The Drum Solo Discussion Thread

JimmySticks

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There have been quite a few threads on solo's lately, so I thought I'd ask a few questions about them. Some guys love em, but more than a few don't seem to be fans. Personally, I'm more of a jazz solo lover than rock, (yeah, Buddy Rich style!) and trading fours are even better because you never lose the song, they don't go on to long and and they usually always add interest instead of detracting from the music.

So some questions -

* Do you do solo's?

*How long were you playing before you were able to solo?

*Rock or jazz?

*How long should a solo be?

*How do you phrase a solo?

Please add your experiences with soloing. Let's make this a discussion thread on all things concerning "THE SOLO", good and bad. :)
 

CC Cirillo

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I prefer “solos” that continue with the groove and phrasing of the song, have some sort of structure that are part of the song and are not simply an excuse for a chops showcase.


...the full-on, drum set on a cherry-picker, spinning around like a carnival ride solo just doesn’t interest me much.

That said a lot of jazz solos can be quite musical, but for me the traditional rock solo... I unfortunately have the image of Chad Smith wearing a metal hard hat with a flame shooting out of it. Kind of sadly sums up the genre.

6075AC29-6C37-4C42-93FB-C7155C6B4370.png


In rainbow moments of introspection I’ve asked myself: If I woke up tomorrow and suddenly had blinding speed, talent, and coordination would I demand to get to play a solo? It’s a question I avoid answering. Fortunately, and with some sadness and a tinge of envy, it’s a rhetorical one.
 

JimmySticks

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I prefer “solos” that continue with the groove and phrasing of the song, have some sort of structure that are part of the song and are not simply an excuse for a chops showcase.


...the full-on, drum set on a cherry-picker, spinning around like a carnival ride solo just doesn’t interest me much.

That said a lot of jazz solos can be quite musical, but for me the traditional rock solo... I unfortunately have the image of Chad Smith wearing a metal hard hat with a flame shooting out of it. Kind of sadly sums up the genre.

View attachment 496984

In rainbow moments of introspection I’ve asked myself: If I woke up tomorrow and suddenly had blinding speed, talent, and coordination would I demand to get to play a solo? It’s a question I avoid answering. Fortunately, and with some sadness and a tinge of envy, it’s a rhetorical one.
Agreed, chop-fests are boring.

My playing is simply not good enough to keep anyone's interest for more than 30 seconds. While I'm kind of neutral on listening to solo's, I really admire drummers that can do it so well and keep a solo interesting and grooving along. It's funny, I can thump out a pretty good solo on the table with my hands, but I can't transfer that "talent" to the drums, lol. A lot of drummers say they don't care if they can solo or not, but I'm not sure I believe them. It's a great skill to have IMO.
 

RIDDIM

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As long as someone is playing musically, I'm good. And if there's not a tune, then the piece needs to be logical, based on some kind of theme and response. That's not a function of facility - that's a function of clear thinking, rhythmic ingenuity, and compositional development. That's what gets me going. If you have something going facility-wise that can enhance these, great, but chops for their own sake do not keep my interest.
 

JDA

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so two types of solos...
Showcase (or experimental (if you're the Art ensemble of Chicago) solos..
and Chorus Solos..

either can go on what appears as a long time

(I'm a pro (not anti) solo guy love em been doing since 17 (since 1972+)
been one in every gig as of 2019 etc. Luckily fortunately honored Glad. Chorus solos.
If I take two I'm good. Wait. May have been 1 (32 bars
It's Musical. and cohesive to the moment of the tune.

I get excited just thinking about it ; )
I used to do the 'showcase' solo when I was 17. Near wore myself Out..
but..(built strength. but was mindless sort of. well mine were (when 17)
kitchen sink-type.
Chorus type is when you've grown. Or chose to go in another direction musically (yes)
I prefer the measured context felt/beats/time. Contextual song form. Chorus type.
Everyone in the band understands like water off a duck's back. (when to come back in..
and finish up the song

Chorus are continuum solos; you've not broken the song..not to the audience nor to the band.
you've hopefully just diced and sliced' it. : )
chopped into 'drum pieces' (tones, rhythms, accents, repetition, variations, rolls, short and long phrases, super impositions..) and spit it back out.
Made your most innermost feelings known on and about the tune. Drum Music.
 
