Less is more, what is this obsession with speed?

Mayan

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Beyond crazy fills, faster tempo endurance to me is best reason to work on sustained speed.

A good example is although I can play considerably faster for a couple bars, I to this day cannot play one handed 16th notes on the hi-hat to "keep foregttin" for the entire song without "cheating", resting, etc. About 1 min in the misery begins, and after that I start to improve to make it through the song. lol
Do you use Moeller technique? I don’t, but want to learn it, for this very reason. When I watch any of the very limited amount of Jim Chapin footage out there, I imagine he could play that 16th note hi-hat pattern one-handed, with ease. It seems to me that is the point of Moeller technique; it greatly increases speed without effort. Well, after the initial effort of learning how to do it…or learning how to undo old/bad habits.
 

pjmariner

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Do you use Moeller technique? I don’t, but want to learn it, for this very reason. When I watch any of the very limited amount of Jim Chapin footage out there, I imagine he could play that 16th note hi-hat pattern one-handed, with ease. It seems to me that is the point of Moeller technique; it greatly increases speed without effort. Well, after the initial effort of learning how to do it…or learning how to undo old/bad habits.
I have tried it, and I also have done several of the rudiments routines out there that should help. My issue is I am not a fan of playing the practice pad, and I usually want to spend what time I do have playing the drum kit. I know I should invest some effort in this area, and it would certainly help me on the kit. just a matter of "doing it" consistently. lol.
 

fusseltier

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Everything is pointless if you are not precise.
there's a lot of sloppy players that think they're good just because they are fast and even off beat (tempo)
much better to be slow and accurate than fast and inaccurate.
 

michaelocalypse

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Some stuff sounds better with speed, some doesn't. You can play things with feel and speed. I prefer things being quicker.

If you don't like listening to fast stuff or playing fast stuff, then don't. Nobody is forcing you to. Kind of weird to complain about other people doing it though, especially when you can get paid for doing less.
 

fusseltier

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And fast and precise is better than slow and not precise.
that's actually the opposite of how life works. you have to start slow and build up your speed, you can't just start out at 260
bpm or higher and be precise.
 

paul

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that's actually the opposite of how life works. you have to start slow and build up your speed, you can't just start out at 260
bpm or higher and be precise.
That's true. That said, precision is always a key, no matter how fast you're playing. But speed is a tool, and having it available is an advantage you can't fake or deny. ANYTHING that increases your options behind the kit is a good thing, IMO. Insisting that additional speed isn't useful is simply delusional. It may not be a big deal in your musical situation, but not having it is limiting.
 

fusseltier

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That's true. That said, precision is always a key, no matter how fast you're playing. But speed is a tool, and having it available is an advantage you can't fake or deny. ANYTHING that increases your options behind the kit is a good thing, IMO. Insisting that additional speed isn't useful is simply delusional. It may not be a big deal in your musical situation, but not having it is limiting.
i never said that, I said slow and precise is more important than fast and not precise.
you need to start slow and precise and build on that to the point of when you can play faster and be precise.
but speed isn't everything, there's plenty of great music out there that is medium tempo.
it's not necessary to play like slayer for everything.
 

Drumbumcrumb

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Complicated topic. This has become kind of a divisive issue with the whole ‘gospel chops’ thing. But it’s a mistake to conflate fast drumming and BAD fast drumming. Yes, there are WAY too many drummers who equate speed with proficiency (but are clearly not proficient), thus giving a kinda bad name to speed. Some (most? Idk) of these guys seem to be literally just playing as fast as they can with no thought of feel at all. BUT, there are a handful of drummers who can ACTUALLY pull off blinding speed with feel (to me that means there’s still a concept of time involved and the listener never gets lost) Eric Moore is one of these guys who can turn it up to 11 and still maintain the groove, and he displays a level of skill that can’t be dismissed regardless of your taste/preferences.

There is a lot of truth in what a couple of you mentioned about ‘doing it fast so you can do it slow’ - If I can move seamlessly between 1/4 notes and 1/128 notes (!), then I have control over all the possible divisions of time. I’m exaggerating, but I think that ability to mentally “see” the different potential subdivisions and execute separates the men from the boys. The best drummers combine this internalized grid with technical proficiency and the result is a nearly limitless drumming vocabulary - if they can think it, they can play it. The goal of any musician is to be able to speak fluently on the instrument, and part of that is being able to move around in time without hesitation or loss of feel. When ideas can be translated to music instantaneously and at will, that’s mastery.

