Playing with an inexperienced drummer..

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by cire113, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. cire113


    Apr 25, 2008
    So if im jaming witha drummer and the drummers time is way off.. Do i try to keep the groove as strong as possible or play along with him and his bad time as best as possible?

    Im kinda lost on this one any thoughts?

    Guys know what im saying?
  2. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Easy rule, "Always come down to the level of the weakest link".
    they cannot come up to your level so you have to come to them. That does not mean you play badley or wrong, but you play correctly at their skill level and lead them to better ideas and skills.
    Remember they cannot come to you so you have to come to them, they have the ability to make a band sound bad, but you all have the skills to make him sound good, so increase his confidence, settle his nerves and allow him to move on in his playing.
    Intimidate him, constantly make him doubt himself, and he will get nothing and you will as a band have to replace him, so try and do the right thing and come to him rather than expect him come to you.:)
  3. +1. Part of our job is to augment and accompany. I run into this same thing with non-professional vocalists. Who is the audience (customers) listening to? Yep the vocalist. Our job is to help the lead sound good.
  4. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada

    i've never heard this rule .....but ain't it the truth ....well said.
  5. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Does he have no sense of timing whatsoever or does he throw himself off? It's always a bad time when they count off at 96 bpm and then start playing at 120. Had that happen. The drummer in my current band (well, the one that HAS a drummer) can lay down a perfectly fine backbeat, but he tends to throw himself off when he attempts a fill that's a little too much for him. I just try to be encouraging and let him know that it will sound good as long as he keeps the beat steady. The other kind, though, need to either play with a metronome or stop playing.
  6. I'd say, if you don't have other options at the moment, give this guy a shot, and use your skills to provide the timekeeping until the drummer gets better.

    If he shows promise (and improves relatively fast), stick with him. If not, I'd say ditch him. Maybe this sounds harsh, but you are not playing with him to school him. And he might hold you down while he improves.

    But for all everyone knows, he could be a next Neil Peart.
  7. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    when i play with a weak player...especially a drummer, if they are humble, i generally try to explain the difference in playing simple but professionally, and playing busier and amatuer....sticks flying, beats flipping lol

    this can go a long way if the player is humble and open to the stronger members of the band.
  8. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Yep, always use your ears and serve the music. It's up to you if you think it's workable or not. If so, have patience. If not, move on.
  9. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    LOL well one of my rules, and i tend to quote it at jams and young players, because everyone want to show how good they are, rather than putting in a strong band performance...i mean why expose your weakness and allow it ruin a performance and hurt a players confidence?
  10. I've been stuck in this situation as well. Somehow the singer amassed some top notch musicians for a cover band. Singer had awesome pipes and was a real talent. However, the drummer was horrendous. This band was like a Ferrari with a Yugo engine. The drummer was constantly turning the beat around, coming in and out of bad fills too early or too late. He made his top of the line kit sounded like he was pounding on trash cans! After a few rehearsals I began to hear how this band has gone through about 15 musicians over the course of a year. The last guitarist had other commitments, bass player "moved" etc. The only constant was the awesome singer and the horrible drummer...oh! Did I mention they were married!! Too bad.
  11. cire113


    Apr 25, 2008
    I feel like Im only as good as the weakest link.. When i play with a pocket drummer i can play 100% tight... when i play with a ****** drummer its likes i feel 30% capable or less..

    Does anyone else feel this way? your only as good as the people you play with
  12. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Of course. A musical combo is a living, breathing organism. One weak cell compromises the rest. Others can compensate, but they have to be really strong players, as it's a next to impossible task. Everyone else can be rock solid and the weak link is still going to stick out. Unless you're playing free form, in which case it's more workable.
  13. You have to find a drummer that you're comfortable with. This doesn't necessarily mean a drummer you're friends with. I have walked into auditions and played with complete strangers whom I could connect to perfectly. Inexperienced drummers are a problem because, in my experience, they tend to be the worst at taking criticism, along with guitarists. You should suggest that he practice at home with a metronome, and maybe get a flashing metronome for use during practice. You've really got to hammer it home that he needs to get better. Be constructive, polite and kind, but firm. Make sure he knows he has a problem. I have been in this situation many times in bands, and I usually ended up being the person that had to "be the bad guy." If the drummer refuses to learn, or does not practice to get better, consider another drummer. It's a world of difference; a good drummer vs. a bad one.
  14. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Agreed. I think we've all been in the position of being the guy who's playing with better musicians than ourselves at some point in our development.
    Work with him so he gets better, just as someome better than us helped us out at one time. Just as we were thankful to those for the help, so too will your drummer friend.
  15. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    If you play steadily the drummer will eventually adjust on you and play just fine. It can be tiring but it works.
    Not all beginners have shady rhythm though.
  16. soulman969

    soulman969 Inactive

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    If it's a jam there's not much you can do except stick with his tempo or feel and coach him along if you can. If the guy is totally lost of can't play his time up on stage will be brief anyway. The other players will see to that.

    Some years back I was onstage at a blues jam and the vocalist/harpist called for a medium shuffle in A. I'm not sure where the drummer got his ideas on what a shuffle was but what he played wasn't it. I did my best to get him on the right track but I failed miserably so we stuck it out with him for about 3 minutes when the vocalist gratefully ended the pain.

    The other guys and I were as kind as we could be but we asked him to come back when he'd learned to play better. We didn't embarass him and he shrugged and vacated the drum kit but I still don't think he had any idea of what he did wrong.

    Personally I think it's incumbent on jam players not to take the stage if the level of playing is over their heads. It may be a place to polish your playing but it's not a place to learn to play at everyone else's expense. If it's the drummer in your own band you either have to get through to him or replace him. There's no middle ground there.
  17. If you are on stage... just follow him.
    While at practice try to talk him and work together on the subject.
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