Any non-youngsters out there who did the Guitar Center Drum-Off

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
Just wondering if anyone out there over the age of 35 has participated in the Guitar Center Drum Off. What was it like and how did you do?

I'm going to do it next week, sort of as a bucket list item and would appreciate some pointers.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
When it comes to these sorts of contests, I've heard it's best to plan your work then work your plan.

Also, make sure you own and know how to use an octopad.
 

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
When it comes to these sorts of contests, I've heard it's best to plan your work then work your plan.

Also, make sure you own and know how to use an octopad.
Thanks man, that's sound advice, well put.

Octopad... nah, I'm comfortable with electronics but I'd rather go old-school groove with some musicality and dynamics, at least I'll try...
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
Watching the previous winners the past couple years the octopad has played a big roll in the solo's so I'd plan on incorporating it some. I'm old school, love the drumming more than all the use of the octopad but unfortunately that's what it's become.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I did it way back when before it became a huge deal, and won the local store contest, and then from there they wanted to determine who would represent the local store against all the other stores. Does that count?
 

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
I did it way back when before it became a huge deal, and won the local store contest, and then from there they wanted to determine who would represent the local store against all the other stores. Does that count?
Wow, that's great Matt. What happened after that? Did you represent the store or or group of stores?
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Wow, that's great Matt. What happened after that? Did you represent the store or or group of stores?
No, there were two much better players that day. But it was a fun thing. I was already gigging so it wasn't something I consciously prepared for.
 

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
No, there were two much better players that day. But it was a fun thing. I was already gigging so it wasn't something I consciously prepared for.
Cool, I'm going in with the same mindset and I'm pretty busy with my band too. I expect it to be a lot of fun and will be supportive of everyone I meet that day.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Cool, I'm going in with the same mindset and I'm pretty busy with my band too. I expect it to be a lot of fun and will be supportive of everyone I meet that day.
You definitely have to approach it with the fun-factor. I've seen some of these things just be the worst regarding attitudes and egos. When I did it, I saw a guy who didn't think he did well, totally throw a tantrum after he was done. Some of these people take this insanely seriously. So I think if you go in with just the attitude that you're friendly, and you're gonna give it your best and laughing (that's a big one) then you will maintain a modicum of mental balance.

The worst nightmare is parents who show up and get upset that their kid didn't win and want to talk to the judges....every one forgets this is art and there is no right and wrong, much less any kind of physical measurement to gauge greatness, and that's pretty sad. It's sadder still when you meet the winners a year later and they're all bitter that they're not doing anything with their drums. Drum solo competitions, like everything else you could do in music (get a degree, study with a star, get a mullet like Dave Weckl,....) guarantee absolutely nothing.

Have fun though and let us know how many friends you were able to make! That was the first time I got to meet Gregg Bissonette and Myron Grombacher, who were both judging, and both said they liked some of the stuff I was doing - pretty vague, but I wasn't expecting them to say anything to me afterwards. They were very nice guys.
 

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
The result can be summed up in one phrase: Bull in a China shop :)

Overall, I had a good time talking with and especially playing percussion with the other drummers - all young (I'm old enough to be their Dad) - they had a circle of congas, so I started the drum conversation with a simple supportive pattern so they could all join in - it really was great, it shows the brotherhood that we innately have. No egos or bad behavior.

Simple points:
- The other guys were more indy-type hipster drummers
- They brought vintage snares
- I brought a modded double-pedal (trick universal shaft and Tama wood beaters).

That should tell you everything:) I was the only guy with a double-pedal.

I thought each guy played more musically and dynamically than I did. When it was my turn, my planned solo was based around a Jill Scott funky/swinging bassline that would morph into brutal Pantera double bass patterns with some Chris Adler/Tommy Aldridge metal chops thrown in. When I got done, the other drummers gave me way too many compliments! I complimented their playing as well. My wife said I was brutal and twice the volume of everyone else, the MC said I was the most brutal he's seen, but I didn't get picked, which is fine because like I said, they were more dynamic and musical, I was just an old-school hybrid metal drummer throwing down. I didn't expect to be picked, and the judges were indy rock types (a little snobby, and that's ok), BUT to be told I was the most brutal was all I needed :) It made my day, I was very happy.. A few people in the audience came up to me and said it was ridiculous that I wasn't picked, but I told them why I shouldn't be - so, a good experience all around.

