Question about Garage Band Drummer

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Dorian, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Dorian

    Dorian Active Member

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    I have been recording voice, guitar and bass to a click track in Garageband. So far the songs are straight ahead rock and roll or folk songs, but I want to finish some of the recordings by adding a drum track.

    It has been really difficult for me to get a good drum track with Garageband. The new drummer feature, which comes with "Kyle" drum style, is just too showy. I can't get the thing to hit the drums consistently on the beat, although fills are great. I am having a problem working with Kyle because he is too much of a show off, even when I tell him to be "simple."

    Does anybody have a suggestion for how to tame the drummer in Garageband? Are there other drummers I should buy who have less of an ego?
     
  2. eelir

    eelir Member

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    i haven't tried this feature in the new garage band. I will take a look what it is about. I am using the old garage band version in my older notebook (non work related) where i record stuff. I have the newer version on my work MBP but i havent given it a try.

    EDIT: I gave it a short try. You should dial out the fills totally, move the circle at the center between Loud/Soft and Simple/Complex and probably choose the option you like in the kick snare and hi-hats that you like. I got him to play pretty simple and keep a nice beet.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  3. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Which version of Garage Band is that? Somehow I missed that or I have an older version.

    I've been using my Addictive Drums plug-in, so I'm not really an expert on the built-in drummer.
     
  4. eelir

    eelir Member

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    This is the newest version. The drummer feature seam to be awesome, althouth the problem with the new version is that you have to pay extra $5 to get the standard instruments and sounds that are default in the old versions. I will try it out a bit more see if I can get the pedals and amps working like in the old version and if they are included in the $5 package.If yeas, with $5 you get more drummers (styles) and as i am really bad and lazy at making drum tracks it will pay off.

    If you like the old garage band and have good knowledge and software to produce drum tracks and do not want to spend extra $5, do not upgrade.

    Edit:

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-2_zFw6sKI[/ame]
     
  5. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    I guess it depends on the new instruments. Are there any better B3's, symphonic sounds or classic synths in the new version?

    If you know how to program and save presets you can create a lot of useful sounds just with the stock virtual instruments.
     
  6. Dorian

    Dorian Active Member

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    deleted an accidental double-post.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  7. Dorian

    Dorian Active Member

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    Thanks for your comments and help. I have been using Garageband for a few years, but not heavily. I am not an expert user.

    I am using the new version 10.0.1 of Garageband. This version came with my OS upgrade to Mavericks, I think. The drummer in this version is very different from the previous versions, and reviewers have raved about how amazing it is. It is not clear if the writers of these reviews have actually tried to do a project with the new drummer, of if they just found the features and ideas to be innovative.

    The drummer is an innovative idea. He has been given a computer personality, which is fine if he listens to what I am playing. In fact, there is a feature to have the drummer "follow" one of the other tracks, and sometimes it shows signs of intelligence where it does a fill at a transition in the music. Still, I haven't quite figured out what it follows.

    Sometimes I just want a quiet drum track that follows the beat. Here is where I can't get satisfaction. Take a look at this screenshot of a new project with no music in it at all.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, I directed Kyle to play simple and soft (yellow position marker dragged into the very corner of the square box). The fills and swing are set to zero. I actually turned off the cymbals and other percussion to leave only the kick and snare. (The cymbals were particularly random, even in the simple and soft setting.)

    In the pattern for the SoCal Drummer track, you can see some of the kick and snare pattern. Notice the random extra kick occurring about 3/4 across. What you can't really see in this screenshot is that some of the ticks are kick plus snare together, and this seems to occur at random. These things certainly are distracting when I am singing or playing a lead phrase that should be at the heart of attention.

    What I am trying to do, I suppose, is dial Kyle's personality to zero, but I can't seem to do this. He insists on showing off.

    Today I had a big surprise when I used the new Garageband to open an old project with drum tracks. When I opened up an old project, I was surprised to find that the old editor appeared. Kyle was not there, and the track played without silly random beats or fills. Maybe there is a path here to solve my problem using old versions of Garageband, but I haven't yet figured out an easy path.
     
  8. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting. Now I get it - it comes with the Mavericks upgrade. Both my Macs have too many plug-ins that are shaky on Mavericks, and there are long threads about the issues with Pro tools, which I don't want to deal with.

    The drum program can figure out when to do a fill, huh? That could be cool, as long as you can turn it off and it does decent fills.
     
  9. Dorian

    Dorian Active Member

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    dbb -- Yes, some things about the drummer are really cool. Evidently it has enough artificial intelligence to come up with a music track, and this is the first example I have seen. (Maybe this is common in packages more sophisticated than Garageband, I wouldn't know.) The problem is that I can't talk to the drummer and get it to cooperate very well.

