American Idiot by Green Day.. is a bit nippy...

Mark_S

Silver Member
One of the bands I'm in, an originals band primarily, have decided to do a few covers to supliment our main set and perhaps get more paid gigs. One of the songs they want to do is American Idiot by Green Day.

Now, it's around 184bpm. No problem I thought, some quarters on the hats for the main groove. Oh hold on a second.. no, it's eight notes, bugger.

We played it last night - I can do it, but it feels messy and uncomfortable; I certainly wouldn't like to gig it right now. Has anyone got any tips on practising to play grooves this quick? I gravitated to a kind of push pull while trying to play it, or moeller which I tend to use for most grooves anyway.

Is it just a case of playing a fast groove over and over, maybe building the speed up a few bpm per day? I'm not sure if my usual straight singles practise on the pad is helping much because that is not moeller or push pull.

I know this is similar to the question I asked a while back about pad/hi-hat practise, but this song is a good example of what I struggle with at the moment so I'm trying to think how to approach getting it sounding and feeling good.

Is this song fast or am I just slow? ;-)
 

joshthedrumkid97

Senior Member
that song is fast, its one of the first songs i ever played :) to get the speed i just keep playing it over and over again speeding it up a small bit everytime. practising single strokes helps. try doing Stick Control exercises for atleast an hour a day non stop. this will help build your speed.
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
Hi Mark

I don't think you are particularly slow. I've just sat down at the kit now and I can tell you that at 180 bpm I'm pretty comfortable playing 8's on the hi-hat; at 184-6 it starts to get to be a bit of a strain and by 200 it is a car crash. Now of course I too may be slow and no doubt you and I will be told that by others on the forum.

As to dealing with it. First remember that the less you move your stick the faster you can play - so play pianissimo rather than forte. Second you are right that the key to really fast playing is in catching the rebound and using that to play the 'inbetween' notes.

Finally, remember that you can give the impression of playing all the notes without actually doing so and in a fast song that is sometimes more than enough.

Not much to call advice but perhaps it helps to know I share your pain.

Back to work now.
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
that song is fast, its one of the first songs i ever played :) to get the speed i just keep playing it over and over again speeding it up a small bit everytime. practising single strokes helps. try doing Stick Control exercises for atleast an hour a day non stop. this will help build your speed.
I'm very impressed if you managed to play it cleanly and it's your first song! I do practise stick control, singles, etc. but I think I might need to practise the moeller or push pull motion for this one.

Hi Mark

I don't think you are particularly slow. I've just sat down at the kit now and I can tell you that at 180 bpm I'm pretty comfortable playing 8's on the hi-hat; at 184-6 it starts to get to be a bit of a strain and by 200 it is a car crash. Now of course I too may be slow and no doubt you and I will be told that by others on the forum.

As to dealing with it. First remember that the less you move your stick the faster you can play - so play pianissimo rather than forte. Second you are right that the key to really fast playing is in catching the rebound and using that to play the 'inbetween' notes.

Finally, remember that you can give the impression of playing all the notes without actually doing so and in a fast song that is sometimes more than enough.

Not much to call advice but perhaps it helps to know I share your pain.

Back to work now.
That's how I coped with it last night - I kept trying to keep the motions small and relaxed. I can't be too quite though as it is a punky song. In some places the groove moves to the floor tom so I have to try and keep the volume up on their a bit. Hi-hats and floor tom are both a bit low on rebound so I don't get a great deal of help from them. I have some software to slow the song down so I think that'll be a starting point - part of the problem was probably just that I hadn't played the song before, even though I was vaguely familiar with it.

On some of the faster original songs this band does I'm sometimes not sure whether to play quarter notes or eighth notes. This one is definitely an eight note feel so can't even cheat and play quarters.

I'm far more at home with slower funky songs than fast punk songs, but oh well I can't keep falling back on what I can do.

Thanks for sharing the pain :)

Back to work for me too... so very difficult when the drummerworld forum is a shortcut on my browser bar..
 
N

nhzoso

Guest
Have you tried changing the grip on your hi hat hand (right hand I assume). I can do faster notes on the hat/ride when in the french grip. It may just be me but it's worth a shot if you have not tried it yet.
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
Have you tried changing the grip on your hi hat hand (right hand I assume). I can do faster notes on the hat/ride when in the french grip. It may just be me but it's worth a shot if you have not tried it yet.
Yep already do that on faster songs. This band generally plays more upbeat songs; around 150 to 170 bpm, and there's one at 200bpm but it's a quarter note groove.. It's just 184bpm is just that much harder than 170bpm and it has to be eighth notes.

Thanks though :)
 

PeteN

Silver Member
that's a good song for speed practice and fun to play along with.

in this drum cover it almost looks like he's using a moeller method http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVTVIxaaGds

in a live version by green day it looks like he's doing non-accented 8ths using a loose wrist motion or probably with assisted fingers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yi-LvnM_5M&ob=av2n

I can play easier with non accented notes to this song but I need to be totally relaxed and warmed up
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
that's a good song for speed practice and fun to play along with.

in this drum cover it almost looks like he's using a moeller method http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVTVIxaaGds

in a live version by green day it looks like he's doing non-accented 8ths using a loose wrist motion or probably with assisted fingers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yi-LvnM_5M&ob=av2n

I can play easier with non accented notes to this song but I need to be totally relaxed and warmed up
Thanks PeteN I'll take a look at these clips when I get home from work.
 

