All things to all men or just be you

Bullseye_Doc_Holiday

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Lately I'm having a bit of a crisis of confidence with my drumming. Although I've studied and actively played for 26 years now, only about 3 years of that was with a band creating original music. Even during that time, that band was only one of 3 or 4 groups I was playing regularly with. Instead, most of my "career" (if you can call it that. While I have been paid for live and studio "session" work, I've never made my living by it) I've been a hired gun. I've done my best to embrace that. Always seeking to serve the producer, the band leader, the artist, etc. Whether it was tuning, playing style, etc. Maybe that would be great if that's what I was doing to pay the bills, but now I'm not 20-something anymore, I have a wife, 3 kids, and drumming is just a hobby. The problem is I guess I don't know how to enjoy the hobby because I end up on these wild swings as I try to enjoy playing just for myself. One minute it's jazz with brushes and the next it's super hard rock. Because I'm getting older and the time I can dedicate to drumming is ever decreasing, I'd like to dial in my focus a bit more and work on one or two things to get better at that will help support what I'm already good at.

For example, I bought my first double pedal a few years ago with the intent to learn to play it. Honestly though, I've not put the time into it and I'm not sure I'm inclined to. I do enjoy listening to heavier music and envy the guys that can really run a double pedal. I'd like to be able to do it. But, at this point of my life I'm probably never going to be called to play that kind of music and if I were, I don't have the foot chops to pull it off. So, am I better off just ditching the pedal and the whole idea and continuing to improve my left foot for hi-hat work? Better off devoting the time it would take me to learning double pedal to improving my left hand comping for jazz instead? I have gotten the call for jazz on several occasions.

So this is a two-fold dilemma for me:
1. Time and skill development
2. Gear choice

If I'm mostly the jazz, old R&B, singer/songwriter, worship guy (and that's been 90+ percent of what I've always played except for that 3 year stint in the original (punk rock) band), then I don't need a double pedal, or a 10/12/14/16 DW Maple kit with an 18x22 bass drum. I need something in a 12/14/20 downbeat configuration, probably with rounded edges and some poplar or mahogany in the mix.

My cymbals are already all gravitated to that sound/genre: 60's 14" Avedis 800gr matched weight hats, 20" and 22" K Con cymbals.
My stickbag has (and they come out on almost every gig) 2 different sets of brushes, 2 different types of multi-rods, timp mallets, and my primary sticks are VF SD4 Combo maples.

Everything is light, to serve the music, to serve the room.

Then swinging the pendulum the other way again: the guys at our new church (9 months in after a 12 year stint at the previous church) are all fantastic musicians; some of the best I've ever played with. But, it's a very hip culture in the modern worship scene (Pat Barrett, Housefires, Shane & Shane). Gospel Chops need not apply. Syncopation need not apply. Ghost notes on the snare are not welcome. Low tunings, fat sounds, and everything linear is the order of the day. I can do it, but it does go against the grain a bit sometimes.

Someone help.
 

pwc1141

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Ummm ...... I am probably a lot older and while I have played or faked most genres what I prefer is small group acoustic jazz and as many tunes with brushes as makes sense. What I did in the latter years was just concentrate solely on the quality of sound I was getting. Not chops, not fancy comping but making sure that I had the most mellow cymbals, the nicest snare, the perfectly balanced brush type and brand and a nice bop kit and then just focussing on how well I was hitting the EXACT pocket that made a band swing. And then learning to love keeping that as simple as possible for as long as possible. Stripped down my fills and learned to groove, groove and groove even more. Not as easy as that sounds. That's my story and I don't miss the flashier gigs with the flashier guys and settings. That may or not help you .....
 

cworrick

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If I'm mostly the jazz, old R&B, singer/songwriter, worship guy (and that's been 90+ percent of what I've always played except for that 3 year stint in the original (punk rock) band), then I don't need a double pedal, or a 10/12/14/16 DW Maple kit with an 18x22 bass drum. I need something in a 12/14/20 downbeat configuration, probably with rounded edges and some poplar or mahogany in the mix.
1. KEEP THE KIT! You have options with this setup. Full kit = pop/rock/fusion. 10/14 toms = nice small acoustic jazz gig. 12/16 = big band jazz gig. 12/14/16 = classic rock gig, contemporary Christian gig. 0 toms = bikini kit :laughing6:

