Ask a drummer

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Shalto, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. Shalto


    Aug 23, 2019
    Hi folks,

    I'm an amateur drummer and thought it might be fun to do an AMA style thread for anyone who works with an amateur drummer and has questions that are impolite to ask your own drummer or prospective drummer. If you have a pro drummer you are better of asking them. I'm more of the dedicated weekend warrior style.

    So ask away and I'll try to he helpful. What do we think about bass players? Pizza delivery? Speeding up while knocking on front doors? What it's like getting fired all the time?
  2. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Nice idea.
    I'll start with this...
    Any preference for which side of you your bassplayers puts themselves?
    And why?
  3. Shalto


    Aug 23, 2019
    Whichever side helps us to see each other is best. Most right handed drummers will typically have a better line of sight out on their right side, as we typically have less cymbals and the ride cymbal (which is usually lowered below eye level) over there. I suspect the bassist has a better chance of seeing my kick foot from that side too as the high hat mechanism is less in the way.
  4. Hello.
    How do you get the singer help you load and unload your gear?
  5. Shalto


    Aug 23, 2019
    Haha, currently they offer the help because they are a polite person. In my experience lots of folk want show off their muscles so it's usually not too hard getting help moving gear.
    GregC, Ross W. Lovell and WallaceSnr like this.
  6. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Do you practice throwing sticks at irritating singers and guitarists?:D
    bassb66, bobyoung53, The Owl and 5 others like this.
  7. Shalto


    Aug 23, 2019
    I am not ginger baker ;)

    No, sticks are expensive. When I was a teenager I hit my brother with a drumstick (he asked me too because like most teenagers we were geniuses like that at the time) even for a skinny teenager putting the whole force of a whipping wrist through a stick creates an impressive crack.

    Btw this is why the movie whiplash has an absurdly unrealistic scene in it when Andrew punches through his snare drum head. Something that can withstand countless drum stick strikes is not going to be broken by a fist.
    truand85, Artman, Corbusier and 15 others like this.
  8. Yes, I typically like to stand on the drummer's right.

    As you mention, from that side I do have a better line of sight to the kick. That helps me as there usually isn't much kick in the monitors so at stage volume and standing along side the drums I can never hear the bass drum. I'm always happy when listening to play back that my bass and the kick are aligned.

    From that side I can also quickly glance at my fretboard when needed while keeping the drums in sight.
    BluesOnBass and Shalto like this.
  9. Droopy_TX


    Jul 17, 2016
    Is there some magical phrasing that we can use to get the drummer to play more quietly and simply, with a focus on dynamics.

    Asking, "Could you please play more quietly and simply, with a focus on dynamics?" does not seem to work.

    <Asking for a friend.>
  10. Funky Ghost

    Funky Ghost Translucently Groovy

    Out of curiosity, do you, as the drummer, struggle with the differing sound effects that bass players and guitarist have available today? I ask because my best friend, and drummer extraordinaire, said that envelope filters jacked with him as a young drummer. He said it was like a subliminal click track that was roughing up his internal time. ( David was notorious for having an engineer exclaim "Damn that dude doesn't need a click track, he IS a click track!" )
    Peter Torning, mikewalker and Shalto like this.
  11. alanolynn


    Aug 19, 2012
    I'll jump in on this one (another drummer, sorry)

    My jazz band instructor sat me down before our final concert and we had a small convo about this.

    Teach-"So Alan, do you have a girlfriend?"
    Me----"Well yeah, she's awesome"
    Teach-"Do you talk to her on the phone often?"
    Me----"Of course" (pre cell phone days)
    Teach-"Well, when you two talk on the phone, do you make sure to let her know everything you have done for the past few years? Do you dump all that info on her without any regard for what she wants to hear or if its pertinent to the conversation?"
    Me----"No way, she'd get sick of me in less than a minute"
    Teach-"So it stands to reason, the best way to navigate through a song, whether it be a backbeat or a solo, is to just bring out what is called for, in order to keep the listener interested, but not bored. Make sense?"
    Me----"....Damn, you just laid some wisdom on me"
    Teach-"Watch your mouth"

    This is the greatest philosophy to drop on any drummer.
  12. Tom Bomb

    Tom Bomb Hypocognitive

    Apr 23, 2014
    Thanks for the thread :) Right off the bat: where's TB's percussion equivalent, if there is one? Where do drummers go for their insight? And what's the deal with hydraulic heads? They're pretty sweet on a snare, I've just discovered. Mine are remo weatherking pinstripes, totally new to me. I like 'em :)

