Donny Gruendler here!

Ozzy Biz

Platinum Member
Welcome to DW. It's always great to have a seasoned pro join the forum. Hopefully you'll enjoy as much as we do.

Biz
 

Disco Stu

Senior Member
Hey Donny, great to have you on the forum. I dig the little video clip of your playing on your Drummerworld page. Those are the kind of funky beats I am currently trying to develop (I'm studying the styles of the great Clyde Stubblefield and Jabo Starks). Your expertise with loops is very interesting to me, so it's cool you've put out a book on the subject. Again, great to have you here.
 

Donny Gruendler

DW PRO DRUMMER
Hello Disco Stu,
Thanks for the reply and for your kind words - I do appreciate it. In addition, if you have any questions -- or would just like to chat more -- please feel free to write anytime.

Furthermore, If you go to my site www.donnygruendler.com and click on the "contact us" link (and write me) -- I'll give you my private e mail as well.

Talk to you soon,
Donny
 

Disco Stu

Senior Member
Thanks Donny. That's very cool of you to offer. As a matter of fact, I do have a couple questions that may be a bit lengthy to post here, so I'm going to relay it through your site.
 

NUTHA JASON

Senior Administrator
hi donny

i'm asking all the pros this question. i think the answers could be very instructive to many of us.
let's say there was a totally new drum rudiment that was suddenly discovered and was so totally applicable that any drummer worth their salt would quickly try to learn it, master it and use it in recordings and gigs. this hypothetical new rudiment is quite hard to play and totally unrelated to any other rudiment. it is so good that you know that the next time you sit in on a session the writer is probably going to ask you to use it somewhere in their song.
my question is: starting from scratch what would be your way of learning it?

thanks
j
 

Donny Gruendler

DW PRO DRUMMER
Hello Jason (and all DW forum members),

This is a great question. Many of my students at PIT have difficulty learning a new piece of unfamiliar material from “scratch”. My answer may be too in depth; but I would rather be thorough for everyone.

Talk soon,

Donny G
_______________

Here it goes:


Subdivision:
First off, I would examine the new rudiment’s rhythmic subdivision. Is it 16th notes? 8th notes? 8th note triplets or sextuplets? For the sake of this response, let’s say that this new rudiment is straight 16th notes. Wit this in mind, I will set my click track to play every 16th note subdivision.

Rhythm – play it slow to understand it properly
Secondly, I will practice this new rudiments rhythm at a very slow tempo. (Around 50-55 bpm’s with the click every 16th subdivision.) This will help me to understand the rudiments “skeleton” and shape. I will strive to line up every note of this rudiment with the click’s 16th notes. This will help with the spacing of each note, as well as my time in general. Remember, if I do not understand the rhythm – then I cannot play the pattern properly or musically. Thus, slow and steady is the key (I can always bump up the tempo later).

Motion: Preparation strokes
Once I have the previous two concepts under my belt, it would be time to examine if my motions look/feel comfortable. Are there any “preparation strokes” that will help me to play this more fluidly? (Upstrokes, down strokes and the like..) If so, I will add them now. At this point, I can now examine my body’s movement as well. Do I feel comfortable? Am I tensing up? If so, I will do my best to relax. I may stay at this practice point for a while...

Combine all the previous steps: add orchestrations
Once I have isolated all these items and they feel comfortable – I will put them together. Now, I will develop a few orchestrations around the kit (again, at a slow tempo). These could be as follows:

Fill/solo ideas
1. Right Hand accents on the floor tom and Left Hand accents on the high tom. (Unaccented notes on the snare)
2. Use the same formula as number 1; but put the accents on the bass drum and crash cymbals.
3. Combine both numbers 1 and 2 into your own voicing.
4. Now, use them in a musical context: Play 3 bars of time and on the fourth bar – play this new rudiment. Thus, you are now playing a four bar phrase.

Time ideas:
1. Play the Hihat, BD and Snare in a normal time keeping fashion. Right hand accents would be on the HH (RH) and Bass Drum. Left hand accents would be on the snare. This would most likely sound like a Gadd rudimental groove or linear pattern. (Depending on the rudiment itself).
2. Again, put it into a musical phrase: 3 bars of normal groove time and then insert this orchestration on the fourth bar. (Another 4 bar phrase)
3. Musical Phrase 2: Play the Groove from time idea number 1 for three bars and insert a fill on the fourth bar.

Combinations
At this stage, the sky is the limit. Try your best to combine all the previous ideas into your own musical licks and phrases.

