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Why do so many drummers suck...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by glocke1, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002
    Yeah, I know..its a general statement but is pretty accurate..

    I was listening to one of my favorite drummers, Billy Kreutzman play (listen to him on the song called Jack Straw).


    and his playing is simply phenomenal. Tight, jazz, and solid. The guy really just makes it all sound so easy.

    It got me to thinking that I've played with very few drummers like that. 90% of the ones Ive played with are the kinds of guys who show up to a gig or jam session with a huge kit, and whenever I see that happening I get a sense of dread. It never fails that the tempos are all over the place, changes are missed, etc…

    OTH when the opposite happens, like a drummer showing up with nothing more than a 4 piece or 5 piece kit, everything is pretty much awesome…

    Why do so many drummers have such a hard time playing drums well?

    and before someone says "gui****s and bassists have the same problem", I don't think thats true. You can be a mediocre stringed instrument player and still sound good as long as you know what your limitations are.
  2. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
    Good question, I have been running across some pretty bad drummers lately. Ranging in age from 21 to 60. It seems like a lot of them focus on technique and fancy fills more than just keeping good solid time.
    DrayMiles likes this.
  3. I think most of this is due to timing.....

    When I was in high school (a lifetime ago) our drummer had the worst timing. Our electronics teacher who was a drummer came up with a great suggestion. He helped us build in essence a metronome that the drummer could place on his kit which flashed a small red bulb and could be dialed. The dial was set with a numbered sequence which coincided with the song to be played, and the bulb only visible to the drummer would keep the beat of the song.

    This helped greatly, and overtime improved his timing making him really good.
  4. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    The issues I have seen in the drummers I have played with:

    - They dont know what swing means, everything is straight, why they dont add a hint of swing to the groove?

    - Dynamics? Forget it.

    - Weird unstable patterns. I hear the same answer all the time: I am trying to make the song interesting.

    Other than that they are fine.
  5. Drums are hard.
  6. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    It takes just as much practice, talent, etc.
    to play them correctly.

    There's a difference between those who MAKE the "beat" or groove vs. those who play along with the beat.

    One thing I learned when auditioning drummers for bands------ a lot of people own drum sets.
    DrayMiles likes this.
  7. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Some of the best drummers I've ever played with have what I call a Jazz kit. Just the basic setup.
    Yes drums are a bit hard at first but you either got it or you don't just like Bass. Lucky for Tama, Pearl, etc...that so many drummers think they got it when they don't.
    migso84 likes this.
  8. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006

    And many don't practice.
  9. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Pittsburgh PA!
    Because a lot is required of a drummer to be good, and everything pretty much depends on the drummer.
  10. bobicidal


    Mar 28, 2013
    San Jose, CA
    We are looking for something like this. Closest I have found is the Korg KMD-2 but still not convinced enough to buy. In our case we were considering having the whole band watch it as we are not laying blame on the drummer. ;)
  11. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Wait- you want people to accept their limitations? That's not gonna happen.

    Not enough people understand the concept of economy- more beats/notes isn't necessarily better, it's just more. However, this is America, where more = better, so.....

    Also, a lot of musicians, real or imaginary, want to be noticed. They don't seem to care why, they just want this. Loudest, fastest, biggest, mostest- it's all seen as 'better'. A friend had a party and the guys he jams with were there, playing. The acoustic guitar player never effing stopped playing. It didn't matter that someone else was trying to solo, do a fill, whatever- he just didn't stop playing until the songs fell apart. Some drummers have this same problem, yet they never grow out of it. The good ones, do.
  12. tbirdsp


    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    Drives me crazy too. I think maybe 25% of the drummers I've played with can REALLY play.
  13. marko138


    May 24, 2013
    Perry County PA
    We can't help it.

    eldorado2001 likes this.
  14. bass geetarist

    bass geetarist

    Jul 29, 2013
    This may in part be due to the fact that it's harder for drummers to find a place to practice due to noise restrictions.

    Really though, I haven't had this experience. I've certainly heard some not so great drummers, but I think I've heard just as many not so great bass players, guitar players, tromboners, etc...
  15. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I know a guy that uses a strobe light to help him.
    I have used one to help me break the habit of relying on a metronome or a click.

    Good timing is hard for some people.
  16. You just notice a bad drummer more readily than other instruments as they can torpedo the whole band if they suck. The drummer like it or not add integrity and tightness to a band ( or not!)
  17. bass geetarist

    bass geetarist

    Jul 29, 2013
    +1 good point
  18. ReiPsaeg


    Dec 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    Who do so many people on the internet over use ellipses? If you have a question, end it with a question mark.
  19. For the same reason many musicians suck regardless of instrument - too much emphasis on trying to play flashy and show off instead of focusing on sounding tight and playing what the song requires.
  20. Fiset

    Fiset I do a good impression of myself

    Jan 13, 2007
    New York
    One of my original band projects was in between drummers and a gig popped up so we needed someone fast. Sterling Campbell is a friend of theband so he agreed to learn the set and do a one-off show with us. He had the music for about a week and we had one rehearsal before the show. Now granted, Sterling is a pro but playing that show with a guy like Sterling was like flying first class after years of being stuck in the middle seat in coach.

    At one point during the rehearsal, we were talking about drummers in general and he said, "Wanna know how I've kept busy in this industry? I don't play fills." Now he was exaggerating a little bit but the point was clear.
    DrayMiles, Mike A and Felix1776 like this.

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