    This might be the start of something good. It reminds me of the first computer chess program I played a long time ago. The program was reasonably good, but there were ways to beat it that were really not that sophisticated. Today of course I don't have a chance of competing with the better chess programs. I hope the drummer in Garageband improves faster, though, like in the next update. I haven't found out how to work well with Kyle today.
     
  10. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Who knows how this stuff can develop? Maybe "Kyle's" next upgrade will be better.
     
  11. WindowSills

    WindowSills New Member

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    First, the extra sounds and drummers are totally worth the $5. Second, if you like the basic part but want to edit out bits you don't like, create a new software instrument track - put a drum kit on it, then go back to the Drummer track and highlight it and then copy it. Now go back to your drum kit track and paste you will now have a MIDI version of the Drummer track that you can edit like any other MIDI track. Alternatively, you can just open a new empty project and instead of selecting a Drummer track, select a software instrument and then change it from the default electric piano to a drum kit and program it with a keyboard or draw in the hits you want in the piano roll editor. You don't have to use Drummer for drum tracks, it's just a shortcut to something more "human" and not drum machine like.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014
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  12. Simmo

    Simmo New Member

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    I know this doesn't answer your question at all... But I'm learning the drums, and have been using GB for over 10 years. If you wanted, I would happily record some drums for your guitar parts. I've been itching to collaborate with someone for a long time.
     
  13. Jimmy Jacks

    Jimmy Jacks Well-Known Member

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    I can only suggest what I do and I don't claim to be an expert in any way but this worked for me.
    I use garage band 6.0.4. I never liked the maverick upgrade so I haven't used the drummers you are referring to. I found that out of the gate I did not like the apple drum sounds in garage band, they were thin and it was easy to tell they were drum track and not natural no matter how i played with eq or compression. I then looked into toon tracks ez-drummer. I can pick from a wide assortment of drum sounds, drum tracks and drum fills. I can cut and paste fills where i need to or change the mood by switching the high hat to a ride or bell. I can also write my own drum tracks with it and it has a humanizing setting where the timing drifts ever so slightly like a human drummer does. I found the overall sound to be more natural and full. I do four tracks for my drums, one is a room mic sound track with the bass drum and snare, this will be a wet track to get that room sound. Two is the snare isolated, three the bass drum isolated and four is the cymbals, high hat and ride isolated. By multi tracking the drums this way the presence becomes larger and more clear without volume. They sit in a nice defined area of the recording never overpowered by the other instruments. The separate snare and bass drum allow you to experiment by mixing the sounds with the room track which in turn makes it sound a bit more like real studio drums. You can add some extra snap on the isolated snare track and it really brings out the brightness. Likewise if your looking for a cutting bass sound like a lot of heavy metal its easily accomplished with the isolated bass drum track. Or a very present bass drum and a wet snare, the possibilities are endless.Of course the software isn't cheap but its worth it to get a good recording that doesn't sound digital. I hope that helps. Kyle sounds like a ego driven pain in the ass who needs to be fired,lol.

    If you decide to keep using what you have WindowSills gave you very sound advice on how to edit your drum tracks and tame Kyle.
     
  14. Dorian

    Dorian Active Member

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    WindowSills and Jimmy Jacks -- Thanks for the advice.

    I play with a drummer in a rehearsal studio every couple of weeks, but we are trying to work on the music and have fun, in that order, I think. We don't spend much time on the recording although we do set up a handheld recorder in the room. Sometimes we switch instruments. He plays the guitar like a drummer, and I play the drums like a guitarist. Mercifully, this doesn't last more than a couple of minutes. Drums are just not my thing. The ideas about how to do multiple mics for the drums, augmenting the room track, are really interesting. I don't think I'll try them anytime soon, though.

    I did pay the $5 for the other Garageband drummers, which gave another 16 or so "personalities." There were a couple that I could work with, but most were impossible.

    What I wanted to do in Garageband was record the rhythm guitar to a click track, and add the drums later. This just doesn't seem to work for me. Most of the recording is fine, but there is the occasional random drum fill than gets in the way of the music. Maybe I could record the rhythm track after the drums are in place, but I don't want to adapt the song to the whim of some electronic algorithm.

    WindowSills made some solutions that might work for me. A related idea is to just take a good piece of the drum track and make it repeat. With Garageband I am looking more for a timekeeper than for a creative musician.

    It has been a while since I bothered with these drummers in Garageband, so today I went back to them to see what I could do. (Such as checking out WindowSills suggestions.) I was surprised to find a drum machine in the instrument library. Maybe this was part of an upgrade, or perhaps I never noticed it before. This is looking promising. Maybe I'll try again.
     
    Jimmy Jacks likes this.
  15. Jimmy Jacks

    Jimmy Jacks Well-Known Member

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