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To practice with the GNX4 drums - or not?

gtausgtaus Posts: 2,680
Obviously, I really like my GNX4. This weekend, our drummer did not show for practice. I suggested we use the GNX4 drum machine to lay down a steady beat for practicing our songs. My bandmates would have nothing to do with practicing with a drum machine. I don't understand it. Practice is where you work on getting tight. I think the drum machine helps. They are completely anti-tech. I don't understand it. I played guitar for years by myself without a drum machine and think having an electronic drummer is a great thing to practice with. It can't replace a live drummer on stage - but I'm just talking about practice.

Can somebody explain to me why there is so much resentment from some musicians against the new technology that is available to us? I don't get it. Take care.

Comments

  • shreddshredd Posts: 5,649
    Your bandmates are snobs. I suppose that they use windmill power for their amps and wouldn't dream of using a microphone or PA system.
    Not to mention that a drum machine keeps perfect beat, always shows up for practice, and doesn't hit on your wife.
    Never mind about your drummer not showing up; if everyone else is there, there's no reason to waste the practice time over such a triviality.
    And I suppose the loudest objections came from the lead git'r player who beats you down on stage, right? :roll:
    I agree with mike's philosophy - the most important thing in a band is to get along and be professional with each other and who you deal with. With all there is to deal with in playing, and playing together, there's no room for petty conflicts.
    Easy for me to say...I don't have to deal with bandmates...but it sounds like a pain. They should all grow up a little.
  • gtausgtaus Posts: 2,680
    \shredd\ wrote:
    ...And I suppose the loudest objections came from the lead git'r player who beats you down on stage, right? :roll:....

    Yes, and it wasn't worth the fight. I played the whole practice without a drummer. And by the way, he only got one free shot at me on stage. I told him AFTER the show that was the first and last time he would ever talk to me like that on stage. I had the backing of the band and he knew it. He hasn't pulled a stunt like that since. Also, at practice last week, we told him to clean up his act both on stage and off when we are on the job. Of course, he got upset about that. This week at practice he told us that he was going to act more responsibly. I hope he means it. He drinks during the gig and this is becoming a problem. Most of his 'bad' behavior is towards the end of the night when he has probably had too much to drink. Musically, we are getting better all the time. If we can get past these other issues, we will really be doing good. I don't critize my bandmates for making mistakes musically. Behaviors, however, should always be under control as far as I am concerned.

    Here is a thought for any of you who play bass guitar in a band. I was trying to tell my bandmates that I play bass guitar differently depending on if I have a good drummer, average drummer, or no drummer at all. They looked at me like I had a third eye. But it's true. I am wondering if any other bass players out there also modify their approach to the bass depending on the ability of, or lack of, a drummer? Although I have played guitar for many years, I can only claim to play bass for the past year and a half. So I am wondering what some of you more experienced bass players do. Best wishes.
  • shreddshredd Posts: 5,649
    \gtaus\ wrote:
    Yes, and it wasn't worth the fight. I played the whole practice without a drummer. And by the way, he only got one free shot at me on stage. I told him AFTER the show that was the first and last time he would ever talk to me like that on stage. I had the backing of the band and he knew it. He hasn't pulled a stunt like that since. Also, at practice last week, we told him to clean up his act both on stage and off when we are on the job. Of course, he got upset about that. This week at practice he told us that he was going to act more responsibly. I hope he means it. He drinks during the gig and this is becoming a problem. Most of his 'bad' behavior is towards the end of the night when he has probably had too much to drink. Musically, we are getting better all the time. If we can get past these other issues, we will really be doing good. I don't critize my bandmates for making mistakes musically. Behaviors, however, should always be under control as far as I am concerned.

