I mentioned about a week ago that I’m in the planning process for my next album.

This time around I’m ditching EZDrummer and recording real drums. So I asked my buddy Tim Horsley (awesome pro drummer here in Nashville) if he would play on it.

After agreeing to play, Tim said, “Let’s get together and do some pre-production on these songs.”

I was a bit confused at first. The way I normally do pre-production usually only involves me.

I’ll sit down with my DAW, figure out the tempo/arrangement of the song and record scratch tracks. THEN I’ll bring in musicians to play bass, drums, etc.

Since I don’t play in a band, that’s how the songs tend to flesh themselves out.

But then here comes Tim, wanting to be involved in the pre-production process. I like this idea.

So Tim came over one morning, and we spent a couple hours going through each song, making arrangement and groove decisions, essentially mapping out each song on paper.

Here’s the list of gear we used:

  • guitar
  • pen
  • paper

Tim showed up with literally a pen and a pad. No drums. No sticks. No percussion paraphernalia whatsoever.


Joey likey.

Why? Because Tim brought his talents as a musician to MORE than just the recording process. He jumped in with me on the ground level, on the SONG level, and helped me make key decisions about how these songs should go.

There were several songs that were lacking direction, whether it was what groove to play, or how to transition from one section to the next. And I could bounce those ideas off Tim and get his feedback.

The result was a list of songs with real direction, rather than a list of songs with a vague idea of how they were gonna go.

That leaves me with the much easier task of simply recording all the scratch tracks. I won’t have to do a bunch of decision-making either, since we knocked out a bunch of the key decisions in that pre-production session.

So before you reach for your gear, before you fire up your DAW, reach for your BRAIN first. πŸ™‚

Think through the songs before you start laying things down. ‘Twill be much more fun, I promise.

Then once you get everything recorded, the fun continues with mixing.

And one of the keys to a great mix is knowing how to blend all those glorious tracks together.

And EQ is your best friend. Learn how to EQ like a champ here:


Joe Gilder

12 Responses to “My Drum-less Drummer”

  1. Rhys

    Wow, the segues to the shameless plugs of your paid content are getting more and more awkward. The story in this article involved no recording or mixing and had nothing to do with eq, but somehow it transitions to “buy understanding EQ, it’s awesome”. Sure, I get that you need to promote what you’re selling, but it’s painful to have EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE extolling the virtues of your products no matter how tenuous the link to the article’s content is.

    • Joe Gilder

      Hey Rhys. I’m sorry my “shameless plugs” are awkward for you, but nobody’s forcing you to read my articles.

    • Bob2

      HA! I feel similarly…but I do enjoy the articles from time to time! At least this time he wasn’t comparing mixing/eqing to something like eating a hamburger or folding your socks LOL.

      JK Joe…love ur stuff!!

  2. Smurf

    This is THE biggest problem for a musician like myself, only in reverse…

    I was a pro live player for decades, and when I got out of the “scene” I found a HUGE vacuum when I went to write or record tracks. I miss the bouncing of ideas among a few folks I think more than anything else…..thinking it thru works, but is sometimes a lonely way to create! LOL

    • Joe Gilder

      I totally agree. I used to be the guy who thought it was super impressive to do everything yourself. The pendulum is swinging the other way now. I’m much more interested in collaboration, putting multiple creative minds into the same space and seeing what comes out. It’s almost always better than anything I could come up with all by myself…in a van….down by the river. (SNL reference, sorry…long day. πŸ™‚ )

  3. Jason

    Off topic Joe but do u prefer EZDrummer to SuperiorDrummer? Aren’t they both made by Toontracks?

    • Joe Gilder

      I’ve always just used EZDrummer. Superior is awesome, but I’m too impatient for all the tweaking that you can do. πŸ™‚

      • Jason

        Ahhhh–simplicity. That’s an issue of mine too. Did you do a write-up of EZ Drummer before? I don’t really like the clutter of MAJOR programs either. I just decided to download a cheap video editing program for the same reason as opposed to Avid or Final Cut for the same reasons. Plus it’s nice to save some $$$!!


  4. Andrew

    It’s cool your doing your Album the same time I am making my EP. My goal is to finish it by the end of this year.

    Good luck Joe! =)


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