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Overdubbing without click? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 22nd December 2010
  #1
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

Overdubbing without click?

I would like to record a single and not use a click track. However, I haven't done this before - I have only recorded to a click track - and am interested in if it's hard to overdub without click?

There would be three instruments on the single: piano, acoustic guitar and acoustic bass. I'd record the piano first and then add the rest. It sounds easy, but as I'm so inexperienced with this, I'd like to hear what other people think about overdubbing without click.

Cheers!
Old 22nd December 2010
  #2
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AnthonyRochester's Avatar
 

If you are recording one instrument at a time, ease of overdubs depends on how rhythmic the first track is, if it gives enough cues for the things that will follow. It depends on what order you do them in, and how good the musician(s) is/are at playing in time and listening, etc.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #3
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AnthonyRochester's Avatar
 

But what I should have said is:
Why don't you try it and see how it goes?
Old 22nd December 2010
  #4
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beebay007 View Post
If you are recording one instrument at a time, ease of overdubs depends on how rhythmic the first track is, if it gives enough cues for the things that will follow. It depends on what order you do them in, and how good the musician(s) is/are at playing in time and listening, etc.
In this case the piano is the most predominant instrument, so it'd probably be quite easy to follow the piano.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beebay007 View Post
But what I should have said is:
Why don't you try it and see how it goes?
I'm recording a session pianist so it'd be good to know everything in advance - as far as it's possible. :-)
Old 22nd December 2010
  #5
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natpub's Avatar
Use your DAW to build a tempo map to your original part. Then you can turn the click back on and it will follow your original ebb and flow.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #6
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Rupert Limehouse's Avatar
 

Overdubbing without click?

If you have good players, why not record all three at once? You'll almost certainly get a better performance and you can still edit sections 'en masse'. Don't worry about spill - just get the musicians to balance the levels themselves in the room. You can also do without headphones this way, which I also find invariably elicits better performances :-)
Old 22nd December 2010
  #7
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by natpub View Post
Use your DAW to build a tempo map to your original part. Then you can turn the click back on and it will follow your original ebb and flow.
This is actually what I've been thinking about. It sounds like a best-of-the-both-worlds solution, doesn't it?
Old 22nd December 2010
  #8
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupert Limehouse View Post
If you have good players, why not record all three at once? You'll almost certainly get a better performance and you can still edit sections 'en masse'. Don't worry about spill - just get the musicians to balance the levels themselves in the room. You can also do without headphones this way, which I also find invariably elicits better performances :-)
I would, but we have a limited space (a little piano room) and limited resources (not enough very high quality preamps and mics), so it'd quite probably be better to record separately.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #9
Registered User
If you aren't using a machine, then who is the best time keeper out of your musicians?? Does anyone take the lead naturally?

It all depends on the arrangement ... who needs to hear what, in order to stay in sync?

One of many different possibilities is to record the acoustic guitarist - just a guide track. If he can sing and play, and stamp feet and count in etc, he could lay down a very good guide track for all subsequent overdubs.

What have you got against machines anyway? Do you want natural ritardando and accelerando? Does it suit the genre? It can sound a bit hokey for most styles of modern music ...
Old 22nd December 2010
  #10
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
If you aren't using a machine, then who is the best time keeper out of your musicians?? Does anyone take the lead naturally?

It all depends on the arrangement ... who needs to hear what, in order to stay in sync?

One of many different possibilities is to record the acoustic guitarist - just a guide track. If he can sing and play, and stamp feet and count in etc, he could lay down a very good guide track for all subsequent overdubs.

What have you got against machines anyway? Do you want natural ritardando and accelerando? Does it suit the genre? It can sound a bit hokey for most styles of modern music ...
I suppose the pianist would be the best time-keeper as the piano is the most predominant instument on the songs we're recording.

I don't particularly have anything against machines, but I suppose that this kind of acoustic music could benefit from as natural approach as possible for us.

This might be silly to say, but to me un-clicked music tend to sound more honest than most modern music.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #11
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by herrvlad View Post
This might be silly to say, but to me un-clicked music tend to sound more honest than most modern music.
Not so silly........

I track to a click when I start my tunes but quite often I lose it for the overdubbing so that I can get some natural ebb and flow going.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Overdubbing without click?

Iv heard of an interesting technique I'm which the initial instrument is recorded with someone humming a guide through the players cans, the vocal is also sent to a straight delay delay in time with the desired tempo, which is also sent through the cans. Ross Robinson does something similar. it would depend on how your players react to being outside of their comfort zone I suppose. It does seem like it would impart a tempo with plenty of vibe
Old 22nd December 2010
  #13
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Muser's Avatar
maybe a more abstract and indistinct rhythmic bed might be better than a click and it might serve the same general purpose as a click.

clicks impose their own sorts of effect on how you play in many cases.

working without a click is pretty simple. all you do is record freeform.
you then have your work cut out (if) you then want to get this in some kind of click track tempo locked order.
whether for using quantizing routines or loops which make sense etc.

