Carter McLean On Groove

Tornado

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Carter posted this the other day, and it really resonated with me. One phrase. Give a [crap]. It's related to focus. It's related to intentionally. But above all that, it's "give a [crap]". And being able to do that for extended periods of time is in itself something you can work on. I think this is the missing ingredient so many people have. I think back to when I was young, and wish I had someone really get this mindset into me. I think this is what Buddy was doing on the bus. That was his actual complaint with those young players.

So I started trying to give a [crap] even during really boring practice stuff when nobody will ever hear me. Like never before. What do you know? Things just sound better. Hits are more even, dynamics are better, timing is noticeably better, the metronome disappears for longer and longer periods of time.

I think these mindset things are so important. They are like switches you can turn on or off. Giving a [crap] is hard when it's not "for real", but it has to be practiced too.

 

Old PIT Guy

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Giving a crap is really just being in touch with the music your drums can make.

Going to that, I like how he acknowledges what he's up against in making that point before the lesson begins by enumerating the gear. $20 says someone asks about the pedal.
 

Pibroch

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Love this advice from music teachers: when you can, make what you play, including simple technical exercises, as musical as possible.
 

Tornado

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Or another way to say it is, ”All technique exercises are ultimately about sound”.
This should be obvious, but it's too easy to put things in their own boxes. I think it's because it's hard to keep your mind there for very long. Except for rank beginners building basic muscular endurance, I've started to view advice like working on the pad in front of the the TV as time wasting at best, and detrimental at worst. Basically, if I can't be 90-100% engaged for the entire practice session, I won't even bother. That might mean 15 minute sessions spread out if I have to. I've understood that for a long time; 30 minutes of focused practice > 6 hours of unfocused practice. Taking it up a level and making sure it sounds good too, all the time, takes even more focus.

I guess I'm a weird guy who over analyzes everything.
 

jaymandude

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I’m from an era where you didn’t have a guy like Carter explaining that to you. You had the old blues guy that had been in Otis Rush’s band at one time who was now a bus driver who gave you the scowl and got pissed off when you weren’t playing the right stuff.
 

Mcjnic

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I like to have different sit downs behind the kit.
One day, it’s focus on cymbal feel.
Another, it’s simple groove work.
On and on with different examples.
But then there are those days when I just want to close my eyes and play. No ultimate destination and zero focus. Play to play. From the heart.
So, while I absolutely agree with the premise ... a drummer has to have focus ... I also believe in having that freedom of just hitting and having fun.

PS ... I just don’t like Carter’s sound these days. His Ludwig drums sound dead compared to his G.Way kits. Man, I miss those kits. They had “that” sound ... and he used it brilliantly.
 

Tornado

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I like to have different sit downs behind the kit.
One day, it’s focus on cymbal feel.
Another, it’s simple groove work.
On and on with different examples.
But then there are those days when I just want to close my eyes and play. No ultimate destination and zero focus. Play to play. From the heart.
So, while I absolutely agree with the premise ... a drummer has to have focus ... I also believe in having that freedom of just hitting and having fun.

PS ... I just don’t like Carter’s sound these days. His Ludwig drums sound dead compared to his G.Way kits. Man, I miss those kits. They had “that” sound ... and he used it brilliantly.
Agreed on those G. Way kits, but I wonder how much of that is his pristine new room and possibly other newer gear vs his old environment.
 

DrummerJustLikeDad

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PS ... I just don’t like Carter’s sound these days. His Ludwig drums sound dead compared to his G.Way kits. Man, I miss those kits. They had “that” sound ... and he used it brilliantly.
I’ve thought this ever since the switch. Still a masterful player with great touch and intuitive choices, but the earthy, organic sounds of both Geo Way and Carter were made for each other. I’ve also wondered with Tornado how much his overthought room only sterilized his results further.

I just don't hear the same sounds as we used to from the old “bedroom” recordings. And sadly, last I knew, from whatever motive, a lot of those old clips have been pulled.
 

Tornado

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I’ve thought this ever since the switch. Still a masterful player with great touch and intuitive choices, but the earthy, organic sounds of both Geo Way and Carter were made for each other. I’ve also wondered with Tornado how much his overthought room only sterilized his results further.
I don't know that "sterilized" is the right word. It still sounds fantastic. Probably works better for tracks mixed with other music. There was a really satisfying richness and saturation with the old setup though.
 

bpaluzzi

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PS ... I just don’t like Carter’s sound these days. His Ludwig drums sound dead compared to his G.Way kits. Man, I miss those kits. They had “that” sound ... and he used it brilliantly.
Wow. Strong disagree here, but that's why they're opinions :) I think he's getting some of the best drum sounds I've ever heard. Both on his "pop setups" (the Classic Maples and Standards) and his "jazz" (the Legacy Mahogany). Absolutely killer sounds.
 

multijd

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This should be obvious, but it's too easy to put things in their own boxes. I think it's because it's hard to keep your mind there for very long. Except for rank beginners building basic muscular endurance, I've started to view advice like working on the pad in front of the the TV as time wasting at best, and detrimental at worst. Basically, if I can't be 90-100% engaged for the entire practice session, I won't even bother. That might mean 15 minute sessions spread out if I have to. I've understood that for a long time; 30 minutes of focused practice > 6 hours of unfocused practice. Taking it up a level and making sure it sounds good too, all the time, takes even more focus.

I guess I'm a weird guy who over analyzes everything.
Yes! Short sessions are almost always more productive for me. Although digging in for a period of time can lead into new unprecedented territory.
 

marc3k

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I just don't hear the same sounds as we used to from the old “bedroom” recordings. And sadly, last I knew, from whatever motive, a lot of those old clips have been pulled.
My thoughts exactly! I discovered Carter when I was looking for a new ride cymbal and found his Kerope video - that was so amazing - his playing, his drums and of course the cymbals! Sadly it's also gone.
 

Browny

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Wow. Strong disagree here, but that's why they're opinions :) I think he's getting some of the best drum sounds I've ever heard. Both on his "pop setups" (the Classic Maples and Standards) and his "jazz" (the Legacy Mahogany). Absolutely killer sounds.
Yeah, his kits all sound amazing. He tunes well, obviously plays like a motherf***** and does it in a well treated room under top shelf mics.

The standards are low and thumpy, the black CM kit has that midrange punchy vibe with the CS dot heads, the other legacy and CM kits tend to be more open and vibey (unless he’s muffled them with cloth or got ‘stuff’ on the heads). It’s all good.
 

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The George Way/Zildjian pairing left the biggest impression on me.
 

Topsy Turvy

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The best I think Carter has ever sounded was when he had his oyster Ludwig Downbeat kit. Man, that thing sounded phenomenal! It blew the doors off of the George Way and everything that came after.
 


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