you sure you know "how" to practice drums?
Pro drummer Mat Marucci offers a valuable article on this
There is a saying regarding practicing that has been attributed
to the concert pianist Vladimir Horowitz and paraphrased
by many. One version of this saying is: "If I miss
one day I know it. If I miss two days my wife knows it.
If I miss three days my audience knows it." That is
arguably the consummate statement on the importance of regular
hours we all put into practicing technique are very important
to us. We all do it to maintain or improve our playing.
However, often much of the time spent behind the drums is
not put to the best use.
spent practicing brings up the old debate of quality versus
quantity. If the musician's focus is right, more can be
accomplished in thirty minutes time than two hours of time
with the instrument.
musicians do not really practice but "play" their
instruments. That is to say that they sit down (or stand)
with the instrument and play what they know. This can be
great for the maintenance or polishing of certain techniques
but, with those exceptions, no progress is being made.
essence of the practice session should be musicality while
striving for perfection and improvement. Even while practicing,
the musicians should concentrate on playing music!
improvement and musicality are the guidelines for a productive
Every technique should be done as perfectly as possible.
This includes hand positions, stickings, stick height, wrist
movements, touch, etc. Practicing wrong will develop improper
technique - and all execution is affected by technique.
To strive for perfection is the first step in practicing.
Each practice session should create a challenge for the
musician to accomplish something never previously done.
This could be a new rudiment, piece of music, or exercise.
It could also be a new tempo for an old exercise, etc. And
the tempo does not necessarily have to be faster - just
different. Old exercise books are excellent ways to improve.
(Every book should be played at least twice, because it
is never mastered the first time through.) But, whatever
it is, some new accomplishment should be attempted at every
The purpose of playing any instrument is to play music.
And music should
be kept foremost in mind whenever practicing. Even when
playing a rudiment or
technical exercise it should be thought of musically and
how it can be applied to music. As stated earlier, musicality
is the essence of playing an instrument.
The amount of practice time will vary from individual to
individual and also from beginner to professional. A beginning
drummer might practice thirty minutes to one hour a day
and increase that to two hours per day as he progresses
after the first year or so of study. If the student continues
to be serious and is looking toward or is in a college program
as a music major, the practice time should increase to approximately
two to four hours per day. As a struggling career minded
professional it can increase to four to eight hours per
day. As steady engagements, playing situations and other
responsibilities increase with a developing career (and
with life in general) practice time then starts to decrease
again. It might be one to two hours per day again or maybe
two to four hours three times a week - whatever the individual
needs are and professional and personal schedule allow.
But, whatever the situation allows, practice should be continued
throughout one's professional life under any conditions.
medicine now has practitioners who specialize in problems
peculiar to musicians of all instruments. They are finding
that players of the same instrument experience the same
or similar problems. (Two of the problems for drummers are
carpal tunnel syndrome and lower back pains.) To alleviate
and/or prevent some of these problems experts recommend
resting for five minutes each half hour instead of continuous
practice. The recommendation is twenty-five minutes - practice,
five minutes - rest.
have made a list of some important points that if adhered
to should not only make your practice session more productive
but also more enjoyable. (We all enjoy what we're doing
much more when we can see advancement and improvement.)
Watch Your Hand Position: this is the No. 1 problem
I have found with drummers and students - from beginner
to advanced. Whichever grip you use, when practicing always
be sure your hands are in the correct position. It just
doesn't make sense to put time in practicing technique and
not have your hand positions correct. These positions are
used for a reason and your development will be limited if
you do not use them correctly. Once your hand position improves
you will find your playing will become much cleaner and
Sticking: this is the second biggest problem I've
come across in teaching. Keep in mind the phrase "one
stick up, one stick down" and practice that way. You
will always have a stick in position to make a stroke either
from the high ("up") position or from the low
("down") position. With concentration on "sticking"
your hand techniques will start to flow much more smoothly.
Stick Height: this is different from sticking in
that it refers to how high you bring the sticks. Whether
you work from a full 90 degree position, a 45 degree angle
or anything in between the important point is that both
sticks return to the same height. Because most of us are
not ambidextrous we have a tendency to favor our strong
hand and bring that stick to a higher position than the
weak hand. This means one stick is traveling a shorter distance
to reach the drum whenever a stroke is made. Think about
it. It stands to reason that if one stick is traveling eight
inches and the other only five inches, the stick farther
away has to move faster to reach the drum in the same time
interval as the closer stick. This also means the rebounds
will be weaker with the closer stick. Are your Single Stroke
and Long Rolls uneven? Stick height is probably at least
part of the reason - along with the Hand Position and Sticking.
Concentrate on these three common problems and you will
see a vast improvement in your technique.
Play Off The Drum: unless they have learned this
somewhere along the way, most drummers, especially heavy
hitters, play down into the drum instead of off it. When
making your stroke think up and bring the stick away from
the head immediately after striking it. Some teachers describe
this as "drawing' or "pulling" the sound
out of the drum. The shorter the time the stick is on the
drumhead the more resonant and responsive the drum will
be. Thus, a cleaner and fuller tone and increased stick
Learn And Practice The Drum
Rudiments: even if you only spend a minimal amount
of time on them do at least something. If you only study
one rudiment a week - just one - you will have learned all
26 in exactly six months. You do not have to be a rudimental
champ but the knowledge will be a definite plus - and you'll
feel good about your accomplishment besides.
Work With A Metronome: use it at different speeds
including the slowest ones. It won't make your playing stiff
but will improve your time and meter. And, if you ever encounter
a click track in the recording studio you will be thankful
for any time spent with a metronome.
Keep The Practicing Habit: We all know that occasionally
time is at a premium and a full practice session is impossible.
On those days at least do something - even if it's just
a 10 or 20 minute keep-in-shape or warm-up routine.
Strive For Perfection: be as perfect as possible
when practicing. There is no sense in putting in the time
and hard work if you don't go for perfection. Be your own
worst and toughest critic and don't sell yourself short.
Vary Your Practice Routine: this is especially helpful
when practice time is limited. Sometimes it is better to
look at your practice sessions on a weekly instead of a
daily basis. One day spend the majority of the time on hands,
another on independence, another on reading, another on
rudiments, etc. and be sure to rest for a few minutes between
segments or five minutes per half hour. This will help avoid
overuse or strain of your muscles. Be sure and spend some
time creating and just playing. Some teachers suggest you
do it at the end of your practice session. However, I have
found it often works better to do it at the very beginning
to get it out of your system. Then you can just focus on
what you planned to work on that day.
In Regard To Sticks: you should generally use the
same size stick to practice with that you play with. But
it can be beneficial to spend a few minutes a week with
heavier or lighter sticks to give your hand and wrist muscles
a change. This can improve strength and reflexes.
Study The Traditional Grip: and if you generally
play traditional spend some time playing matched. The traditional
grip has some definite advantages which include finger dexterity
and flexibility of the weak hand. If you generally play
matched grip, spend at least some time every day on the
traditional grip. The increase in finger dexterity will
even help your matched grip playing.
Keep Challenging Yourself: never be satisfied. Try
to be working on something new at all times - a rudiment,
book, rhythm - and once that is accomplished, whether it
takes a day, a week or a month, move on to something else
new. Strive to constantly improve during each practice session.
previous tips should be concentrated on only while practicing.
