Want To Learn Brushes

kdgrissom

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I want to learn how to play brushes.

I'm currently looking at this book, which includes a couple play along CD's:

Do you guys recommend any particular book?
Thats a great book to start with! Helped me tremendously. The early recordings with the Oscar Peterson trio with Ed are wonderful to play and learn to because of the long steady grooves that allow you to blend your playing with the recordings.
 

Hemant

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Have been playing with jazz combo the past few weeks -- someone pulled "Some Day My Prince Will Come" from the Real Book. Had no clue how to swing 3/4 appropriately with brushes. Tried to wing it and it came out sounding like a polka waltz. Found this Russ Miller video on the fly -- instead of sweeping the head wide with the left hand - just sweep between 10 and 4 o'clock. Very simple and cool trick.
 

DrumPhil

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Watch four or five different brush instructors on YouTube and you will see four or five different grips and basic approaches to making sound. My point is that there is a LOT of room for personal expression with brushes. You will have to try some things and eventually figure out what approach lets you say the things you want to say. There is no single correct way to play brushes.

As mentioned above, Ed Thigpen has long been the favorite instructor in traditional jazz brushwork. Florian's stuff is very modern and very different from Ed. Jeff Hamilton, Russ Miller, Clayton Cameron, Ed Soph, and many others have really good videos and tips out there. Spend a week or two with one approach and see if it works for you. If not, try a different one.

The key difference that brushes offer versus sticks is legato, long tones, achieved by lateral movement sliding (brushing!) across the head. So stay focused on sideways and circular movements as much as possible. Also remember that these techniques are almost useless on clear, smooth heads. You need a drumhead with some textured coating on it, so the brushes have something to rub against.

Brushes open up whole new worlds of available sounds. Have fun!
 

mtarrani

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I played about 1500 brush only gigs during an eight year period (all were in assisted living facilities), so one learns how to develop a personal vocabulary when you have volume constraints. I got around using brushes the same way I would sticks by getting creative in that setting. That experience allowed me to use brushe in lieu of sticks, using brush technique, in a number of genres. A bunch of examples are in the videos on my vanity drum page at


including blues, country, some rock and Americana stuff. More importantly, though, is that page lists my brush influences, which I encourage anyone interested in brushes to track down and give them a listen (or watch them since Youtube has made that possible.)

Another resource that I strongly recommend is a brush player group on Facebook. There are some true masters who are posting their own videos, advice and offering assistance to folks who are getting started. If you are serious about brush playing, or tentatively curious visit the group here:

 

thejohnlec

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Unlike sticks (for the most part), there are numerous methods to emulate the sounds you hear other brush players create. To begin, maybe you should determine whether you prefer clockwise sweeps or counter clockwise with some free playing, explore what textures you can produce, and whether you prefer sharp or lush effects, then find some books or videos that teach in that mode to begin with. Being able to play both directions and with multiple textures is ideal but you need to start somewhere, and comfort and relaxation with brushes is really key for me.

I’ve hit the brushes regularly for the past couple years to shake off some bad habits and explore new approaches to grooves, and it’s been very gratifying. I prefer trad grip for the personal techniques I’ve been working on.

Double stroke rolls with brushes are still a pain for me though!!
 

bigbonzo

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Thanks to all for your suggestions. I've found that one of my current books has a small section in the back on brushes. So, along with that and the YouTube videos that you've suggested, I think I'll have enough to get me started. If need be, I'll pick up the Thigpen book to continue my studies.
Thanks again.
 
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mtarrani

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This is not exactly a reply to the OP, but I think folks in this particular topic thread will appreciate this video. I had saved it from 2009, and was just rewatching it - and thought I'd share it here:

 

BennyK

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T Bone Walker - The Imperial recordings

Willie Nelson - Stardust

Play along with these and you'll figure it out .
 


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