** Throughout these orchestrations and as I get more comfortable with these patterns -- I would gradually increase the tempo. In addition, I would also subtract subdivisions from the click — to eventually end up with quarter notes (on the click). For example: Start w/ 16ths, put it on 8ths for a while – then quarter notes.

Throughout this lengthy process – it is important to enjoy yourself and think musically.
If anyone has questions – please feel free to write/e mail anytime.

Donny
 

NUTHA JASON

Senior Administrator
hell of an answer donny. exactly what i was aiming for. i particularly like the first three points:

Subdivision:
First off, I would examine the new rudiment’s rhythmic subdivision. Is it 16th notes? 8th notes? 8th note triplets or sextuplets? For the sake of this response, let’s say that this new rudiment is straight 16th notes. Wit this in mind, I will set my click track to play every 16th note subdivision.

Rhythm – play it slow to understand it properly
Secondly, I will practice this new rudiments rhythm at a very slow tempo. (Around 50-55 bpm’s with the click every 16th subdivision.) This will help me to understand the rudiments “skeleton” and shape. I will strive to line up every note of this rudiment with the click’s 16th notes. This will help with the spacing of each note, as well as my time in general. Remember, if I do not understand the rhythm – then I cannot play the pattern properly or musically. Thus, slow and steady is the key (I can always bump up the tempo later).

Motion: Preparation strokes
Once I have the previous two concepts under my belt, it would be time to examine if my motions look/feel comfortable. Are there any “preparation strokes” that will help me to play this more fluidly? (Upstrokes, down strokes and the like..) If so, I will add them now. At this point, I can now examine my body’s movement as well. Do I feel comfortable? Am I tensing up? If so, I will do my best to relax. I may stay at this practice point for a while...
i've got to say in particular this last one is the most interesting to me as i have often learned a rudiment on a pad at a slow tempo but then battled to move beyond that. things like ratamacues and the flam family are good examples of where thought needs to be paid about what movement and position comes before, during and after each stroke of the piece.
the jeff queen DVD i got a couple of months ago really jumped this concept out at me and has helped alot. in some ways drumming is like playing professional pool. sinking the balls is important but making sure the cue ball ends up in a good place for the next shot is just as important.
sometimes this happens naturally as a subconscious need to be ready for the next stroke but many patterns require a conscious drilling of a movement to program the body for the higher tempos.

thanks again.
j
 

Donny Gruendler

DW PRO DRUMMER
Hello Jason,
Thanks for the quick reply! In addition, (and although I am unfamilar w/ the Jeff Queen DVD) I learned the motions/preparations from a rudimental snare drum book entitled Haskell Harr Book 2. It has sections for each rudiment and within each of those sections it diplays the different variations of the rudiments notation -- as well as detailed diagrams (using arrows and photos) of the particular rudiments proper motion(s). (Upstrokes, preparations etc..) After that, it has short solos that isolate each rudiment. Thus, by the end of the text - you are effectively playing combination solos that include all the rudiments (with the proper motions).

I think that it is still in print and approx. 12 dollars. Well worth the investment (if anyone is interested).

Have a great day and I look forward to talking with you soon.
Donny
 
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NUTHA JASON

Senior Administrator
not available in the uk unfortunately. but i will keep an eye out.


sorry to load you up with questions but here's another one...

in the August 1992 issue of modern drummer there was a great and useful article titled: THE 25 GREATEST DRUM RECORDS. because of it i bought steely dan's AJA in a time when i was almost exclusively addicted to AC/DC.
they wrote this article by researching across the industry but in particular they asked some of the top guys for their top ten selections. i'm hoping to do a similar thing here on DW and post the reults in a separate thread eventually.
So if you would be so kind please give us a list of your own top ten (perhaps your current top 10) records/albums. it would be helpful if you identified your favourite out of those and dropped in a line why it is so...but this is not totally necessary. think of it like if you were going to be locked in a remote log cabin for a whole winter, which 10 albums would you take, if 10 were all you could take?

thanks
j
 

Donny Gruendler

DW PRO DRUMMER
Hello Jason,
As for the Haskell Harr book -- shoot me an e mail from the contact page of my site www.donnygruendler.com. If you provide me with your address, I would be happy to send a book your way....