Once you are at rehearsals or the gig don't think about
them. Concentrate on the music and feeling relaxed and comfortable.
If you use these tips diligently every time you practice
you will find they will creep into your playing without
your realizing it and you will see a vast improvement in
your technique and playing in a few short months.
1999 Mat Marucci
Marucci is an active performer, author, educator, and
clinician listed in Whos Who In America and International
Whos Who In Music. His performing credits include
jazz greats Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell, James Moody, Eddie
Harris, Buddy De Franco, Les McCann, Bobby Shew, Don Menza,
Pharaoh Sanders, and John Tchicai, to name just a few. He
also has seven critically acclaimed recordings to his credit
as a leader and others as a sideman, including those with
John Tchicai and Jimmy Smith, with many of them garnering
four stars (****) in various trade magazines including Jazz
Times, Jazziz, and Down Beat.
is the author of several books on drumming
for both Lewis Music and Mel Bay Publications, is an Adjunct
Professor for American River College (Sacramento, CA) and
an endorser for Mapex drums, Zildjian cymbals, Pro-Mark
drumsticks and Remo drumheads. He has written numerous articles
on drumming for Modern Drummer magazine, the Percussive
Arts Societys Percussive Notes and Percussion News,
Pro-Marks Upstrokes, and the online drum Magazine
Cyber-Drum [www.cyberdrum.com]. Wave files of Mats
playing can be heard at: http://www.jazzinspiration.com/artist15.html
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Tips | Drum
Lessons | Kids
Drums | Drum
Second Line / Street Beats
is Second Line?
Have you ever been asked to play a "second line"
beat on a particular song? I know I have. Usually I cringe
and realize that, although I basically think it involves
a marching style on the snare drum, I really don't have
a clue as to what to play. Luckily my experience and musicality
got me by for many years. I learned how to fake things "very"
I asked around a bit and was surprised to learn that the
history of second line is a bit cloudy. Nobody can seem
to agree on how it evolved. I heard stories about there
being a line of musicians and staff that marched behind
the mourners (second line) at a funeral parade in New Orleans.
Apparently the musicians would play funeral marches on the
way to the funeral and more livelier pieces on the return
home. Some would say that it's a secondary rhythm section
(second line) that answers the calls of a "first-line"
rhythm section in a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade. The first
line would play a rhythm and the "second line"
would respond to it. Others will tell you that it's just
something that comes from New Orleans music and involves
a marching snare rhythm. They'll admit that they don't know
where it comes from but they're quick to show you an example
of how they think it's played.
on who you ask, you're sure to get some very interesting
answers. I think the most important thing is; What are we
supposed to play when someone asks us to play a "second-line"
rhythm or a second line funk beat? From a little research,
here's what I've learned so far about second line drumming:
Second line drumming
is associated with the city of New Orleans. It seems to
have originated there and developed in many forms through
Second line drumming involves simple cadence type (marching)
Drummers like Zigaboo Modeliste and Johnny Vidacovich mixed
second line with syncopated funk, developing a style called
"second-line funk drumming". This style was popularized
in many famous bands that came from New Orleans like the
Meters (see below).
Second line drumming often involves a 3/2 son clave not
dissimilar to the Bo Diddley beat although it doesn't necessarily
always follow that rule. Listen to this variation -->
Second line beats are also called "Street Beats".
after reading up on things and listening to a handful of
second line drummers, I've determined that although there
are a lot of variations of second line you can play, most
follow a specific feel and style. The best way to get started
would be to play a simple Bo Diddley beat, mixing in an
occasional double stroke roll at the beginning or end of
the phrase. Play the bass drum with the accents or simply
play "4 on the floor" (straight quarter notes).
Listen to some of the examples below and check out the other
Mardi Gras Parade - Second Line Marching (WMA - www.safado-samba.de)
Zigaboo Second Line Funk variation (MP3 - zigaboo.com)
New Orleans Jazz and Second Line Drumming
Book and CD - by Herlin Riley and Johnny Vidacovich
Street Beats - Modern Applications
New Orleans Drumming - Earl Palmer and Herman Ernest - DCI
Tommy Igoe - Video sample, 2nd line variation (online -
Second Line Drummers:
Zigaboo Modeliste - The Meters (original drummer)
Johnny Vidacovich - Astral Project
Stanton Moore - Galactic
Ricky Sebastian - http://www.strdigital.com/ricseb.htm
Earl Palmer - Big on the NOLA recording scene in the 50's.
Little Richard, Fats Domino, etc.
see more here.
Tips | Drum
Chat | Tony
Royster Jr. | Drum
an old saying; "Out of sight, out of mind". Well,
this is one of the truest things ever written and it so
applies to the music business as well.
you want to work, you need to go out to the clubs, venues,
jam sessions, whatever,.. and "BE SEEN"! You need
to engage in conversation with potential employers and you
need to be seen playing your drums so they know that you're
players still in school; if you want that specific chair
or jazz band seat you have to
work hard, yes. But also make sure that you're on a first
name basis with the band leader, drum captain, and any private
instructors or helpers, because they will often be assisting
with the auditioning process.
Top 5 Drummer Networking Mistakes:
1. Not being prepared
2. Not having business cards (pro players)
3. Not letting them know in some way that you're qualified
for the job
4. Not acting professional enough
5. Not following up on potential leads or opportunities
Tips | Drum
the Extra Mile
Many drummers simply show up, set up their drums, play the
gig and go home. Take pride in your work and "go the
extra mile". Carry the bass player's rig in for him,
make a set list for the band, or show up 15 minutes earlier
to help out. School band students can help the teacher in
the band room or offer their services for a special concert
or field event.
can just show up and play their drums, but those that put
in a little extra are more valued as a "team player".
This often increases your job stability and overall reputation
in the industry and sometimes even means extra compensation.
The main thing is that you feel better about yourself for
giving more in this world and that's reason enough to make
a Question about Drums | Drum
Rudiments | Drum
MUSIC - Mike Donovan
you read music?
Now, before you start running the other direction, please
hear me out. Ive noticed through the years that, for
various reasons, many drummers prefer not to learn how to
read. They either think that it will take too long or that
it will be inevitably too hard. Folks, its not really
that bad. I repeat, ITS NOT THAT BAD!
Shoot, compared to learning a foreign language or something,
its a walk in the park!!
1996, I wanted to come off the road. I knew that this might
possibly mean stepping back into the real world
job-wise so I taught myself to type in preparation for a
"decent" job in the workplace. I knew that computers
were now dominant in our society and if I was going to compete,
Id better learn to do something more than hunt
and peck. I now, 6 years later, type 683,000 words
per minute (or something like that :).
you say, .. "Hey, 'I hunt and peck' and I have a job
at Microsoft as 'Systems Analyst IT Engineer blah, blah,..'.
Well OK, so it does happen that some real smart people make
out just fine 'hunting and pecking'. But let's step back
into the music world for a minute. Can you imagine yourself
at a Dave Mathews Band audition and they throw a chart in
front of you to read? What will you do, ask them if they
have it in 'tab' format?
say, "Learn to Read. Dont get caught up
in that crap about.. Well, Buddy Rich didnt
" or "Dennis doesnt read
etc. Its a cop-out! Those guys are (were) exceptions
to the rule. You need to have a firm understanding of basic
rhythmic theory (and harmony if possible) to compete in
this highly competitive field. You cant afford to
be second best. You must have all your bases covered because
if you don't, there are 50 other drummers standing by ready
to take your place. (Actually, there are 500 drummers standing
by ready to take your place. :)
not be "great" at playing drums rather than "mediocre".