    Here is a thought for any of you who play bass guitar in a band. I was trying to tell my bandmates that I play bass guitar differently depending on if I have a good drummer, average drummer, or no drummer at all. They looked at me like I had a third eye. But it's true. I am wondering if any other bass players out there also modify their approach to the bass depending on the ability of, or lack of, a drummer? Although I have played guitar for many years, I can only claim to play bass for the past year and a half. So I am wondering what some of you more experienced bass players do. Best wishes.
    Ya know, I knew it was that guy raising the fuss as soon as you told the story.
    Now, you know I (and most of us here) are jazzed that you've got a working band and that you're having fun and getting better. And you're RIGHT on the money in that behavior and attitude is more important to the group than skill and the ability to show up. And the drinking is already a problem, and will probably get worse.
    If I were me, I'd seriously consider replacing him. I don't have to tell you that there's oodles of good git'r players out there.
    As far as playing bass with various drum-sources: ABsolutely. Don't forget that unless you're Geddy Lee et al, the bass is part of the rythm section and grooves very closely with the drums.
  • 43839134383913 Posts: 36
    I would definitely practice with a GNX4 drummer. Even if you may still have to work out some of the kinks when your live drummer returns, at least the rest of the band members can work out the timing on the tune.
  • iliaceiliace Posts: 5,567
    Practicing with a drum machine is fine. I've done this with my band by getting a MIDI track of the songs we need to go over while the drummer is absent, and running it from the computer to the GNX.

    Even with the drummer in the room and playing, practicing with a click-track (metronome) is a critically important exercise. Without knowing your bandmates, I would venture to guess that they don't have very much professional music experience? Don't know terribly much about music? Haven't been in the studio very much?
  • gtausgtaus Posts: 2,680
    \iliace\ wrote:
    ...Even with the drummer in the room and playing, practicing with a click-track (metronome) is a critically important exercise. Without knowing your bandmates, I would venture to guess that they don't have very much professional music experience? Don't know terribly much about music? Haven't been in the studio very much?

    Right, right, and right. As a band, we started practicing last April and started playing a few gigs (free, low pay, etc...) this past Fall. We started playing for pay in January of this year. Although we have all played guitar for years, playing professionally, IMHO, is different than singing around the campfire.

    I have been trying to bring the other guys along with what I know and from I have learned from this forum. For example, my bandmates wanted to record some demos. They thought it would be great to have everyone in the room together and record us 'live' and then add the drums later. I have been trying to educate them in my approach which is to lay down the drum track (or click track) first and then record each instrument and vocal on a separate track, mixing the tracks for balance, and then laying down the two track demo in the final process. I was pretty much wasting my time. I really don't care to work with an all-in-one track where you really can't work with the mix and where nothing lines up on a good grid. They may think they have a metronome in their head, but they don't. Nobody I know is that good over a 4-5 minute song.

    Anyway, I have been using midi recording for over 20 years and at least I understand that locking into a good grid is the best start for most music I record. Not that everything has to be on point on the grid, but it should at least be tight throughout the song. Starting with the click track or drum track at 120 bpm will ensure that the end of the song is still at 120 bpm, if you know what I mean.

    None of us have ever been in a real recording studio, so I don't know how the pro's do it. From what I have read in magazines, the pro's lay down a click track or drum track to establish the grid framework of the song first, and then start laying down individual tracks to build the song.

    I can't get the lead guitarist to record his guitar directly. He insists on miking his amp and foot dancing on his various individual pedals. I tried to talk to him about recording dry and re-amping later for effects, but he won't have anything to do with it. Fine. As a result, four months later, he still has yet to lay down a single track because he can't get his 'live' sound recorded. And no, his 'live' sound is nothing great IMO. It is just what he is used to with his amp. He has no idea of what he could do with a real board like the GNX4 or other modern multi-effect pedals. For whatever reason, using modern equipment, like the GNX4 drummer or a multi-effects pedal for practice or recording, is NOT real music in his mind. To be fair to him, I know other musicians who do feel the same way. I am just not one of them. Take care.
  • shreddshredd Posts: 5,649
    Your lead git'rist is a d**k. :?
    And he CLEARly needs to open his mind and adjust his attitude.