    I have a set of calfskin heads for the snare, pretty much ready to go, but I'm having too much fun with the weatherkings, and I also need to come to terms with these old school skins and their idiosyncrasies, before I chance an installation. Knowing me, I'll get carried away. I know there's water involved but beyond that, I'm all at sea. No dramas. We'll get there, eventually. Don't mind me :) Thanks again.
    Stumbo and Shalto like this.
  13. 50 cal ???
    (ducks and runs for cover)
    Shalto, Winslow and alanolynn like this.
  14. Shalto


    Aug 23, 2019
    I'm generally of the opinion that in the mix (both the monitors and the audience) we want a lot of kick and snare and not much of the rest, as that's what's really generating the groove in most styles of music.
    GregC and oldrocker like this.
  15. dab12ax7ef


    Sep 25, 2011
    How do I get though to a drummer like this?

    I have frustrations with one drummer (in church band context ie: pop rock music) who:
    1. Adds fills in performance he doesn’t play in rehearsal, many of which are over vocal parts and not in spaces.
    2. Adds double kick fills in performance not in rehearsal.
    3. his only “loud” dynamic is coming down from arms fully extended over head...
    4. He doesn’t listen or lock in with the bass for any kind of groove at all...

    I’m am not criticizing all drummers. I play with several others that I can talk through things like this with and communicate musically very well. It’s just this one guy who I need a better drummer vocab to get through to. I tell him things like, leave space, or groove with me better, but it doesn’t stick.
    lat, BassikBrad, Shalto and 1 other person like this.
  16. Shalto


    Aug 23, 2019
    Personally I think the main reason for struggles in playing with appropriate dynamics is skill rather than attitude, especially in quick songs. It is so much harder to play fast and quietly than it is to play loud and quietly. The reason for this comes from what some drummer's call the "full stroke".

    Basically when you are hitting a drum (or practice pad where most of us learn this) you want the stick to do a lot of the work for you. If you hit a full stroke with good technique the stick bounces right back up to where it started with pretty much zero effort. Basically - you are doing half the work (the downstroke) the rebound is doing the other half (the upstroke). This is how obscenely fast drumming is possible. When you play quietly, you get nowhere near as much rebound. So its very tempting to play loud especially on high tempo songs. And very hard to play quiet and quick. It might be your drummer is not unwilling, simply unable. It takes a really good drummer to play quick and fast. Out of curiosity if your "friend" plays in a a band that plays slow stuff mainly let me know, as there may be other solutions.

    As for playing simple, its tempting to overplay for all people, but it gets less tempting the older you get and the more you realise serving the song matters most. Things that helped me stop overplaying as much were:

    1. Just getting older and more mature.
    2. Playing in Church where overplaying is really innappropriate (due to constant singing)
    3. Watching this video which you may want to pass onto your "friends" drummer
    4. Listening to awesome "groove" drummers who don't overplay - good example is Steve Jordan (plays with many but mainly is known for his work with John Mayer - that song Vultures should be heard by many drummers)
    5. Listening to selfish overplaying drummers and realising how annoying that is to the audience
    Artman, MYLOWFREQ, Winslow and 12 others like this.
  17. Shalto


    Aug 23, 2019
    I struggle with any "off" percussive sound. Even from the audience! There is a youtube drum teacher named Rob Brown who sells a t-shirt with "Strictly no clapping on 1 or 3" on it....I instantly got what he means.

    I think any "washy" effects that make the notes all blend and drown out the singing could be a problem, but generally effects don't bother me.
    idi0tf0wl and Funky Ghost like this.
  18. Shalto


    Aug 23, 2019
    The biggest forum is Drummerworld, which is also a good site for lessons. There are a tonne of great drum resources on youtube. The main education one is Drumeo - they get in great players to teach and share a bit of drumming wisdom - Gavin Harrison's lesson on there is one of the most valuable I ever heard.

    I use remo weatherkings too - love em. Unfortunately I'm not a good enough gear nerd to know why the sound so good - I just know I like it. I am of the opinion that good drum heads are actually more important than good shells. If you hear a cheap kit with great heads on it - the difference between that and an expensive kit is minimal.
    equill, wraub, drummer5359 and 3 others like this.
  19. Shalto


    Aug 23, 2019
    Maybe the video above will help? As someone who plays in Church I think the reminder that we are here as part of worship rather than doing a rock show is important. The focus is on God's glory not the musicians, and the musicians job is to help the congregation sing. Here is a good video from a Nashville Drummer that's probably worth showing your drummer:

    jdthaddeus, P. Aaron, B-Lo and 3 others like this.
  20. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx!

    Oct 31, 2006
    North AMERICA, USA
    “Could you please stop playing the kick drum all over the place?”
    Garret Wheeler likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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