When is the drummer wrong?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by count_funkula, Mar 25, 2002.

  1. Ok, I know the subject of this post is going to start a lot of jokes about drummers but I have a serious question.

    The drummer in my church has this style of playing that makes things very difficult for me. Our previous drummer had the same style and he is the one who taught our current drummer how to play.
    As far as timing goes he plays just fine and he keeps things simple when he plays (not a bunch of fills). However, whenever we are playing a fairly fast moving song he plays this beat that just ruins me. I can't do anything with it.

    It seems like he keeps all of the snare and kick hits real close together and leaves long streches in between with no kick drum. For some reason this really screws me up. It's like there is nothing for me to anchor onto during most of the measure. If I was playing some kind of funk line it might work fine but for hymns it just doesn't seem to work.

    Is this my problem? Am I just not a cleaver enough bass player to make it work? Or, is this a case where I can just say "hey man, that beat is just isn't appropriate for these songs"?
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I would ask (if he's not already doing it) to at least keep a steady hi-hat going during the beat, and focus on that. I played with a band not that long ago that had beats that were beyond my comprehension and someone suggested the above. It worked wonderfully.

    Not sure exactly what the song is like like but you could also try to find a way for YOU to keep the rythem so the drummer has to follow (playing 8th or 16th notes).

    All in all, if it ain't workin - and you really can't get it to work, then the drummer should change what he's doing. It's about teamwork and making the music happen - not sticking to something that's making the song impossible for another member to play along with. Dat don make no sence :)!

    Good luck.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I guess he still plays the pulse on the hihat, so hook on that.

    Another good idea is to do a drum/bass only practice where you both concentrate on playing together. Communicate your problem to him, and ask him to help you (assuming he knows what he's doing). You're a supposed to be a team, right?
  4. Never!

    In all seriousness you have to work out the parts so that they are appropriate to the music. Are you talking about him playing ghost notes? I've always found it to be very helpful to sit down with the bassist and specfically work out how the bass drum parts and the bass line are going to compliment or counter-point each other. The song has to come first, not the drummers ego. Don't be afraid to address it with him. He may not be aware that his playing isn't providing and anchor for the group. That is job # 1 for a drummer.

    If all else fails, make him listen to Phil Rudd on those early AC/DC recordings and John Bonham on Zepplin's "When the Levy Breaks". Now that is a back beat. If he needs more funk have him check out Clyde Stubblefield with James Brown. Great ghost notes but always a big 2 & 4 to anchor the song.
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    JMX and I posted at exactly the same time. Just thought I'd add that so ya'll don't think JMX was just repeating....

    The answer to your problem seems unamimous so far.
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I think this may be an opportunity for you to explore other ways of playing with respect to time. Ideally you should be able to play the tune without a drummer and still be solid with the time. Having a summit with the drummer is a good thing, but more often than not, you don't have that luxury.
  7. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    Not meaning to overstate an obvious solution you may have already tried, record yourselves and go back and listen together. Sometimes, that really cool or offbeat lick sounds great in your head, but the tape doesn't lie! ;)
  8. Of course the band will never be optimal if the rhythm section is not in synch with each other, but it can work - just ignore the drummer and count for yourself rather than relying on him.

  9. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    I´ve sometimes had thad problem with my drummer.
    Great tip on following the hi-hat. I´m going to try that next time :)
  10. It is vital to know where the measure begins and ends. Once you know what goes where in the beat, it is easier to play to. My drummer is a percussionist, he uses every square inch of his set, plus micellaneous trash peices. Sometimes he uses the innards of a laundry dryer as the kick drum. It is easy to follow him as long as you understand where the measure begins and the entire cycle of the beat.