As for the top ten recordings, that is a super tough decision. However, here area list of my all-time favorites (that seem to always end up in iPod playlist):

1. David Sanborn - Upfront -- Steve Jordan on Drums
2. Miles Davis - "Workin'" - Philly Joe Jones on Drums
3. John Coltrane - Crescent - Elvin on Drums
4. Prince - Greatest Hits and the B sides
5. Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life
6. Hitsville U.S.A. - Motown Box set
7. Led Zeppelin I
8. Count Basie - The Complete Atomic Basie (Sonny Payne on Drums)
9.James Brown - Greatest Hits
10. Chick Corea - The Leprechaun - (Gadd on Drums)

Talk to you soon,
Donny
 

Donny Gruendler

DW PRO DRUMMER
Hey Jason,
If you have the money to spend, the David Sanborn CD(w/ Steve Jordan on Drums) is grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat!

BTW -- Do you get my e mail about the Haskell Book too?

Donny
 

Donny Gruendler

DW PRO DRUMMER
Hello Everybody,
Ahh.. a nice morning in California. Just having some coffee and checking some e mails. With this in mind, I have received many e mails lately -- and many of them as the age old question "how to practice". Well, I know there are thousands of valid methods on the subject. However, since our common aim in the DW forum is to share knowledge. - I thought I would pass along a response that I have sent to one such drummer friend...
I hope this helps out there!

Donny G

Excerpt of the Question:
I finally have the opportunity to invest more time in what I love, and that's getting regular time behind a kit again.

I hope to get a little advice - your opinion means a lot. I really wanted to know how you practiced. What warm-ups and practice methods or routines do you employ? I'm not a beginner, but find my playing kind of trapped in a rut, if you know what I mean. I realize there are a hundred avenues to go with this, but I'm looking for any and all advice you could give.

Excerpt of the Response:

Preparation
The most important thing to do is actually prior to your practice session.
Before you even sit down at your kit, it is very important to decide what
item/items to be accomplished that day, week and month. For example: Do not
sit down, "jam" at the kit -- and then examine what else you need to work
on.. That is called playing. (Playing is running through what you already
know how to do -- and do quite well.) This is wonderful for having fun
(which we need to do) as well as for finding inspiration. However, do not
confuse it with practicing.

Practicing on the other hand is actually working on things that are new,
challenging or difficult for you to accomplish in the here and now.
Anything that you cannot do easily or comfortably. Thus, develop a list of
goals for that day, the rest of the week and then the month. Take notes each
day on what you have worked on, the tempos covered and what still needs
work. Then review them (and build upon them)the next day... This will insure
consistent progress and help you make the most of your practice time each
day. As these initial items get easier -- add new goals and difficulties to
your practice session list. The great thing about this is that it can be
applied to any drumming subject that you wish to learn.

An example within context:
So lets just say that you play 4/4 8th note rock very well; but your one
handed 16th note grooves are uncomfortable to play -- and make groove. Put
this on your list of things to accomplish. Take note that 80 bpms is OK; but
95 bpms is still difficult. In addition, also that 2 note BD patterns are
fine; but groups of three (or four) are difficult. Then, work on this for a
while, take some detailed notes, make some progress and then reward yourself
with fun (inspiration). Thus could be done with a short jam session to a 8th
note groove and CD track etc... Make sense? Furthermore, any warm-ups that
you could do would also work in tandem with this one handed 16th note groove
goal. i.e. warming up on the snare with alternating 16ths, then rrll, rrrr
llll, etc. This will prepare you to tackle your new goal.

Anyway, I hope this helps and please feel free to write again with any
additional questions. Have a great day and I look forward to talking with
you soon.
 

mind_drummer

Platinum Member
Good Morning Donny

I'm about to know you better, I mean seeing you here and followed the DW link, you look like an interesting person and efficient drummer. Your post are interesting too and well detailed.

Again I wish you a welcome on DW forum and I hope you'll have fun and enjoy your stay.
 

Vinnysimmo

Senior Member
Hello Donny.
Ive been asking a lot of pros this question. If you could only play drums for one hour of evry day, what would your practie routine be?
Thanks
// Vincent.
 

Donny Gruendler

DW PRO DRUMMER
Hello Vincent,
I appologize for my late reply -- It has been a very busy summer here in Los Angeles! In addition, you have asked one great question! (It is one that I answer quite a bit for my students at Musicians Institute as well).

With this in mind, I believe that if you are organized - you can accomplish quite a bit in an hour of practice. Thus (and if you only have an hour to practice), I suggest that you work your fundamentals.

This would include timekeeping (in both triplet and straight 8th based grooves), followed by reading and any independence issues that arise from the previous two. This way you are working on things that will help you directly - for both recording and live performance. Furthermore, and when you have extra time (after working on your fundamentals) - you can reward yourself by playing to your favorite CD.

I hope this helps.. I could write and talk about this for hours! Please feel free to write or email anytime with additional questions or concerns.
Donny
 
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