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Bass-Ackwards Drums

Oct 11 2006 Posted by in music | Comments Off on Bass-Ackwards Drums

We’re doing some online collaborative [metal] recordings by uploading our individual tracks from home studios, but the guitar riff usually comes first with us. So theyre waiting on me, but I have nothing to play to unless I wanna make a click. Will this work?

Yes, playing to a click (metronome) is very common. The problem is that your results probably won’t have much soul to them or be as musically-interesting as they could. If it were electronica, you’d be fine.

Let’s assume you’re discovering/writing the song one part at at time as well. If guitar is the focus, what I’d recommend is to record to a fixed click and send it off, but just consider this a scratch track. Then let the drummer have at it, send it back to you, and then re-record the guitar for real with some slight performance tweaks. I’ve “started” with guitar on recordings a few times, and no matter how perfect I perceive the performance, when I’m programming the drums afterward I can hear some slight guitar rhythm discrepancies there wouldn’t be had I played along with drums the first time (I even mute certain measures so I don’t screw up the drums to match). Especially with strummed or funky rhythms, less so with metallic chugging.

I don’t like to quantize my cymbals, and the last time I played drums following guitar I didn’t quantize anything at all. If this weren’t heavy music, I would take a different approach. If it’s a looser, jammy song, I’d record drums first, then bass, then guitar and whatever else. For a vocal-oriented song, I try to get the lead vox tracked before I add many midrange instruments, to make sure they’re not stepping on the singer too much, not just frequency-wise, but also from an arrangement and phrasing standpoint.