Fronting a band with guitar taught me that I despise overplaying....

Trilock_Gurtu

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It’s actually a noun. And I’m serious. I turned pro at 16. I didn’t play with any more part time musicians after that. I was usually the youngest person in the band. When I came up, pro meant really good. I played with Seals & Croft and Jaco - two nights he spent on the bandstand with me. You pick your players. And you get what you pick. Lord knows, there’s precious little dignity in this line of work but I draw the line at average. Good luck with your music anyway.
You missed the point. I'm not surprised, though, considering "[insert whatever reference] is a thing", is a saying.

 
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swarfrat

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The genre is a huge impact. As a guitarist, it gets beat into you that blues is the foundation of everything. It is important, but that's overstating quite a bit. At times I feel like I like blues - both songs. Seriously, it can be like hearing a great song and thinking "How do we build an entire genre on this." There is some truly great stuff there, but the genre has been stunted by its purists. I dare you to write a new blues song that wouldn't be flagged by the Youtube algorithm as a copy of something else.
 

ARGuy

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Random thoughts on this topic:
Most of the time, the person that thinks a drummer is under playing is another drummer that frequently over plays.
I agree with Olderschool that a drummer should be fine with not being noticed. Most of what we get asked or hired to play for is not there for the drummer to get noticed.
I heard a local blues band a while ago. The drummer had great time, a great sound and feel but would not go more than 4 measures without throwing in a lick or fill that I found disruptive. I just wanted him to be willing to commit to playing good time. For that gig I thought that was the most important thing.
 

DavedrumsTX

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^^^Ding, ding, ding...the winner! ^^^

More truthful words have never been spoken!
Truth!!!! I’m a drummer who leads with guitar occasionally and I am with you. I also don’t want the drummer playing fills or hitting crashes over the vocals.
 

Gunnellett

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Man if only the internet was around in Buddy's early days so could have read this and known he was overplaying for himself and not for the groove!

Just kiddin!

Actually I don't think I overplay because I don't have the chops to overplay. Now volume, I can have an issue with but I have slowly been learning to pull it back.
 

m.clover

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"......the drummer should "think Ringo" until he or she doesn't have to anymore..........."

That's it boiled down to the essence !!

Also, Ringo's brush technique is priceless. Ever heard anything so good?
 
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Sooo....I play guitar in a few bands over the years and it seems that a good number of drummers I play with overplay and it drives me insane.
I find myself realizing that the most important quality a drummer can utilize is keeping a steady...driving groove and use fills sparingly...... but tastefully. When a drummer is constantly doing fills,triplets, excessive ghosting, etc.. it destroys the musicality of the song and honestly....sounds amateurish. It drives me insane. And....I wish I learned this long ago because I am absolutely certain I was guilty of this most of the time when I mainly gigged drums.
Now...having said that...I realize that some music is made for a busy drummer that constantly needs chops galore. But...let's be real...90% of working gigs do not call for this. I also LOVE to play in front of a tasteful drummer that is a chops master who knows just when to deliver the goods. It's a heavenly feeling and makes it all worthwhile. But the main lesson for me is that less is always more unless your more is extraordinary. Sadly......mine never was/is.
Now....before you say it....I fully realize that this is also a lesson for a guitar player. Overplaying guitar can destroy a song just as fast. So, it's not unique to drummers.
AMEN !
 
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My primary instrument is bass. I've played mostly in recreational bands (as in barely covering our costs) that sometimes had a pro involved for one reason or another. When playing with pro drummers the same bass part that was a slog turned into the groove the song calls for. This observation motivated me to take drum lessons just to know enough to coax the lesser drummer into focusing on the groove. It's been really helpful. Lately I've been working my way through lesson plans with the idea of playing drums instead of bass. I concur with the others who've posted that the satisfaction of playing drums in a band should come from being the rhythmic foundation carrying the song. I started out playing guitar for years and switched to bass to get into a band and then found myself preferring that role.
 

Houndog

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The genre is a huge impact. As a guitarist, it gets beat into you that blues is the foundation of everything. It is important, but that's overstating quite a bit. At times I feel like I like blues - both songs. Seriously, it can be like hearing a great song and thinking "How do we build an entire genre on this." There is some truly great stuff there, but the genre has been stunted by its purists. I dare you to write a new blues song that wouldn't be flagged by the Youtube algorithm as a copy of something else.
I thought Stevie Ray Vaughn’s 4th album was a great expansion on “blues “
 

Renno

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Sooo....I play guitar in a few bands over the years and it seems that a good number of drummers I play with overplay and it drives me insane.
I find myself realizing that the most important quality a drummer can utilize is keeping a steady...driving groove and use fills sparingly...... but tastefully. When a drummer is constantly doing fills,triplets, excessive ghosting, etc.. it destroys the musicality of the song and honestly....sounds amateurish. It drives me insane. And....I wish I learned this long ago because I am absolutely certain I was guilty of this most of the time when I mainly gigged drums.
Now...having said that...I realize that some music is made for a busy drummer that constantly needs chops galore. But...let's be real...90% of working gigs do not call for this. I also LOVE to play in front of a tasteful drummer that is a chops master who knows just when to deliver the goods. It's a heavenly feeling and makes it all worthwhile. But the main lesson for me is that less is always more unless your more is extraordinary. Sadly......mine never was/is.
Now....before you say it....I fully realize that this is also a lesson for a guitar player. Overplaying guitar can destroy a song just as fast. So, it's not unique to drummers.
I know what you are saying, I love the drumming of Jim Gordon for this reason- so tasteful and subtle but very intelligent too. And also believe it or not Alex Van Halen who plays hard rock in such a groovy way without bombast. Such a funny self effacing guy too. Like he says, when you record something it's there for life and you have to go on playing it!
 

glaze148

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Well, the blues is historically a guitar based genre. And as a guitarist for most of my life, I can tell you it's a blast to solo the blues. It's very emotional and because it is so soul satisfying, a guitar player might take it to far. But to listen to a Stevie Ray Vaughn live is a life altering, almost spiritual experience.