There was one guy who played excellent funk grooves - very open, he had the best timing/meter out of everyone - the other guys were not. I found that to be a bit alarming that it was just me and this other guy (he didn't get picked either) that could actually carry a band - playing solid timing, even authoritative patterns, defining the song. The other kids were messing up 8th note patterns, triplets and even some simple rolls that you could hear were not solid, missing notes, dragged or rushed. I recommended to them practicing more with percussive backgrounds or with click-tracks, but I think the best advice I gave to them was to get more involved with bands and being self-aware of your timing "in real-time" as it would eventually build confidence and help improve driving a band or establishing a groove. Seriously, I worry about some kids today as mentioned in other threads (YouTube technical vs. leading a band).

In summary:
1) Bucket list item completed.
2) Reaffirmed my belief that all drummers are bros.
3) These types of contests are really meant for younger guys to get more exposure - I truly hope some of these kids move on to be pros.
4) Learning experience for me - I need to be more musical. Lessons and a new practice routine are in order...
5) The learning experiences will never end...
6) Drums = happiness!
 
Last edited:

DW-Doug

Senior Member
I drifted away from drums for way to many years to compete at that level with kids that eat and sleep their play time like I might have as a teen. There were a couple of natural drummers I couldn't compete with locally when I was young. Didn't have the training, they had the talent. Don't get me wrong, I was a talented snare drummer in high school band, great rudamentary skills. But I lacked set skills, because I didn't play enough or didn't understand concepts.

So I would not embarrass myself today trying to keep up with those same youngsters when I am a year short of 60. I have fun with my drums, and have kick a$$ sets, and also play guitar, so my time is diverted among whole band duties. Vocals, Guitar, Bass, and Drums. I have a blast, that's what I am in for.

But my drumming has come a long way back this year. I do some things I never did. I'd like to think age has graced my style. Experience is a teacher, listening to jazz, everything, playing old time rock of the greats. I have no doubt there's a thing or two I could teach a youngster, if they wanted to learn. But it's also my secret to keep if I want. ;)
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Thanks for getting back to us. I was curious as to how it went.

I know that there's a judge scoring sheet, but I swear once you get to the national level with those things, how do you pick...really?
 

DW-Doug

Senior Member
it seems very judgemental, not always fair for sure. I viewed a LOT of the hit like a girl contestants this year. While I liked the end choice and I chose her as well, there were a couple of other girls I really dug their style and play. I could see where someone else might choose them. Same thing here. Every judge has styles they like, probably that come close to their own in some ways sometimes... So, what one judge may like, another may scoff at. Ehhh, it's just like ice skating judging I guess.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I give you a lot of credit for going out there and throwing your hat in the ring. I would go and attend but I would NEVER sign up to compete.

Now if they had a BAND to play behind...everyone plays the same medley or whatever...that I'd consider.
 

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
I give you a lot of credit for going out there and throwing your hat in the ring. I would go and attend but I would NEVER sign up to compete.

Now if they had a BAND to play behind...everyone plays the same medley or whatever...that I'd consider.
Larry, I think that's a great idea! Maybe Samash or another competitor or corporation should do that. Wouldn't that show how a drummer shines best?

BTW, thanks for the kudos man.
 
Last edited:

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
it seems very judgemental, not always fair for sure. I viewed a LOT of the hit like a girl contestants this year. While I liked the end choice and I chose her as well, there were a couple of other girls I really dug their style and play. I could see where someone else might choose them. Same thing here. Every judge has styles they like, probably that come close to their own in some ways sometimes... So, what one judge may like, another may scoff at. Ehhh, it's just like ice skating judging I guess.
You're absolutely right. Especially in what I just experienced.

The judges in this case were hipster indy types (dressed the part), they were looking for more of their kind (and they were picked). So, the minute they see me setting up a double pedal, looking like beefed up 90's metal, they already decided. Then, the African American kid who I mentioned below with amazing groove/time skills (who should have won) was also passed up. If they did this right, they would have more rounded judges or at least a variety of backgrounds/experience in many genres.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Maybe they should turn their chairs around (a la The Voice). I think for all of the Winfield Contests, the judges judge "blind."
 
Top