“The drummer’s missing!”
Normally, that would be a very bad thing to hear. Conjuring up images of over-partying, kidnapping, or even more sinister scenes. On the other hand, if you’re waiting in the wings, it could be your chance to dash out on stage and save the day.
If you know the songs, that is.
While this is just a fantasy scenario, the truth is that practicing along with songs can be really valuable. This can be a tool for working on your timing, practicing different styles, playing with dynamics, and a whole lot more. The key is that you need to know where to find drumless tracks. And I’m here to help.
Playing Along With Songs
Rudiments are tremendously important. Practicing complicated beats by working through them again and again until you have them mastered is another way to get your chops. But playing along to recorded songs simulates the actual experience of playing in a band or ensemble.
You can work on your musicality and dynamics, stops and starts, and even your endurance by playing along with another drummer. You can also expand your repertoire of techniques and fills by copying what that other drummer does.
The first step in this sort of practice is playing along to songs with drum tracks. You can get your IEMs in your ears and pull up just about any track in the world on your music player, and off you go.
Drumless or Play-Along Drum Tracks
Once you know a song and have played through it several times, shadowing the original drummer’s beats, it’s time for the next step. Drumless tracks, also known as play-along tracks, are exactly what they sound like.
They’re songs that have either had their original drum tracks removed by re-mastering. Or they are tracks that have been prepared, especially without drums. This second type can be original tracks written intentionally without drums. They can be very similar copies of known songs, either as covers or “knock-offs.”
The whole idea is that the drums are not there…
So you’re free to add your playing to the mix just as you would in your band. For drummers without a band or with limited practice time with other live musicians, playing along with drumless tracks is probably the best way to simulate the live music drum practice experience.
One of the other types of drumless tracks is with click tracks. Some kind souls out there dedicate their time to producing songs with click tracks added, just so drummers can bash along and keep time. Isn’t that nice?
For tracks that don’t have a metronome or click track, you can add your own with a digital metronome like the Kliq Metropitch. Now the only question is where to find drumless tracks.
Best Places to Find Drumless Tracks
Let’s start with the easiest and most common ways to find songs with no drums. Pop onto YouTube and search for your favorite songs, but add the words “drumless,” “play-along,” or even “minus drums” to your search terms. Tracks with their drums removed aren’t common. You shouldn’t expect to find all your favs, of course, but it’s worth a try.
Otherwise, you can just put the words “drumless tracks” or “play-along drum songs” into your search and see what pops up. You might not get the exact tracks you want. But you’ll find hundreds, even thousands of songs to choose from in every kind of style you can imagine.
Next, get onto music services like Spotify and Apple Music. Both of these services have long lists of drumless tracks for you to choose from, and if you’re already using the service for streaming, they’re free.
If you’re not finding what you’re looking for…
Try going to websites like drumlessversion.com or freedrumlesstracks.net to be more specific in your search. These websites and others like them offer thousands and thousands of drumless tracks, many of them free, but most for low prices. You can even pick up affordable bundles of hundreds of tracks – more than you’ll probably ever use.
Benefits of Using Drumless Tracks
So what are the top reasons why drummers use play-along tracks? While some might make perfect sense, others might surprise you.
Many drummers today are making drum cover videos and getting famous in the process. To make a drum cover, you need the original track of the song you’re going to smash, minus the drums.
Sometimes you’ll have to be a bit careful about using original songs in your videos, as they may have copyright restrictions against that sort of use. Check your information on any track you use before you lay down your sick beats.
It sounds strange to think of using someone else’s song as a chance for improvisation. However, when you get your hands on a drumless track, which is fleshed out by all sorts of other instrumentation, this is your chance to lay down your beats and fills on the spot.
It’s basically like having a live jam with a band where everyone knows the song except you. On the other hand, you can play along with songs you know but do something different and experimental and see if it works. This might be a great way to come up with a facelift for a song that has a boring old beat.
Don’t worry; you’re not going to throw anyone else in the band off while you experiment!
Playing along with a song can help you keep your timing tight while you work on your musicianship throughout the song. Keep an ear out for dynamics, off-beat flourishes, and other secrets in the track that can inform your playing. It’s the next best thing to practicing with a live band.
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Where to Find Drumless Tracks – Final Thoughts
Now that you know where you can find drumless tracks and how to use them, it’s time to get started with a new type of drumming practice. You’ll quickly find that playing along to drumless tracks will take you to a new level in your drumming.
You get to work on your timing, dynamics, tricky beats, and a whole lot more. It’s one of the best ways to practice the drums, short of a live band that will stop and start at your every whim (pure fantasy!). And one thing is for sure – it’s a whole lot more fun than just playing by yourself!
Until next time, let the beat flow.