Drum Flam Editing Experiment - comments?

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pedalboy
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Drum Flam Editing Experiment - comments?

Post by pedalboy » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:43 pm

Hello everyone. I was editing some drum parts yesterday that my friend Seth played, and I came upon an interesting problem that I thought I would share with teh interwebs.

Drum flams: where's the beat? You all may call me crazy, but IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE, I swear.

So there's two hits in a flam. Which of the two falls directly on the beat? And which is a little before or after? (Or do you split the difference? I can't imagine this would sound good, so I didn't test it, but I suppose it's a possibility...) Well my friends, here's a quick rundown of how I tried to edit Seth's tom & snare flams in my song. But first, here's Seth's playing in this section, without any editing.

Original
(All mp3s in this post are encoded at 160kbps.)

The second hit of each flam is louder. I figured this would mean that the first is like a "pickup" to the second and that the 2nd should fall directly on the beat, with the first hit just a teeny-tiny bit before. After several people seemed to agree with this when asked on Twitter and Facebook, I gave it a go. So I edited it all together that way, and came up with this:

2nd hit on beat

As I was listening back, I found that I was subconsciously holding my breath. Not a good sign. It sounds to me like the Tom hits are early, kindof like the drums are rushing. This is not good. Not at all. So I said what the heck and tried it so that the first hit of each flam fell directly on the beat, and the 2nd was ever so slightly late:

1st hit on beat

Ah-hah! Much better, I thought. There may still be some issues with it, but I was breathing normally, things grooved better, and I was much happier. Mmmkay... bit did the snare hits sound a little late now? I made another edit in which the 1st hit of the toms was on the beat, but the 2nd hit of the snares was on the beat. Here's that one:

1st hit toms, 2nd hit drums

Eh... hard to tell. I don't think I like it. I think I'm getting a little overzealous there. So What I think I will do is make minor edits to the "1st hit" drums. Just to make sure the feel is spot-on.

So... That's what I came up with. Hopefully some of you found it interesting or helpful. What do you think? Is there a rule here? Is there really a "right" way of doing it, or is it dependent on the music? Is it part of a drummer's style or groove? Do you like it the other way better? Am I some kind of recording mad scientist, bent on the destruction of all worlds through obsessively-edited drum tracks? Well, yes, but that is beside the point. I would really love to hear your comments, if only to hear that somebody else is just as crazy/obsessed as I am.

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Post by drumsound » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:00 pm

Holy Fucking WOW! What posses that train of thought? To use a phrase my dad used o like to bandy about "You're picking pepper out of fly shit."

What was wrong with the original? Everything else on the tracks are these long effected pad-y things. The drums ARE the rhythmic reference.

You were looking at a screen with a grid weren't you?

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Post by cgarges » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:18 pm

Two words:

Keith Moon.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:40 pm

yeah there's nothing wrong with the original.

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Post by 0-it-hz » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:52 pm

Flams are not congruent with grid lines. Replace it with a REAL snare hit... you know, one from drumagog.
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Post by the finger genius » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:17 pm

everybody knows rock achieved perfection in 1974.
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That said, what I'm gettin' at is, perfectionism is for the truly defective.

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Post by Slider » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:30 pm


pedalboy
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Post by pedalboy » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:42 pm

Okay, okay... so perhaps not everyone wants "perfect" drums. But i thought it fit the song to tighten things up a bit. I could be wrong, i'll do it and listen back a few days later to compare.

Seriously though, no one here edits drums, ever?

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Post by JGriffin » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:25 pm

pedalboy wrote:Seriously though, no one here edits drums, ever?
I don't think anyone said that.
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Post by 0-it-hz » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:25 am

I only edit drums when there's something wrong... just my personal technique.
Everything louder than everything else.

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Post by drumsound » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:01 am

I mostly track to tape. Drum editing happens between takes when I go out to the live room and 'coach' the drummer, or whole band for that matter.

Even when I use the RADAR there is very little editing.

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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:34 am

I will only edit drums if I have no choice. Even then I prefer to edit between whole takes.

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Post by lyman » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:20 am

if this an experiment to further your own playing technique then i see nothing wrong with taking out the digital scalpel. it gets you thinking about the subtle changes in timing that separate a good player from a great one. but that's the whole thing: it should come from the player, imho. if this is your regular workflow, it's a bit perplexing.

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Post by blackdiscoball » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:10 am

No one here must do to much modern metal. In modern metal AKA scene kid metal, you have to edit the crap out of it, unless they are just an absolutely phenomenal drummer, and even then you'll probable clean up his double kick foot. Some genres and sounds want fake unrealistic sounding drums. I personally dont like the sound much at all but that's what my main clientele is so that's what I do when asked of me. At first it hurts.... now I have a rule of no kissing on the lips, it makes it more impersonal.
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Post by vvv » Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:29 am

As one who works 95% of the time with loops (the other 5% being drum track 2-mixes sent by collaborators), I do a lot of drum editing.

When it comes to flam and rolls, I have found to look for the best place to start the fill, and then try to fit it in, editing by ear thereafter.

If there is a definite accent point, I might try to line that up on a beat.

Something like this (cool Joy Division-ish thing, eh?), I would leave alone.
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