Beat gridding funky bpm tracks
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  1. #1
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    Default Beat gridding funky bpm tracks

    I'm working with several Leon Vynehall tracks at the moment and they are all real weird bpms - 121.563, 123.810, etc. I am trying to sync them with a drum loop at 124... do I keep them as they are or adjust the bpm grid up/down? If it was 123.995 I'd bump up to 124, but these aren't so clear and I'm new to this. Thanks for any guidance!

  2. #2
    Tech Guru DJAdeSands's Avatar
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    If you start adjusting the beat grid you may do something that won't sound right when you sync the tracks.. unless the beat grid is off and you need to adjust it. Most times the beatgrid is ok, and sometimes needs minor adjustments, I've also seen tracks where beatgrids are analysed and are a total mess.
    For example, say the beatgrid is right on, and the software reads it as 118.568 bpm, after computer analasys. If you need to play that at 120 bpm don't change the Beatgrid, just increase the tempo slightly to match 120.
    You'll experience some frustrating issues if you are using tracks that have a change of tempo or if you adjust the beatgrid to match the bpm of another track..!
    Denon DJ/MC6000KMK2/Launchpad S/LaunchcontrolXL/Traktor Pro 2/Bringin it since 96.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipnthebeats View Post
    I'm working with several Leon Vynehall tracks at the moment and they are all real weird bpms - 121.563, 123.810, etc. I am trying to sync them with a drum loop at 124... do I keep them as they are or adjust the bpm grid up/down? If it was 123.995 I'd bump up to 124, but these aren't so clear and I'm new to this. Thanks for any guidance!
    Ignore the numbers of BPMs and start listening to music. Decimal places in BPMs are common and completely irrelevant to mixing.

  4. #4
    Tech Mentor deathy's Avatar
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    Something worth considering if you DJ a lot of VERY old school tracks (I'm talkin' Disco-era) with human drummers... if you are willing to put in the effort, you can fix drifting rhythms in Ableton. If the human drummer is really good, then you may be able to just pick a loop section, extract the groove, then quantize the entire track and re-apply the groove... but most human drummers aren't actually that good, so you will still want to extract the groove from a section, and then you'll have to go through and use a combination of quantization and hand tweaking to get the beat fixed up.

    This, of course, assumes you actually want it fixed up and are willing to put forth the effort... you would be amazed how much work it was to fix up Earth Wind & Fire tracks... I love their music, but their drummer SUCKS with a capital SUCKS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deathy View Post
    Something worth considering if you DJ a lot of VERY old school tracks (I'm talkin' Disco-era) with human drummers... if you are willing to put in the effort, you can fix drifting rhythms in Ableton. If the human drummer is really good, then you may be able to just pick a loop section, extract the groove, then quantize the entire track and re-apply the groove... but most human drummers aren't actually that good, so you will still want to extract the groove from a section, and then you'll have to go through and use a combination of quantization and hand tweaking to get the beat fixed up.

    This, of course, assumes you actually want it fixed up and are willing to put forth the effort... you would be amazed how much work it was to fix up Earth Wind & Fire tracks... I love their music, but their drummer SUCKS with a capital SUCKS.
    Um, no actually their drummer is amazing.

    What you are talking about ruining by warping is SWING. Swing is the basis of dance music and should be praised, not destroyed.

    In a good band the pocket will breathe back on the beat. Destroying the pocket destroys the swing.

    DJs already have a tool to ride the tempo of a disco track, its called a pitch fader.

  6. #6
    Tech Mentor deathy's Avatar
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    No, I am not talking about swing, I know what swing is (dude, really? You think I don't know what swing is?). What I'm talking about is when the BPM truly drifts over the entire track. What I just described is a way to preserve the swing while correcting the drift. The part where I said "extract the groove," though it looks like I did leave off the "re-apply the groove once you're done."

    To be fair, they've had more than one drummer, but the drummer on "Dance Dance Dance" drifts really really really badly, like, by as much as something, like, 18bpm or so. I spent a lot of time with this track trying to keep the groove of the track but get it into shape where I could remix it.
    Last edited by deathy; 12-31-2015 at 12:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deathy View Post
    No, I am not talking about swing, I know what swing is (dude, really? You think I don't know what swing is?). What I'm talking about is when the BPM truly drifts over the entire track. What I just described is a way to preserve the swing while correcting the drift. The part where I said "extract the groove," though it looks like I did leave off the "re-apply the groove once you're done."

    To be fair, they've had more than one drummer, but the drummer on "Dance Dance Dance" drifts really really really badly, like, by as much as something, like, 18bpm or so. I spent a lot of time with this track trying to keep the groove of the track but get it into shape where I could remix it.
    I think you understand what swing is in a musical notation sense, but not in a live band sense.

    When the BPM drifts over the entire track that is because of swing. There is no requirement or benefit to a band playing to a click if they are able to play to the drummer. A good funk drummer will be constantly pushing and pulling to let the pocket breathe. This means that there are small speedups and slow downs over the track, all of which adds to groove.

    In this context swing means pushing ahead or behind the beat to add feel. What you call a sloppy drummer is actually an excellent musician. Rigid timing does nothing to help disco or funk music and can only hurt it.

    Drummers are not judged on their ability to play to a click, especially in R&B/funk.

  8. #8
    Tech Mentor deathy's Avatar
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    OK, fair enough... live drumming is not one of my skills, I bow to your knowledge.

    That said, what I describe is still a dang useful technique to know, especially for remixers.

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