Solos

notINtheband

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Stopped soloing when I was in my 20’s. I quickly realized that an average, often intoxicated music crowd was just as impressed with some fast triplets around the kit as they would have been had Steve Gadd popped in.
So I decided to just dedicate whatever 2-3 minutes I was doing that was pure self-indulgence to just do another song.
Also, my feeling is that the only people that appreciate a really intricate and delivered drum solo would be other drummers.
Even now I don’t watch more than about 45 seconds on YouTube even when it’s some master like Thomas Lang or Aquiles Priester or Jojo Mayer.
 

JDA

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well there's two type's at least there's "the display" or "story-teller".....where the band walks off the stage- have a drink use the restroom towel off have a smoke etc.

and there's the "form" when you take actual choruses of the song (as would say a Saxophone player solo (but without the backing accompaniment.

I've had (extended) solos (where I played everything I knew, think, could muster or develop) leading into a song since I was 17 going into jazz same thing but there you're going into choruses expounding (no pun) on the form exact measurement ( pun) flaunting off the melody, rhythm or the harmony of the given song.
 
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Polska

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If I was playing jazz I could see myself doing shorter solos, but in a rock format, no. Thinking about it, I've actually never solo'd at a gig. Never thought about it either.
 

RockrGrl

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If I absolutely have to solo, (I'd rather have a tooth pulled with no anesthesia), I wing it.
I'm with you! But, every once in awhile don't you think a drummer should take a bar or two and do something showy just to prove there is someone alive in the dark at the back of the stage?
 

dcrigger

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Do you have something you fall back on? Or do you just 'wing it'?
I grew up and learned to play in an era, that drummers were expected to be able to solo... period, without exception. Short fills, long fills, extended solos, soloing over forms, little short cadenzas (typically that short solo right before the last big chord), trading 4's... it could all come up... and not just on jazz gigs.

Over the years - the demands of some soloing has waned - but the expectation that I'm able to do it seems ever present. In other words, every client knows I can provide whatever they need in that regard.

So good for you - as strange as it will sound to some - I've always found it to be a "money in the bank" skill. In that, even though it's not often asked for - it just seems that when it is, having to decline would lessen the brand in a way I would really not prefer to do.

So to finally answer you question... Both... I always have lots of stuff to fall back on... I think of it as vocabulary. No matter wha sort of a story I'm needing to tell - I'm going to need know a whole bunch of words and phrases to build it with.

And from there I would generally wing it. Though again because of the limits of my "vocabulary" I'm never really starting from scratch... and then there may be settings or songs where I've determined certain types of expressions will be most effective - so I'll stick closer to those.

Though first things first would seem to be to develop a whole bunch of vocabulary - take an idea and play with as many ways of using it - twisting and turning it - that you can. Over and over again. Then work on string these ideas together - in order to create larger ideas.

It's really not much different than what we do with time patterns and fills - build a vocabulary ignorer to be able to pull out and use what you need/want at the time.

Have fun
 

paul

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It's rather disappointing that the majority of responses to the question being asked don't take the question seriously. I've always felt that soloing is an integral part of playing drums, and part of my job is to be able to credibly solo when called upon.

If I'm playing a full chorus, or multiple choruses, I try to keep the melody playing in my mind as I solo around it. This helps me have structure to the solo and, hopefully, relevance to the song.

When trading fours I listen to what the other players do and try to respond directly to them. I worry less then about the song form and melody.

When playing an extended solo, I generally wind up thinking of it in sections with different themes and riffs. One advantage of this is that the rest of the band picks up on the sequence pretty quickly, and know roughly where I am and when I'm ready to bring the band back in. I may even discuss my 'exit strategy' with the band before performing so they know when to pick up their guitars again.

A couple of thoughts. First of all, you don't have to be Buddy Rich to play an entertaining solo. Even simply playing jungle toms like Krupa on Sing, Sing, Sing for eight bars will get the attention of the audience and usually a nice round of applause. Second, if you have a tip jar, a drum solo will generate donations almost every time, especially if an attractive female takes the tip jar through the crowd.
 