    FWIW: my favorite band is RUSH (who'd've thunk it? :lol: ), who whether you like them or not, has been a wildly successful band for over thirty years. And I'm here to tell ya that THEIR standard practice for recording - no matter who's producing or whether they're recording in 1975 or 2005 - is to lay down a click track, do the standard drum part, then add solos, 'riffs', then finally vocals. ALL on separate tracks, ALL one at a time, and ALL to the rythm of the base/backing track.
    If it's a good enough studio technique for a multi-platinum band, surely it's good enough for your numb-n*uts git'rist.
    Can you tell I'm liking this guy less n less the more I hear about him??? :roll:
  • gtausgtaus Posts: 2,680
    Well, I'll just keep on trying to do things the 'right' way. At my age (47), I welcome technology that helps me get to where I want to go musically. If practicing with a drum machine helps me to learn a part, I'm all for it. I just think too many people are anti-tech because it wasn't available back in the day. My feeling is that if the tech was available back then, they would have used it to their advantage just like any other piece of gear. My good old four track cassette tape recorder has not seen the light of day since I got my GNX4. How can you even compare the recording quality and capabilities of the old four track cassettes and todays hardware/software programs?

    From everything I have read recently, I always thought the pro's laid down a click track (or drum track) and started adding tracks one by one to build the song. With today's software, you can just lay everything down on a grid and make the song as tight as you want it. Thanks for the info on how Rush records their music. I think that is pretty much today's standard. But then, I have never been in a real recording studio. Take care.
  • shreddshredd Posts: 5,649
    Yah, RUSH has been doing it that way since they started. Good producer/s and smart guys. And they've always been willing to tackle new technologies - they were among the first to use triggered samples and interfaced instruments (now known as \"MIDI\").
    A \"real\" recording studio is an aMAZing thing. Even in the 80's it was amazing what you could do in a good studio, and that was before computers and MIDI.
    What I mean is: yes, technology has always been part of high-end music production, and those that resist it do so at their own peril, unless you happen to be Muddy Waters or James Taylor or someone similarly gifted and beyond the need for technology.
    So tell your git'r player to get his head out of his butt and use it to think!!!
  • guitar3456guitar3456 Posts: 3,494
    You already have the tools to create backings of your own band, each part.

    For years, my band has recorded practices. We place the tracks for each member and isolate tracks for each member practices.

    Bu multi tracking rehearsals you have several advantages:

    1. You can practice with the full band and disable your own part to play with.

    2. If a member cannot make a rehearsal for whichever circumstance planned or not, you have their part ready to go.

    3. Makes your band tighter on every part including intro's specialty arrangements and more importantly..... endings.

    This takes time and about a two day session to get everything down but order some pizzas and beverage of choice and hammer them out.

    Each rehearsal for new tunes we record the songs once the homework has been worked out. Some days it's two, sometimes 3 songs a mo. It's easy to assemble and it works. You don't have to record vocals unless you want to.

    On other occasions we did the same thing now that most of our performers have some form of recording capability, by having them record their parts to a click, start on an eight count roll in.. and go. They mix to hi res MP3 and email parts. The parts get converted to wav and imported into multitracking.

    Songs are then arranged with each players part omitted. So we have a disc for bassist ( no bass) , drums ( no drums) , guitar, etc. This method is useful and very common now among some seasoned bands. When a player cannot make a rehearsal, you have them already on standby. No artificial role or mechanized sound to worry about.
    You can do this in wav format or MP3.

    FWIW, many times I rehearse with simple drum machines and drum midi backings. You have a very powerful tool in the GNX4 to do as many of the things to aid your accompaniment even on days a player may not be able to provide it.
  • gtausgtaus Posts: 2,680
    You already have the tools to create backings of your own band, each part. For years, my band has recorded practices. We place the tracks for each member and isolate tracks for each member practices. By multi tracking rehearsals you have several advantages....

