hey, I've just started forming a band with a good friend of mine but we're struggling to find a drummer :s we've tried joinmyband and looked around our school etc and found no one up for it- I suggested a drum machine as we're both good with production software etc but I'm just wondering are they any good? I mean, how easy are they to use well and can they be used live easily? Any extra info is very welcome
For recording purposes fake drums are every bit as good as real ones, esp. the high range stuff like Steven Slate.

On the other hand, drum MACHINES for live use are probably going to leave you with a credibility gap in a rock band, drums are the foundation of rock. For live purposes you would end up pre-programming the thing with fills etc and you might as well play along to a recording of the drum part.
Depends on the music you're making.

If you're trying for a hardcore metal sound than you need to hire a drummer for live gigs.

If you're going industrial type sound (think N.I.N. or Rob zombie) than a drum machine is perfectly fine.

If seen many acts with only a solo performer and complete backing tracks, from even some of the Guitar heavies - Satch, Paul Gilbert, and Buckethead are some that come to mind and no-one complains

Most audience will forget about "Missing players" as long as they still hear "missing players" and you sound good.

You will receive incredible amounts of crap from other musicians - I don't know why, but other musicians are always crapping on each others projects.
Were looking to write anything between post-hardcore to more muse-like prog rock- we both have a wide range of influences :P we probably won't perform for a while either- just demo stuff etc so I'm guessing a drum machine is good for that kind of stuff.
Yeah, if you're just putting together a demo you should be fine (as long as the drums sound good).
Although, if you perform with a drum machine and mention that you need a drummer, I think you'll probably find one that likes your music and wants to play with you, or someone who liked your show might know a drummer. It'd help get the word out.

And for the most part drum machines are fairly easy to use. It takes some time to be able to translate the beat you hear in your head to the machine (I always have that problem since I don't use them very much.) Mostly it was with fills and stuff, I could never get them to sound how I wanted them to sound. With more practice though, you could probably make it sound really good.
I saw a band once that had a drum machine instead of a drummer. They were horrible, with bad stage presence and no dynamic in their show. And it was programed horribly. So you would really have to make it sound good, wich will probably take a lot of work, and it will still look kinda silly live. But i suggest that you give it a shot, maybe the band that i saw was just naturaly crappy. But really put a lot of effort into the drum backings.
For demos tho, its better to use programed drums than have crapily recorded ones on it.
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If you put demos up for others to hear, never try to pass of the programmed drums as acoustic. There's a local band near me trying to do that and it's so obvious it makes people cringe.
it would really all depend on what direction you want to go with your band...if you are just looking to put some stuff on a track and that be the end of it, then just go with the drum machine and dont give it another thought, but if you want to eventually perform live then I would suggest getting an actual drummer...of course this is just my opinion...but when i go see a band perform, I am going not only to listen to the music, but to be entertained and I believe it is better visually with a full band, rather then a bunch of electronic equiptment...like I said, only my opinion... when you think about it, there are pro's and con's to both..the pro's of a machine: you NEVER have to worry about tempo slowing or speeding up slightly, you will essentially grow as a musician b/c you will be learning about percussion, you dont have to worry about the chance of clashing personalities (which in my experience is the number one reason for bands breaking up) the cons: you lose that robust, energetic feeling that a drum machine simply can not produce (unless you want to drop a huge chunk of change on the really super nice ones), and your stage presence suffers...the pros of a drummer: you gain creative perspective (this is really important if you are going to be composing original tunes), live shows will have more depth and richness ...the cons: additional gear to lug around, arranging a practice space (this is one i think alot of people overlook b/c the fact is, if you are serious about playing you will be getting together and practicing at least once a week, especially in the begining, or at least you should be and having to lug a drum kit from place to place every week can be a real pain in the ass), and finally, finding a drummer that is good can be quite difficult (as it seems you already know this)
I know that was a bit long winded, but hopefully I brought up somethings that you may not have considered. Like I said, this is just my opinion, and you know what they say about those Best of luck to you!
I reckon a drum machine is fine, but really hard to implement. The band will have to be perfectly in time with the machine, there's no give and take like a human would give. You'd also have to program it for each individual song...a lot of work. So yes it could work, but I think it would be easier to find a human drummer - you just have to look harder.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
It looks as if you are just starting out Chill about the drum machine. Use it whilst you have to and replace it with a drummer when you can.

The big advantage of a machine is it keeps perfect time, practicing with one really improves your technique and is a real skill when it comes to recording later on. You'll find working with a click track easier.

My belief is that the start of any successful band is a couple of mates jamming and just having fun together. Just keep at it and others will want to join in. Eventually you'll find the other band mates and your off.
The Sisters Of Mercy did it & it worked for them.

....but I was in a 4-piece band once that used a drum machine and we struggled to get gigs. Music pubs didn't want us because we weren't a real band, and the social club scene (which in my area is where you get the solo/duo acts playing to a backing track) didn't want us because they thought we were a real band.

My advice? Try it while it's your only option, but keep looking.
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Radiohead does it, but I don't know how. But they typically have their guitarist programming the machine on top of a drummer using a hybrid kit.
why use a pre-programmed drum machine? if you guys can't find a drummer, why not have someone play an MPD, for instance? or any pad controller. and use that to control a drum VST? that way you get the live human feel you'd get with a drummer.
this might be slightly off topic, but would a drum machine or software (I'm thinking Fruity Loops) be out of place for a band that isn't as influcenced by rock music? Mostly stuff like shoegazer and ambient with a bit of post punk. I didn't want to make a new topic if there's already a similar one. Thanks.
I don't think its out of place soundwise, but you do lose a lot of looseness (can be a very good thing) from a real drummer. Imho, having tried both, being a drummer and gqitarist and also producing electronic music, the big advantages with a real drummer is that its wilder and more energetic and cuts through better (you need amps or a pa for your machines), but most importantly its hard to jam and improvise with a machine. It just doesn't add to the music or work with you. Ask yourself if these qualities are important to your music style.
there are very few guitar bands with drum machines sounding like machines, and fewer electronic acts with guitars. I think they fundamentally are miles apart. The XX do an ok job of mixing the styles. You'd probably get away with downtempo sampled loops and ambient guitar, or industrial. Rock seems very hard to do with a machine
Last edited by innovine at May 13, 2013,