What do you listen for in drumming?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Cambass, May 6, 2001.

  1. When you are playing with a drummer, what do you listen for? Ie The kick drum, snare drum etc?
  2. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    First and foremost, the kick, and then the snare. I personally lock in on the beat with the kick, then decide to play on/before/after the beat or what.
  3. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
  4. you are supposed to listen to them? :D

    just kidding, i was told to listen to the kick and snare, i dont know if i ever have. i try to listen to the whole band and play off of that.

    i usually make the drummer keep up with me, but i have been playing with the same 2 drummers for so long that it is just works. funny one drummer is solid as a brick and the other listen to to much yes and rush but i like playing with both of them.
  5. I tend to listen to the guitarist as our kick drum is constant double kicking. But occasional the drums accent the tail of a riff or the change of a riff via cymbol crashes..

    Either that or get a drum machine! :p



    Apr 13, 2001
    Kent, England.
    me too! ;)
  7. Generally off the hi-hat, and quite often only by sight.
    Sometimes the snare, hardly ever the kick (can usually never hear it!).

    Our drummer hardly ever makes mistakes, it's kinda un-nerving sometimes. :)
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I'm checking out the overall feel & vibe...additionally, how are the drums being hit; hard, soft, with authority & confidence, etc. You should be able to tell a lot about a drummer just by his warm-up regime. BTW, playing "hard" & with "authority" doesn't translate to playing LOUD(IMO). ;)
    I'm listening to "see" if he's listening to me.
    I'm listening for how he's playing the spaces.
    I'm listening for a consistent tempo.
    I'm listening for some "swing".
    I'm listening for their particular approach to Funk drumming(1-bar or 2-bar phrases).
    I'm listening for versatility.
    I'm listening for some dynamics.
    I'm listening for something besides the stock 1&3/2&4 backbeat(displacement & polyrhythms).
    I'm listening for his creativity & improvising ability, etc.

    ...sorry for the Frasier-esque "I'm listening" bit(just finished watching a re-run of the boob). ;)
  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    on most of our songs its the bass drum and the snare, as well as whatever is keeping the pulse, like either the hi-hat or the ride cymbal.

    along with all the stuff that jimk listed.
  10. First and foremost I listen to the ride,and then the snare and hihat

  11. ...You still have hearing left to listen to all that! :p
    Lucky you. hahaha and why would you want to listen to that much of a drummer??


  12. First.....I put in my Musicians Earplugs (custom moulded W/-9db).This keeps the snare from cutting off my head. This I do before he is done setting up. If not, he is sure to hit them while I'm positioning my pedals.
    He also plays a lot of double & triple bass beats. It's hard to lock him in. He just got some new heads and they sound better. But sometimes, I wish he would just cut the flashy $#!+, and dig a trench with me.
    Definately the bass drum. then the snare back beat.
    I try to surf the beat musically.
  13. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    The downbeat.

    Will C.:cool:
  14. Down


    Sep 11, 2000
    Snare and kick.And usually guitars, also, cause it´s
    fun to go along with the melody.
  15. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Drummers that play WITH the music and don't only sit back on their beat 24/7 and do a fill every 20th bar or so.

    Examples of drummers who play WITH the music would be lots of jazz drummers and for rock guys like John Bonham from LZ and Danny Carrey from Tool.

    As a bassist I usually refer to the kick/snare when playing.

  16. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999

    ...yeah, I still have some "hearing left"; I'm old, not ancient(& we get our ears checked here every year).
    BTW, don't ya know the drummer is our best friend? Personally, I stand about 2-3 feet away from the drummer's hi-hat...ideally, that's where the bassist should stand & it also keeps me somewhat distant from the hi-freqs of the keys/guitar. That's what can F up one's hearing. ;)
  17. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    I look for the spaces(where the drummer doesn't play). If you listen to these spaces you can really tell what is going on. if u play in these spaces you can be shure that the drummer will hear you.
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It depends what type of music you're playing. In a Jazz ballad, you might wait a very long time to hear the bass drum used and quite often the snare is avoided for long periods.

    In Jazz I must say that I listen for whether the drummer is actually playing the song/tune - often they can help you and the rest of the band confirm where you are in a sequence ; but I also like it when drummers change the feel based on what everyone else is playing or pick up rhythmic ideas from other players - maybe from the soloist.

    I think it's amusing when I'm in the audience, where you get drummers who put in weird stuff, to upset the band - off-time, cross rhythms - like JimK often mentions - but I'd hate to be the bass player when this happens!! ;)

    I suppose in Jazz I'm listening for a drummer who is playing with you and everybody else and with whom you can trade ideas in group improvisation.

    If we're talking about Latin Music - which is my main band, then I'm never looking to lock in with the bass drum and snare. If it's Afro-cuban, then this is a definite no-no and most of the time the conventional "kit" is absent and you have congas,timbales and hand percussion. Most of the lines are locking with the piano "montuno" or the clave - but often the clave isn't played, but rather "implied".

    If we're talking about Funk - then yes - the Bass drum is important to lock with, but I often find it's more important to hear 16th notes on the high-hat and see how the bar is being subdivided.

    I think really in any music it is important to have your own sense of time and never rely on another player - so you are independent and can play no matter what else happens around you - although it can be difficult!! ;) I like Big Wheels' answer - once it's been counted off and you've hit the first downbeat - really you're on your own!
  19. Rockinjc


    Dec 17, 1999
    If they are worth anything, the right hand on the ride or high hat give the best link in the most kinds of music IMHO. That is if they are right handed. I usually don't like drummers with a strong foot.

  20. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Excellent point Bruce and Big Wheel, especially if you're playing with a drummer that thinks speeding up is synonymous with picking up the intensity. :rolleyes: Or worst yet, is fill happy and doesn't always come back at the right time. I'm primarly listening to whether or not the drummer is listening, and I find women to be very good at that.