Which Drummers Use a Click Track?

Pictures of GLONO drumkitThis is great. A programmer came up with a way to plot graphs of the beat durations of songs in order to determine which songs used a click track. His synopsis of the Beatles‘ “Dizzy Miss Lizzy”:

This plot shows the beat duration variation (in seconds) from the average beat duration over the course of about two minutes of the song (I trimmed off the first 10 seconds, since many songs take a few seconds to get going). In this plot you can clearly see the beat duration vary over time. The 3 dips at about 90, 110 and 130 correspond to the end of a 12 bar verse, where Ringo would slightly speed up.

He compared this to songs by Britney Spears, Weezer, Green Day, Metallica, Nickleback, and others. Fascinating stuff. Let’s hope he posts more!

Via Hitsville.

4 thoughts on “Which Drummers Use a Click Track?”

  1. Even though part of me thinks this is over-analyzing something that’s meant to be felt, my analytical side is absolutely fascinated by this. Very interesting analysis.

    I grew up playing with a metronome, and to this day I think there’s a benefit in running through songs with one, primarily because – personally – it helps me get familiar with how various sections of a song feel when played at the “right” tempo, which hopefully adds consistency to the actual performance. But recording with one is just murder and sounds horrible. Sure, there’s some Riviera stuff that swings +/- 10 bpm or more between sections and I’m a bit embarrassed by that, but I still think it feels right, so I don’t worry about it.

    Nice find, Jake.

  2. Nice, Joshua.

    A fellow musician friend was recently commenting on the fact that we’ve gotten so used to music recorded with a click that we’re slightly weirded out when we hear stuff that wobbles ever so slightly, even though it’s in the pocket groove-wise. Not too long afterwards I was at a neighborhood bar and Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Bottle” was playing on the jukebox, and I became cognizant of what my buddy was talking about. (Regardless, I’ll take Steven “Popcorn” Adler over the plodding Matt Sorum, ANY DAY. heh, heh)

    The only album I’ve ever recorded without a click was my first, in the mid ’90s. I was listening to it recently and I don’t regret not using one. However, everything I’ve done with a drummer since has been with a click track. (My drummer is great but he slows down tempo-wise after a while. And he’s the first to request a click in the studio, anyway.) I guess you just get used to having the option of fine tuning/editing later, if necessary.

    Thanks for the post, Jake.

  3. I speed up all the time when I play. Let the other musicians play with a click track first, and then let me in so that I can fuck everything up later.

    I totally appreciate those drummers that can keep it as close to perfect as they can without the aid of a click track, so this post is cool. I’m going to suggest Phil Rudd. Rudd always claimed he never used a click track and worked with Mutt Lange a few times. Lange is notoriously big on click tracks, so I’d like to see if Rudd is a liar.

Leave a Reply