Houndog

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Yes , I have solo stuff . I think it’s fun .
And audiences eat it up , done right .
It’s extremely hard is why I think most don’t do them .
I’ve always everytime gotten great response .

I don’t buy that people don’t want to hear a solo .
 

Tornado

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A couple of thoughts. First of all, you don't have to be Buddy Rich to play an entertaining solo. Even simply playing jungle toms like Krupa on Sing, Sing, Sing for eight bars will get the attention of the audience and usually a nice round of applause. Second, if you have a tip jar, a drum solo will generate donations almost every time, especially if an attractive female takes the tip jar through the crowd.

This is so true. The audience would almost always rather hear some jamming grooves than a bunch of flashy stuff.
 

Ox Han

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Do you have something you fall back on? Or do you just 'wing it'?
I chuck one stick at the face of whomever requested I play a solo and then play the duration of the show with one, solo stick. A stick. Emphasis on A stick.

Drum solos are boring. Just do a breakbeat thing = waaaay better and shorter. Trim the fat. Less is more. Here comes a stick right at your face!
 

Houndog

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I chuck one stick at the face of whomever requested I play a solo and then play the duration of the show with one, solo stick. A stick. Emphasis on A stick.

Drum solos are boring. Just do a breakbeat thing = waaaay better and shorter. Trim the fat. Less is more. Here comes a stick right at your face!
Drum solos are not automatically boring

Less is not always more
 

NobleCooleyNut

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Personally I am not a fan of drum solos . I do have to play them on occasion with my Big Band for some songs . I try to keep them interesting and capable for people to dance along to. I have no set plan for the solo , I just wing it .
 
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Downbeat

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I'm with you! But, every once in awhile don't you think a drummer should take a bar or two and do something showy just to prove there is someone alive in the dark at the back of the stage?
I guess it depends on the situation. Twelve bars is enough, unless you’re trading 4’s.
 

mkelley

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A little of both. I gauge the crowd and if they're lively and up for it, I'll do more of the basic rock solo stuff with triplets you know, Bonham stuff lol. I've been working on something a little more basic and more groovy, basically ripping off Manu Katché and leading that into one of our songs. It's fun and trying to get butts moving instead of showing how great I am. Humility not hubris.
 

m_anderson

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It's rather disappointing that the majority of responses to the question being asked don't take the question seriously.
There are so many different variables. What type of music are we talking about; jazz, rock, country? You may consider playing something to be a drum solo when I do not. For example, trading fours is not a drum solo to me, it's a "question and answer" part of the whole. I do not consider myself to be a solo drum player, but I can take bars, 4, 8, 16 or whatever, and it will be specifically counted in my head and the band better come in on time, or I may likely get lost. In that respect, I am by no means an extended drum solo player. In fact, I would refer to a specifically measured drum solo as more of a drum break as opposed to a solo. Maybe this is just semantics. I do not believe being able to solo on drums is an integral part of playing at all. You must be able to accent and highlight the band and the music, which brings me back to fills and measured breaks. I am not saying you are wrong by any means. This is just my point of view.

It’s extremely hard is why I think most don’t do them.
This is very true. It takes a great amount of creativity. I don't think extended drum solos are boring, I think they are really, really hard! I have many times been mesmerized and completely in awe, and possibly jealous because I know I could never do it. Artists are creative in different ways. One of my strong points is I am always listening to the band, and I compliment what others are playing. When the guitar player, or any player, plays a riff, and I hear it, and I answer it right back, and they look up with a smile, you know you are clicking and making music.

Just remember, nothing is cast in stone when it comes to playing. We are all different with our strengths and weaknesses, and that's what makes it so very interesting and fun.

Sorry about the Wipe Out comment. The thread just made me think of one of the most horrible drum solos I have ever known because I have been forced to play it so many times.
 


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