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Fat Drummer

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* Do you do solo's?
Nope... I suck at it

*How long were you playing before you were able to solo?
Don't know, I will let you know when I get there

*Rock or jazz?
Yep, I like both... as well as country AND western!

*How long should a solo be?
Depends, how long is the line at the bathroom?

*How do you phrase a solo?
oh, that one is easy... "oh - crap - a - solo - and - I - have - nothing - to -say"

Please add your experiences with soloing. Let's make this a discussion thread on all things concerning "THE SOLO", good and bad. :)
Mine? all bad. I mean really, REALLY bad. Others? Yeah, I like some... some, but very few!

I respect the skill set to blaze and appreciate the entertainment value of a "showy" solo but those simply just do not motivate me. I neither find them musical or enjoyable. If you have nothing musical to say (and I know that can be different things to different people) then it's just a guy playing drums by himself. Few people can keep my attention in that situation.
 

cruddola

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* Do you do solo's?
Nope... I suck at it

*How long were you playing before you were able to solo?
Don't know, I will let you know when I get there

*Rock or jazz?
Yep, I like both... as well as country AND western!

*How long should a solo be?
Depends, how long is the line at the bathroom?

*How do you phrase a solo?
oh, that one is easy... "oh - crap - a - solo - and - I - have - nothing - to -say"

Please add your experiences with soloing. Let's make this a discussion thread on all things concerning "THE SOLO", good and bad. :)
Mine? all bad. I mean really, REALLY bad. Others? Yeah, I like some... some, but very few!

I respect the skill set to blaze and appreciate the entertainment value of a "showy" solo but those simply just do not motivate me. I neither find them musical or enjoyable. If you have nothing musical to say (and I know that can be different things to different people) then it's just a guy playing drums by himself. Few people can keep my attention in that situation.
Ditto for me!
 

paul

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* Do you do solo's?
Yes

*How long were you playing before you were able to solo?
I played in school bands for several years before acquiring a drumset, but practiced soloing on my lone snare drum before getting the kit. As to whether I was actually capable, I thought so, but others may differ.

*Rock or jazz?
Both. In a jazz setting it's usually either trading fours or taking a chorus. In the latter case I tend to 'hear' the melody in my head and try to improvise around it. One of my favorite compliments came from a guitarist who said he could hear the melody in my solo on a tune. In a rock setting or any time I have an open solo I tend to stretch out more. Even then I try to keep a flow so that it all seems to make sense, and to bring the band back in smoothly.

*How long should a solo be?
Long enough to get to where the band comes back in. My rock solos used to be longer. I never time them, so probably not more than 3-4 minutes. Don't want the audience to get bored.

Once I started my solo in a rock club and as I played the dance floor cleared, except for one young woman who was dancing enthusiastically. I decided to play her off the floor, and did all I could to wear her down, not knowing that she had already decided she could dance as long as I could play. That was probably the longest one I ever played, and the audience got into it, mostly cheering for her, I think. She did tell me afterward that she was running out of gas when I stopped. So was I.

*How do you phrase a solo?
If playing a chorus I phrase around the form. When trading fours I like to respond to what the other soloist did. For an extended solo I usually have a few ideas that I work with during the solo and tend to play four bar phrases in each section.
 

pwc1141

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Like some others, I would rather trade 4's on my jazz gigs than take an extended solo. I've prefer to do that on tunes where I use brushes rather than sticks. Somehow I am more "fluid" with brushes when soloing. The worse thing a band can do to me is give me 4's on a ballad or during a vocal tune. I don't think those fit at all. I have never ever played a solo on a rock gig but have done so on a Latin gig where somehow it fitted. I guess I have been playing 4's almost from day one in jazz settings and that was decades ago. I supposed I had been playing a couple of years before that in dance bands.
 