Logic will remap its Tempo Track to a played midi event.

or you can cut a track at two bar related events and then drag the lower right of part with a key modifier to a bar related position.
This Time compresses or Expands the Midi to fit.

all this is possible but is extra work. which might be why thinking creatively about what your tempo bed could be in the first place and in opposition to the usual (click) might be worth expending some time on.

there are also rack units which generate a light display or pulse which, is arguably better than using a sound to determine Tempo.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #14
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AndyFromDenver's Avatar
Overdubbing without a click is as easy as pooping after taking a laxative.
Just give a solid well rehearsed guitar or piano part and overdub away.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #15
Gear Nut
 
herrvlad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyFromDenver View Post
Overdubbing without a click is as easy as pooping after taking a laxative.
Just give a solid well rehearsed guitar or piano part and overdub away.
Hehe, this is the kind of answer I was hoping to hear!
Old 22nd December 2010
  #16
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AndyFromDenver's Avatar
Sorry, Gastroenterology nurse as a day job
ooh one thing I forgot to mention. a four count at the beginning.
or at least a one, two, ..., ...
Old 22nd December 2010
  #17
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by herrvlad View Post
In this case the piano is the most predominant instrument, so it'd probably be quite easy to follow the piano.
There is your answer.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #18
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loopy's Avatar
 

I'm a session pianist as well and I do this all the time, but usually live with the other musicians. Mostly jazz, Broadway stuff etc so it lends itself to live performance because of tempo changes and so forth.
I rarely use a click track but for certain types of music, dance, rap, hip hop etc it's a must IMHO as tempo drift will kill that type of music.

The tempo map trick is a great idea.

Another one is if you can have the drummer play along, even if just on a snare or something he can pound the rhythm out on, it might help keep a steady groove.
That will give you more feeling than a click or drum machine etc.
Create a send to the phones but put each musician in a spot where they can see each other.

Again, it depends upon the music.
If this is like dance music or stuff that's tied heavily to the beat, it's going to be tough for the pianist and chances are he/she is going to play too much, especially with the left hand.

What style music is it?
Old 22nd December 2010
  #19
Registered User
Just because the piano is the most prominent instrument does not mean the pianist is the best tempo keeper ... some keyboard players are more rhythmically impaired than some guitar players ...

Does the piano lay down a solid rhythm at all times? That might sound too busy ... some of the best piano stuff is rather sparse ...

But if the pianist can count out loud and/or sing etc, it could easily work. I've heard Freddy Mercury original tracks for Bohemian Rhapsody where he is counting out loud and generally driving the whole piece along ...

I like the idea of also using a delay to impose a tempo reference/suggestion ... I must experiment with that.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #20
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trondned's Avatar
 

Do like Stevie did in the 70's. Record piano and vocals/humming keeping the time throughout i.e. playing too bussy. This will become your guide-track. Record drums to this track and go from there. If the players have good time it should be no problem at all.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #21
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satellitedog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by herrvlad View Post
I would, but we have a limited space (a little piano room) and limited resources (not enough very high quality preamps and mics), so it'd quite probably be better to record separately.

You could record a guide track, live with the musicians of the rhythmic parts or even all of them, with one or two mikes, to have the ebb and flow there, don't worry about the sound quality on this one, have a take that's breathing, maybe ask the session pianist not to play the main part that will make the song, but rather something more sparse or a counter-melody that he/she can later play the main one along effortlessly.

Then, you can have the other parts overdubbed one-by-one along the live take.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #22
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Jerrick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyFromDenver View Post
Overdubbing without a click is as easy as pooping after taking a laxative.
Just give a solid well rehearsed guitar or piano part and overdub away.

+1

Dont complicate this, cause if the musicians are even somewhat decent, they will be able to play along to the previously recorded track.

I did a trio setup kind of like this, I micd the main instrument that everyone else kind of follows, then I DI the bass, cause that was the plan, just using DI and Direct out of his amp, no mics. And DI the guitarist using amp sims.

Everyone can hear everything, and we started recording with everyone playing along. It was a bigger room so they were all in there, but maybe some separation wouldnt hurt for you, as long as everyone has some eye contact.

Started recording, usually just keeping the first take, sometimes doing another, or punching in, giving everyone about 20 seconds of pre-roll, letting them play along and just keep going so the punch in is completely seamless and flows.

After that was done, the bass was practically done, just had to go back and redo a few sections. Then I mic the guitarist and he just played over the tracks.

Super easy and uncomplicated, no clicks, no locking everything to a grid.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #23
Gear Nut
 
herrvlad's Avatar
 

Thank you all for your replies and suggestions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by loopy View Post
What style music is it?
We're recording a couple of old country songs and making new (kind of folk) versions of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
Does the piano lay down a solid rhythm at all times?
Yes, it does. I was thinking that the piano should probably be quite easy to follow as it's playing all the time.

I'm a bit surprised about all the quite complicated suggestions (humming & delays etc.). It's surprising 'cause I didn't see keeping tempo steady as very hard. People have recorded without clikcs decades, so why would it be so hard to keep steady tempo now in our time? Of course it might be that we're are nowadays demanding steadier and steadier tempos as click tracks & computers are so much in fashion.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #24
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i never recorded a trio like in your case, but i think that a typical band recording is very similiar.

today the use of quantisation is a little over the top sometimes, it´s just not natural if metal/rock sounds like electronic music

also the small tempo changes the musicians do make a song alive (well, you could program a tempo map for this, but it´s not easy, too)

i did some records with click, but it just worked if musicians were really trained in doing this and we´re able to groove although the click was there

with many less experienced musicians it was better to record without a click, so we recorded drums untill it was a good performance and than overdubbed all the other elements

it´s more work for the musicians later, because you can´t copy/paste and the musicians have to follow the drummer later when overdubbing, but´s it was always possible (maybe some critical parts where we had to do some takes)

one big plus for the grid:
sound is better, if the bass guitar is 100% where the bassdrum hit is (rock band), but you can also move the bass guitar there without a grid

the only time i would use a grid or quantize 100% is when the band is really bad. than the strong quantisation is the smaller evil compared to a really bad performance.
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