Fox622003

Gold Member
Now of course I too may be slow and no doubt you and I will be told that by others on the forum.
.
Man, you guys are slow :-D.
Seriously, though, you've got two things you should take advantage of in this song to ease your burden: 1) The parts in the verse that there's just bass drum, and 2) The chorus sounds nicer and more breathy with quarters in my opinion, and it'll make things easier for you.
I personally also hate playing songs high up in tempo.


Fox.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Man, you guys are slow :-D.
Seriously, though, you've got two things you should take advantage of in this song to ease your burden: 1) The parts in the verse that there's just bass drum, and 2) The chorus sounds nicer and more breathy with quarters in my opinion, and it'll make things easier for you.
I personally also hate playing songs high up in tempo.


Fox.
I agree with quarters in the chorus sounding better. I find accenting the 8th notes takes the chore out of the task & makes keeping it musical so much easier. Strangely, this old fart's aged wrists have no problem at this speed, although I'm with Fox, I prefer slower stuff.

Crap, I've just realised I've dropped a double no no. I agree with Fox + I'm posting in the technique section. What a strange day I'm having ;)
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
Judging by what I see at 3:52 in the video and the changing stick height on his strokes throughout, it appears Tre is using some rocking Moeller kind of motion with a French Grip to play those passages. I tend to a French Grip when playing fast eighths on the HH, too. I think you get some really good use of the elbow/bicep to get some rocking going on in that position.

The trick is to use more than one muscle group (i.e.a rocking motion) to distribute the work. As mentioned above in the thread, start slower and patiently work your way up over time, never playing to the point of excess tension. Stay cool, calm, relaxed and smile when you practice. Seriously, try to get any mental tension out of playing fast and it'll reflect in your musculature. I usually imagine my hand/stick being a wet noodle and just wiggling their way home.

I have a wedding/function band I play with that loves to kick off the set with Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson which requires eighths at 190. Lovely way to start of the night...Jerks.

Speaking of which, the next time you're in the mall and they're playing Shoe Store Drum 'n Bass, think of this song and marvel how they'd already put that groove to bed in 1967:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPwSu1ETx2A
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
Man, you guys are slow :-D.
Seriously, though, you've got two things you should take advantage of in this song to ease your burden: 1) The parts in the verse that there's just bass drum, and 2) The chorus sounds nicer and more breathy with quarters in my opinion, and it'll make things easier for you.
I personally also hate playing songs high up in tempo.


Fox.
Thanks Fox, I'll give the quarters in the chorus a try. Yes the unfortunate thing with this band is, although I really enjoy being a part of it, they do like their up tempo songs. It does make playing in my other band seem a whole lot easier though!

I agree with quarters in the chorus sounding better. I find accenting the 8th notes takes the chore out of the task & makes keeping it musical so much easier. Strangely, this old fart's aged wrists have no problem at this speed, although I'm with Fox, I prefer slower stuff.

Crap, I've just realised I've dropped a double no no. I agree with Fox + I'm posting in the technique section. What a strange day I'm having ;)
Hehe, glad I could create a question where you both agree on the answer. In fact you agreed on 2 points in his answer. Could this be the start of a beautiful friendship? ;-) Think of me as a facilitator... Okay enough of that, lol.

Hmm your old fart wrist can probably run circles around my medium-aged fart wrist by the sounds of it. I'm a little faster on the pad probably due to the rebound, so that begs the question, is the pad the best place to work on playing fast on the hats. I guess it all translates really - maybe I should add more moeller / push-pull into my pad routine.

Thanks guys :)
 

joshthedrumkid97

Senior Member
I'm very impressed if you managed to play it cleanly and it's your first song! I do practise stick control, singles, etc. but I think I might need to practise the moeller or push pull motion for this one.



That's how I coped with it last night - I kept trying to keep the motions small and relaxed. I can't be too quite though as it is a punky song. In some places the groove moves to the floor tom so I have to try and keep the volume up on their a bit. Hi-hats and floor tom are both a bit low on rebound so I don't get a great deal of help from them. I have some software to slow the song down so I think that'll be a starting point - part of the problem was probably just that I hadn't played the song before, even though I was vaguely familiar with it.

On some of the faster original songs this band does I'm sometimes not sure whether to play quarter notes or eighth notes. This one is definitely an eight note feel so can't even cheat and play quarters.

I'm far more at home with slower funky songs than fast punk songs, but oh well I can't keep falling back on what I can do.

Thanks for sharing the pain :)

Back to work for me too... so very difficult when the drummerworld forum is a shortcut on my browser bar..
Well when i started all the only thing i practiced was green day. and getting up to speed with american idiot was one of my goals. For the speed, i only mentioned what I did for speed development but sure do whatever you want. Im only 14 lol
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
Speaking of which, the next time you're in the mall and they're playing Shoe Store Drum 'n Bass, think of this song and marvel how they'd already put that groove to bed in 1967:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPwSu1ETx2A
Oh man this is just.... well very very good. But I think if I had to play this (as Fox has already pointed out I'm a really slow player :) ) I'd let the tamborine take the 8's and I'd just play the quarter notes (to give the tambourine player some space you understand).

