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Best approach to Gospel "chops"?

gospel gospel music gospel chops gospel beginner

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#1
Veecharlie

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Hi everybody!

 

I play drums for 10 years now and I'm working very hard to reach a professional level. I have been playing all kind of prog music since I begun and now I also play worship live. I listen to a lot of genres and I'm trying to expand y abilities by also learning new genres.

 

I have always been impressed by gospel drummers, I can't be as fast as Tony Jr. but well, I'd like to learn to understand and have a basis to keep developing. 

 

So my question is, how can I approach gospel in the best way possible?

 

thanks in advance :)


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#2
Hop

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To me, I find most gospel chops as blowing by to fast to suitably digest and lacking in dynamics... I can appreciate the skill it takes to get around the kit that fast but I don't really care for the phrases I'm hearing in most cases. That said...

To greatly simplify this, I would say it's all about "groupings" and "phrasing." If you're new to this I would not recommend speed and note density as a near term goal, but I would spend more time on the groupings and then phrasing concepts. A great resource is the video by Rick Gratton called "Rick's Licks" he also has a book out by the same name.

A grouping is a configuration or structure that can be played within the time of one beat (or played within the time of two, three, four, etc. beats). Here you want to work on an even relaxed sound and learn the sequence happening between the hands and feet.
Therefore a group of three can be played as: R L B (the R & L should be played on the snare, the B is the bass drum).
A group of four can be played as: R L L B
A group of five can be played as: R L R R B or L R L L B
A group of six can be played as: R L R L L B
A group of seven can be played as R L L B R L B (notice it looks like a 4 & a 3 combined)
A group of eight can be played as R L R L L B R L B (notice it looks like a 5 & a 3 combined)

You can count these as the actual group ( 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3.... or 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5... etc). As you get the pattern down evenly then you'll want to impose them group as 16th notes ( 1 e + a 2 e + a .... etc), which will help set you up for phrasing.

You can create all kinds of different permutation with any of the groupings as well (but start with the examples)..
For instance a three can be played as: R L B or B R L or L R B
A four can be played as R L L B or B R L L or L B R L or L L B R or R L R B or B R L R or R B L R or.....

After you have a few of the grouping patterns down I would move to phrasing. The first step is to try accenting the first note of the grouping and loop them as 16th notes.

The second step is to combine the different groups to create a one bar phrase of sixteenth notes. Here is where the fun really starts. We merely add the groupings together to ensure we have 16 notes in our measure of 4/4.
16 = 5 + 5 + 6 or 6 + 5 + 5 or 5 + 6 + 5 (or 3+3+2 or 2+3+3 or 3+2+3 twice or in combination to add up to 16).
16 = 6 + 3 + 7 or 7 + 6 + 3 or 3 + 6 + 7
16 = 6 + 6 + 4 or 4 + 6 + 6 or 6 + 4 + 6

The next step is to move your hands to the other parts of the drum set, again your choice, your phrases - I would try keep the L on the snare (or the hi-hat) and moving the right to different toms.

These can also be played as triplets using the same process, making sure you add up to 12 notes in your measure.
12 = 5 + 7 or 7 + 5 or 6 + 3 + 3....

The next step is to mix the duple and triplets in a measure... and then to extend phrases to more than one measure (i.e. 556637 or 663377 or an permutation on this).

Alternatively, you could just crank up some rudiments across the kit and bang out some 32-note phrases and call it good!
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#3
mikeylicious78

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Amazing post by Hop but just to add a lil tidbit is to start your fills on different parts of the bar. A good one I often use is to start the fill on the `a of 4. In other words, 4 e and A. 

You should also check out beat displacement and fill displacement as alot of gospel guys use that. 


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#4
RIDDIM

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The best way to learn to speak and other language or musical idiom would be to immerse yourself in it as much as you can.  It's fine to study theory, vocabulary, etc., but you have to apply it in the real world for it to really sink in.

 

Find the key artists, musicians and records in the idiom.  Learn their work cold.    It's about learning the music.   Once you do that , the music will tell you what it needs.

 

Better yet, if you can, get a gig in a church which has this music.  If you can't get a gig, go and check out services in such churches. If there aren't any where you are, move to where there are.   

 

Failing that, immerse yourself on YT.   But again, focus on the music, not the chops. Chops are just a means to an end - that being to better serve the music.


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#5
JDA

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or it would help to gather with another drummer who is versed in some of the motions.

 The way they come-off and go-to the hi hat- seems an integral- and blows me away- part of it. But I'd like to be shown in person by someone..


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#6
cworrick

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practice

pray

repeat


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#7
Hop

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Here's a good video that shows a solid approach to developing patterns and how to phrase them. In his example he uses a simple 6 note pattern, and goes through the process:




Here's Carmine using Rick Gratton's approach (just increase the note density and/or speed and you got your chops).


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#8
poetman

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I've playing gospel for a while now and can tell you confidently that 1) not every gospel drummer plays these gospel chops licks and 2) drum shedding videos are entirely different than actual songs. The best thing any drummer can do to master a genre of music is actually listen to that style of music. Listen to the artists from the 80's to the present who inform the current music and be able to GROOVE like their drummers. Justin Faulkner said it best in a clinic: drummer's love speed and crazy chops, but bandmates go crazy for groove. It pays the bills too. Hop's first video points you in the right direction, but unless you can deploy that seamlessly in a groove so it fits and sounds musical, you'll just be practicing for yourself and your internet buddies. Play for the music man, the real chops come out of what the tune dictates, and you just play what you hear. 


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#9
RIDDIM

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Exactly.


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#10
Veecharlie

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wow!! For some reason I didn't get notified of all these answers!! They are amazing!! Thank you guys!!! I even forgot I made this post. Thank you once again!


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#11
Hop

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Well, glad you checked in again...
Don't be shy to post additional questions if you got them... there's a good group of folks here that aren't afraid to share information.
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