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Playing with a drummer that can't keep time...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Fire-Starter, Jan 23, 2003.

  1. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    Has anyone ever played with a drummer that could not keep time, and he/she put the blame on everyone else?
    1: what was it like
    2: what did you the bass player do to compensate?
    3: what do you do when its live?

    peace and blessings:eek:
  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    In my experience they didn't "put the blame on everyone else" they were simply clueless as to their lack of precision.
    Grin 'n' bear it.
    a) Play LOUD AS HELL because I was the anchor.
    b) The whole band sounds like ass no matter how good everyone else is.
  3. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I was in a bad marriage for about 6 months, and the thing I used to do was make eye contact and bob my head in the time sig that the song was in, or I used to reel him in, meaning that I'd turn up and play slower to help him find the groove.
  4. jplb70


    Nov 1, 2001
    Find a new Drummer. Thats what we did it sux but hey if he's killin it waddaya gonna do.
  5. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I played with this one guy that blamed everything but his ability as a musician!!!!!!

    P.S. THIS BELONGS IN MISC!!!!!!!! :)
  6. babecker


    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
    I feel your pain -- there's nothing more frustrating than a drummer whose time sucks and is not willing to admit it. What's even worse is a drummer with bad time who overplays. Jesus, it's excruciating.

    My situation sucks because our drummer has been a close friend of mine for a long time, but I've recently become painfully aware of his poor time and unwillingness to play anything other than the most complex beats he can muster. If you really want to keep the drummer you have, try to improve his time. Buy the guy a metronome -- that will at least provide a reference when you're pointing out his poor time keeping. Better yet, he might practice with it and improve his time. I wish our drummer would...:(
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    As mentioned, it's an excrutiating experience, and sometimes you have to deal with it. I quit playing bass for 4 years in the mid-90's (finished college at night). After I graduated I started playing with a guitarist and drummer who needed a bass player badly, even an extremely rusty one. The drummer was completely self-taught... he did everything by feel... if there was a break in a song, he didn't count through it, he just guessed when to come back in. :rolleyes:

    He didn't completely suck on drums; his timing was usually OK and in fact he had a good voice (he sang lead on a third of the songs), but his frequent timing irregularities were extremely frustrating. I tried to work with him, explaining the revolutionary concept of counting, and he improved a little, but still didn't handle syncopations well (e.g. coming in or out on the "and").

    Once I got the rust off my chops I joined a better band with a very good drummer, but kept playing with the first band for awhile. I must say however that if the sloppy drummer was a jerk, I would have quit as soon as I joined the better band. Music is only a hobby, so the rule I live by is "life is too short to play with jerks": I'd rather play with nice guys for fun than with jerks for good pay (but I'm grateful to be gigging with good musicians who are good guys).
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    It's really bad if you've had the pleasure of a ROCK SOLID drummer in your past. In my experience I played with two such drummers, Jim Richman who teaches and plays a lot locally in the Washington DC area was the drummer I worked with in my four years of High School. He was just learning but he had so much talent. We always were very solid and his rhythm was aweomse. Then I was in a butt rock band called "Gimmix" in the early 90s and late 80s that had a drummer named Taylor Lee who was like a human metronome when he got to grooving. He played over his head sometimes, but we all did in that band. When we were grooving we were incredibly tight. Oh, to have that again. I have worked with other good (and bad) drummers since then but still haven't achieved the level of groove that I had with either of these guys.

    The worst part is, that IME playing with a bad drummer will make you a worse bass player.
    Completely agreed, it's a hobby for me as well. I'd rather have a good time jamming with not so great musicians who are friends than deal with jerks who are impeccable musicians. Of course the best of all are the good musicians who are not jerks, and luckily for me the little acoustic trio that I'm in kind of qualifies. Except that our drummer just broke his wrist.... Guess we'll be having a break. :(
  9. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    Philbiker, what is butt rock?
  10. Dude! You just described my drummer! Except he's not a jerk but a really nice guy. Which makes it even more difficult to kick him out.

    Using the "talent, stage presence, people-person" concept from an older singer thread, he has all but the talent. Doh!

    That's why I'm hunting for other side projects so I can play with better drummers.
  11. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Just don't let that drummer see that you've put a thread about drummers in the "Basses" forum :D

    FWIW - Once I reached a certain point, I could safely assume the drummers would be competent.

    Before then, I just chalked up the poorer drummers as "developmental experiences" after I lined up a better situation.
  12. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Like Bon Jovi, Piosin, White Lion, Whitesnake, etc. Hair bands.
  13. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    For my first mod magic trick, I'm going to change this into a "Misc" thread...
  14. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Whats worse is a drummer that can keep time, but not consistently. I was in a band where the Drummer could keep simple beats(rock 2-4 type beats) but whenever we played a bossa tune or a straight jazz tune or anything not very simple, he would not only take weeks to learn the beat, but he would also never quite learn it, and he would mess it up. Furthermore he always sped up!, and thats the worst because if you are keeping with the tempo pretty consistently but he is speeding up...it makes everything sound bad.

    what I have done to help the band, out right tell the drummer he is ****ing up, I try not to be insulting about it, but sometimes I would have to just tell him straight up. Also I try my best in those situations to play 100% solid, cause when the drummer is messing up, its up to the percussion and the bass to help fill the gaps.

    Live....its very difficult, you can't stop the song mid flow just because your drummer is ****ing up, you just have to grit your teeth, brace yourself and do your best to keep the song together with what you have....if there is a drum break long enough to give him some visual signals then thats always a plus.
  15. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Having played rock drums for 15 years, I just play the drums occasionally for our drummer (nice guy), I also play a pretty damn good guitar so I keep everybody on thier toes.

    For myself, I just read a few posts by Ed Fuqua or Gard, or Fitzgerald. That keeps me pretty humble.......

    ...but ambitious none-the-less!
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    A drummer who can't keep time is what you call a non-drummer. Get rid of his sorry bonbon.
  17. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Theres only one thing you can do with a drummer that cant keep time.


    A drummer that cant keep time will only drag the rest of the band down with him.

  18. hands5


    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    In my case it was not that the drummersd did not have good time (well,there was one)it was just that they had real poor dynamics] i.e. they were just too damn loud.
  19. RedGrange


    Jun 11, 2000
    Denver, CO
    DRUM MACHINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  20. DBasica


    Jan 6, 2003
    There's a flip side to the story too. In the early 80s I stated playing again after a 10 year period of not touching a musical instrument. I picked up playing bass again fairly quickly, but if not for a great but unknown drummer named Roy Durnal, I would have floundered for a long time before getting it together again. He was patient with me and gave me gentle "guidance". Looking back now, he was probably the best drummer I have played with - great time, great dynamics, and a nice guy too.

    God bless good drummers!