It's so much more fulfilling. Reading will give you the
tools to get to that next level. You'll not only have a
better understanding of what you're playing but you'll be
able to execute this knowledge into a better performance
signing up with a private teacher and letting them help
you learn how to read. Once you get the ball off the ground
and rolling, its not really that bad. It just takes
a little bit of courage and determination to get started
and, with a little stick-to-itiveness, youll be reading
in no time. I promise.
Reasons You Should Learn to Read Music:
It builds confidence in your ability and
allows you to 'understand' what you're playing.
You'll be able to teach yourself anything out of
a book or magazine ..anytime, anywhere.
You can supplement your income by teaching others.
There are great gigs to be had out there but some of
them require that you read at least a little bit.
You can communicate intelligently with other
musicians using standardized musical language.
When learning new songs, you can write out drum
charts for yourself quickly and more efficiently. This
saves valuable time.
You can program sequencers in step mode.
It is easier to learn musical concepts as well as other
instruments with a fundamental knowledge of basic
Most studio work, show work and more challenging
styles such as jazz and fusion, require reading.
You'll find that many higher caliber players read music.
This may give you an opportunity to play on their level.
to know about DRUMS?
Check out DrumBum.com!
For a great exercise in control, practice switching the
accents to each successive note.
The parenthesis denotes an accented note.
L R R - (L) R L L
(L) R R - L (R) L L
L (R) R - L R (L) L
L R (R) - L R L (L)
Be sure that there is a distinct difference between loud
and soft notes. Keep them clean
and even. Remember that proper execution is always more
important than speed.
the following sticking on the hi-hat: RLRRLL, RLRRLL (This
is a paradiddle-diddle)
the bass drum on the first note of the first grouping and
the snare on the first note of the second grouping (there
will not be a HH on that note).
pattern creates a 16th note triplet groove that sounds great
intermittently inserted over a straight eighth feel.
Tips | Drum
ads your local newspaper, music papers, internet
Bulletin boards music stores, record shops,
drum shops, talent agencies
Live bands networking! Go out, meet, and interact
with live groups. This is one of the best ways to learn
about whos looking for who.
Talent agencies get to know the people who
work in these places. They can sometimes help you find a
suitable band or at the very least, pass the word along.
Union The Musicians union is a good
place to find certain types of work. Great contacts can
be made as well.
Music studios Stay in touch with the people
behind the scenes at your recording studios. They are recording
all your friends and know whos doing what.
Jam sessions Jam sessions are a bit more popular
in larger towns, but when you can find them, they are valuable
music networking havens!
LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED!
contact be friendly and professional. Dont
oversell yourself but be confident and assertive. Find out
what they are looking for in a musician and determine whether
or not you fit the criteria.
Know the material better than anyone else! This
is the key to a successful audition. If you know the tunes
better than anyone else (assuming you play them with feeling
and with good time) you will probably get the gig.
Be personable. The second most important criteria
in getting a gig is how well the other members of the band
think they might be able to get along with you. Be friendly,
but be yourself. People can usually see through facades.
Keeping the Gig
Its even more important after getting the gig
to be cooperative and extremely diplomatic. You will have
opinions, but try and not be to forceful with them. Keep
a positive attitude and you will have respect from the other
Stay current Stay on top of the new tunes
that come out in the genre of the music youre playing.
Know whats happening!
Be professional Be on time, keep yourself
and your equipment in good shape, and play every night like
youre making $1000 instead of $50. Wear a smile and
act like youre having a good night even if you arent.
Improve on your instrument Consistently try and better
yourself, learn the newest techniques, the difficult songs,
read all the magazines, etc. Be a strong force in the group.
Tips | Drum
Books | DVDs
DRUMMING - Charlie Platt
Alright - I've been playing drums now for 2 years or so,
and I always played jazz, blues, and rock/alternative stuff
off of the radio. Recently, a good friend of mine invited
me to join a punk band that he'd started. Not being used
to this style of drumming,
which tends to be more complex than it sounds, I have enclosed
some helpful recommendations that helped me to learn the
#1: You can always go cut time on the high-hat if you
can't keep up with the speed.
Make sure you're not changing the beat, but the energy will
be the same if you use cut time.
#2: Just because the music is fast doesn't mean you
can't be creative or do interesting fills. Listen to bands
like the Dead Kennedy's for some interesting fill work.
#3: Use a lot of energy! Punk music is based on energy.
Wrestle with your buds before a show, build up some serious
energy and then just go nuts! If you screw up your beat
a little bit, its not as bad as if you lose your energy,
so really get into the energy of the music.
#4: As with lots of energy, go nuts with the bass drum.
I myself don't use a double-bass drum pedal, but I find
that with one pedal, a healthy distribution of bass drumming
Dont think you have to be boring with a simple bass-snare-bass-snare
beat. You can still have creativity in punk music. PUNK
DRUMMERS UNITE! KEEP ROCKING, KEEP THE ENERGY ALIVE.
Tips | Drum
T-shirts | Drum
I was to tell you that many problems with drumming
stem from one little "Secret", would
you beg to know what it is?
secret is REPETITION
young drummers (and even some old ones ;) underestimate
the importance of this word. But many simple problems are
solved relatively easily by incorporating just this one
PROBLEM #1: My arms tire while playing for long periods
FIX: REPETITION.! Practice single strokes for LONG periods
of time. Get them EXTREMELY fast to where they become "very"
comfortable. If the rest of your technique is relatively
good, your arms will not tire after that.
PROBLEM #2: My feet are slow and can't do half the
things my hands do.
FIX: REPETITION.! Isolate your feet and practice nothing
but them for extended periods of time. Play the samba bass
drum rhythm "allot". That's always been a good
one for getting your right foot in shape.
PROBLEM #3: I can't play in odd time signatures.
FIX: REPETITION.! Vinnie Colauita once said, "Just
play in 7 for like an hour". This is especially insightful
as we can often get caught up in studying things too closely
and miss the point. Sheer repetition will help lead to more
comfort in odd times.
PROBLEM #4: I can't do a proper double stroke roll
to save my life.
FIX: REPETITION.! Play that thing slowly, properly, and
for "long" periods of time, while gradually increasing
your speed. DO NOT CHEAT. Make yourself do intentional,
defined doubles. Chart your progress by playing to 16th's
on a metronome. In no time at all, you'll be GETTING IT.
Tips | Drum
This version of "WIPEOUT" incorporates single,
double, and triple paradiddles.
over and over until you build up your speed. This is
a great exercise for hand to hand control.
l r r, L r l l, R l r l r l r r, L r l r l l, R l r l r
r, L r l l
(Capital letters are Accented notes)
-For more on rudiments and other drum lessons and tabs,
visit the Lesson Database at http://www.drumbum.com/lessons
to know about DRUMS?
Check out DrumBum.com!
Ever get in a slump and can't get excited about drumming?
This is often due to lack of motivation or stimulation.
Just as you would read positive books of wisdom and understanding
to improve yourself as a person, the same holds true with
drumming. You must find ways to be excited about playing.
The following offer a few suggestions:
Surround yourself with great musicians. When you're around
players, you will strive to be the best yourself. It rubs
off, I promise!
