Gavin Harrison here!

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi bananers

I recently also made the trip from London to Bristol to come and see you with The Pineapple Thief and it was mind-blowing! Following this I have been steadily going through 'Rhythmic Illusions' and so far I'm loving challenging myself again and really getting stuck into displacement and where I can take these ideas myself.

Thanks for the message - I'm glad you enjoyed the Pineapple Thief show - we had a blast too !

Hi Jennifer Leijen

I smashed 3 SHAR2 sticks and one VF 2B during this show and was forced to use my last SHAR2 and 2B together, that's why I am using two different sticks here. Never broken so many sticks in one hour, I always take two different pairs in case I want to switch. Will receive the Sonor Protean snare today btw, looking forward to it !

thanks for the birthday wishes. I've had many shows myself where I've broken a lot of sticks. I hope you like the snare drum.

Hi Tjalling

Been a long time fan. .3 from the In Absentia album is one of the greatest pieces of music I've ever heard, and I love your work on the song. Do you by any chance have a small part of the (handwritten) transcription of the main groove you play on .3? I know it's not the most difficult groove to play, but I'd love to see the way you put your thoughts on the song on paper.

I'm sorry to say that I don't think I have a transcription (or my original notes) from that song. I probably did make a chart for the session but I don't know where it is now.

cheers
Gavin
 

bananers

Junior Member
Thanks for the message - I'm glad you enjoyed the Pineapple Thief show - we had a blast too !
Thanks so much for the reply Gavin! I'll be seeing you with King Crimson at Royal Albert Hall at the end of the month, hopefully be able to catch you at some point then! Looking forward to it!
 
Hi Gavin, hope all is well!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9acA7vyaDag

^ This is something that I thought might be of interest to you as well as me. I recently came across this video yesterday on tuning toms and it REALLY grabbed me because I don't think I've ever seen such a methodical video on drum tuning before. In it, Nolly talks about tuning the resonant head a semitone below the overall note you're aiming for and then tuning the batter head a minor 3rd below the resonant head. So say you're aiming for the pitch of the drum to be a D, you tune the resonant head to a C# and then the batter head to an A#. I don't know how on earth they worked all this out but I tried the method today it definitely seems to work! Have you ever tried this method? I remember you saying you tune the bottom tom heads higher - is a minor 3rd higher in the right kind of ball park?

I ask this because I did a little experiment today - I took the notes of your toms (from the David Letterman performance) and found they were higher than what Nolly recommends in the video. I tried tuning my toms to those notes using Nolly's method and found the method worked but the drums choked up a little at those pitches, losing a lot of their attack and low-end giving them almost a jazzy kind of sound. But I notice your toms seem to retain a lot more meatiness at that kind of tuning. I have a Mapex Saturn and was using coated Emperor heads (similar enough to what you use). So this made me think that either the relationship between batter / resonant on your kit is significantly different to that of Nolly's system or it's the undersized Sonor shells that make the difference. And I'm leaning towards the latter being the more likely. Would you say it's easier to tune the Sonor drums relatively high without them choking up compared to other drums because of those shells?
 

Jennifer Leijen

Junior Member
thanks for the birthday wishes. I've had many shows myself where I've broken a lot of sticks. I hope you like the snare drum.
Saying ‘I like it’ would be an understatement. Can’t explain how it makes me feel when playing it. I’ve used it live at Patronaat again last week and I’m simply blown away by the sound (I can actually hear it when I’m playing the snare drum with my fingertips now, haha). I have put the setlist from that night right next to Incognito’s setlist on the wall there. They played in Patronaat a few months ago.

Will record a jazz session with this snare later this year and an album for the band I’m in, looking forward to recording and mixing it.

So, thanks for designing it! Won’t be able to see you with King Crimson as I’m currently in the USA, but will come and see you again later. Hope you’re having fun in Nijmegen.
 

Deandrums

New member
Hi Mr. Harrison,

Thank you for answering all our questions, I digged through the thread and found some really cool and useful stuff :D

I have a few questions:

1. Do you use a click live with The Pineapple Thief?
2. Are you involved in songwriting with The Pineapple Thief now you joined them as a bandmember?
3. Do you ever take time off or are you constantly working?
4. If any of your endorsers propose a clinic tour again to you, would you do it if you had time for it?

I would like to come if youre ever doing a clinic again

Thanks a lot

Dean
 
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Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Drummerrobin

Nolly talks about tuning the resonant head a semitone below the overall note you're aiming for and then tuning the batter head a minor 3rd below the resonant head. So say you're aiming for the pitch of the drum to be a D, you tune the resonant head to a C# and then the batter head to an A#. I don't know how on earth they worked all this out but I tried the method today it definitely seems to work! Have you ever tried this method? I remember you saying you tune the bottom tom heads higher - is a minor 3rd higher in the right kind of ball park?


I don't tune to specific notes or intervals, nor do I use an App or device to help me. Only my ears and a sense of what I want it to sound like in the end. As the heads are moving around so much (especially when they are new) I just keep adjusting them for the first few hours or even a couple of days until they settle. The bottom heads are higher pitched than the top heads - but I don't aim for a specific interval.

