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Drummer "can't count" right.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jcerio, Jan 30, 2017.


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  1. jcerio

    jcerio Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    In my band our drummer has an issue with how he counts phrases that cause some confusion with the rest of the band. For example, in any song with a repeating pattern that spans multiple measures he refers to as "go-arounds". The rest of us count in actual measures. If a tune has a four bar phrase and repeats 4 times we will say that is a 16 bar section while he refers to it 4 "go-arounds". While that works ok if everything starts and stops on one, anything like a pickup, or that ends in the middle of a bar causes endless confusion. He has never really had any former musical training, though he has taken lessons over the years.

    Once passing the hurdle of making him understand that this is a problem, whatresources are available to help him learn what he is missing?
     
    Ellery likes this.
  2. Just get him to read the post you just made? It's hardly a difficult concept. Is he... all there mentally?
     
    Frenchy-Lefty and MrLenny1 like this.
  3. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    Fire him immediately!!!:)
     
    mikeyjm2, Biggbass, gln1955 and 12 others like this.
  4. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Wonder if the drummer has a hot girlfriend?
     
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Who wants the bassist??? Never mind - different thread...

    Seriously, the band needs to sit down and talk, and decide on how they are going to do it. As long as everyone agrees, it doesn't matter who is "right". If you don't agree, it STILL doesn't matte who is "right"...
     
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    No clue how to work this out, but it seems you must come up with something - and either you, or the drummer are going to have to bend.

    Here's my experience with that. In my Zep tribute, the guitarist and drummer are far more theoretically trained than I am. There have been many instances where I had little clue how they were counting something, and they literally laughed out loud at how I was counting it. One especially shining moment had to do with a bass cue in Dazed and Confused (3:15). To me it was 3 sets of 5 boom, boom, boom, boom, booms, one of 10, and out. Writing that now, I can see the humor... but the point I'm trying to make was that we had no problem. They counted it their way. I counted it my way. Their way confused me. My way confused them. The end result was that what we did, worked. 100% of the time.

    I wonder if other bass players see it as I do :) :) :)...

     
    Plantbrain, gunkle, bhernco and 3 others like this.
  7. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    Noooooo! :eek:
     
    design likes this.
  8. If he plays ok he can learn to count. Leave out the Led Zep for awhile.
     
    design likes this.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Just start using really weird terms around him. When he asks about it, tell him that's how he sounds when he talks "music".

    You: "Hey I'm gonna go sprotz a gerginferfer."

    Drummer: "Huh?"

    You: (rolls eyes) "I'm gonna go eat a sandwich."

    Drummer: "Well why didn't you just say that?"

    You: "Why don't you learn how to count bars so we know what the heck you're talking about? Cuz sprotzing gerginferfers is what you sound like."

    :thumbsup:

    Uncle Twofer. Helping bands talk to each other since 1986. ;)
     
  10. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Minneapolis
    I would start digging the shallow grave out in the desert...
     
    The Deep End, BassJuju, ahc and 2 others like this.
  11. Basshappi

    Basshappi

    Feb 12, 2007
    Tucson,AZ
    Give new meaning to "shovel-ready jobs" heh. :D
     
    ahc, Cosmo Dalton and kartiste like this.
  12. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I had a drummer who counted measures at the back end of a measure rather than the top. So instead of counting something like 1,2,3,4 - 2,2,3,4 - 3,2,3,4 - 4,2,3,4 as many of us do, or even just a constant 1,2,3,4 while counting measures separately, he would do this confusing mess: 1,2,3,1 - 1,2,3,2 - 1,2,3,3 - 1,2,3,4.

    Counting that without the spaces makes it look way more confusing as a count: 1,2,3,1,1,2,3,2,1,2,3,2,1,2,3,3,1,2,3,4... Yeah...

    What would invariably happen is that if you said "measure 3" to him, he wouldn't be able to immediately know where that was without playing up to his three count, which was a quarter note before we entered measure 4. Very odd.
     