Buy a new cymbal, piece of hardware, or drumset. Sure, it's
a bit expensive, but it never fails to help get the juices
Listen to great drummers on CD and Video. The more you hear,
more you will have the desire to play like them.
Go to drum clinics! What can I say, if you don't walk away
inspired by a great clinic, then you probably shouldn't
Set goals for yourself. No matter how small the goal, it
gives you something to strive for and gives you a sense
of purpose in life. Life is more fulfilling when you're
Take some lessons. Despite your level of experience, lessons
always seem to inspire us. You will find new approaches,
viewpoints, and techniques that you may have never encountered
otherwise. Even the greats will often go back and study
with a teacher after a long successful career. They are
maintaining goals in their life and assuring continual motivation,
excitement, and competitiveness.
Tips | Drum
have trouble finding time to practice?
This famous writing may provide some inspiration.
As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered
overachievers, he said, "Okay, time for a quiz."
Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar
and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced
about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them,
one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to
the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is
this jar full?" Everyone in the class said, "Yes."
Then he said, "Really?" He reached under the table
and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel
in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves
down into the spaces between the big rocks.
he smiled and asked the group once more, "Is the jar
full?" By this time the class was onto him. "Probably
not," one of them answered."Good!" he replied.
And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket
of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into
all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once
more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?"
the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good!"
Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it
in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked
up at the class and asked, "What is the point of this
eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is,
no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard,
you can always fit some more things into it!" "No,"
the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth
this illustration teaches us is:
If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get
them in at all."
list goes on and on. You should never justifiably be able
"I don't know what to practice".
Tips | Drum
many of you make New Years Resolutions? Or are you the type
to say, "Well, what's the use, I never keep 'em anyway."?
about it for a minute, if we had that attitude about everything
in life, then why would we even get up in the morning? I
mean, why drive to work or go to school when you might have
an accident and get killed? You see how silly this is?
word resolution is just a fancy word for "goal setting".
Webster lists several definitions but reoccurring words
are "resolve", "declare", and "decide".
not use the beginning of the year as a fresh start to achieve
the goals that you set for yourself on DRUMS? Write them
down in big bold letters and tape them to the wall if you
have to. This is a common habit of successful people and
it WILL work if "you" work hard for it and "MAKE
IT HAPPEN". Even if you don't meet all of your goals,
just "TRYING" gets you a lot closer than you would
have gotten otherwise.
don't need to have a list of 10 or 12 things if you don't
want. Sometimes just 1 or 2 goals are sufficient. Maybe
you can resolve to get that double stroke roll perfected
once and for all. Or maybe you can commit to taking a few
private lessons to help
get you out of that slump.
POSITIVE, GET MOTIVATED! Make a few resolutions and get
out there and KICK SOME BUTT!
1. Read books with inspiring themes or messages.
to inspiring music. Music that leaves
you feeling "pumped" and filled with positive
to self-help/motivational tapes. If you
haven't tried 'em, you're missing out!
movies like "Shawshank Redemption" that
portray the epitome of human perseverance.
to drum clinics and/or watch drum videos of
your favorite players.
the patterns of successful people and
hang out with them any chance you get. They "will"
rub off on you!
Tips | Drum
THE SMALL STUFF - Mike Donovan
to detail is an important aspect of pro drumming.
I recently had a drummer friend (he's playing 4 nights a
week with a signed artist) tell me he was about to upgrade
to a new set and he was thinking about buying Pearl Exports.
I immediately sat him down and talked with him about the
importance of small details and how much of a positive effect
they can have on the end result. Not that Pearl Exports
aren't good drums mind you, but for a person with his level
of experience and professionalism, he should (in my opinion)
be in a higher-end kit.
small details I'm talking about are things such as wood
types, bearing edges, isolation mounts, stainless steel
hoops, etc. All these things, I told him, help to clean
up your sound and allow for a more pure and precise tone.
It can sometimes mean the difference between driving a VW
Bug and a Cadillac.
the cash isn't always there, you owe it to yourself to at
least consider taking the plunge and investing in a "quality"
drumset if you're a serious professional. Words can't describe
the euphoria of what it's like to sit behind a set of drums
that virtually "play themselves". This goes for
marching and hand percussion as well. There is nothing like
"quality", whether it be your instrument or your
performance and once you've been there and then came back,
you'll definitely know the difference. The details matter,
and you should be "sweating the small stuff"!
1. Interest rates are low right now!
2. Don't forget "used" drums. You can sometimes
save thousands and still end up with a top-of-the-line kit.
3. Do your homework and research drums thoroughly before
4. Please support your local small businessman!
5. Visit our Lesson Database for more tips on "Buying
Tips | Drum
Drums | Percussion |
Books | Tony!
20 DRUM BOOKS
To be proficient on your instrument, you want to make sure
all your bases are covered. Here are some of the top-rated
books that have made a huge impact in drummer's lives
over the years and have definitely stood the test of time.
"Fundamental Studies for Snare Drum" - Garwood
Whaley, Ted Reed's "Syncopation", "Modern
Reading Text in 4/4" - Louie Bellson
INDEPENDENCE: "Stick Control" - George Stone,
"Accents and Rebounds" - George Stone
"International Drum Rudiments" - PAS, "Modern
Interpretation of Snare Drum
Rudiments" - Buddy Rich/Henry Adler
DRUM: - "Modern School for Snare Drum" - Morris
Goldberg, "Modern Rudimental Swing Solos" - Charles
SET: - "Realistic Rock" - Carmine Appice,
"Future Sounds" - David Garibaldi, "The New
Breed" -Gary Chester, "Bass Drum Control"
- Colin Bailey, "Patterns" series- Gary Chaffee
"Master Studies" - Joe Morello, "Even in
the Odds" - Ralph Humphrey, "Afro-Cuban Rhythms
for Drumset" - Frank Malabe and Rob Weiner, "Drum
Wisdom" - Bob Moses, "The Sound of Brushes"
- Ed Thigpen
to know about DRUMS?
Check out DrumBum.com!
For those of you that have caught yourself saying, "I
don't know what to practice".. HERE IS A LIST:
Listening (concentrated "listening" to music,
not just "hearing" it)
2. Method Books (Chapin, Latham, Chaffee, etc.)
3. Drum Rudiments (do you know all 40?)
4. Groove playing (and making it feel as good as possible)
5. Styles (rock, blues, funk, country, jazz, latin, swing,
6. Stick control (George Lawrence Stone books etc.)
7. Reading (books, charts)
9. Tuning Drums
10. Playing with a click or drum machine (also playing behind/ahead
11. Song form (AABA,ABA, etc)
13. Playing over the bar line
14. Odd Time
15. Finger Control (this should come "after" basic
16. Moeller Technique
17. Transcribing Drum Beats
18. Two handed riding on cymbals
19. Linear patterns (within the groove and soloing)
20. Left hand lead
21. Double Bass Drum
22. Fast tempos
23. Electronics (familiarize yourself w/the latest midi
24. Instructional videos
25. Studio techniques (mic placement, effects, etc.)
26. Odd groupings (3s, 5s 7s and
28. Beat displacement and/or Metric Modulation
29. Shuffles (funk, rock, 2 hand shuffles etc.)
30. Showmanship (stick twirling, standing on your head)
31. Practicing your drums in front of a mirror
32. Recording yourself and listening back (This is a big
33. Creating your "own" patterns and ideas
34. Augmentation and Diminution
35. Tehais (A figure repeated three times evenly in a phrase)
36. Filling around accent patterns
37. Practicing extremely slow tempos
38. Continual linear triplets around the set
39. Continual linear 16ths around the set
40. Motion exercises (ala Steve Smith video)
41. Left hand and foot isolation
42. Drum physiology and ergonomics (Extremely important!)
43. Read drum publications, internet newsgroups for inspiration
44. Brushes for snare drum
45. Cymbal technique (which one to hit, when, how hard,
list goes on and on. You should never justifiably be able
"I don't know what to practice".