    That has been my goal - to multi-track record the band during our practice sessions. I don't think I can do this with only my GNX4. I know I could record one instrument at a time with the OBR or PTP (Sonar), but is there an 'easy' way to multi-track the band in a single pass? I fully agree with having practice songs tailored for each musician where he could drop out track and play along with 'the band.' How much would such a setup cost?

    Since I can't get the guys to practice with the GNX4 drum machine, I don't even want to try to get them to record their tracks one at a time during practice. That is a fight I know I would lose. If I could record all of us playing together on a multi-track recorder of some kind, I think I could pull off everything else. Thanks for any suggestions. Best wishes.
  • RawbRawb Posts: 1,459
    I know nothing about a live band other than the politics can be a pain. But I was wondering. Can't you put the drummer on one track and the band on another (You can record two tracks at a time, correct?) via the f/c they wouldn't know, would they. And if it worked you would atleast have your drummer at pratice even if he didn't show? And also if the drummer didn't show at a pratice you could start practicing with your drummer and the others may join in and start seeing things from your pov. Ya probably a stupid thought, but I am here to learn too!
  • guitar3456guitar3456 Posts: 3,494
    Taus,

    The means to record those sessions you ALREADY HAVE. You can capture any take mono. Drums, for instance, just set them in the room and set up a mic. Condenser preferred. Place it right in front of the entire kit about 2-3 feet from center. You can pick up everything enough to at least create a backup track.

    Another option for multitracking is an outboard mixer. You already have that too. If it's a stereo mixer even better. Take the drummer's send output to the GNX line in's, OR Record right off the PA line out. You being a bassist can always add a bass track direct.

    Import your wavs on the GNX to PTP sequencer and go from there. You may have to nudge tracks, but if the timing was close enough it should be fine so long as you start right on measure.

    Figure like this: you have 10-12 songs a set. One day you spend a few hours on each. The value added in backing is well worth it.
  • shamasuvashamasuva Posts: 24
    There are a lot of big time bands that record live (not as many as that record track-by-track ala Rush). But, ALL of them multitrack.
  • gtausgtaus Posts: 2,680
    Currently our setup is 3 guitars (lead, rhythm, bass), drums, lead vocal, backup vocal. To me, that is 6 separate tracks. I know that I could record every song on the GNX4 OBR using mono recording one track at a time. That would take probably 6 times through on each song to get everything recorded on its own track. When you said multi-track recording, I thought you were talking about capturing everyone all at the same time each with their own track on the recorder.

    At any rate, I have been looking at getting some 8 (simultaneous) track recorders or interfaces for multi track (simultaneous) recording on the computer. Unfortunately, they all cost more money than I have laying around. I don't think I would have much luck getting the boys to spend all the time required to do multiple takes to finish off multi track recordings of our songs as would be required with the GNX4 (2 tracks max at a time). We have over 5 hours of music in our set list. 5 hours X 6 takes = 30 hours to lay down the tracks. I don't see that happening. However, if I could capture us all at once, I might have a chance to make some good multi track practice recordings for us. Best wishes.
  • guitar3456guitar3456 Posts: 3,494
    Start by just getting the live drums. Do it over time with your rehearsals. Nip one here, one there. You don't have to have them all. I'd the ones that need the most tightening up.

    Mustang Sally or something like that should be easy. Something more difficult would warrant the recording priority. A little at a time and eventually after a few practices you have your backings.
  • gtausgtaus Posts: 2,680
    My idea at first was to lay down a simple drum track at the proper tempo for our songs. Then add one track at a time for the instruments and vocals. But then we get back to where I started on this thread with bandmates unwilling to play along with a drum track. Still, I think your solution is the only one within my budget and I will just have to find a way to make it work. Take care.
  • I realize these are years old but still strike chord in my experience. The GNX4 drums are used mainly for gaining experience in free form or original composition.
    To argue against broad use of your own ability is a "gurrly man's" go to crutch. Gurr: as in bear!?
    Way too many gurrly men (and women) on this planet. Word...
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