    Remyd likes this.
  13. Ant Illington

    Ant Illington I'm Anthony but I'm only illin' Banned

    Answer for Joe: Yes, there are songs where I refer in my mind to something other than measures or beats. Normally I just feel it but if it's odd I might think "5 passes of this, not 4." I can count, I just don't all of the time. This is for when I work things out alone. If you rehearse/work parts out in the company of bandmates then I suppose there should be a common language. Fortunately or unfortunately, my situations require me to come prepare to the gig- no rehearsals- so I don't need to discuss things.

    Answer for OP: I suggest that you tell the drummer, or even work with him a bit, that with a little work it's not very hard to get a feel for "go rounds" in terms of measures as most "go rounds" are either 4, 8 or 16 measures and as soon as you analyze a couple of songs you'll see how easy it is and then you'll simply develop a feel for it. I'm sure he's capable just lazy, not in the derogatory sense, or merely uneducated in how simple it really is.
     
  14. Ant Illington

    Ant Illington I'm Anthony but I'm only illin' Banned


    I suggest that you tell the drummer, or even work with him a bit, that with a little work it's not very hard to get a feel for "go rounds" in terms of measures as most "go rounds" are either 4, 8 or 16 measures and as soon as you analyze a couple of songs you'll see how easy it is and then you'll simply develop a feel for it. I'm sure he's capable just either lazy, not in the derogatory sense, or merely uneducated in how simple it really is.
     
  15. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1

    Jan 17, 2009
    N.H.
    Good luck.
    The drummer should know how to count, know where 1 is.
     
    lfmn16 likes this.
  16. MCS4

    MCS4

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Cutting aside the snarkiness and elitism that some others might suggest, I would recommend just trying to convince him that it would be much easier for the rest of the band (and his other future musical endeavors) if he learned to count time in a traditional method. The knowledge will also help him to be a better drummer regardless of whether he consciously counts all the time or not.

    He could learn this through an instructor, or likely a basic musical instruction book or video. There are almost certainly also an infinite number of YouTube videos on these concepts, although those may be hit or miss.

    I would, however, be sensitive to the fact that not all of the concepts you'd like him to learn are quite as simple and easy to pick up as it might seem to someone who learned this stuff early on. Counting a basic series of bars in 4/4 should be easy enough to pick up, but easily internalizing the meaning of something like "that is a 16 bar section" in a way that will allow him to use and understand that phrase as instantly as you do will likely take more time. I can only comment as someone who plays in original rock bands more often than not, but I know far more musicians who would say something similar to "4 go rounds" than "16 bar section."
     
  17. You mentioned the issue with 'pickups'.

    If he knows (can feel) where the actual 1 is, it shouldn't be too difficult for him to learn the normal terminology with practice and repetition.

    However, if he can't feel the 1 - good luck.
     
    Plantbrain and Ellery like this.
  18. Seanto

    Seanto

    Dec 29, 2005
    USA
    Curious, does the band use charts? I've been in alot of bands, rock oriented, where we did not express things in measures because we weren't reading from a sheet. Therefore talking measures was not an easy to calculate point of reference. In that sort of situation, "go rounds" doesn't seem all that far off if you have repetitive sections of your songs. We generally would describe things as verses and choruses most of the time.
     
    Bassngtr, HolmeBass and elgecko like this.
  19. LowG

    LowG Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Milwaukee, WI
    And remember that 4 measures at 60 BPM is the same as 8 measures at 120...

    I've run into that issue in bands where 4 measures means different things to different guys depending on how fast you're counting :)
     
    SLO Surfer likes this.
  20. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Exactly. The only time I even think of measure counts is when I'm reading chart and there visual measures to refer to. For non-reading songs, I think in terms of "the second part of the 1st verse". It's more practical.

    ...and I say that as someone who's had "formal musical training".
     
    Seanto, mdogs, 4dog and 2 others like this.

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