- ...the WFD (Worlds Fastest Drummer),
the DrumoMeter, and more!
Rise of Speed Drumming
By George Broyer
once in awhile, an innovation comes along in music that
helps shape the future of the industry. Still, people fear
change. Many view the advancement as an attack to the establishment.
They try to resist for as long as they possibly can until
it becomes accepted by the majority thus making it mainstream.
When Rock & Roll came about, many thought it would lead
to the downfall of America's youth. When Ray Charles combined
gospel music with R&B, many said it was blasphemous
and degrading God's work. Yet, Ray Charles is now considered
one of the greatest music innovators of the 20th century.
Enter speed drumming.
Not immune to the same criticism, this latest craze is taking
the drumming world by storm and creating quite a stir. Although
it's been embraced by many drummers young and old, others
see it as an infringement upon their revered tradition.
Measure how fast your strokes are!
*Now only $149.95 at DRUM BUM
the practice of fast drumming is not entirely recent, the
ability to accurately measure and rank it is a new concept.
The beginnings of modern speed drumming started in the windy
city of Chicago during the year 1975. It was there that
Boo McAfee was present at a demonstration by Barrett Deems
where he claimed to be "The World's Fastest Drummer."
A voice of doubt emerged from the crowd. "Oh, yeah,"
the person asked. "What machine did you use?"
McAfee turned to see the voice belonged to none other than
drumming legend Buddy Rich. The memory of that event lingered
in McAfee's mind. Then in 1999, McAfee collaborated with
fellow drummer and engineer Craig Alan to develop a machine
to measure the speed of drumming. After two months of work,
the device was developed and dubbed The Drum-o-meter. It
calculated the number of strokes for up to a 90 second time
span for such rudiments as the single stroke roll, the double
stroke roll, and paradiddles. The DrumoMeter was first showcased
at the 1999 PASIC and, then, released for purchase on April
2, 2000, the anniversary of Buddy Rich's death. This new
innovative invention paved the way for the world of speed
drumming to emerge as a credible faction of drumming.
their new stroke-measuring device, McAfee and Alan needed
a creative way to market their idea into the world of drumming.
So, they decided to establish the World's Fastest Drummer
Organization or WFD for short. The idea was to pit drummers
against each other in a competition to determine with accuracy
the indisputable fastest drummer of the world using the
DrumoMeter. In the first event of its kind, Johnny Rabb
won the competition sponsored by the Nashville Percussion
Institute. He performed an astonishing 1,026 single stroke
rolls in one minute. Rabb was asked to later defend his
title on VH1's live broadcast of Rock & Roll Record
Breakers in Orlando, Florida. His fast drumming produced
1,071 strokes in one minute and earned him a spot in the
Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest drummer in
the world. The WFD (or Worlds Fastest Drummer) started to
pick up steam and, in 2007, they established a regular competition
at the annual NAMM show. The winner of the competition was
presented a championship belt similar to the ones awarded
on WWE wrestling. The exhibition was eventually split to
include separate recognition for the fastest hand drummer
and fastest foot drummer. This fun, exciting showcase spotlighting
the skills of speed drumming propelled the movement to another
the modern speed drumming movement gained momentum, the
number of drummers participating grew. With most new areas
of music, there are those that will rise above the others
and carve out a name for themselves as the pace setters
to which the rest of the field must catch up. The drummers
of speed drumming that fall into this category are as follows:
Mike Mangini, drummer for Extreme and the Steve Vai Band,
set the current world record at the WFD
by achieving 1,203 single stroke rolls on the Drum o Meter
in one minute in January 2007.
Jotan Afanador of Bronx New York -1,199 single strokes.
WFD, Summer of 2007.
Art Verdi held the title of fastest drummer from April 2001
through May 2007 by performing 1,116 strokes in sixty seconds.
Tim Waterson holds the Guinness Record for being the fastest
foot drummer. Waterson, also known as "The Drumcan
Man" because of he built and performs on a kit he designed
entirely of recycled materials, managed to bang out 1,239
double strokes in one minute's time on the Drum o Meter
in November 2001 at the Montreal Drum Festival. He later
broke that record in January of 2007 by reaching 1,407 double
strokes in one minute at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood.
(Tim holds both the World Fastest Feet records for singles
at 1,030 and doubles at 1,407.)
Seth Davis is the current World Record holder for double
stroke rolls. He executed 1,200 double stroke rolls in sixty
seconds. Davis also holds the prestige of being the first
drummer ever to complete 1,200 clean double strokes.
Sam LeCompte holds the record for most paraddidles in 60
seconds at 1,032.
drummers help the foundation for the future speed drummers
of the world. They blazed a path for others to follow and,
with the growing interest, there seems to be plenty of drummers
lined up to make their own mark in the world of fast drumming.
mentioned previously, with anything new, there are always
going to be detractors who are against change. In the case
of speed drumming, there are two schools of thought. The
first believes that speed drumming is a valid and viable
new aspect of drumming. They insist that fast drumming assist
in building chops. Supporters of fast drumming contend that
these chops are a vital facet to a drummer's repertoire
and they represent a crucial element in one's ability to
be innovative and creative when playing. However, the opponents
of speed drumming believe that building chops is not a vital
part of drumming. They claim that time spent on fast drumming
is time better spent on learning the musicality of drumming.
Speed drumming is seen as a frivolous expenditure of drumming
that offers no significant benefits to the drumming industry.
Another movement within the speed drumming community is
to establish the style of fast drumming as a new sport.
This notion of extreme sport drumming is being propelled
by those who assert that drumming is an intense physical
activity and should be able to qualify as a sport. Many
traditionalists in the drumming world also disagree with
this perception. It seems that some in the sporting industry
would also reject the concept of drumming as a sport. In
May 2007, ESPN ran an ad for its Junior Golf Academy in
USA Today where it bashed drumming as a trivial recreation.
The ad focused on the accusation that children should do
something more meaningful than spend their time playing
drums like learning to play golf. The Percussive Arts Society
took quick action in an attempt to get ESPN to remove the
ad. With pressure coming down from its parent company Disney,
ESPN pulled the ad from circulation after five days. Still,
the one of leading sports identities had expressed its feeling
on the marriage of drums and sports. Still, despite all
the resistance it has encountered, the modern speed drumming
movement continues to plow ahead toward earning credibility
in the world of drumming.
a newly hatched duckling, speed drumming is still spreading
its wings and learning to fly. Its popularity is growing
exponentially and is especially interesting to the younger
drummers. It provides an edge that most other forms of drumming
may be lacking and the aspect of competition is always a
driving force in humanity. Speed drumming
falls right into the well-known American maxim of "Bigger,
Better, Faster, Now." The technique of fast drumming
provides an opportunity for drummers to experience a component
of drumming they might not be able to encounter in a band
or other project. There will always be people who denounce
the modern speed drumming movement just as they rejected
Elvis, Ray Charles, and other pioneering music figures.
