Maybe you always use a click track.

The musicians you work with might not.

Save this email for the next time you find yourself trying to “convince” your client to record to a click track.

Here’s an example from a live performance setting that might help.

For years, the band at my church would play without any sort of click track or metronome. Then a few years ago we hired a new worship director. One of the first changes he made was installing a Dr. Beat drum machine in the drum booth and having all the musicians play along to a click.

Many of us (myself included) bristled at the idea.

“Playing to a click will kill the vibe of playing along with other musicians.”

Right?

Well, after a couple years of playing every Sunday with a click, I can’t imagine playing without it.

While playing to a click is difficult, it can have a HUGE impact on the tightness and “togetherness” of the music.

It’s a single, unifying theme, around which all the musicians play.

Personally, I’ve found that playing to a click actually ENHANCES my performance, rather than hurting it.

It’s a foundation around which I can try different things, but I always know there will be that steady “tick…tick…tick…” to keep me on track.

I’m a long way from being able to say I play REALLY well to a click, especially when I’m singing and playing simultaneously, but that’s just a matter of spending more time intentionally practicing.

What I CAN say is that the band sounds tight, and a big part of that is due to using a click.

The same holds true in the studio. Occasionally a band sounds better without a click track, but more often than not the click track forces the musicians to up their game a bit, and it pays off BIG TIME in the long run.

Don’t write it off as a nonmusical option…not without trying it first.

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Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner

  • Matthias

    You would be right to write it off as a non-musical option, although it works wonders if you want to make an amateur musician sound artificially more professional, but ultimately it exhibits a fundamental lack of understanding of what rhythm is.

    • Eh, I don’t think you can make things so cut and dry. It’s ANOTHER musical option. Would you say orchestra musicians are non-musical because they all follow a conductor?

  • ironman2819

    I have been playing a musical instrument of one kind or another for over 40 years, so I have definitely developed a great sense of timing. I have even recorded guitar tracks without a click or drum track that mapped to the eventual recording of the drums quite well.

    But the other day I was recording a rhythm guitar loop that I wanted to stick into a song. I figured, just to be sure, turn on the click track….

    As it turns out… it was the cleanest, sharpest and most on time rhythm track I have cut in decades!

    Always good to get back to the basics for the best results.