What's wrong with my backbeat?

Toast Tee

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Quick as I can history. I have studied, college, and private. Anyway, my main grip has always been German match, using the Moller.
I know many of you know my story, so go to the last couple paragraphs, if so.
I used to gig regularly until a few years ago, right before my back went. I finally had a spinal fusion a little over a year ago.
I still can't do many of the things I once enjoyed. I was still able to play drums, dispite pain, and loss of feeling in my R foot.
I took care of my foot by really changing my technique, and most importantly, discovering Camco pedals are the best (imo)
Now, I work on my hands 45 min a day. I've got a good grip on my rudiments, I play them with dynamics, and play at various speeds.
I started learning how to record about 3 months ago. Briefly with the Yamaha EAD10, but went quickly to the Model 24.
What is going on with my backbeat? I do have to keep my snare volume down, as it overwhelms. Still, my stick should be lower, and that should fix things. I like the natural bounce off the head though, but it looks awful. If I play a quie 1/2 purdie style shuffle, my grace notes aren't going up, and down, but rather side to side.
Finally, my groove is all but gone. Occasionally, when I'm not in too much pain, or at rehearsal I'll catch it, but I'm not feeling it like I used to.
I'm not going to give up, but I've got a long way to go.
I'm hoping someone can tell me what I'm doing wrong, and exercises to fix it.
 

Toast Tee

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This should work. Just weak! I'm still pretty fluent on the pad?
 
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Toast Tee

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It's more than just that (after watching again). I'm speeding up, slowing down. There's definitely something going on from my brain, to my limbs. Idk if I can overcome this
 

multijd

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Hey man! Your drumming sounds real good!! You have all of the subtleties of the arrangement and a real smooth transition from the reggae feel to the rock with solid cymbal accents. If I could add a couple of helpful words there are two thoughts I have, one more esoteric and the other more straight forward. First is to try to imagine that you ”are” the drummer on this song. Be the motivating force in the groove rather than following Stewart Copeland. It is a subtle shift in attitude that will effect the overall feel of your groove. When you play in a band there is noone else there to lead the way so you have to conjour up the groove juju on your own. This may be what you are recognizing. Try to picture yourself as Stewart Copeland and play your heart out!! The second thing is to pay attention to the motion of your left hand. Don’t pull your arm toward your body. Lift straight up and down by bending your elbow and don’t turn your wrist as you strike the drum. Make a real efficient direct stroke. This will increase the overall force that you are transferring to the drum. I hope you take these comments in the spirit that I offer as words of encouragement and not criticism! You are doing amazing to progress so far after major surgery. Don’t be too hard on yourself! You've come a long way and it may take patience to get where you want to be. Best of luck.
 

MntnMan62

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I totally agree with @multijd on both counts. You sound really good. If you imagine yourself as the drving force of the music, your tempo control will improve. Another thing for you to work on is playing grooves on your own on the set without music using a metronome or click track. The more you do that, the more you will learn how to lock in on the time and groove of the tune. There is a reason people spend hours and hours and hours practicing. Frankly, I have to say I'm jealous as I've lost a great deal of my ability over the years simply due to not playing because of job and family obligations. I'm hoping I can spend more time and get to a point where I can play at your level. Keep playing. The more you play, the better you'll get.
 