Still, at the present moment, there doesn't appear to be
any signs to contradict the fact that speed drumming will
continue to carve out its niche in the drumming community
and stay there for a very long time.
- by Mat
someone earns money playing the drums, whether part-time
or full-time, he or she is a professional drummer."
Sometimes how often a drummer works has less to do with
his or her musical abilities than with how those abilities
are applied. The following tips will help the young drummer
get a perspective on what it takes to be a professional
working drummer. They can also be helpful to the older,
more experienced drummer-because we can all lose our perspective
at times. I am sure everyone will find something on this
list he or she has been guilty of neglecting, and will welcome
Warm up before the gig. This is one of the best pieces
of advice I can give. Naturally, if you have practiced during
the day you should still be loose enough by evening. But
if you did not practice (or if it is a morning or early
afternoon gig), a short ten or twenty-minute warm-up will
definitely give your playing an edge.
Some musicians feel that warming up is unnecessary -even
amateurish-but that is totally wrong. In the first place,
musical instruments (especially drums) are very physical,
and a certain looseness and flexibility are required to
perform on them at optimum efficiency. Why have to wait
until the second set to be totally in command of your instrument?
Besides, you never know who might be in the audience listening
to just the first set a reviewer, a record producer, other
musicians-and that will be all they might have to judge
your playing capabilities by. In addition, it's really a
great feeling to play smoothly and relaxed during that first
set. Sometimes you can save a train wreck up there, and
you can be sure it will be noticed by all involved.
Keep good time. This is the most important thing
a drummer can do. Most musicians and singers rely on their
drummers to keep time for them, but even when performing
with players who have great time themselves, the drummer's
time needs to be excellent so as not to break the groove.
Be on time for the gig. Set up the drums earlier
in the day if possible. It is always better to walk in on
the gig with just your sticks and cymbals in hand than to
have to lug equipment in, set up, adjust positions, tune,
etc, --and then play the job (and even more so if you have
to war a tuxedo).
Be a good sideman. This includes all the previous
rules up to this point. Play what the leader asks, and don't
complain about times, tempos, styles, or anything that might
give the leader any additional problems. The leader has
to book the job, hire the musicians, negotiate money, please
the club owner (or whoever hires him), satisfy the public,
call the tunes
Good side musicians are really noticed
and appreciated because they help make the job go smoothly.
Become a leader one time, and I guarantee you will improve
your attitude as a sideman.
Play in context. Play a dance job like a dance job
and a rock gig like a rock gig. Trying to play avant-garde
jazz licks on a wedding job won't make it-and won't get
you rehired. Also, keep in mind the abilities of the other
musicians. You may be light-years ahead of them in experience,
knowledge, and technique, but if your playing becomes too
complex for them to comprehend, you will just lose them-and
the gig. Always try to make the band as a whole sound good
while playing to the highest level possible in context with
the music and the other musicians.
Control your ego. At times this can be the most difficult
rule to follow. Ego is definitely healthy and necessary,
but it must be kept under control.
Sometimes we can take it personally when asked to do things
like turn the volume down or keep the tempo steady. But
the problem could be someone other than you. Maybe the guitar
is too loud or the bass player is dragging and you are simply
being asked to keep them in check. Very seldom will a drummer
be called for a gig to do solos under a spotlight. You are
hired to do a job, so just do it and don't let your ego
get in the way.
Act professionally at all time. If you act professionally,
chances are you will be treated in a professional manner.
Treat your job like a job-not a big party. Dress cleanly
and properly. Stay sober, and be reserved, not loud and
boisterous, on the breaks. This is not to say you can't
enjoy yourself on the gig. If we didn't enjoy our work,
why have music for a career? However, keep things in perspective,
and take care of business first. You will find that the
better you do your job, the more you will enjoy your work-and
the more respect you will garner.
Have the right equipment for the gig. It just does
not make sense to bring a bebop set on a rock or funk gig,
and vice-versa. The sound of your drums definitely affects
the way you play as wee as the sound of the band. Also,
bring a good assortment of sticks, brushes, mallets, and
the like to be prepared for any occasion. And be sure your
equipment is in good shape. Equipment breakdowns in the
middle of a set are unnecessary and can ruin a great groove.
Practice at home, not on the job. This gig is not
the place to try out some new sticking or technique. Besides,
the tendency, when trying something new, is to force it
into a spot where it doesn't necessarily fit. After a technique
has been perfected at home, then by all means bring it on
the gig. Just be sure to use it in context.
Play as if your reputation depends on it. It just
might. As stated earlier, you never know who could be in
the audience. Just play the gig in context and as perfectly
as possible, and everyone will be more than satisfied-the
leader and other side musicians, the customers, the club
owner or concert promoter, and you.
Play yourself. Add something special to the music.
This is what makes you different from other drummers: your
own personal approach to music and drumming.
Play music! This is the ultimate goal. Whenever you
sit down to practice or play, think musically. Relate everything-from
your warm-up exercises and rudiments to advanced sticking
and rhythms-to music. I have heard drummers with less technique
than others sound better because they were playing musically.
Study music and musical form, including some melody and
harmony. Spend time reading different drum books and charts.
It will definitely improve your playing.
Tips | Drum
Chat | Drum
Lessons | Kids
Cleaning / Cymbal Care:
you ever noticed that some drummers' cymbals shine so much
that it always looks like they're brand new? Then there's
the rest of us. We'd rather take a bullet in the head then
to have to clean those darn things.
Most like the way cymbals look when they're shiny and bright.
The stage lights reflect off of them and really set off
our drumset. But...are we often too lazy to clean them?
I must admit, I rarely ever cleaned my cymbals. When I did,
I dreaded it as it would make a complete mess out of the
kitchen. I'd have cleaners spread from one end of the room
to the other. I'd have numerous rags, and usually papers
or towels on the floor because the things were always so
awkwardly big that you couldn't fit them into the kitchen
sink. I was relieved to finally play with a few big artists
where the stage crew (and hired union workers) would clean
them for me.
Well, I've written this article to help with the laborious
task of cleaning your cymbals. Hopefully you'll learn a
thing or two and you won't ruin a few of your cymbals the
way I did. Remember there are numerous opinions on the subject
and this will vary depending on personal experiences. Here
are a few pointers based off of my own experience and research:
Do it in the yard, not in your bathtub or kitchen sink.
Take a bucket of warm water out there just like you're going
to wash your car. Leave your bath or kitchen be. It does
nothing but make a huge mess and pisses off your girlfriend
or spouse. Ha!
Experiment with all the cymbal cleaners. I've listed
them below. Be careful with scouring mixes like Comet. They
can scratch the surface of your cymbals if you're not careful.
Determine whether your cymbal needs a polishing,
a quick once-over, or a deep-cleaning (dirt and grime has
built up on the cymbal over a period of time as opposed
to just stick markings). If they only need a quick polish,
buy a spray-on type of cleaner. It's usually quick and effective.
When you clean your cymbal, wipe in the direction of
the grooves of your cymbal. You can use an abrasive
sponge or scrub brush but make sure that the wires of the
brush are not metal or that they're not something that will
scratch the cymbal.
