Just a few years ago, people would say it was tough – ambitious, even – to get drumless tracks for popular songs.
If you didn’t have access to the stems (individual files from the original recording), you’d have to resort to workarounds like using advanced production techniques to try and separate the drum frequencies, which is extremely difficult without compromising the rest of the song. Or you’d have to find a drumless re-recording of the tune.
How times have changed.
Whether you want to switch up your practice routine or use them for a performance, here’s why you should consider adding drumless tracks to your arsenal:
“I can’t hear myself, so I’ll just pretend that’s me on the recording! Sounds great, me.”
While it might be tempting to hide behind the music or the original drummer’s perfectly edited parts, it won’t help you improve your playing. How will you know if you’re sloppy or tight, or rushing or dragging? Your bass drum can notoriously be difficult to hear over a full-bodied, mastered recording.
With a drumless track, it’s just you and the song now. You can hear exactly what you’re doing and fix issues if needed. And it’s a great way to test your timing and feel! Are you lining up with the rest of the band? Are your accents and shots tight with the guitar or bass or horns?
You won’t just hear your own drumming better – you’ll be able to hear what the other musicians are doing. Let’s admit it: as drummers, we often get caught up listening to what the drums are doing, which can be distracting when trying to learn a tune.
Before you sit down and jam to a drumless track, listen to it a few times. Now that the drums are gone, you might notice nuances in the other instrumental parts. This is one way to somewhat replicate what it’s like to jam with a band. The more you understand what everyone else is doing, the better you can do.
If you want to make drum covers and share them publicly, you’ll want to make sure everyone can hear your parts. You could use the original track, but then you’ll have to turn up your drums, which means it’ll be harder to hear the rest of the song.
Replacing the drum part with your own also makes your video less likely to get dinged by the copyright gods on social media. Make sure you’re adapting the track enough that it’s yours (as in, doing more than miming).
Ever wondered how “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or “Californication” would sound with a different drum part? Put on your creativity hat and try writing your own rhythms over famous tracks.
This exercise can help you develop your listening skills while encouraging you to write outside the box. Plus, if you’re also posting drum covers, this is one way to showcase your “pop goes punk” or “metal goes funk” version.
Imagine yourself as the top drummer in your world. How close can you get to playing like Phil Rudd or triplet-ing like John Bonham? You could record your performance and see how it compares to the original. The best way to nail a drum cover is to get into the original drummer’s head.
If you could learn any song – and play along to a drumless version – what song would it be?
Drumeo now lets you toggle the recorded drum track on or off on over 5000 songs in the members area. You can even activate the metronome to keep you on track during quiet parts.
You can also slow down the song, loop sections, and read the sheet music as you get one step closer to nailing the track.
The members area is also full of drum lesson videos, many of which break down famous songs, drum beats and fills so you never have to feel like you’re learning alone.
While the regular Drumeo membership costs the same as a few UberEats orders, you can try it free for 7 days and play along to as many drumless tracks as your heart desires. On top of that, you’ll also get:
Ready to learn some songs?
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