I struggle to play guitar parts to click tracks and subsequently fail at programming drums to them.

Discussion in 'Drums & Percussion' started by BillMurray, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. BillMurray

    BillMurray SS.org Regular

    Likes Received:
    May 24, 2012
    Hi there,

    My writing process usually hits so many blocks because of this, I'm wondering if this is normal and whether you have any advice.

    I write what I think is a really cool guitar piece, usually it's a nice chord progression with complex licks/tails in between each chord, or something similar, maybe heavier parts as well. For example, I might have some heavy chugging chords mixed with some quick solo/hammer on and pull off parts either at the end of or in between heavy sections.

    When I try to practice these types of djenty/progressive riffs to a click track I'm fine keeping in time when I play the simple chord progressions, or the riff type patterns but when it comes to the tail sections/solo stuff (hammer on and pull offs) and faster complex stuff (but not necessarily that difficult), I lose COMPLETE track of the metronome.

    What's super annoying is that this seems to have an impact on how I program drums as well. I tend to program a nice simple beat, which usually suffices for the simpler stuff, but if that same simple riff includes some complex tail parts in between, I again fail to keep in time with the simple drum pattern.

    Thanks for reading and I hope someone can make sense of what I have written, my theoretical and technical knowledge of this stuff is non existent.

  2. odibrom

    odibrom .

    Likes Received:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Looks like you need more practice...

    Suggestion, keep the metronome /click louder than the guitar parts, so it won't "fade away" when you play.

    Question, have you tried to break down your compositions regarding bars and beats? Maybe a little investigation on the rhythm side of theory wouldn't hurt. Your "complex stuff" may not be within the regular 4/4 bar pattern (almost all pop/radio music is done this way) and therefore making you loose the grip on it.

    There's a psychological struggle when recording of "it has to be perfect" at first take. Have you experienced loop recording? Try it, at the end of the n+1 take you'll probably find the recording you're looking for... which leads me into the first statement: practice makes perfect.
  3. kuro_hasegawa

    kuro_hasegawa SS.org Regular

    Likes Received:
    Sep 26, 2017
    When it comes to recording heavily syncopated parts that require a crap ton of precision, i find it easier to memorize the guitar parts to a point in which I'm focusing almost entirely on the drum parts. Hearing it all in your head and expecting the beat also helps a ton; I'm a drummer before a guitarist though so it comes more naturally to me than most. Also, increase the volume of that metronome to the MAX. When drum parts stray away from snare hits on 3 and 5([1] in 4/4), the metronome is my only saving grace :djent:
    bostjan likes this.
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Likes Received:
    Dec 7, 2005
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    I suggest recording a scratch take with the metronome, then always recording all of your final guitar and bass takes after the drums are recorded/programmed. Especially with a live drummer, things won't always line up perfectly on the grid, and that's okay as long as everyone's in time with each other organically, IMO.
    Rizzo likes this.
  5. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

    Likes Received:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Nothing to worry about, just practice, always tap a foot when you come up with riffs, and always practice and record them at a click with clearly defined BPM.
    Your drum programming is just a byproduct of your timing.

    I switched for the most part from guitar to drums for a project with a friend and had to learn to play them at a click, biggest nightmare since i'm not even a drummer but I'm getting better and programming my parts is becoming more and more a breeze once I find the right tempo. Discovered I'm a heavy rusher. By now, I'm never more than a sixteenth note off grid and it's not bad, still working on it.

    EDIT1: +1 for bostjan's advice
    EDIT2: also dumb your stuff down, learn to walk before you run the marathon. try to play easy stuff at a perfect click before wanting to come up with super-duper-proggy-stuff-from-outer-space which is also sloppy and doesn't make sense. Done that, been there. You will thank yourself.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  6. TheKindred

    TheKindred TimeTravel Innovator

    Likes Received:
    May 10, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    try dropping out the off beat sound too. as in, just have a single tone that clicks in time, and then set the metronome to straight 16's or something like that. This way you get a persistent click, but without the stress of landing right on the beat.
  7. metallifan3091

    metallifan3091 SS.org Regular

    Likes Received:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    In addition to all of the advice you've been given, I'd STRONGLY recommend that you learn how to subdivide/count subdivisions while you play, especially with syncopated stuff. Set your metronome to play 16ths instead of just quarter notes, but emphasize each beat. Then you can count the 16ths (either out loud or in your head- 1-e-and-a 2-e-and-a etc.) to help stay on track. I learned to count rhythms coming up in a more classical music background but I still find it very helpful when playing rock and metal guitar.
    GunpointMetal, Rizzo and odibrom like this.
  8. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

    Likes Received:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Madison, WI
    Just takes practice. And making sure that you're actually setting yourself with the right tempo/time signature for your riffs. I see some guys who are incredible guitar players, but they have no idea how to count out rhythms, so when they try to demo ideas, they're trying to cram odd measures over 4/4 just because they don't know what signature they're playing in or how to go about changing it in the DAW. I know one guitarist who has toured the world, released albums, etc. that writes in odd times, but all the breaks/pauses are in there just to fill in the gaps of 4/4 measures to get to the next part. Also, SLOW DOWN. If you're having trouble with a section, work on it at literally half speed, then bump up to 75%, then 85%, etc. until its all muscle memory. Gotta walk before you can run.
  9. Dionysis

    Dionysis SS.org Regular

    Likes Received:
    Mar 14, 2016
    Three things basically,

    1. Practice
    2. Practice
    3. Practice at a slower bpm and gradually step it up

    There are no shortcuts, easier ways or magic buttons to correct your playing. (Actually there are but they sound like $h*t. No one ever knew how to record quad tracked guitars by birth. Just give it time and it will come to you.
  10. Mprinsje

    Mprinsje st. anger ain't bad!

    Likes Received:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Gouda, Netherlands
    What i find helps me play to a click track better is to tap along with one foot. Kinda makes you have that click going on in your body as well.

    I also have that click running pretty loud when i'm playing.
    Mathemagician likes this.

Share This Page