Drummer alternative

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JetfireJetfire Frets: 765
A new band set up I'm working with is struggling to find a drummer at present so we are considering an alternative option until we find someone. 

What would the options for a really good sounding alternative? So potentially not an MP3 but maybe something like midi system or similar?
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  • WhistlerWhistler Frets: 46
    Is this for songwriting, rehearsals, gigs? What style of music? Could a cajon player be a possibility? There are all sorts of drum track producing options, from software to paying for a drummer to record himself playing along to your tracks.

    I once played in a band that gigged using an old drum machine. The good news is it was cheap, simple, everyone learned to follow the drummer and could keep to the beat. I was impressed. The bad news was it sounded awful, unrealistic, void of any feeling or dynamics.
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  • JetfireJetfire Frets: 765
    Apologies, it's a for a function band doing covers
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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 475

    I worked for a while in a trio (vocals / guitar / bass) where we had the drums (MIDI / Superior Drummer) as backing tracks.  I used to put the drum tracks together in my home studio either starting with free files from the internet, occasionally buying a file or sometimes rolling my own.  I'd re-arrange according to our needs then I'd export the result as a wav.  The wav was always - drums (mono) panned right, click / count-in hard left.  I'd play back from an iPad (using SoundCue app) with RH going to FOH and monitor, LH monitor only.

    It works but everybody has to know the tracks.  The backing never goes wrong, never comes in too fast or too slow but neither does it compensate for your mistakes.  If somebody comes in too late then it's like watching a train wreck in slow motion knowing that the break is going to come in where it should be but too soon for the vocals.

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  • markblagdonmarkblagdon Frets: 1234
    Using a drum machine worked for Echo and the bunnymen. Im sure they are better now than in 1978.
    Karma......
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  • rze99rze99 Frets: 258
    Same drummer problem. He lives too far away to be practical and is good enough to just do gigs. So I use EZdrummer to assemble simple rehearsal and arrangement tracks for the band. Could do gigs with these tracks, but don’t. Also use this along with Propellerhead Reason DAW to make recoding worthy tracks. It can be very time consuming to get something that is good enough to be natural in a recording setting. 
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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 475

    Advantages of a drum machine;

    Doesn't hit on your girlfriend

    Gets in the same number of rounds (zero) but drinks less

    You only have to punch the rhythm in once

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 42480
    Using a drum machine worked for Echo and the bunnymen. Im sure they are better now than in 1978.
    And the Sisters Of Mercy.

    Musicwolf said:

    It works but everybody has to know the tracks.  The backing never goes wrong, never comes in too fast or too slow but neither does it compensate for your mistakes.  If somebody comes in too late then it's like watching a train wreck in slow motion knowing that the break is going to come in where it should be but too soon for the vocals.

    I played in a band where the bandleader had meticulously programmed a drum machine so it sounded pretty realistic, and we played live with it - once. It was a three-song showcase gig, either luckily or unluckily...

    In one of the songs (the second I think), the humans screwed up and missed the cue going into the middle eight, and by the time we'd sorted it out we were two bars behind. We knew what was going to happen of course, like an impending car crash in slow motion... the drum machine launched into the pounding transition back into the final choruses right on time, with the rest of us flailing around trying to work out how to close the gap without it sounding like too much of a mess - utter chaos of course.

    And that is the first and last time I have ever played live with a machine :).

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • StrangefanStrangefan Frets: 3314
    Sampler or drum machine, I have only been in one band wotb a drummer, the others have always been drum machines its sooooo much easier for gigs! 
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 3464
    For repetitive sounds, like waltz, foxtrot, tango etc., a drum machine will be fine.  Anything more complicated you need a real person behind the drums.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 8738
    I’ve seen folk rock bands where the drummer is someone using a cajon. It’s not very rock’n’roll but it gives a pulse. You still need a body but you only need a body with a decent sense of time rather than kit and abilities. 
    I’ve certainly seen people playing to backing tracks, I’m very aware that they are backing tracks but to other people it’s a band and not having a drum kit is a big space saver. 
    Who invaded Spain in the eight century?
    The Moops.
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 4977
    ICBM said:
    Using a drum machine worked for Echo and the bunnymen. Im sure they are better now than in 1978.
    And the Sisters Of Mercy.

    Musicwolf said:

    It works but everybody has to know the tracks.  The backing never goes wrong, never comes in too fast or too slow but neither does it compensate for your mistakes.  If somebody comes in too late then it's like watching a train wreck in slow motion knowing that the break is going to come in where it should be but too soon for the vocals.

    I played in a band where the bandleader had meticulously programmed a drum machine so it sounded pretty realistic, and we played live with it - once. It was a three-song showcase gig, either luckily or unluckily...

    In one of the songs (the second I think), the humans screwed up and missed the cue going into the middle eight, and by the time we'd sorted it out we were two bars behind. We knew what was going to happen of course, like an impending car crash in slow motion... the drum machine launched into the pounding transition back into the final choruses right on time, with the rest of us flailing around trying to work out how to close the gap without it sounding like too much of a mess - utter chaos of course.

    And that is the first and last time I have ever played live with a machine :).
    I used this trick for recording but I always make every 4th bar have a bar full of a different sound on the click track so that you know when a change is coming. 
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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 475
    I found that the best way was to actually learn the track, either with backing or a real drummer.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 42480
    PolarityMan said:

    I used this trick for recording but I always make every 4th bar have a bar full of a different sound on the click track so that you know when a change is coming. 
    That wouldn't have helped - we knew straight away that we'd screwed up, and the only option was to try to cut half a line from the middle eight before we ran out of time... the question was, which one? Everyone had a different answer, I think!

    Musicwolf said:
    I found that the best way was to actually learn the track, either with backing or a real drummer.
    Well, we thought we had :). We'd practiced it enough... it's just that with a real drummer, he/she would have been listening to the lyrics and been able to correct it. The drum machine of course paid no attention whatsoever and dumped the problem right back onto the puny humans :).

    I believe more modern drum machines may have more advanced programmability that allow you to footswitch some functions, such as inserting an extra repeat or something... but I've never really had the desire to find out.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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