Some drummers will use household cleaners such as
Fantastic or Formula 409 to help remove the initial deepened
grime. It won't get it all out but it might help loosen
it up. You can also soak your cymbals in hot water before
cleaning them. This will help loosen the dirt.
Remember that some commercial cymbal cleaners are more
for polishing or touching up rather than deep-cleaning
(and visa versa) so be sure to read the label before proceeding.
Clean small sections at a time, especially with really
dirty cymbals. Again, think of it like your washing your
car. You don't wash the entire car at one time right? Take
it one small section at a time.
Some drum shops have professional cymbal cleaning machines
and they offer this as a service to their customers. It
will cost you a bit but will save you a lot of time if you're
one that simply detests the chore.
Some cleaning agents can be harmful to your health.
Be sure to use rubber gloves or a breathing mask if necessary.
Make sure there is proper ventilation.
What are cymbals made out of?
An alloy (or combination of metals) consisting of copper,
tin, nickel silver, brass, or bronze.
makes cymbals get dirty?
Dust, cigarette smoke, and especially oil from your fingers.
do cymbals turn green sometimes?
This is a result of tarnishing. The cymbal becomes discolored
due to slow oxidation. When there is brass or copper in
the cymbal alloy, it will turn green over time if not polished.
What drummers often use to clean cymbals:
Zildjian Cymbal Cleaning Polish
Paiste Cymbal Cleaner
Sabian Cymbal Cleaner
Buckaroo Cymbal Cleaner
Blitz Cymbal Cleaner
Fantastic or Formula 409
- Usually cymbal ink labels will rub off during cleaning.
It is difficult and sometimes impossible to clean around
Although it's debatable just how much, metal is lost in
the process of harder scrubbing and if care is not taken
to follow the grooves, it could affect the overall tonal
quality of your cymbal.
Avoid using a high speed drill with attachments. This could
prevent undesirable results and/or you could ruin your cymbal.
Vintage cymbals: Altering their age properties or original
design structure could devalue the cymbals in the resale
market. Use extreme caution.
Tips and Advice:
- Keep your cymbals covered. Store them in a cymbal bag
(individual cymbal sleeves are recommended) or in a cymbal
case. Keeping them properly stored keeps them cleaner longer.
If you have to have your cymbals on stage for long periods
of time, invest in cymbal sleeves or take them down each
Pick up your cymbals by the edges and try not to touch the
surface area. If you have to handle your cymbals frequently,
keep a pair of gloves in your accessory bag and put them
on before handling the cymbals.
Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste, Bosphorus, Meinl, UFIP, Istanbul,
once read a book called "The Book of Questions".
At first it seemed like a stupid idea. Then I realized that
upon reading it, it was extremely thought-provoking and
allowed me to look within to find honest answers about myself.
Sometimes the answers lead to action that can be life changing.
I got to thinking; Why not use this same technique for drumming.
While we're not interested in writing a book, even just
a handful of questions are bound to get the juices flowing.
Try it and see.
How many hours do you practice every day? Is it enough?
Do you have a routine or simply play randomly without any
Do you ever ask others to give you an honest assessment
of your playing?
Do you execute your grooves and drum fills perfectly without
Do you sit with your back straight when you play? Are you
Have you ever taken a lesson with a famous drummer?
Do you get jealous when other drummers are better than you?
Do your bandmates like "you" as much as they do
Do you ever tape yourself to see how you sound?
Does your band know that you are the best drummer for them?
Do your drums sound the best they can?
Do you fake styles or are you confident you're playing the
Do you ever set up your drums differently?
Are you more of a time keeper or a musical contributor?
Are you having "fun" playing the drums?
Are you just a mediocre drummer or a good drummer?
Do you ever practice in front of a mirror?
Does your band know that you play for the song first and
Do you practice your feet as much as your hands?
Have you accomplished what you set out to do on the drums?
Tips | Drum
Videos | Kids
Drums | Drum
is Drum n Bass
Drum and Bass, or DNB?
in The Fast Lane: An Overview of Drum and Bass
By George Broyer
You may have already heard Drum and Bass and never even
realized it. Aside from being utilized in numerous commercials
and T.V. shows, elements of Drum and Bass have appeared
in songs by such artists as David Bowie, Outkast, and Linkin
Park. Drum and Bass, also known as DNB, drum n bass, and
jungle, is a form of electronic dance music (often called
electronica or mislabeled as simply "techno" music)
that employs a break-beat instead of the 4/4 beat found
in house and trance. The beats per minute, or BPM, are significantly
faster ranging between 160-180 BPM. BPM is a unit of measure
for the tempo of a song with 60 BPM equating to one beat
every second. DNB often borrows samples from movies and
television or even other styles of music and blends them
together creating an entirely new perspective. The spectrum
of the sound of DNB is immense varying from atmospheric
to soulful to heavy and pounding. It is often compared to
jazz in the sense that the listener can experience an assortment
of diverse sounds all falling under the umbrella of one
musical genre. DNB is usually found pressed onto a 12"
piece of vinyl with the record containing one to four tracks.
These records are mixed by DJs in clubs and can sometimes
be accompanied by an M.C. who rhymes over the tracks much
like a hip-hop artist. The DNB faithful often refer to themselves
as junglists, much the same way as Grateful Dead fans deem
themselves Dead Heads, and are very passionate about the
music. DNB is a rapidly progressing style of music with
sounds becoming old and outdated in a relatively short amount
of time. Most DNB / Drum and Bass songs have a shelf life
of a year or less before being considered stale.
beginnings of DNB can be traced back to the 1980's Acid
House music scene in the United Kingdom. The earliest form
of DNB was an offshoot of Acid House called Breakbeat Hardcore.
As Breakbeat Hardcore developed, a new sound featuring more
bass heavy and up-tempo qualities emerged and started to
develop a separate identity. It was the early 90's when
this new sound began to permeate the London club scene pioneered
by DJs Fabio and Grooverider. As DNB continued to grow and
mutate, it continued to separate into new sub-genres. In
1995, LTJ Bukem established a sound that while preserving
the up-tempo breakbeat percussion focused on atmospheric
qualities and warm, deep bass lines. This new form was dubbed
Intelligent Drum and Bass / DNB. Other styles also sprang
up. One approach taking on an urban quality with a stripped
down, harder percussive style was designated Hardstep. Another
with more hip-hop influenced traits was called Jump-Up.
By 1996, Hardstep and Jump-Up dominated the club scene;
while, Intelligent DNB remained more for the at-home listener.
Another progression occurred in 1997 when two more sub-genres
surfaced. A funky, double bass line sound was being championed
by Roni Size at the same time as a new darker, more technical
oriented style called Techstep blossomed. Its ominous or
sci-fi related themes and cold, intricate percussion with
dark, powerful bass lines distinguished Techstep from the
other forms of DNB. By the conclusion of the 1990's, the
marketable charm of artists such as Roni Size diminished
and Techstep reigned in the club scene. However at the turn
of the century, a revival transpired to bring back the original
DNB sounds and many classic tracks were remixed and reintroduced
to the DNB community. Over the years, the genre of DNB has
continued to undergo numerous transformations thus making
it one of the most diverse styles of music. Drum and Bass
/ DNB is played all over the world today but is still considered
to be at its most progressive and cutting edge in the U.K.
where it got its start.
here to Read the Full Article
It's Not a Dirty Word
By Mike Donovan
Licks, Fills, Rolls, ....
