Newish drummer advice.

M

Mongoose

Guest
So I recently got back into playing drums. I've owned a few cheap kits over the last 20 years (2 pulse kits and a no-namer from ebay). I never really took it too serious and just learned basic double bass grooves and a few snazzy fills. December 2019 I came to the realization that I'm not getting any younger and need to start being more active; so I had to decide between a Total Gym or something else. Long story short I bought a Yamaha stage custom birch shell pack and over the last year I've built it into a monster. Despite having a huge kit and lots of cymbals to smash I feel like I should be making better use of my time other than just getting a sweat from 30 minutes a day on my kit. I've been a guitarist since I was 13 and would love to write a record "one man band" songs (it's wonderful not having creative differences with band mates). What advice would someone give to someone who's just trying to get better at writing and playing drum parts to go with guitar; that also don't sound "stock". I listen to a lot of metal and experimental music like Euzen. So far I can play about 4 Euzen songs and 2 Gunship songs(with drums I made up). I'm not trying to be a drumming God or anything, I just want quality beats behind all of my experience with guitar.
 

dtk

DFO Star
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Messages
8,893
Reaction score
621
Location
Needham MA...
might i suggest...first work on parts that go with your guitar parts be they stock or not...and then figure out what's stock about them and change them.

I guess what I'm saying is go for being a good musician first...than work on being a good drummer...(what ever that might mean to you)
 
M

Mongoose

Guest
might i suggest...first work on parts that go with your guitar parts be they stock or not...and then figure out what's stock about them and change them.

I guess what I'm saying is go for being a good musician first...than work on being a good drummer...(what ever that might mean to you)
Good advice. Maybe I'm just doing too much too soon. I'll start with basic beats to whatever the time signature is and build it up later. As far as being a good drummer; of course I'd love to be better. I watch a lot of drumeo and other instructional videos online and they help a little. I think I might actually post a video I shot when I first got my kit last December and contrast it with what I can play now; just to get some feedback on if my drumming skills are improving at the proper pace and level.
 

langmick

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
152
Reaction score
152
Location
East Lansing, MI
Give playing this all the way through a shot. Don't watch drumeo vids until you have your time together. Just my $0.02.

 

Stickclick

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Messages
667
Reaction score
262
Location
Florida, USA
Try recording your guitar, make an mp3 that you can loop. Play drums along with the guitar loop. Work on sounding unique.
 

Browny

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2017
Messages
350
Reaction score
291
Location
Melbourne
‘Timbofromkeno’ on Instagram has a metric ****tonne of drum less tracks. Maybe check out those, have a play along, record yourself if possible (Mics, phone, portable recorder, whatever) so you can hear how what your actually fits/sits within the music.
 

poco rit.

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2019
Messages
203
Reaction score
187
Location
Texas
To get better at drums, dont play drums.

Get a practice pad and Stick Control. You wont know how its helping you at first. But eventually one day you will play a fill or some ride and snare pattern and realize that its just an exercise in Stick Control.

I saw a Steve Jordan interview and he talks about his first drum lesson. He said there was a beautiful Gretsch kit in the room. But his teacher said, “If you wanna play on that, you have to play on this first,” and pointed to a practice pad.
 

5 Style

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 6, 2005
Messages
6,693
Reaction score
284
Location
SE Portland, Oregon
To get better at drums, dont play drums.

Get a practice pad and Stick Control. You wont know how its helping you at first. But eventually one day you will play a fill or some ride and snare pattern and realize that its just an exercise in Stick Control.

I saw a Steve Jordan interview and he talks about his first drum lesson. He said there was a beautiful Gretsch kit in the room. But his teacher said, “If you wanna play on that, you have to play on this first,” and pointed to a practice pad.
I used to hate playing on the pad (I had to start with that on lesses as well when I was a kid), but now I find something statisfying about working on my chops with rudiements and stuff on the pad... and really observing the motion/technique that I'm doing. If you just slow down on the whole "goal oriented" idea of playing you can get to a nice meditative space on the pad. All that being said though, I wasn't introduced to the whole Stick Control thing coming up and though I can totally see the utility of it, I find it to be just too dry to work out on. I need to hear the rhythms that I'm doing and not just changing up the sticking... or a I get bored! More power to the folks who can really buckle down and learn that stuff though because I know that once you move it to the kit it opens up all kinds of ideas for patterns...

Another thing that I might try as far as learning some new stuff on the drums is to pare down the kit to a 4 pc and to just a few cymbals. With that kind of minimal setup you're going to be forced to challenge yourself to come up with less obvious patterns and through that you're more likely to be thinking out of the box to do stuff that's less cliche. I pared down my kind many years ago and realized that it doing so I was forced to think more creatively about the kit. With lots of drums it's easy to fall into carious cliches were you're working the same kind of fills going high to low around all of the toms. Certainly there are some great playes who use big kits in creative, uncliched ways but it makes more sense I think to go that direction only after you've worked on all of the possibiltles that a smaller kit has to offer. Once you get into that you might find that you don't even really need all of those extra drums, which will make giging and even recording a lot easier...
 
Last edited:

Tornado

DFO Veteran
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
2,652
Reaction score
2,593
Location
Dallas
To get better at drums, dont play drums.

Get a practice pad and Stick Control. You wont know how its helping you at first. But eventually one day you will play a fill or some ride and snare pattern and realize that its just an exercise in Stick Control.