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Toast Tee

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Hey man! Your drumming sounds real good!! You have all of the subtleties of the arrangement and a real smooth transition from the reggae feel to the rock with solid cymbal accents. If I could add a couple of helpful words there are two thoughts I have, one more esoteric and the other more straight forward. First is to try to imagine that you ”are” the drummer on this song. Be the motivating force in the groove rather than following Stewart Copeland. It is a subtle shift in attitude that will effect the overall feel of your groove. When you play in a band there is noone else there to lead the way so you have to conjour up the groove juju on your own. This may be what you are recognizing. Try to picture yourself as Stewart Copeland and play your heart out!! The second thing is to pay attention to the motion of your left hand. Don’t pull your arm toward your body. Lift straight up and down by bending your elbow and don’t turn your wrist as you strike the drum. Make a real efficient direct stroke. This will increase the overall force that you are transferring to the drum. I hope you take these comments in the spirit that I offer as words of encouragement and not criticism! You are doing amazing to progress so far after major surgery. Don’t be too hard on yourself! You've come a long way and it may take patience to get where you want to be. Best of luck.
Thanks for the encouragement, and suggestion. I'll definitely give it a shot.
Ok, here's the messed up part. From 06-10 I played in a successful Police (and the 3 of us did the Chili Peppers too) tribute band. It was great. We'd play nice sized venues, ask to have our pictures taken, and all that good stuff. I guess I was as close to being Stewart Copeland as I could get (Chad Smith too) This is, well should be low hanging fruit, yet my body isn't doing what my mind is telling it. I'm not even close. When I really examined my playing, it wasn't pretty.
The "teacher's lounge" isn't visited too much, so I'll open up a little.
I studied with some of the best. Although I admit I didn't study as hard as I should have while I had opportunities many drummers would love to have had. I learned what was asked, or I'd lose my teacher(s) I studied for a while with a drummer named John Miceli. Unbelievably great drummer, and even better guy. He was a student of Jim Chapin when he was younger. Jim would come around the Drum Center now, and then. He was such a cool guy. He picked out my first pro level snare, we'd all sit around the pad, and, i guess shed a bit. I met Jim in the mid/late 90's. By that time, John had surpassed Jim in skill, and taught the method exactly as Jim teaches it on his video (with Dom narrating)
I don't like to name throw, but this may be my last post in this forum. There are others, but not really relevant to my experience.
I never recovered from the surgery last year, and started having some scary "symptoms" that I never experienced.
I was sent to a neurologist, and told to get an MRI of my marbles.
Well, it's been 6 weeks, and I really don't want to go, and kind of blew it off.
I thought playing drums could be the last thing I may still have a chance to be able to physically do.
I have ok days, and bad ones now. I haven't felt comfortable behind a kit in 4 years, or so.
I'm not trying to make this a pitty story, as I have a little girl that turns 3 on Sunday, and she's the greatest.
The Camco pedals definitely helped my foot, and although it gave me back my speed, and power, my accuracy is gone. I strongly suggest that pedal lol
I'm not saying I was a great, or even a good drummer (I think it's all relative).
I guess I need to face the music, and go get the MRI. My body just isn't doing what my mind is telling it.
I really tried. I won't give up, but my days of playing drums, sports, etc may very well be done.
I thank everyone on this forum for being super cool, and helpful. Who knows, maybe it's just going to take longer than I anticipated to get my facilities back?
I still enjoy collecting, and talking gear, and drums will always be a part of my life. I hope i get to play again, and not stumble through songs i know like the back of my hand.
 

Toast Tee

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I totally agree with @multijd on both counts. You sound really good. If you imagine yourself as the diving force of the music, your tempo control will improve. Another thing for you to work on is playing grooves on your own on the set without music using a metronome or click track. The more you do that, the more you will learn how to lock in on the time and groove of the tune. There is a reason people spend hours and hours and hours practicing. Frankly, I have to say I'm jealous as I've lost a great deal of my ability over the years simply do to not playing because of job and family obligations. I'm hoping I can spend more time and get to a point where I can play at your level. Keep playing. The more you play, the better you'll get.
That's all I do. I do it a couple hours a day. My hands will still warm up, but I just can't put it all together anymore...well of late.
I only play with a click, or music.
There are times I feel I played well...and than I see the vid lol.
I'll watch some older footage from a gig, and that's just not me anymore.
 

MntnMan62

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Hmmmmm. Something has to have changed then. As we get older it's important for us to stay in shape. Playing the drums is extremely physical so it demands a level of fitness. Then there is the mental aspect. Confidence is huge for a drummer. Any lack of confidence can possibly impact your ability to keep consistent time.
 

