David Garibaldi: No More Left Foot 8th Notes?

drums1225

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I love me some Tower of Power and David Garibaldi is one of my favorite drummers. His linear/layered, displaced style of "East Bay" funk drumming caught my ear in my late teens, right when I was looking to grow beyond being "just a rock drummer". DG's style of "broken" rhythms and counter rhythms played between the hands are what's most prominent and unique, but the more I listened to him, the more I realized how much his hi-hat foot really drives his playing, "grounds" the time, and ties together the complicated, syncopated grooves he's known for.

I've seen TOP at least 15-20 times, and DG's left foot has always been like a machine, pumping out 8th notes, but the last time I saw TOP, in late 2019 (a few months before live music went on its unexpected hiatus), I noticed DG wasn't playing his signature left foot 8th notes, really at all. He sounded great, but I was surprised his signature left foot was largely inactive in its normal timekeeping role. It got me wondering if it's related to injuries from his train accident, or possibly due to age (he's 74). Anyone else notice this? Thoughts?
 

drumgadget

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Just shows us all that when the groove is internalized, it doesn't really matter where it "pops out" physically. I still remember Billy Ward talking about clicking his teeth 4-to-the-bar ......... !

That said ....... I wish my 8th-note hi-hat foot chops were better ...........

M.
 

Rick

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Just shows us all that when the groove is internalized, it doesn't really matter where it "pops out" physically. I still remember Billy Ward talking about clicking his teeth 4-to-the-bar ......... !

That said ....... I wish my 8th-note hi-hat foot chops were better ...........

M.
Speaking of that... Anybody got any tips/techniques for developing the left foot 8th-note hi hat groove. That's something I've been wanting to learn. I can do quarter notes but not 8th's. For some reason, it's really hard for me. Any ideas? I feel like it's probably technique as much as anything... ??
 

ARGuy

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Speaking of that... Anybody got any tips/techniques for developing the left foot 8th-note hi hat groove. That's something I've been wanting to learn. I can do quarter notes but not 8th's. For some reason, it's really hard for me. Any ideas? I feel like it's probably technique as much as anything... ??
For me, what works is playing heel up and getting a bounce going.
 

Rick

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For me, what works is playing heel up and getting a bounce going.
Thanks! Yeah, I'm pretty sure that is at least part of my problem. I play heel down with both feet. Seems to throw me off balance when I try to play heel up with my left (or even with both feet). I've tried to pay pretty close attention to drummers that are great at this, and all of them seem to have the "bouncing leg" which means they are playing heel up. I've noticed that some seem to pivot their heel back and forth a little as they are bouncing on the hi hat pedal. I've tried it a bit but to no avail. I guess maybe I just need to really drill into it and practice, practice, practice. Any helpful techniques, practice routines, etc. are much appreciated. Thank you!

Oh... and didn't mean to hijack the thread. Garibaldi is one of my favorites! Love what he does! I've also noticed he isn't doing the 8th note groove with his left foot as much as he used to, but he still grooves his butt off and sounds great!
 

drums1225

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I struggled mightily with left foot 8th notes. The left foot (both on double bass and hi-hat) is one of the only things on drums that didn't come fairly naturally to me. The best advice is to just do it over and over, with good foot technique (heel up seems to be the way to go for most), while staying relaxed and playing at a tempo you can handle. There's no substitute for repetitions.

I still wouldn't consider it a strength of mine, but I can play left foot 8ths consistently at moderate tempos, regardless of what my other 3 limbs are playing. Some players can just machine gun them out, but I've come to terms with the fact that I'll never be one of them. Or being more honest, I'll never spend the amount of time it would require to become really proficient at that one particular skill.
 

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David injured his leg jogging, which required surgery and some missed dates on the last tour pre-covid. Herman Matthews filled in for him for over a month.
 

cornelius

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Speaking of that... Anybody got any tips/techniques for developing the left foot 8th-note hi hat groove. That's something I've been wanting to learn. I can do quarter notes but not 8th's. For some reason, it's really hard for me. Any ideas? I feel like it's probably technique as much as anything... ??
Hey Rick - Doing 8th's can be tricky. I found a heel up, swivel really works for me. I kick my heel out and in, and the motion lightens things up so I'm not stomping. Even though it seems like extra motion, you can get going pretty fast!
 

davezedlee

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Speaking of that... Anybody got any tips/techniques for developing the left foot 8th-note hi hat groove. That's something I've been wanting to learn. I can do quarter notes but not 8th's. For some reason, it's really hard for me. Any ideas? I feel like it's probably technique as much as anything... ??
a lever-glide style hihat stand would help greatly, as the amount of force required to play a foot note is reduced by about 2/3rds... so the focus switches to a "dexterity" thing rather than a "strength" thing
 

Rick

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Hey Rick - Doing 8th's can be tricky. I found a heel up, swivel really works for me. I kick my heel out and in, and the motion lightens things up so I'm not stomping. Even though it seems like extra motion, you can get going pretty fast!
Thanks! Yeah, I'm thinking I need to just practice that by itself to where it becomes comfortable. Then it should be easier to incorporate it into my playing. I guess it's harder for me because I've never played heel up. Gotta figure out the whole balance thing. But I don't think it would work heel down... so I guess I have my next practice goal set. lol
 

Rick

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a lever-glide style hihat stand would help greatly, as the amount of force required to play a foot note is reduced by about 2/3rds... so the focus switches to a "dexterity" thing rather than a "strength" thing
Thanks! Yeah, I play a Tama Speed Cobra hi hat stand... so I've got that covered!
 

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What I've always found difficult about this is the lack of a "bounce response" from the hi-hat, unlike a bass drum where controlled use of the bounce makes heel-down playing work for me .... well enough, anyway. So I have to lift my foot off the heel and play with my toes to do clean "chicks" in rapid succession. And for me, that's tough ..... mainly because I've got an artificial left hip (right one too, for that matter!) and the hip flexor muscles (the ones you use to raise the entire foot off the pedal/floor) have never been the same since arthritis began to set in. I can hack it for a chorus or two if the tempo is reasonable.

A lot also depends on the cymbal pair ..... how solid they feel and how clean the "chick" actually is ........

Mike
 


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