mebeatee

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The best solo, and reaction to, a solo I’ve ever had was when I played the solo so low it wasn’t heard.
I stopped and sat poised ready to do something....and did nothing...just sat there poised for action.
Brought the house down......
Having said that I love “solo” drumming but not a fan of drumming solo’s for the most part. I get “solo’d“ enough when recording ayway...lol.
bt
 

marc3k

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It's funny, I can thump out a pretty good solo on the table with my hands, but I can't transfer that "talent" to the drums, lol. A lot of drummers say they don't care if they can solo or not, but I'm not sure I believe them. It's a great skill to have IMO.
I think I have the same issue! I feel like I'm not that fluid around the kit to do that - especially because I never really practiced that and usually focus on groove and playing with the other musicians. However, I've got to pracitice trading 4s now because the guys I play with like it. I like to hear it on records though - but not when I have to play it :)
 

JimmySticks

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I'm loving the honesty in all of these responses!

I was a pretty fair lead guitarist BITD, and I found it far easier to put a lead solo together on guitar than I do on drums! And back then, before I ever touched the drums, I thought the drum solo was easier! Silly me!

I'm a work in progress on drums. I really have to work on my solo skills, not because it's in demand or anything, but because it's a great skill to have and it just seems like it's something a drummer should be able to do.
 

Pat A Flafla

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"Do you do solos?"
Only if the person paying me demands it and won't let me weasel out of it, and I will try very hard to be released from that obligation because I hate 99% of all standalone drum solos.

"How long were you playing before you were able to solo?"
Several years.

"Rock or jazz?"
Neither, if I can help it.

"How long should a solo be?"
As close to zero seconds as possible.

"How do you phrase a solo?"
Sow-low

"Please add your experiences with soloing. Let's make this a discussion thread on all things concerning "THE SOLO", good and bad."
In general, I find extended drum solos to be boring. With very few exceptions (I can probably count them on 2 hands), I'd rather just hear a regular tune. Even at Rush shows, I was always just waiting for the drum solo to be over so I could hear the whole band.
I get absolutely no joy from wanking around on the kit. I want to play with other musicians when I'm playing kit. When I proactice, I'm either working technique or working on songs. If I want to play a solo, I'll play snare drum, timpani, marimba, vibes, etc.
 
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JDA

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bout 7 or 8 chorus here (discount 88% of what the commentator tries to on-the-spot analyse)

I present to you the King


Elvin... the three-handed (2+1 foot) drummer.... never again never ever again.
 
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Pat A Flafla

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Agreed, chop-fests are boring.

My playing is simply not good enough to keep anyone's interest for more than 30 seconds. While I'm kind of neutral on listening to solo's, I really admire drummers that can do it so well and keep a solo interesting and grooving along. It's funny, I can thump out a pretty good solo on the table with my hands, but I can't transfer that "talent" to the drums, lol. A lot of drummers say they don't care if they can solo or not, but I'm not sure I believe them. It's a great skill to have IMO.
99% of professional drummers can't keep non-drummer audience members' attention for 30 seconds. Drum solos are inherently monotonous. It takes a very special person to play a truly memorable solo. I judged some GC drum-offs a long time ago, and I should have gotten hazard pay for that. I have the musicality for it, but I'm personally not interested in wasting any time developing that skill, the notable exception being that I'll solo at home as long as my granddaughter wants me to, which sometimes exceeds five minutes.
 

JimmySticks

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If a person won't do a drum solo it's likely that he/she can't. I good drum solo can be played in damn near any style of music. It just depends upon whether you have the talent.
Before I got into drums, I thought all drummers could solo. I mean, c'mon, how hard could it be!? :sad:
 

JDA

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imagination dose of ego couple other things confidence/ right situation/ belief the drums (and you are musical
put- assemble hi/lo/medium together
...and you're singing a song..Desire to sing a song with sticks..gotta love yourself a little bit..a little self-love goes into it.
 
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JimmySticks

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imagination dose of ego couple other things confidence/ right situation/ belief the drums (and you are musical
put- assemble hi/lo/medium together
and you're singing a song..
Someday...someday maybe. sigh :blush:
 


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