Anyone else here go from being a guitarist to a drummer?


Was wondering who else here has started out as a guitar player then went to drums? I wish I had known from the start how much easier it is for drummers to get accepted into bands because they are harder to come by...


Platinum Member
I picked up drums 2 years ago, coming from the guitar (electric - 22 yrs, acoustic - 4 yrs). I do continue to play guitars but way less, now focusing on drums.

I disagree a bit with what you said as for acceptance in bands. What matters is having GOOD musicians. It seems there's more guitarists than drummers and depending on your specific equipment, setting up guitars is easier than hauling around drums. But in the end it's quality, not quantity. Who needs mediocre guitarists...

Also, I wouldn't choose an instrument considering how much 'sought after' it is in a band setting. I'm always going for what attracts me most. (That's why I was practicing scales 'n arpeggios while grunge was a fad, haha. I couldn't care less.)


Senior Member
I've played guitar since I was 7. Got heavily into drum programming from the late 80s onwards, then hand percussion (not so heavily, but I get by). I only got into playing drums relatively recently though. However, for the past 20 years or so I've transcribed loads of drum stuff, watched drumming videos galore, bought transcription books, read drum magazines etc. In all that time I developed a 'virtual' style, through programming. Because of that I feel like someone who's been in a serious accident and is learning to play again (although I could never play in the first place!). My muscles are playing catchup with my brain. Whether they ever will is another matter entirely, of course (should have started earlier).

Yeah, drummers often get more gigs, but they're usually the first to set up and the last to leave (that's what always put me off). I've been learning Melodica the last 5 years...the ultimate gigging instrument!


Platinum Member
I played guitar for 6-7 yrs during and after high school then lost interest (mid 90's). I got into drumming 2-3 yrs ago, and then started getting back into guitar a few months ago.

Its shocking how much of a difference even just 2 yrs of drumming has made on guitar playing; my sense of time is soo much better... Back when I played guitar a lot I thought I was good, or at least decent, but looking back, I was horrible. I basically learned all the tricks and shortcuts necessary to get by in metal/hardcore bands, but never any of the fundamentals (non-power chords, counting/timing, etc.).


Platinum Member
I'm in this camp. I've been playing lead guitar since 1986 and in bands since 1990. I've made the switch from guitar to bass guitar a couple of times during that time, which included trying to be a REAL bass player (not just a guitar player on bass) and playing lots of gigs in a few different bands.

Decided 2 years ago to give drums a serious shot and have barely picked up a guitar since then. I'm not where I want to be, but I am gigging with an original band and getting compliments on my playing fairly often (which is encouraging.)

All of my guitar player friends think I'm a weirdo when I switch from guitar to another instrument, but whatever... he he

It does take some time to get used to being in the background (on both bass and drums), because I was used to being the lead guitar dude.


Junior Member
A great topic -for anyone who has done something else and ended up here!

Started out on guitar -got accepted and went to Berklee because of it. It was great! And still is and will always be my main instrument because I've been at it the longest. But to be perfectly honest, I got burned out on it -to much of a good thing, I suppose.

I wanted to try other things. I picked up bass which wasn't too bad because my hands were in shape. It was just a matter of switching mindsets from a lead to a rhythm instrument. Did that in a few bands. Had studied a great deal of piano by that point as well, and was having fun with synthesis and composition. Did that in a band.

But let me back track.....

I jumped into playing drums because my cousin had a kit in high school, and would let me play on it while offering some minimal instruction. He said I'd be good at it, which was definitely encouraging. During my junior year in high school, the band drummer quit. The chair was empty, and the director asked if I wanted to try out. I had a little coordination with the hi hat and bass drum to go along with some rolls my cousin taught me. I said sure, and apparently that was enough for him since no one else jumped at the chance. The band director was also a drummer, so he became my instructor in a limited capacity. He gave me a book on rudiments, and a practice pad and sent me home to practice, saying that my feet would catch up eventually. When summer came along, he gave me the drum set to take home and practice and the rest is history!!

I eventually bought a CB700 for $75 and moved up. However, I didn't actually get my first drumming gig till about 12 years later. When a very good punk band had their drummer quit on them. They had "heard" about me, that I was this guitar player that had mysteriously switched to drums -not knowing that I had already been behind the kit for about 12 years or so. I had been to their gigs and was somewhat familiar with their music. I showed up one day when they were playing around they said their drummer quit. They told me to give it a shot and they began with this really up tempo song. It was about 4 min long and I petered out about 2 minutes into it!!! I had the chops but no stamina!! I had never done this in a band setting. So I worked on my stamina and ended up with them for a while and eventually moved on to the band I'm in now -been here a while now.

