and won't respond to the music as they might otherwise. I've seen it happen.

If you're confident your time is solid and you're not dragging I'd talk to him (her) about it. How you plan to do that is up to you but try to avoid putting anyone on the defensive about their time.
 

RIDDIM

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Have them play the tune just to the click - that should separate the men from the boys quickly. Getting all to realize where the issues lie is the first step toward resolving them.
 

Alan_

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rushing's much harder to manage effectively than dragging, imo, because they've already passed the point you're trying to establish as 1 by the time you get there.

If the band member's time is that bad, and it's someone you regularly play with (as opposed to someone you are a 'hired gun' to), I agree: try having the band practice with a metronome. I've done it before, and person who was rushing became PAINFULLY aware of the fact that "the drummer" (me) wasn't the one dragging...he was rushing!

Try to play the 'soft sell' on this one. On occasion I've seen players get super offended (once to the point of walking out on the gig before the next set) if they feel threatened by this line of questioning.
 

organicdrummer

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"Good time" is a combo of solid tempo combined with even subdivisions. I think it's the even subdivisions that really separate good players from great ones. Technically, you can play in 60bpm but your subdividing can be all over the place. If that is the case, the groove is going to sound sloppy - you might rush the 1 but drag the 4.

If your tempo isn't that great, but you speed up in consistent, smooth, even and gradual increments, the overall effect won't be nearly as noticeable.
 

Alan_

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I think some 'slop' can be indispensable in many musics. For example: do you really want to hear completely even subdivisions on a Howlin' Wolf song? That would sound inauthentic and trite.
 

Stretto

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But no one has yet quantitatively defined what is good and bad. It's very easy to say "That is good and that is bad" but without any real substance behind it, it is meaningless except in the extreme cases. I can only surmise, for now, that no one really knows what good time is. They only know relatively speaking.
 

Alan_

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Well, as with many things, it's subjective and contextual...and what would be GREAT time in one situation would be TERRIBLE time in another.

For example, if you played an 80's King Crimson song off of 'Discipline' with the same timefeel that one would hear in something like 'Up on Cripple Creek', the result would be atrocious.

And the converse would be just as inappropriate.

There's more than one kind of 'good time', and what the definition of good time is can change depending on who you ask.
 

Alan_

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But I think the OP was referring more to 'players who get out of sync with the rest of the band'. That right there is EASY to spot. :)
 

drumrman2002

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One of my pet peeves has been when a guitarist starts out the song and plays it either too slow or too fast. Once you lock into the groove it can be hard to change tempo without it being too noticeable. PITA.
 

maxb2k

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Sinclair said:
Few things are more unnerving than a band member that's rushing. Always beating you to a downbeat without even being aware of it. . . . . .
This takes all the air right out of a groove and makes even the simplest feel sound uncomfortable. Even though 99% of listeners can't put their finger on it, they're affected as well and won't respond to the music as they might otherwise. I've seen it happen.

If you're confident your time is solid and you're not dragging I'd talk to him (her) about it. How you plan to do that is up to you but try to avoid putting anyone on the defensive about their time.
Well put, but even the best intentions and words can be taken the wrong way . . . I'VE seen it happen.

What if there was a different way?
How could you communicate with this player on the bandstand?
I was subbing the other nite on a gig, and during one of the tunes the guitar walks over, faces me, and not forcibly but demonstrably shows the downbeat. This was coming out of the solo section, and soon realized I was a bit strident. I really appreciated it, and the only two people who knew what was going on was the guitar, drums and maybe the guitar players wife.

What type of things can the drummer do on the bandstand to take charge of pushing/pulling ?
 

Alan_

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I find the 'intense stare' 'follow me!' look generally works. They have to be paying attention to you first, though! :)
 

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