THEY'RE NOT DIRTY WORDS!
popular opinion, it is not a sin to play a drum fill. It's
not wrong to use fills and creative nuances when you play.
It's not taboo to talk about liking drum "LICKS"...
although many would make you feel otherwise.
I said it. Now if I can stake the reputation of my company
on the "C, L, F and R" words, you can certainly
come out of the closet and admit that you like them too!
we probably did it to ourselves. We played one too many
fills over the lead vocal or guitar line when we were younger.
But does that mean we are doomed to "2 and 4 prison"
for the rest of our lives? Are we to play 2 and 4 for the
remainder of our time on earth and relinquish all hope of
exploring personal expression on our instrument? Listen
to much of modern music out there today and one would almost
before you get your panties in a wad (as my sister used
to say ;), let me state for the record:
swear before the Groove God that I believe it is our responsibility,
as drummers, to play "for the song" and lay down
a firm, stable
foundation (groove) for the band to play off of."
said that, I also believe it is our responsibility to "create"
and explore the depths of our musical soul. It is also the
responsibility of guitarists, keyboardists, vocalists, and
other instrumentalists to practice with a metronome and
contribute to the timekeeping responsibilities of the band.
Mature, experienced players know that a drummer can not
do it by themselves. Lead instruments, when not soloing,
should be helping to "groove" the band with "responsible"
comping and rhythmic vamping.
I speak so passionately about this subject because I have
known one too many drummers in my life that were so brainwashed
during there lifetime that they literally gave up all hope
of self-expression and individuality, and regressed to becoming
a timekeeper "only". A literal "human metronome"
with little creative flair in their playing. This saddens
me. There is so much more to life as a drummer. Even the
legendary Steve Gadd, who is known for his amazing groove,
is fun to listen to. There is so much creativity, life,
and self-expression in his playing.
there anything wrong with being just a time keeper or a
"human metronome"? Well, not if the song begs
for it and/or that's the path you choose. Many dance tunes
sound best when played with nothing but a nice solid, thumping
beat. But if the track is bland, then I think it's time
to step up to the plate. I teach my students to make spaghetti
that "tastes good". Don't just throw some noodles
on a plate. Use cheeses, meats, vegetables, and spices freely,
..but tastefully and carefully. Make that stuff "TASTE
of us know the value of 2 and 4. Respected studio ace, Paul
Leim calls it the "money beat". A lot of money
has and will be made with this beat and I totally respect
that. Ok, well a lot of money has been made off of McDonald's
hamburgers too. But does that mean it's always the best
thing for us?
we have been given a gift from GOD. That of creative, artistic
expression. As drummers we can use subtle, complementary
ghost notes, licks, or explosive "fills" to make
a song come alive. Ever wonder why the live tracks are often
better than the studio cuts? Think about it.
an honor to walk off the stage and hear someone say, "Man,
that felt great!". I must admit though, it's also very
satisfying to hear someone say, "How did you do that?!
or "Man, I loved that fill you played going into the
chorus!". I've had the honor of having 10 drummers
in the front row watching me play. But I've also had name
artists walk up to me and say, "Man, you have a great
feel!". This, needless to say, is an honor. Especially
because I know I can also color a song and make it sound
interesting, not just keep time.
fills, and chops are a vocabulary. They enable you to express
yourself just as a speaker would search for the right word
during his speech to express himself. When you have the
musical maturity to recognize this, you will be set free
as a musician.
tuned for my article next month, entitled, "GROOVE"....it's
not a dirty word!"
Tips | Drum
are different opinions on what's acceptable and what's not
with regard to cleaning drums.
is a cleaning solution that many feel comfortable using.
Remember that any spray on cleaner should be sprayed directly
on the rag, not the drum itself. Some drummers use furniture
polish on the drums but remember that wax buildup can occur
over time. If you're going to use wax polish, it is recommended
to use it sparingly. Take the time to dust your drums with
a feather duster before using a rag. This is because some
large particles of dust can scratch the finish of the drum
if you're not careful. Also, be sure you use a clean, extra-soft
rag. We recommend the microfiber cloths that are used to
polish furniture and cars. Again, this helps prevent scratching
of the surface of the drum. For chrome hardware, use Windex
or a chrome polish.
There are many drum cleaners and polishes on the market.
Here is a list of some of them.
Lizard Spit Drum Polish
Dunlop Drum Shell 65 Polish and Cleaner 4.99 at Musicians
Hemp Oil Drum Polish - Genuine Products
Vater Drum Polish
to Tune Drums
face it; if your drums don't sound good, you are not going
to sound good. You can have all the chops in the world but
we as drummers are hired by, not just our licks, but by
other factors such as how we get along with others, how
musical we are, how we groove, and yes... how good our drums
sound (determined by how well they are tuned).
article won't serve to instruct the exact method of tuning
drums as much as it will to address a few key issues with
regard to tuning your drums or drumset.
tuning most drums, it involves a simple process that can
be honed as a skill the more we work with it. Tuning drums
is an inexact science but like anything, the more you do
it, the better you'll get at it.
most important thing to know is that you'll tune the drums
so that the pitches near each lug are as close to the adjacent
lug as you can possibly get it. The end goal is to get the
drum in tune to itself, which means we will try to have
the pitch near all of the lugs sound the same on the head
your working on. They can differ from top to bottom and
in fact, that's how you'll obtain your pitch.
snare drums, aim to tune with respect to what kind of snare
sound you wish to achieve. If you want a marching band type
of snare, you'll want to really crank the heads good and
tight. If you want a deep sound, you'll need to tune the
heads looser, and so on. If you want the snare to have a
washy snare effect or a "wet" sound, you'll need
to leave the snares on the bottom of the drum a bit looser
so they can buzz more. Similarly, if you want a tight crisp
sound, you'll want to have the snares tensioned tighter.
Just be sure that you don't tighten too much or the snare
drum will sound choked.
toms, or tom toms, whether or not you start with tuning
the top head or the bottom head matters not so much as being
sure that you again, tune the drum to be in tune with itself.
Some drummers try to pull the pitch of the tom drum out
of the bottom head and others will try to pull it from the
top. You'll need to experiment to determine your own preference.
There is really no right or wrong way.
regard to the bass drum, some drummers like a deep, low,
thud sound and others like more of an opening resonating
sound. If you want the traditional punchy, thud sound, you'll
need a pillow or some substantial muffling on the inside
of the drum. If you lay the pillow so that it slightly touches
the front head, you'll achieve even better results. For
more of a resonating bass drum sound, go with less muffling
and maybe even do without any kind of air hole in the front
selection is an extremely part of the drum tuning process.
There are drumheads of all shapes and sizes. Experiment
with different types of heads to see how they will affect
each drum's tone and response.
worry if you can't get a slight wrinkle out of the drum.
If the drum sounds good, that's all that matters.
over-tighten drum heads. Although they can withstand
quite a bit of stretching, they do have a breaking point.
get brittle in cold weather and are more likely to crack.
If the drum is extremely cold, let it warm up a bit
before cranking on those heads.
higher quality the drum, the better the drum will sound
when it is tuned properly.
around with different types of hole sizes in your bass
drum and where you position the hole.
to tune drums at Drum Bum's free drum lessons database.
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