And love it! Can't really play as much as I would like because I have to pay the bills with my job. But we get together and write, record, and gig on occasion. My job gets in the way and I'm on the road a lot. But when I'm home and we get together, it's like an old shoe!

I can't tell you how much fun drumming is -because you all know this already! There is just something about being hidden behind all this gear that you get to hit and people applaud you for it. Not to mention, that you are the locomotive of this thing. Have you heard a bunch of electric instruments with no drummer? It's just not the same. Everything is riding on you!!! A band is as good as it's drummer. You could have the best musicians in the world, but if the drummer sucks, the band sucks. Not so much with the other musicians (at least from my perspective, the inverse is not true). Even with mediocre musicians if the drummer is good, he can still glue it together -kind of. It won't be great, but people can still tap their feet to it -you get my point. There's something about watching people pulse to what the music is doing. Well, the component that makes them MOVE is the RHYTHM and this means YOU! Not bad for someone hiding behind a bunch of gear on stage. A pretty big responsibility, wouldn't you say!?

And it just goes without saying what drumming has done for my piano playing, bass playing and guitar playing. I'm a far better guitar player now than I was before playing drums. So I guess, burning out for a little while allows one to try something else. I'm glad it worked out this way!

Long-winded, I know. But thanks for reading!
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Platinum Member
I was always a drummer. From 8 years old It was what I wanted to do.Always tapping on things, making my own sticks.
Sadly, back in the early 60s kits were outside the reach of me or my parents earnings. Also, being loud, there would be nowhere to practice or anyway to transport them, so I bought a guitar and eventually ended up in bands playing and singing lead.
I enjoyed this, but never missed the opportunity to play the drummers kit. The itch would not go away.
Eventually music called me again, after a long lay off, and it was my first love I embraced. Now I can afford the kit I want and have transport, so no barriers.

In a way I am glad I had to wait 25 years to get where I am. All the drumming I missed is just flowing out, and I can express myself drumming like I never could with the guitar.


Silver Member
In my first band i was the guitarist. I started on piano and violin, added guitar/bass guitar and drums. primarily a drummer but can handle most musical situations on the others as well.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I've played many things, but for 25 years guitar has been my main instrument and I'm an educated electric guitar player/teacher.

I've always been interested in drums and had the opportunity presented itself earlier I'd probably started earlier. I'm also someone who's known to be pretty picky especially when it comes to a drummer's groove, dynamic control and overall musicality. Good drummers have been hard to find, and when you want to do a dynamic, improvisational Landau type thing they are close to impossible to find.

I got seriously into the drums as I suddenly got a lot of drum students in my small town, public teaching gig. At my current age offcourse I can buy a drumset if I want one. The first year I didn't have a kit available much, but I did some research, got the right books and videos as well as a couple of lessons and would spend about 5-6 hours on the pad almost every day. Yes, I had no life in this small town. lol

Due to some health issues I decided to quit university after my Bachelor degree, but I alwys wanted to continue studying and the goal at this point is to audition on drums, instead of guitar, in a couple of years.

I've been doing this only about 3 years now, and have only had my own kit for one year. I try to cover a lot of ground so there's a limit to how far one can get in that time.

My main inspiration is Vinnieespecially since the Document album, when his groove to me started getting deeper and the Five Piece Band album is like my holy grail of jazz music, but I'm also very much into David Garibaldi, Manu Katche, and the Norwegian drummers Paolo Vinnaccia and Rune Arnesen. I've been a fan for a long time regardless, as they play on my all of my all time favourite records. Offcourse I love Papa Jo, Elvin, Jon Christensen and those old cats as well. So much joy, passion and individuality in their playing.

I haven't played that long, but I work hard and I'm still the same musician I was as a guitar or saxophone player. Very Vinnie influenced, but something unusual in my environment with a traditional Norwegian and ethnical twist.

I'm saving up for a set of tablas now. I'm not to big on Indian music, but I just love the tabla sound in the right context and I don't really dig digital stuff. Hence, I must try to learn the real thing a little bit. Always liked it, but when hearing Satnam Ramgotra I was sold.


Thanks for the replies everyone! It's very exciting to know that becoming a drummer can also make you a better guitar player!