Maybe not more, but less is sometimes better

frankmott

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At the gig last night, I realized that as my grooves improve, I'm playing less: Quarter notes on the ride, rather than eights (or swing pattern); fewer, or even no ghost-notes on the snare; far fewer fills; fewer cymbal crashes; BD just on one and three -- or sometimes just one!

That way, when I do play a fill, or even just a crash, or busy up the groove a bit during a guitar solo, it's much more dramatic.

And you know what? It's working better than ever. I've been playing drums pretty steadily for 52 years, and I think I'm starting to get the hang of it!
 

JDA

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when accompanying and surrounded by good players might it be you don't have to add a lot beyond skeletal framework. it's a real nice place to be. and to the audience you're directing a very simple up and down message. my last gig was like that and I'll tell ya never been happier.


it's like (you're) keeping a lid on a (boiling) pot..
(it) doesn't get any better (imho)
 
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GeeDeeEmm

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At the gig last night, I realized that as my grooves improve, I'm playing less: Quarter notes on the ride, rather than eights (or swing pattern); fewer, or even no ghost-notes on the snare; far fewer fills; fewer cymbal crashes; BD just on one and three -- or sometimes just one!

That way, when I do play a fill, or even just a crash, or busy up the groove a bit during a guitar solo, it's much more dramatic.

And you know what? It's working better than ever. I've been playing drums pretty steadily for 52 years, and I think I'm starting to get the hang of it!
What you've just described, Frank, is exactly what I'm finding with my own playing - and also with 50+ years behind the kit. I thought it was just me. Good to know that others are experiencing the same trend. Is it just our age?

GeeDeeEmm
 

JDA

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Yes we're getting nearer the end ;)
enjoy those last 20-30 lol we're pretty secure. we know where the quarter notes are..and the 8ths and the...how ever to chop it up.

Guess? that's where the word "chops" comes from.. chopping up the basic time.
See that. 50 years playing and learned something new)
 
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Roch

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One thing I find interesting is, when I listen to songs I have been playing for years, many times I notice that I have been over playing some of them. I have gradually added fills, cymbal crashes, ride patterns that weren’t in the original.
 

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Any tips for a beginner? Nobody I know of gives lessons in this.
Next time when you are relaxed on the couch and enjoying a cool tune ... take note of your own breathing.
When you play, and your knack tells you to HIT ... don’t.

It is just a matter of stopping your brain and allowing your inner feel to emerge in the dominant spot.

Obviously, this is about as basic a response as you could get, but there is some meaning in what I said.
 

JDA

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Any tips for a beginner? Nobody I know of gives lessons in this.
No I don't think so / or is it arrived that way.... You have to go thru your own "chopfest" (sow all wild oats?) and then.. come out... on the other side. I don't believe it can be rushed or forced...or practiced because you have to know- what you don't have to play- before you can rid yourself or use only sparingly-

You have to naturally- go thru/around the circle (your own)-- isn't rushed or sped up- no shortcuts- best to take the long journey- because if not--you'll have those what-ifs still lingering- deplete all possibilities then you'll arrive at it.
 
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frankmott

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Any tips for a beginner? Nobody I know of gives lessons in this.
I was never much of a teacher -- though I tried for a while as a younger man. Maybe I'd be better at it now, I don't know.

The only tip I have is that it's not so much age (though it certainly helps), as it is experience. Those of us who were talented enough, lucky enough, smart enough, or motivated enough to gain a lot of experience at an early age are the ones more likely to have made a living playing this crazy instrument. Those of us without the talent, luck, motivation, or smarts had to wait for the years to provide the experience.

So to you, Rock: PLAY! Play as much as possible with as many different musicians as possible. LEARN as much as you can about the instrument. LISTEN to as many different styles as you can (they all have something to offer). But mostly, play.
 

Rock Salad

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Doing it! Been playing out on the bass since I was a teen, maybe that is why I can appreciate playing simple stuff Right. And recording too, doing that.
Speaking of mellowing and editing, did you see the other thread with Tony Allen's tribute to Art Blakey? Man! I believe the title was, "I don't get it."
 

pwc1141

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Interesting because I spent years trimming back on how I play and the gear I play on. It was not easy to focus, focus, focus almost exclusively on feel and laying it down for the front line but once I found that zone, it was more fun to just be right there as needed and not to worry about impressing anyone other than the guys on stage.
 

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I suppose it is sort of like an army: you train and drill, train and drill, and build up an impressive arsenal with the hope that with a great army you won't need to fight very often.

Just because you build up an impressive arsenal of drumming skills doesn't mean you need to bring a musical onslaught to your performances; that arsenal gives you the ability to act when you need to, but also allows you the judgement and instinct of when not to use it.
 

5 Style

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I agree.... if folks had said this kind of thing to me when I was younger, I would have just said that this is the kind of thing lazy drummers would say. The more time I spend playing music though, the more obvious that what really makes the music feel good is putting the notes in just the right places, rather than playing so many of them. A simpler approach kind of throws everything into sharp relief and somehow has more "definition," giving more meat for the rest of the band to play off of and a deeper groove as the final result.

As for ghost notes, I think that one can play a lot of these without it sounding too busy and playing them can really ad a nice texture. The trick though is to play those ghost notes very quietly as compared to the bigger, accented notes. As much as I'm aware of this though, I still find myself playing the ghost notes louder than I'd really like to. Getting that contrast between the big notes and the ghost notes is actually pretty difficult.... It's the kind of thing that's worth working on though, as opposed to working up busier and busier chops type stuff into my playing.
 
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Topsy Turvy

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This is a timely post for me. I have been listening back to recent recordings of myself with my band, and my groove just has not been where I want it to be. I decided to simplify what I was playing -especially on the bass drum. Sure enough, the groove got deeper, the timing solidified, and the band sounded better.
 

Elvis

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At the gig last night, I realized that as my grooves improve, I'm playing less: Quarter notes on the ride, rather than eights (or swing pattern); fewer, or even no ghost-notes on the snare; far fewer fills; fewer cymbal crashes; BD just on one and three -- or sometimes just one!

That way, when I do play a fill, or even just a crash, or busy up the groove a bit during a guitar solo, it's much more dramatic.

And you know what? It's working better than ever. I've been playing drums pretty steadily for 52 years, and I think I'm starting to get the hang of it!
Ever have the band take a break and you just keep playing the backbeat?
Coolest feeling ever when you can use the beat as the solo, too. :thumbright:

Elvis
 
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frankmott

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I was never much of a teacher -- though I tried for a while as a younger man. Maybe I'd be better at it now, I don't know.

The only tip I have is that it's not so much age (though it certainly helps), as it is experience. Those of us who were talented enough, lucky enough, smart enough, or motivated enough to gain a lot of experience at an early age are the ones more likely to have made a living playing this crazy instrument. Those of us without the talent, luck, motivation, or smarts had to wait for the years to provide the experience.

So to you, Rock: PLAY! Play as much as possible with as many different musicians as possible. LEARN as much as you can about the instrument. LISTEN to as many different styles as you can (they all have something to offer). But mostly, play.
And another thing... I think my increasing minimalism is also due to having a degree of confidence that playing the BD just on one (for instance) really is the right thing to do and really does work. I guess that's something that also comes from the aforementioned experience.

I remember years ago seeing a VHS tape (gasp! THAT long ago?) of Peter Erksine droning on and on and on about quarter notes on the ride and the implied swing. At the time (I was in my early 30's), I thought "BS! a quarter note is a quarter note."
But now I get it.
 


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