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Old 09-24-2017, 10:54 PM   #1
SGMusic
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Default Getting the tempo right?

One of the recurring problems I've been having at gigs is that every now and then we will start a song off at the wrong tempo (usually too fast) and I mean, it doesn't ruin the song, but it just makes it weird and less fun (And I'm betting less enjoyable). Once you get going it kind of is what it is and there's no going back so we just suffer through it.

What do you guys do to remedy this? Punch in tempos on a metronome before every song? Use click tracks?
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Old 09-24-2017, 11:21 PM   #2
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Whats the set up you have ?
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Old 09-24-2017, 11:29 PM   #3
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Whats the set up you have ?
Right now we are running a Yamaha MG16xu mixer through two Yamaha S115v speakers as mains. That's pretty much it. Then all of our mics and cables and the like.
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Old 09-25-2017, 12:39 AM   #4
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You can either use a click tempo count in using an electronic metronome, or just know the tempo in your head and count it in.

You will often see drummers counting a song in with 4 stick taps.
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:40 AM   #5
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Don’t ask Willie Nelson what he does… lol…. He’s notorious for playing too fast

I have no experience using them, but just in case you aren’t aware, there are visual metronome devices and probably phone apps as well. Pulsating pocket and wristband metronomes are also available.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:48 AM   #6
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It has happened to everybody at one time or another. You just suffer through it and you'll remember to tell everybody the next time you play it to be careful about the tempo. Just for fun the guys in the band would pick a tune that was full of really fast passages, and they would start it of way to fast just to see if I could survive it. I never lost it, but I came close a time or two. It wasn't just me. Sometimes when it was break time, we would play the break song and while the drummer was taking a solo, we'd just put our instruments down and leave. He'd look up and nobody was there and the next thing we'd hear from the PA was "Real funny guys". We thought it was funny as hell. The keyboard player was really short and we'd play "Short People" and all of us would stare at him the whole time we were playing it. If you can't have fun, then why play? That band lasted about 10 years.
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:35 PM   #7
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It does happen to everybody. I tend to start things slow. Our drummer has a great sense of tempo and on some songs I will have him count me in even if it is just me stating the song on guitar.
At yesterdays gig our rhythm guitarist said to me, while playing, "I think I started this song too slow. I said, "Don't worry Bob (our drummer) will fix it when he comes in." sure enough he did.
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Old 09-25-2017, 06:46 PM   #8
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Right now we are running a Yamaha MG16xu mixer through two Yamaha S115v speakers as mains. That's pretty much it. Then all of our mics and cables and the like.
I meant what is the line up i.e. Musicians/singers - full live band with drums or acoustic guitars only etc
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Old 09-25-2017, 06:53 PM   #9
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Tempo changes can be made once the song starts...you just have to communicate with eachother. With more people it can be more difficult, but it can be done. I have had to tell my duo partner to pick it up when a song was feeling like it was dragging.

When you are nervous or excited, you tend to play faster. If you are starting a song out, I think you have to be deliberate about the tempo you are setting if you are nervous.

I've only heard of bands playing to click tracks when they have to sync with video that is being shown as part of the show.

As an aside, changing the tempo of a song can turn it into something very different. As a goof one time, we started out Roadhouse Blues at a slow tempo...like lounge music kind of slow. Imagine Frank Sinatra singing Roadhouse Blues . People looked at us like WTF are you doing? After the first verse we kick into the way it's supposed to be played.

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Old 09-25-2017, 07:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SGMusic View Post
Punch in tempos on a metronome before every song?
This can be useful as a reference before the song begins. One of the drummers I use has an app on his phone and an earpiece. We are playing well known rock covers (Stones, Tom Petty, REM, Hootie, etc.), so he can quickly refer to the tempo and feel on his phone before kicking it off. I always let him start the songs.

Not all drummers are quite as capable/prepared, and in those cases I (guitar/vocals) just have to count the band in myself.
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