On Green Day. Never been a big fan of the band or Tre Cool but I have to say he pins those 8's down really well and in the video of the live performance he looks really relaxed doing it. Respect to the man. He can play.
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
Judging by what I see at 3:52 in the video and the changing stick height on his strokes throughout, it appears Tre is using some rocking Moeller kind of motion with a French Grip to play those passages. I tend to a French Grip when playing fast eighths on the HH, too. I think you get some really good use of the elbow/bicep to get some rocking going on in that position.

The trick is to use more than one muscle group (i.e.a rocking motion) to distribute the work. As mentioned above in the thread, start slower and patiently work your way up over time, never playing to the point of excess tension. Stay cool, calm, relaxed and smile when you practice. Seriously, try to get any mental tension out of playing fast and it'll reflect in your musculature. I usually imagine my hand/stick being a wet noodle and just wiggling their way home.

I have a wedding/function band I play with that loves to kick off the set with Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson which requires eighths at 190. Lovely way to start of the night...Jerks.

Speaking of which, the next time you're in the mall and they're playing Shoe Store Drum 'n Bass, think of this song and marvel how they'd already put that groove to bed in 1967:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPwSu1ETx2A
Thanks Boomka, I'll be giving that a try tonight. I often forget about using my upper arm more; it seems to move more as a byproduct than anything at the moment even when I do moeller. It has occurred to me in the past to use it more when I watched Tommy Igoe play some of the fast rock grooves on one of the GE dvds.

I'll have a listen to that youtube clip when I get home, can't put the sound on at work at any reasonable volume.. Though I do have the live Formula 1 practise session streaming at the moment...

I don't know, F1, DW forum, I think maybe I should get on with some work ;-)

Thanks again! :)
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
Oh man this is just.... well very very good. But I think if I had to play this (as Fox has already pointed out I'm a really slow player :) ) I'd let the tamborine take the 8's and I'd just play the quarter notes (to give the tambourine player some space you understand).

On Green Day. Never been a big fan of the band or Tre Cool but I have to say he pins those 8's down really well and in the video of the live performance he looks really relaxed doing it. Respect to the man. He can play.
Yes - I think the band I'm in often forget I'm not a pro/top drummer (or even mediocre) and can't just instantly play these fast or complicated parts. After we played it I said "I think I'm gonna have to put a lot of work into that", to which they said "sounded alright". Doh. I really really hope they don't want to gig it anytime soon, it's meant to be for February at a well paid gig (hence why we are adding some covers, value added, may help get more paid gigs to fund less well paid gigs, touring, etc).
 
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Too Many Songs

Senior Member
Yes - I think the band I'm in often forget I'm not a pro/top drummer and can't just instantly play these fast or complicated parts. After we played it I said "I think I'm gonna have to put a lot of work into that", to which they said "sounded alright". Doh. I really really hope they don't want to gig it anytime soon, it's meant to be for February at a well paid gig (hence why we are adding some covers, value added, may help get more paid gigs to fund less well paid gigs, touring, etc).
It happens to us all I think. Couple of years back a band I was in decided they wanted to cover some Police songs. That was a challenge for me. But I have to say that my playing improved and I learnt quite a lot from trying to mimic Stewart Copeland's playing. The nice thing about covers is that they force you to play what you wouldn't naturally do if you had absolute carte blanche. I'd say treat taking on the covers as an exercise in expanding your playing palette.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
Oh man this is just.... well very very good. But I think if I had to play this (as Fox has already pointed out I'm a really slow player :) ) I'd let the tamborine take the 8's and I'd just play the quarter notes (to give the tambourine player some space you understand).

On Green Day. Never been a big fan of the band or Tre Cool but I have to say he pins those 8's down really well and in the video of the live performance he looks really relaxed doing it. Respect to the man. He can play.
The tambourine is killin'... and the conga player is, too. Oh and the rhythm guitar in the opposite channel driving the point home. I spontaneously start swaying to this tune EVE...RY...TIME.... Never fails. We'd all be blessed to have been part of one groove that good.
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
The tambourine is killin'... and the conga player is, too. Oh and the rhythm guitar in the opposite channel driving the point home. I spontaneously start swaying to this tune EVE...RY...TIME.... Never fails. We'd all be blessed to have been part of one groove that good.
Is it Eddie Brown on percussion? He is THE MAN. Nobody has ever topped the tambourine playing on the opening bars of 'Heard it through the Grapevine'
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
The tambourine is killin'... and the conga player is, too. Oh and the rhythm guitar in the opposite channel driving the point home. I spontaneously start swaying to this tune EVE...RY...TIME.... Never fails. We'd all be blessed to have been part of one groove that good.
yes! & those 8's would be hard work to keep 'em straight for a whole song, especially at the start of a set without a warm up. Ouch!!! Bo's pretty good at fast 8's with little effort.
 
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