I ask this because I did a little experiment today - I took the notes of your toms (from the David Letterman performance) and found they were higher than what Nolly recommends in the video. I tried tuning my toms to those notes using Nolly's method and found the method worked but the drums choked up a little at those pitches, losing a lot of their attack and low-end giving them almost a jazzy kind of sound. But I notice your toms seem to retain a lot more meatiness at that kind of tuning. I have a Mapex Saturn and was using coated Emperor heads (similar enough to what you use). So this made me think that either the relationship between batter / resonant on your kit is significantly different to that of Nolly's system or it's the undersized Sonor shells that make the difference. And I'm leaning towards the latter being the more likely. Would you say it's easier to tune the Sonor drums relatively high without them choking up compared to other drums because of those shells?

That's a hard question as I have only used Sonor drums for the last 18 years - so I haven't tried tuning another kit lately. However I think I had similar pitches going on back in the 90's when I played Pearl. I do think the Sonor drums are easy to tune.

Hi Deandrums

1. Do you use a click live with The Pineapple Thief?

yes quite often

2. Are you involved in songwriting with The Pineapple Thief now you joined them as a bandmember?


yes and I co-wrote most of the songs on Dissolution.

3. Do you ever take time off or are you constantly working?

at the moment I'm working more than I think I ever have. I can't really 'take time off' whilst the touring schedule is set - but I enjoy being at home whenever I can.

4. If any of your endorsers propose a clinic tour again to you, would you do it if you had time for it?

I'm not in 'clinic mode' at the moment because of my commitments to playing in two bands.

cheers
Gavin
 

Chapperion

New member
I caught your performance in Cleveland back in 2017 with King Crimson and was completely blown away. The drumline-esque accuracy and splitting of parts between yourself and Mrrs. Mastelotto and Stacey was stunning.

Thank you!

Dave
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
Hi Gavin,

I have, perhaps, an unusual set of questions for you. I've been reading a lot recently about the relative importance of "natural talent" vs. practice in achieving high levels of performance in things like music. You may have heard of the "10,000 hour rule", that says it typically takes 10 years and 10,000 hours of focused practice to achieve expert level performance. The research seems to indicate that natural talent is hardly even a real thing, and that nobody escapes putting in long hours to get good. Nonetheless, many (or even most) people can't let go of the idea of natural talent, and bring up anecdotes of people who seem to be great at things without hardly trying.

So my questions are, first, do you have an opinion on this topic? And second, do (or did) you put in many hours of focused practice, or do you think things came relatively easier to you compared to others? Do you set aside significant time for practice these days?

Thanks!
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Mastiff

So my questions are, first, do you have an opinion on this topic? And second, do (or did) you put in many hours of focused practice, or do you think things came relatively easier to you compared to others? Do you set aside significant time for practice these days?

I tend to agree with the idea that you do need to do a lot of practise at some point if you want to really reach your full potential. Everyone has met drummers who said that they just picked up a pair of sticks and that they could play great straight away - and they never really practised - but I can hear those ones who have 'bluffed' their way through. 

I don't think I was a particularly 'gifted' child with some 'natural' drumming talent. However, I really loved music, my father was a professional trumpet player and I tried to play the trumpet - but it wasn't the right instrument for me. I was attracted to the drums because I was quite coordinated (and I was already having dance lessons). I LOVED playing the drums so practising wasn't really hard. I liked the mechanics and physical movement of playing the drums.
I did OK but didn't have much to compare myself to back then. These days seeing kids on YouTube makes me realise I really wasn't that good in my teens. I had a couple of moments where I saw other kids play who were miles ahead of me and it made me wonder if I could ever reach that kind of level. Occasional reality checks - but if I was watching YouTube everyday I think I might have felt discouraged.

I got really serious about practising in my early 20's and I used to hire a local rehearsal room from 10am to 6pm every week day. I would stop for lunch but mostly I would get about 6 hours of solid practise in every day. I was the only person in the building - there were no phones and no internet back then - and therefore NO distractions. That went on for about a year and a half solid then I started getting busy touring but when the touring was over I would go back to the room for a few more months.
If I'm at home in my studio I like to practise every day (including weekends) - sometimes 2-3 hours sometimes just 30 minutes it depends what I'm trying to achieve. The problem is when I'm on tour I can't practise - other than on a pad and that frustrates me - but when I get back home it's a new start and new things can happen when you take time off from practising. I can't imagine I'll ever be 'done' with it as it is endlessly intriguing. I’ve never added up how many hours I’ve done and to me it doesn’t matter because I enjoyed the journey.

cheers
Gavin
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
Gavin,

Thanks for the detailed response. Indeed, having the internet constantly remind you how great people are can sometimes be demoralizing. The internet also lead me to learn about practice though, and to the realization that all these people put in many hours of hard work. If I keep that in mind, they can be an inspiration, showing what I too can achieve if I put in the time and effort.

I'm hoping to see your performance in Phoenix on the December 8th if my schedule permits.
 

Torkerz

Senior Member
Hey Gavin,

Just a question on bass drum sizes... I've played a 22x18 bass drum for a number of years and I am looking to buy a Yamaha Recording custom.