I saw a Steve Jordan interview and he talks about his first drum lesson. He said there was a beautiful Gretsch kit in the room. But his teacher said, “If you wanna play on that, you have to play on this first,” and pointed to a practice pad.
Steve Jordan has some really amazing insights. He talks about time like it's a beautiful woman. He got to appreciate the length of notes because he started out on timpani. So the space between the notes really had meaning to him. I think a lot of drummers miss this part. The space. They just want to get to the next note. That's me included. I have had to work on loving the space.
 

poco rit.

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2019
Messages
203
Reaction score
187
Location
Texas
I used to hate playing on the pad (I had to start with that on lesses as well when I was a kid), but now I find something statisfying about working on my chops with rudiements and stuff on the pad... and really observing the motion/technique that I'm doing. If you just slow down on the whole "goal oriented" idea of playing you can get to a nice meditative space on the pad. All that being said though, I wasn't introduced to the whole Stick Control thing coming up and though I can totally see the utility of it, I find it to be just too dry to work out on. I need to hear the rhythms that I'm doing and not just changing up the sticking... or a I get bored! More power to the folks who can really buckle down and learn that stuff though because I know that once you move it to the kit it opens up all kinds of ideas for patterns...

Another thing that I might try as far as learning some new stuff on the drums is to pare down the kit to a 4 pc and to just a few cymbals. With that kind of minimal setup you're going to be forced to challenge yourself to come up with less obvious patterns and through that you're more likely to be thinking out of the box to do stuff that's less cliche. I pared down my kind many years ago and realized that it doing so I was forced to think more creatively about the kit. With lots of drums it's easy to fall into carious cliches were you're working the same kind of fills going high to low around all of the toms. Certainly there are some great playes who use big kits in creative, uncliched ways but it makes more sense I think to go that direction only after you've worked on all of the possibiltles that a smaller kit has to offer. Once you get into that you might find that you don't even really need all of those extra drums, which will make giging and even recording a lot easier...
I agree some books can be dry and even boring. I mention Stick Control because its easy to read, easy to find, and I think its a great first book. If someone has been playing for years, and then reads through Stick Control, I can see how it can be boring. I still bust mine out from time to time and play it around the kit.
 

Pibroch

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2018
Messages
197
Reaction score
134
Location
Australia
Here's a
Steve Jordan has some really amazing insights. He talks about time like it's a beautiful woman. He got to appreciate the length of notes because he started out on timpani. So the space between the notes really had meaning to him. I think a lot of drummers miss this part. The space. They just want to get to the next note. That's me included. I have had to work on loving the space.
Beautifully put.

Here's a quote of Mel Lewis supporting that insight:

Drummers are going to have to start becoming more musicians, rather than fillers. Just because there are a few beats, or a beat, or an eighth of a beat, they don’t have to play a fill there. Space is beautiful too—silence, or just a time figure.

From an interview published in the February 1985 edition of Modern Drummer

 

5 Style

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 6, 2005
Messages
6,693
Reaction score
284
Location
SE Portland, Oregon
I agree some books can be dry and even boring. I mention Stick Control because its easy to read, easy to find, and I think its a great first book. If someone has been playing for years, and then reads through Stick Control, I can see how it can be boring. I still bust mine out from time to time and play it around the kit.
No, I thought it was boring from the get go! If I'm not mistaken the whole book is the same note values and that in effect there's no rhythms, only as the title suggests sticking patterns to the same long string of eighth notes... or 16ths, 32nds, etc (however fast you want to play the figures). I have to stress here that I totally understand the wisdom of separating the sticking patterns from the actual rhythms that one plays (just like separating the rudiments for the coordinating on the kit), it's just that dealing with this kind of thing requires a kind of attention span that I seem to lack. I do understand certain figures based on sticking patterns, like paradiddles and moving the start point of those around a bit, but I haven't really stuck with it when it gets more much complicated than that. If you as a beginner can stick with a practice regimen that includes this Stick Control stuff, I'm sure that it would be very beneficial to your playing.... as it would be with mine if I could ever get into that thing. Maybe I just have to buy a copy and force myslef to spend some time with it...
 

Pibroch

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2018
Messages
197
Reaction score
134
Location
Australia
Wh
I forgot where or who I heard this from but it stuck with me:

“Play the rests.”
Which, come to think of it, is the essence of many traditional reggae rhythms: the highly distinctive and spacious way bass and drums interact with each other and the rest of the band.
 

5 Style

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 6, 2005
Messages
6,693
Reaction score
284
Location
SE Portland, Oregon
I agree some books can be dry and even boring. I mention Stick Control because its easy to read, easy to find, and I think its a great first book. If someone has been playing for years, and then reads through Stick Control, I can see how it can be boring. I still bust mine out from time to time and play it around the kit.
I agree! For a very long time I thought that all of this that I was hearing from other drummers about "groove" and about "space" was really just because they were probably lazy and were looking to play less to make things easier for them. Later, I realized the value of what they were saying and I could see that groove and space are key aspects of lots of the music that I enjoy. As a player,. I've come to the conclusion that it's actually more satisfying to work to create a real flow in the music rather than in showing off by filling in every available space. I've gotten more philosophical about the elements that make music really happen for me and I've come to see what I like as a kind of ebb and flow or tension and release. Ultimately there needs to me the proper amount of each of these or the music either sounds cramped or listless. It's our job as drummers to in effect conduct the band and suggest to everyone else how this ebb/flow thing is going to feel in any given tune...
 


Top