Give the drummers some love

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Marc Piane, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I am a big proponent of recording yourself for learning. We talk a bunch about using it as a short term tool (listening right away or the next day) but I also try to revisit the live recordings I have made over a longer period and see if what I was working on in a given time period had, in fact, improved.

    In listening back to the past several months I realized that I have been fortunate to play with some great drummers.

    The relationship between bass and drums is one that can either make or break a gig. If it is happening it can make you play differently, deepen the groove, and make our jobs so much easier and more fun. I also think there is some learning on the parts of both parties to get really good at playing together. Bass has a very interesting role in a band. It is a rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic instrument. Learning to play with a drummer is like learning to hear changes, or intervals, practicing being lyrical and melodic in our soloing, having great time, and all the things that go into being a great bass player.

    I was hoping to get some stories, thoughts, and experiences from TBDB.

    We disparage drummers, and some deserve it, but I wanted to give them some love too.
  2. Valerus


    Aug 4, 2005
    There are a lot of good drummers in the world.

    Sucks that we tend to focus on the crappy ones. haha.
  3. Kevin Hsieh

    Kevin Hsieh Guest

    Jun 2, 2007
    New York City
    my best friend here is a drummer... but of course, he might not be as good of a friend if he wasnt so killing!
  4. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I'd specifically like to discuss the learning involved in playing well with a drummer. I think we spend a bunch of time on TBDB talking about the harmonic and melodic part of it (as well we should) but outside of metronome work we spend little time talking about the rhythmic part as it pertains to locking with a drummer and driving a band.

    I have some thoughts on this but I'd like to hear from others first.
  5. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I've got a new drummer story, of sorts, but my story isn't very mystical. Do I like playing with my new drummer? Sure do -- the other guy was a better singer than drummer and it's nice having truly solid time these days. But my guilty pleasure? One of the things I'm really digging but isn't so nice to say? The new guy has got some really nice sounding cymbals and knows how to use them musically. What a treat to hear good cymbals. Most of the guys I've played with over the last 20 years or so have had some pretty crappy sounding cymbals -- one guy was even pretty proud of his cracked and dented trash can lids...
  6. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Lucky for me I get to play with a bunch of good guys. One is Steve Grover. Steve is a very musical drummer, perfectly decent pianist and Monk-award-winning composer.

    When things are working right between us on a latin groove, I may play some note whenever he strikes a tom. I'm not thinking about where in the bar we are; I'm just watching and going because I trust both his beat and his musicality. He can do the thinking for both of us!
  7. It starts with having the same conception of the beat and where you're playing the time. Most drummers only play it one way, so in order to have a good hook up, the bass has to hear where the drummer's playing it and lock in.

    That's the fundamental element. Everything else depends on how good the drummer is; how strong his own internal sense of the time is. A lot of drummers lose it if the bass plays anything implying a different time signature. But a good drummer can deal with multiple time signatures. And, imo, what separates the great ones, the drummers I really enjoy playing with, are the drummer's that play musical ideas while also conversing with the rest of the band; tayloring those ideas to where he thinks the soloist is going.
  8. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    I played a big band gig last weekend with a drummer that just moved to town. Naturally, I introduced myself. He very quietly said that it was one of his first gigs, he was hired as a last minute sub and was surprised the leader called him. I told him it was cool with me, and he would do fine.
    About half way through the first bar I realized he was pulling my chain. The guy was playing his ass off. Great time, really kicking the band, but without being busy. A lot of drummers are so much into themselves that they can lose a band; like they are hiding the ONE.
    Tony and I locked in immediately and the band swung.
    One of our closers was a blues number that allowed every member of the band to solo. When it got to the 2nd trumpet, Tony just looked at me, yelled 'double time' and the horn guy started blowing. One solid drummer.