All that being said - if it ain’t got that swing then it don’t mean a thing. Speed for speeds sake leaves me flat. And I definitely gravitate toward slower, groovier music anyway so I’m biased. But I’d be rationalizing if I said “Ahhh, I don’t want to play like that anyway” just because I can’t! Do I like warp-speed jazz? Not really. Do I wish I could play at TW’s level? Hell yes. Because the ABILITY to do that would make me a better player at ANY speed.
 

Gotdrums

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It's the greatest thing in the free world........choice. If we all agreed what is the best way to play drums and we ALL did it, how boring would that get (be) ? I listen to speed metal, then rap music, then nu metal, then my favorite is a group called The Beatles.
 

bigbonzo

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i never said that, I said slow and precise is more important than fast and not precise.
you need to start slow and precise and build on that to the point of when you can play faster and be precise.
but speed isn't everything, there's plenty of great music out there that is medium tempo.
it's not necessary to play like slayer for everything.
Sorry, dude, but you're overstating the obvious.
 

fusseltier

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Sorry, dude, but you're overstating the obvious.
some people don't realize that.
others are in denial.
I've been playing over 45 years and have known too many people that thought they were fast and good, and were just plain sloppy.
i broke my back 15 years ago and really have to depend on technique for speed and unfortunately I have limited movement but thank God I can still play. but I'm not playing the really fast stuff anymore, but can improvise enough to play some fairly fast stuff.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Well we live in an era of expected instant amazement. If you play 20 seconds Instagram clips, you are probably more likely to get that "wow" reaction out of a flurry of notes than out of a slow, hypnotic, deep pocket groove that may take the watcher a while longer to "get" how awesome it feels... But I see plenty of love around for pocket players such as Ash Soan, Carter McLean, Steve Jordan etc. And Levon and and Ringo still get the mad respect they deserve.

Just like in nuptial gymnastics, slow and fast have their place and time. They may feel equally good when properly and appropriately executed. They can convey different facets of the same emotions. Or totally different emotions altogether...

And yes, I believe that sometimes less is more, in that the sparseness can draw the listener's attention closer. But sometimes more is more as well and the sensory overload that speed can generate has its usefulness as a tool.

Music is not an either/or proposition. It is a multitude of choices in phrasing, orchestration, velocity, dynamics etc.
And the players' choices may or may not align with the listener's sensibilites depending on a whole other infinity of factors (time of day, mood, age, general taste inclination etc)... And any subtle change in these factors may radically alter the perceived enjoyment or dismissal of the same piece of music...

Good players can do it all.

Great players can do it all AND usually make the best possible choices in most circumstances.
 

mebeatee

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Ya gotta play fast or faster than everyone else so you can get to the end of the song/gig first....first past the post wins!!!!!
As illustrated in the Charlie Watts vid....finishing the song quick and getting offstage first....he won and got first pick of all the gig peripherals.....
Man we've been away from gigs far too long.
bt
 

dboomer

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Reminds me of the story of the old bull and the young bull.

the Young Bull and the Old Bull are standing on a hillside overlooking a pasture full of cows. The Young Bull is prancing around, all excited, and says to the Old Bull, ‘Let’s run down there and [bleep] some of those cows!’

“The Old Bull just shakes his head. ‘Nah,’ he says. ‘Let’s walk down there and [bleep] all of them.
 
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Loud

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Lots of words in this thread but not too many numbers. I think it would be helpful to give actual speeds of a competent drummer in the categories of your experience.

What is a ”competent” speed and what is excessive for each category, for alternating singles, doubles, paradiddles, bass drum doubles, high hat 16th patterns, ride cymbals, etc.? Whatever is relevant in your opinion. So an excessive speed would be quite a bit over a competent speed. But, a beginner would be advised to train to the competent speed that you list.

I’ll throw out some random numbers as examples. Is paradiddles and alternating doubles played as 16ths at 160 BPM just competent or not? Is a Bonham bass drum double at 400 BPM (metronome time) an expected speed for classic rock? Is uptempo jazz ride spangolang competent at 200 bpm? Heavy metal bass drum competent at 16ths at 220 BPM quarter notes?

What are your opinions and hard numbers?
 


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