2. Keep the Double pedal. I was in the boat where I never thought I would want/use one just like you. Then (now years ago) I went to a Kenny Aronoff clinic. Kenny is NOT a guy known for double pedal work, but the way he did incorporate it into some of his playing opened my eyes to new posibiliities as to how I could use it. I'm no speed demon/speed metal rocker, but there are things I have found to do with it that did not take long to learn. Plus if you main pedal ever breaks, You have a spare all ready to go.
 

cribbon

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I feel you. Shelly Manne reportedly only worked on things that would help/benefit him for that particular gig at that particular moment in time, and he became one of the best drummers around by doing that, but nobody can do everything. However, there's also the sheer joy in expanding your skill set in no matter what direction, and you'll never know when something might come in handy - life is full of surprises. If you work on left-foot hi-hat stuff, I think that might also translate to some degree on a double pedal as well.

I suspect you love playing and would be unhappy if you weren't, so if possible, I'd recommend you stay with what you're doing while you look for another musical situation that's more suited to your personal taste. It may take a while, but at least you'll still be playing while you find a more rewarding musical situation. What's more important to you - playing what you love or just the love of playing? Your answer may change over time, which is maybe where you are now.

FWIW, I've got two stick bags and two cymbal bags, one each for my two main gigs (classic rock & smooth jazz/old school r&b but with a mic on the kick drum, I can cover both gigs on the same kit (20 kick & 14 floor tom with either a 10 or a 12 rack, depending on the situation). I've found that a 20 is the best compromise if you can only have one kit - small enough for light stuff but strong enough for rock if you use a mic. A four-banger's not sexy or massive, but it'll do the job in most situations.
 

Tmcfour

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I'd keep the kit and double down on you. Like you said this is a hobby and a passion so be passionate about it. As said above the kit gives you options as does the double pedal. Playingwise, be the best version of your own playing. Hone what you need to too. Find some like minded people to play with or maybe someone outside your wheelhouse that will stretch your playing a little. My 2cents.
 

Drm1979

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I think you'd be better off to take a step back and figure out what drumming situation will give you the most satisfaction. If its playing with the group at church then continue that. If you think you'd be happier playing with a band in your preferred style of playing then pursue that. Or I'd you're really wanting to learn double bass then work on that by yourself for a while and once you get comfortable with that look for the right playing situation for that style of playing. It's really just finding the style you most want to play that gives you most musical satisfaction is what you need. I'm in the same boat, married, 4 kids, drumming just a hobby. I was in a cover band but wasnt satisfied with playing other peoples music. So I quit that band and am now working with a guitarist writing original music. And while we dont play near as often as I'd like, I'm still satisfied with what I'm doing now as it's what I want to do.
 

polycrescendo

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I know where you are coming from regarding the usefulness of double pedal chops, but I have to say that it's worth it even if you don't use them in every situation. Indeed it does strengthen the left foot and can help with left foot independence that translates to hi-hat work seamlessly.

I personally like to hear when people incorporate double bass work into more styles of music than just "metal" and I think there is still a lot of ground to be covered with that skill in many genres.
 

paul

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Trust your instincts. Go with what makes you happy now, both kit and gig. it's not your career. There's no need to compromise.

I restarted my musical life 23 years ago, and went through multiple sets and configurations before settling on a few different setups I like for particular situations. I play whenever I get the chance, just because I like playing, regardless of the genre. My kits and my gigs just make me happy, and that's all I want.
 

shuffle

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1. KEEP THE KIT! You have options with this setup. Full kit = pop/rock/fusion. 10/14 toms = nice small acoustic jazz gig. 12/16 = big band jazz gig. 12/14/16 = classic rock gig, contemporary Christian gig. 0 toms = bikini kit :laughing6:

2. Keep the Double pedal. I was in the boat where I never thought I would want/use one just like you. Then (now years ago) I went to a Kenny Aronoff clinic. Kenny is NOT a guy known for double pedal work, but the way he did incorporate it into some of his playing opened my eyes to new posibiliities as to how I could use it. I'm no speed demon/speed metal rocker, but there are things I have found to do with it that did not take long to learn. Plus if you main pedal ever breaks, You have a spare all ready to go.
Jim Keltner had some nicely placed double pedal work on For The Cradle/Clapton,I believe.
 


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