Toast Tee

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Hmmmmm. Something has to have changed then. As we get older it's important for us to stay in shape. Playing the drums is extremely physical so it demands a level of fitness. Then there is the mental aspect. Confidence is huge for a drummer. Any lack of confidence can possibly impact your ability to keep consistent time.
Unfortunately I think you're right. I worked out every day from my late teens, until 44. I kept taking thoes cortisone shots. I felt great for 9 months after the 1st shot. Eventually they stopped working, and I couldn't walk. I thought I was taking care of myself, but that stuff is poison, if ya need more than 1.
When I decide I want to do something, I've always gone 110 mph.
I'm putting in every spare minute on the kit, and I'll stay up until now (4 AM) EST. I really had the mindset, I was going to put in the work, and become the best drummer I could.
I never understood how someone wasn't physically well enough to play. It's like I'm finally ready to try and reach my potential, but it's all up in the air now
Like I said, I won't quit! Maybe one day, it will all connect again?
Thanks for the feedback.
 

Mongrel

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Toast...wayyy to much to process in a single reply so stay tuned.

As a brother in arms...my heart aches for you man! I have a few physical issues I'm dealing with but nothing like that.

I'm not hearing anything that game ending in your playing, but you would know yourself better than me.

I truly hope you don't bag the forum. We would lose one of our great resources.
 

JDA

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I would say and I sympathize with what you're going thru.. You had me a little nervous. In the beginning of the video your left/ hand was 'far away' from the snare- for the rim click that was coming up in quick order. Maybe..just a maybe..have your hands in position for what you know is coming next so you don't have to make- a large bigger move- in to position. That's it :)
 

Gunnellett

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I was unable to watch the video but reading these replies it sounds like you play well.

Do you think you can get "past the past" so to say? Can you get into the mindset of "I may not be able to play as I once did but I'm also not under the pressure of playing Stewart Copeland material in front of crowds for income or studying under great drummers so I'm just going to relax and have fun playing what I can"? In fact, I bet your 3 year old daughter thinks you sound pretty good and if she is liking it and you are having fun then heck you are in a really good spot.

If you are feeling no pressure, at peace with your current skills recognizing how much great work you have put in to be where most wish they could be, and if you feel relaxed a few things may just naturally fall back into place. If things do not progress further, that's ok....just look back at the last sentence of the second paragraph.
 

Toast Tee

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I was unable to watch the video but reading these replies it sounds like you play well.

Do you think you can get "past the past" so to say? Can you get into the mindset of "I may not be able to play as I once did but I'm also not under the pressure of playing Stewart Copeland material in front of crowds for income or studying under great drummers so I'm just going to relax and have fun playing what I can"? In fact, I bet your 3 year old daughter thinks you sound pretty good and if she is liking it and you are having fun then heck you are in a really good spot.

If you are feeling no pressure, at peace with your current skills recognizing how much great work you have put in to be where most wish they could be, and if you feel relaxed a few things may just naturally fall back into place. If things do not progress further, that's ok....just look back at the last sentence of the second paragraph.
Thanks for the feedback. I go in for an MRI today. Since my last post here I've laid low, and done a lot of soul searching.
It's frustrating when your body (or mine in this case) doesn't do what my mind tells it.
I'll watch footage from a before I hurt my back, and even though I wasn't practicing, I was playing what I new I was playing.
Now I'll think I played something well, only to hear I'm all over the place with time, strokes that are off, etc.
To your point, I'll have no choice, but to accept my situation. I understand, I can't play ball, or do most of the things I've always enjoyed.
I just never thought playing drums would be something I wouldn't be able to do anymore.
Well do it well anyway
I recorded a couple videos yesterday. I seem to have horrible days, and days that aren't awful. Yesterday wasn't too bad (besides having my toms compressed way to much)
Well, I should know something this week. I almost hope they find something that's treatable. I'm not that old, but I guess due to different circumstances, we all age different.
 