But, as a drummer, I can see your point. It's a very pocket oriented music. There's not much room for creativity. Just hold her steady while the guitarist rips. I probably can't name one blues drummer, but I can easily name 20 great blues guitarists.

Changing my mentality from a guitarist to a drummer has been my biggest challenge in taking up the drums.
Sam Lay, Paul Butterfields drummer was great.
 

michaelocalypse

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Sounds more like you're trying to say, "Practice and get better before you play more." Which works for all instruments, as does keeping your own time. Less is more works when you're not good, because you're being bad less.

Do I overplay? Nope. Why? I don't practice enough and I know I'll mess up.
Do I practice what I preach? Absolutely.
 

TrickRoll

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I am late to the party and a contrarian to boot.

My thoughts are this:

As a drummer that also performs as a jazz guitarist; what I notice is that a lot of drummers are unable to maintain intensity at lower volumes and don't have the vocabulary or technique to 'take it up a notch'.

They are often behind the beat, let the time sag, and are unable to react to what's going on in the music.

Generally they haven't really studied the music and don't have the ability to play in a traditional manner or handle more contemporary styles.

All things considered, I'd take an aggressive drummer over a timid, shrinking violet anytime.

We are not drum machines and it's well past the time that we should be emulating them.

Play your hearts out - life is short.
 

JimmySticks

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Sounds more like you're trying to say, "Practice and get better before you play more." Which works for all instruments, as does keeping your own time. Less is more works when you're not good, because you're being bad less.

Do I overplay? Nope. Why? I don't practice enough and I know I'll mess up.
Do I practice what I preach? Absolutely.
I don't know, I'm not sure I like that attitude. I think sometimes you have to push yourself beyond your capabilities. You have to take chances in order to get better. The audience likely won't notice a miss, but they'll notice when a fill is spot on.

Most of the greats, in any endeavor, don't always play it safe, they take chances. That's what separates them from us.
 

OZjazzer

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Great topic BUT let’s be honest, your ‘overplaying’ might not be mine. Or his. We all draw different lines in the sand. Personally I really hate busy jazz drummers. But I hate ‘dead at the wheel’ players who can’t lift a band or a soloist when it’s obviously called for.

But what do we all really mean by the word ‘overplaying’.
Let’s see some YouTube examples and we might be able to better understand what we all think works for the music and what doesn’t. Maybe we’ll find we’re not all singing from the same hymn book. Maybe we are. Interesting.
 

ARGuy

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I am late to the party and a contrarian to boot.

My thoughts are this:

As a drummer that also performs as a jazz guitarist; what I notice is that a lot of drummers are unable to maintain intensity at lower volumes and don't have the vocabulary or technique to 'take it up a notch'.

They are often behind the beat, let the time sag, and are unable to react to what's going on in the music.

Generally they haven't really studied the music and don't have the ability to play in a traditional manner or handle more contemporary styles.

All things considered, I'd take an aggressive drummer over a timid, shrinking violet anytime.

We are not drum machines and it's well past the time that we should be emulating them.

Play your hearts out - life is short.
These are all really good points - I can't find anything really contrary to the original topic. I'm thinking that what you're referring to is for a specific style of music - jazz - and that you've had to deal with drummers that haven't done their homework and don't have the experience to play that style in a way that works. They don't necessarily overplay, they just don't play what works. When they play soft they play weak, and think that if they learn some "jazz beats" they can play jazz. A different topic from where this thread started, but related.
 

thejohnlec

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Yes. I am absolutely convinced that being a guitarist for the past 25 years has made be a better, far more mindful drummer.
I play bass regularly and have come to measure other musicians by their onstage “generosity,” especially drummers. You can determine very early in the set who on stage is listening and reacting musically, and who’s gonna need a traffic cop all night long. My approach to the drums is making sure everyone has what they need from me to do their best.
 

michaelocalypse

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I don't know, I'm not sure I like that attitude. I think sometimes you have to push yourself beyond your capabilities. You have to take chances in order to get better. The audience likely won't notice a miss, but they'll notice when a fill is spot on.

Most of the greats, in any endeavor, don't always play it safe, they take chances. That's what separates them from us.
I don't disagree. Depends on the person and their general skill level. There were times when I would throw stuff out there and could land it. Then I took a lot of time off and lost all my speed and feel for time, so I won't play anything unless I've run through it a handful of times by myself. But that's usually all it takes to have it burned into muscle memory anyway. Coming from an athletic background, I prefer to push myself in training. Yes, you would naturally push in competition too, but in music I had to learn that sitting back and having effortless fun while enjoying the moment was more important.

But you're right, audiences generally have no clue. You can play basic/boring things while moving your arms more than necessary and they'll think you're amazing.
 


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