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Thread: click tracks...

  1. #1
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    click tracks...

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    Ok so here I am making a very humbling post for me....

    As a guitar player I come from a long line of players in my family but.... for some dumb reason I was never shown any timing... I learned licks leads chords styles and sounds but not timing.... never crossed my mind for years and then I got out in the real working world of music and learned that I had "bad timing" what was that?

    Turns out nobody ever has told me was a measure is or what beats are or what times are....

    I understand very rough basics of timing as in....

    120 BPM means 4/4 time but...

    But now that my band is getting looked at in a way that could head us into a large areana market with our act, also with the coming studio sessions it would seem like A REALLY GOOD PLACE TO START LEARNING ABOUT TIMING!

    Can anybody teach me what this is all about and give tips about setting up click tracks?

    I have Audacity which can make a click track for me that can be ported into Tracktion as an .OGG/MP3/WAV file or I can program on to play in Tracktion in the background... I like the file idea better.

    Can someone please help me learn this?





    one really embarrassed musician.
    My various rants about digital audio and Indie music: At my blog

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    pick up a book on the fundamentals of music theory. Seriously, this will help you a lot. Not only with understanding rhythm basics but also you'll learn more about playing chords and will pick up new ways to play stuff. I don't know if you already know about inversions, alternate chords, which notes you can add to thicken up the harmony but not ruin the basic triad or seventh chord you've already been playing....etc. If you don't, it's good to learn this stuff. Plus, you'll learn how to read actual music!

    I'll start you off with this:
    120 BPM means 4/4 time
    ...not quite. BPM stands for Beats Per Minute. This is exactly what it sounds. When you are playing at 120 BPM, after one minute you will have counted 120 beats (dependent on the time signature you are in). (Almost) every song has a time signature to it. The most standard being 4/4 time. The top number means how many beats are in a measure while the bottom number means which note is equal to one beat. So in 4/4 a quarter note is considered the 'strong' beat of the measure and there are 4 of them in one measure. Now if we do the math, that means a song playing at 120BPM will contain 30 measures before the first minute has passed. Our BPM is considered our tempo or how fast we are to play the song over a period of time. You can slow the same song down to 80BPM and you'll only have played 20 measures in 4/4 time over one minute of time. So the same song will take longer to play at the slower tempo!
    120BPM doesn't mean 4/4 time because it doesn't matter what time signature we are in. 120BPM always equals 120 beats in one minute...but as the time signature changes so does our feel for which note is considered the "strong" beat and/or how many of those strong beats are in a measure. In 6/8 time, the eighth note gets to be the strong beat and there are 6 of them in one measure. Strong beats can also then be divided up...we call this subdivision.

    All this is why a lot of people say music is very much like math. However, only the basics...you can't compare playing music and calculus.



    Click tracks just beat out the rhythm for you. They usually have separate sounds for the downbeat (first beat in a measure) the beat itself (the strong beat or the bottom number in that fraction we were talking about) and sometimes the subdivision (which can be set to whatever you want it to...this helps with getting the feel of the rhythm sometimes).
    Basically you want to calculate how many beats you want to play in one minute. You can sing some of your song to yourself while counting the beats in one minute and then set it that way....or just play for 10 seconds and then multiply by 6. Some click tracks also have what is called a Tap button which you can just tap out the rhythm and it calculates it for you. Then you set the time signature the way you want it. Again, 4/4 means that the measure is broken up into four equal beats and each strong beat is considered the quarter note.
    Last edited by bennychico11; 05-15-2006 at 12:25.

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    Usually, when someone is said to have "bad timing" it's not because they don't understand time signatures/tempos etc., it's because they can't play with the beat, or with the proper feel over the beat.

    Alot of players can play great, and they have never learned the basics of time signatures. If you count while you play, or tap your foot with the beat, chances are you have some grasp of time signatures without even knowing it. You've just got to learn what everything means and how to communicate that with other people.

    In terms of that, what bennychico11 said is right on.

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    I am just starting to understand this stuff 1 guess....

    Whew! I feel dumb....

    So any tips on just plain old getting better timing?

    Programming clicks counting beats ect....