Toast Tee

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One more. As for the backbeat, I'm working on it. I'm hitting/playing too timidly. When I warm up my hands, it doesn't seem to be much of a problem. I think it's as much to do with poor recording skills, as anything. I'm working on the placement of my OH mics. My snare gets way too hot in the mix, so I'm compensating by just letting my stick fall to the snare. (My best guess)

 

Gunnellett

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Thanks for the feedback. I go in for an MRI today. Since my last post here I've laid low, and done a lot of soul searching.
It's frustrating when your body (or mine in this case) doesn't do what my mind tells it.
I'll watch footage from a before I hurt my back, and even though I wasn't practicing, I was playing what I new I was playing.
Now I'll think I played something well, only to hear I'm all over the place with time, strokes that are off, etc.
To your point, I'll have no choice, but to accept my situation. I understand, I can't play ball, or do most of the things I've always enjoyed.
I just never thought playing drums would be something I wouldn't be able to do anymore.
Well do it well anyway
I recorded a couple videos yesterday. I seem to have horrible days, and days that aren't awful. Yesterday wasn't too bad (besides having my toms compressed way to much)
Well, I should know something this week. I almost hope they find something that's treatable. I'm not that old, but I guess due to different circumstances, we all age different.
I hope things go well with your MRI.

I was able to watch the last 2 videos you you posted and I have to say you sounded pretty darn good. My bandmates would be happy if I pulled off either of your performances! The Chili Peppers I could probably do but not the Police with the hi hat work going on. Nice job.

I can see where your left hand is kind of doing glances to the side where you may like to be more straight up and down I'm guessing but it all seemed in time. If someone was listening rather than watching they wouldn't know and wouldn't even be thinking about it. Have you just listened to your playing rather than watching? It might make a difference in how you feel about it because you sound great.

Although it may not feel this way to you, one thing I like about your playing, and noticed right away, is your arms are not swinging wildly all over the place like a frantic madman drummer. They look fairly level and relaxed.

What are your cymbals? They sound good but I can only see 2.

If there is one thing I can suggest, it would be getting rid of that Cowboys hat and getting a Bill's Mafia hat! Just kidding.

Wes
 

Toast Tee

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I hope things go well with your MRI.

I was able to watch the last 2 videos you you posted and I have to say you sounded pretty darn good. My bandmates would be happy if I pulled off either of your performances! The Chili Peppers I could probably do but not the Police with the hi hat work going on. Nice job.

I can see where your left hand is kind of doing glances to the side where you may like to be more straight up and down I'm guessing but it all seemed in time. If someone was listening rather than watching they wouldn't know and wouldn't even be thinking about it. Have you just listened to your playing rather than watching? It might make a difference in how you feel about it because you sound great.

Although it may not feel this way to you, one thing I like about your playing, and noticed right away, is your arms are not swinging wildly all over the place like a frantic madman drummer. They look fairly level and relaxed.

What are your cymbals? They sound good but I can only see 2.

If there is one thing I can suggest, it would be getting rid of that Cowboys hat and getting a Bill's Mafia hat! Just kidding.

Wes
Wes,
I appreciate the kind words. I happened to have had one of my better days yesterday.
Other days the signal from my brain gets delayed on the way to my limbs. I can't in good concious, take a gig, when I may have a real bad day. Well, I'll hopefully have some answers in the next few days.
Thanks for nothing the cymbals. I love my Paistes. In from is a 20 multi Giant beat, and an 18 2002. I have an 18 2002, and 24 2002 ride there.
I usually use 15 SE 2002 HH's, but there is a set of 90's 14 heavy 2002s. I also have an 8, 10 Sig splashes. I change up my cymbals pretty often, but unless I'm using a 602 pre serial 18, I'm usually using Paiste B8's. The 2002 24 can get a little loud, and out of control, but I've found it's about accuracy, and angle (that controls them for me)
As for the tunes, Chad Smith is pretty brilliant. His beats are easy to play, but have a nice groove to them. I figured if I couldn't play that, I shouldn't waste my time yesterday. It came out ok, so I did a few more. Idk for certain, but I believe being dyslexic makes the Police stuff make sence to me. It is busier, but I have my problem when he playes quick 8ths on the bass. I didn't really have many issues yesterday though, besides adding too much compression.
I realized the L hand was a natural way to control a "hot" snare. I need to figure that out, before as it's becoming a bad habbit. It doesn't happen while doing pad work though.
It can become a problem when doing a quick 1/2 time "purdie: shuffle.
So, anyway, I'll find out something soon. It's been a frustrating past few months.
 

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