Shell sizes would be 10x 7.5 12x8 and 14x13 with a 14x6 snare.

I wanted to choose either a 22x16 or 20x16 bass drum. My genre of playing tends to be all round but leaning to funk and rock. I was tempted by the 20 due to articulation and also space to have my Toms lower, but I was worried about losing low end a 22 could offer.

In your experience gigging and recording, what would you generally recommend a good 'all rounder' to be? I could get both, but my budget is at its limit!

Many thanks

Luke
 

Stevesmithfan

Pioneer Member
Hi Gavin;

On your DVD’s you have EV microphones on your toms about an inch or so from the edge of the drums facing straight down very close to the head. Is this position used to cut down on cymbal bleed?
Thanks.
 

Juan Exposito

Junior Member
Hello Gavin!
First of all I would like to thank you all the GREAT information and good vibes to this incredible topic. Your dedication to this art is unpaired.
And also thank you for giving me the opportunity to interview you last Christmas (I put the link below, I think fans here are going to like it).
(I don´t want to hijack the thread but this is Gavin in the interviewed we did, posted in Gavin´s page too)
GAVIN HARRISON - Interview (Touring, creativity, practicing, timing, recording...) Subtit. Español - YouTube
******************
My question:
In the interview we talked about sound but I didn´t ask you next question:
Your drum sound in your solo album "Cheating the Polygraph" is incredible, as always, but this time I think the drums sound bigger, puncher, crisper...awesome.
Did you do something special/different with this sound or it´s just me, hearing your drums with less music layers as for example with Porcupine Tree or The Pineapple Thief?
Maybe some new gear, new mixing/processing...? I would like to know.
Thanks x 1000 Gavin.
 
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Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
HI Torkerz



Just a question on bass drum sizes... I've played a 22x18 bass drum for a number of years and I am looking to buy a Yamaha Recording custom.
Shell sizes would be 10x 7.5 12x8 and 14x13 with a 14x6 snare.I wanted to choose either a 22x16 or 20x16 bass drum. My genre of playing tends to be all round but leaning to funk and rock. I was tempted by the 20 due to articulation and also space to have my Toms lower, but I was worried about losing low end a 22 could offer. In your experience gigging and recording, what would you generally recommend a good 'all rounder' to be? I could get both, but my budget is at its limit!


In my experience - I would go with a 22"x16" or 22x17. As an 'all rounder' drumset I would also go with a 15" floor tom too. A 14" floor tom in my opinion isn't quite big enough.

Hi Stevesmithfan

On your DVD’s you have EV microphones on your toms about an inch or so from the edge of the drums facing straight down very close to the head. Is this position used to cut down on cymbal bleed?

yes that was the idea - but I don't use those EV mics any more. They sounded good (and are great on tour)- but I now prefer the AKG 414s in the studio. However I wouldn't take the 414s on tour as I'd be concerned about them getting bashed around. They are a bit more delicate than the EVs.

Hi Juan Exposito

thanks for the interview - I really enjoyed it and you did a great job editing it all together!

Your drum sound in your solo album "Cheating the Polygraph" is incredible, as always, but this time I think the drums sound bigger, puncher, crisper...awesome. Did you do something special/different with this sound or it´s just me, hearing your drums with less music layers as for example with Porcupine Tree or The Pineapple Thief?

I think the drums just sound better when mixed with 'real' acoustic instruments. When you try to mix drums with distorted electric guitar it becomes very difficult because the sound of the distortion eats up SO many frequencies and the drums get buried. Some guitarists go crazy and track 4 or more distorted guitar tracks and it eats up everything so the drums end up sounding really thin. The same can happen with some synth sounds that have extended frequency ranges (especially in the low subs and the mid frequencies). 


cheers
Gavin
 
Hi Gavin

Here's a question on a topic that seems like it's been over-discussed, yet I don't think I've seen it appear on this thread (apologies if it has). I'm curious as to how you go about avoiding unwanted bass drum "flutter" - I'm talking about when the beater bounces off the head a little after the main stroke. Do you prefer to "bury" the beater or let it rebound? I find burying the beater sometimes affects my balance at the kit because of my right leg tensing up and taking too much of my body weight. I was wondering if you've ever run into this issue?

All the best,
Robin
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Drummerrobin

I'm curious as to how you go about avoiding unwanted bass drum "flutter" - I'm talking about when the beater bounces off the head a little after the main stroke. Do you prefer to "bury" the beater or let it rebound?

yes it's something I'm very aware of. I play both ways - but I REALLY don't want to hear any 'flutter'. I sit pretty low so it doesn't affect my balance if I leave the beater on the head - I'm not putting any body weight onto the pedal by leaning down on it. I also have a reasonably muted bass drum sound - so it doesn't make much difference to the sound - (unlike a jazz style bass drum that has no damping inside and the heads are tuned up quite high) - then you can really hear a difference in sound plus some 'flutter' if you are using a hard beater. I think both ways are fine as long as it doesn't have a bad affect on the sound.

cheers
Gavin
 
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