    I feel like I failed a bunch of basic stuff when first learning to play music!
    My various rants about digital audio and Indie music: At my blog

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitar junkie

    So any tips on just plain old getting better timing?
    Play with a click. It's the only sure fire way. And don't be too lax on yourself when practicing. If you screw up a rhythm even the slightest, go back and do it again.
    Before actually playing it...sing the rhythm in your head (or even better, out loud) with no pitches to it.
    Beat it on your knee.
    I'm such a nerd I prefer to conduct the measures while doing it (classical music background...blah)!
    Start slow and work up from there. This goes both for trying to understand the fret/picking positions to getting the rhythm down.
    If you screw up...go back and do it again slower
    If you screw that up...go back and do it again!
    Repetition!
    In 4/4 time just tap your foot with the beat. Four beats in each measure. Then subdivide that and tap two times for each beat. These will be your eighth notes. And there are 8 of them in 4/4 time. Subdivide again and you've got 16th notes...it's all math!

    If you have a drummer in your band, get him to help you. Although he may not always know the theory behind it (a lot of drummers don't, I find ), he'll be able to help you with subdivision, syncopation and other various rhythm patterns that will be good for you to pick up.
    Start slow and easy in 4/4 time...then go from there. Play scales, or even simpler, just one note over and over again. Play that one note using the rhythm for your entire song. Then once you get that tight with the click track, adapt the rest of the notes to it.
    Feel the down beat! Very important. The downbeat is always the strongest and if you have notes that land right on it, make sure they hit it.


    I feel like I failed a bunch of basic stuff when first learning to play music!
    Don't feel bad, A LOT of people don't understand this stuff...you'd be surprised. Even famous, big time musicians don't. Vocalists are the worst at it. Just sit and learn it. And if you can, take formal lessons with someone....it doesn't hurt to learn from someone better than you who has had more experience. And MAKE him teach you the theory behind it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitar junkie
    So any tips on just plain old getting better timing?

    Again, the wording of this says to me that you have faults in your playing rather than a lack of understanding of musical time. What sort of help are you looking for exactly?

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalhead28
    Again, the wording of this says to me that you have faults in your playing rather than a lack of understanding of musical time. What sort of help are you looking for exactly?
    Well maybe I should have cleared this up early on...

    I am a folky!

    I play acoustic guitar and sing.

    My band is a three piece deal with two guitars and three singers (the one singer will be joining us on fiddle soon)

    My biggest problem seems to deal with the fact that I rush the tempo of a song!

    I get in a hurry and never seem to have a decent enough hold on timing so that things can stay the same all the way through a song....

    It is folk acoustic music so things are a little off from basic rock and roll but the downbeat is what we roll with for the most part....

    I just find myself looking at timing as though I have no clue what I am doing and the more I try and correct it the worse off I get.

    The rushing through songs has to be stopped the tempo needs to flatten out and kicking off a song needs to be better planned from a timed point.

    My biggest problem is that I have no clue where or what to with to clean up my lack of talent in this issue.....
    My various rants about digital audio and Indie music: At my blog

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitar junkie
    Well maybe I should have cleared this up early on...

    I am a folky!

    I play acoustic guitar and sing.

    My band is a three piece deal with two guitars and three singers (the one singer will be joining us on fiddle soon)

    My biggest problem seems to deal with the fact that I rush the tempo of a song!

    I get in a hurry and never seem to have a decent enough hold on timing so that things can stay the same all the way through a song....

    It is folk acoustic music so things are a little off from basic rock and roll but the downbeat is what we roll with for the most part....

    I just find myself looking at timing as though I have no clue what I am doing and the more I try and correct it the worse off I get.

    The rushing through songs has to be stopped the tempo needs to flatten out and kicking off a song needs to be better planned from a timed point.

    My biggest problem is that I have no clue where or what to with to clean up my lack of talent in this issue.....
    Get a drummer!

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    go here www.metronomeonline.com, pick a comfortable tempo...say 60 bpm...tap your foot to the click...now play some chords are lead passages to that click until it becomes second nature.....it you pay attention to guitarists with good timing, 99% of them will tap their foot to the drum beat..... drummers will do the same thing with their hi-hat pedal when playing a fill or using his ride cymbal.
    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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    learn to play a couple of tool albums all the way through, and you'll be all good

    edit: that's meant somewhat as a joke, but in all seriousness, the way i learned to have great timing when learning was to play along with music with differing tempos and really crazy time signatures. at that point, you can throw all the numbers and slashes out the window, and just play along to the tapping of your foot. of course not having a drummer in your group complicates things a lot, because now you have to be the guy holding down the rythym...especially if you're gonna have a fiddle player whose every move will probably depend on what you're doing

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