Here is a question I haven't seen asked on here

TColumbia37

Silver Member
I don't think anybody should have a 'groove vocabulary'. That's restricting. My instructor always gives me weird exercises to do that just aren't musical and don't seem to make sense, but he does it for a good reason. The idea is to not practice specific grooves and fills, but to practice different situational conditioning and independence exercises to improve ability and creativity. You want to make every motion between any combination of limbs feel natural and effortless, so that when an idea pops into your head, you can immediately play it on the fly without taking any time to break it down and think about it.

So, I would say, no, I don't have a 'groove vocabulary'. I don't quite have the abilities to play any given thing at any time, but every time I sit down to just groove, I find a new ability I have gained from practicing this way.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I don't think anybody should have a 'groove vocabulary'. That's restricting. My instructor always gives me weird exercises to do that just aren't musical and don't seem to make sense, but he does it for a good reason. The idea is to not practice specific grooves and fills, but to practice different situational conditioning and independence exercises to improve ability and creativity. You want to make every motion between any combination of limbs feel natural and effortless, so that when an idea pops into your head, you can immediately play it on the fly without taking any time to break it down and think about it.

So, I would say, no, I don't have a 'groove vocabulary'. I don't quite have the abilities to play any given thing at any time, but every time I sit down to just groove, I find a new ability I have gained from practicing this way.
While I agree with Larry that this is sort of an impossible question to answer, I'm also not sure if thinking you have some kind of vocabulary on the subject should be deemed "restricting". When you look at popular music in our culture, or any culture, you tend to hear lot of the same kinds of riffs or feels, hence why they would be 'popular' because by similarity, it speaks to a number of people.

Having the technique to be able to play anything is a good thing, but at the same time, I know I have some set things to play that get kicked in when I hear a certain riff or vibe going on and this has only helped me.

I only say this because I've had requests like "play this like Charlie Watts", or "do a Steve Gadd kinda of thing here", so by studying these people and being able to emulate certain grooves they might play, can only help you provide what people want to hear.

Perhaps if we were talking about being an artist where you just expressed yourself all the time, as opposed to being in a "providing a service" environment then I can see where you might not want a vocabulary of things to "fall back on" so as to not sound like anyone else. But as a working drummer, I'd say 90% of my time is giving someone what they want to hear. And even with that said, if you listen to all of, for example, Stevie Ray Vaughn's albums, him being the artist, he has repeated alot of the same riffs from one album to the next

Am I looking at this the right way?
 

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
Are you thinking of this in terms of Tommy Igoes Groove Essentials DVDs?

i.e. I have a groove vocabulary of 3

1. Basic Metal
2. Basic Rock
3. Basic Samba

?
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Man this word groove is used so much, passed around.
After technique, and meter, I'd guess there seems to be 2 things in drumming - groove and swing. Make it groove or make it swing. Did I distill that right?
Either way, seems no recipe book for either.
 

TColumbia37

Silver Member
While I agree with Larry that this is sort of an impossible question to answer, I'm also not sure if thinking you have some kind of vocabulary on the subject should be deemed "restricting". When you look at popular music in our culture, or any culture, you tend to hear lot of the same kinds of riffs or feels, hence why they would be 'popular' because by similarity, it speaks to a number of people.

Having the technique to be able to play anything is a good thing, but at the same time, I know I have some set things to play that get kicked in when I hear a certain riff or vibe going on and this has only helped me.

I only say this because I've had requests like "play this like Charlie Watts", or "do a Steve Gadd kinda of thing here", so by studying these people and being able to emulate certain grooves they might play, can only help you provide what people want to hear.

Perhaps if we were talking about being an artist where you just expressed yourself all the time, as opposed to being in a "providing a service" environment then I can see where you might not want a vocabulary of things to "fall back on" so as to not sound like anyone else. But as a working drummer, I'd say 90% of my time is giving someone what they want to hear. And even with that said, if you listen to all of, for example, Stevie Ray Vaughn's albums, him being the artist, he has repeated alot of the same riffs from one album to the next

Am I looking at this the right way?
No, that's not to say that you don't play certain things that we all know work. Heck, I'll play a disco beat every chance I get. What I mean is that if you practice the same groove or fill over and over, it becomes a 'crutch'. Meaning, when you don't know what to do, you'll default to that because it's what you know and can pull out at a moment's notice. But if you practice exercises to prepare yourself for different situations, you'll be able to think of and create more unique grooves when you need to, rather than just falling into the same mold over and over. It's not bad to play something that somebody has done before, or play in the same style as someone else, but you'll be more readily able to do so when you practice the concepts rather than the same grooves note for note.

What I mean to say is that we shouldn't have this dictionary of grooves in our heads that we flip through until we find one that fits. We should just be able to play something that works with the music and has a good feel without taking too much time to think about it.

As for emulating another drummer, I wouldn't learn the grooves that they play, but just listen to them a lot and take time to absorb their overall style. If somebody asked me to play like 'such and such' and I knew that 'such and such' uses a lot of triplet fills and linear grooves, that's what I would do. I wouldn't just want to recreate his/her grooves. I would like to play my own grooves, but derive the inspiration from this person's playing style. Not to be confused with playing covers. If I were playing a cover, I would do my best to emulate the groove the way it was played in the recording. I probably wouldn't be faithful to all of the fills, but the overall feel.

Does that make more sense?
 
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Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
On Sunday I was playing Moondance by Van Morrison with my band.

I added a little tom to my usual groove for that song. Sounded really good.
I now have two grooves for this song.

Does this mean I need to add one more groove to my list of grooves ?

However, if I never again use my original groove for this song I guess I still have the same number of grooves.

I'm confused...................... LOL


.
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
If you want it played I can play it. Rhythm is simply points on a line infused with a flavor.

Once you get to the point where you see it like that then it's easy to step into the cadence of 7/8 and play a bossa nova. Or a 4/4 latin funk pattern (heavy tumbao with a cascara over the top and a snare backbeat on 2 & 4)
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
While I agree with Larry that this is sort of an impossible question to answer, I'm also not sure if thinking you have some kind of vocabulary on the subject should be deemed "restricting". When you look at popular music in our culture, or any culture, you tend to hear lot of the same kinds of riffs or feels, hence why they would be 'popular' because by similarity, it speaks to a number of people.

Having the technique to be able to play anything is a good thing, but at the same time, I know I have some set things to play that get kicked in when I hear a certain riff or vibe going on and this has only helped me.

I only say this because I've had requests like "play this like Charlie Watts", or "do a Steve Gadd kinda of thing here", so by studying these people and being able to emulate certain grooves they might play, can only help you provide what people want to hear.

Perhaps if we were talking about being an artist where you just expressed yourself all the time, as opposed to being in a "providing a service" environment then I can see where you might not want a vocabulary of things to "fall back on" so as to not sound like anyone else. But as a working drummer, I'd say 90% of my time is giving someone what they want to hear. And even with that said, if you listen to all of, for example, Stevie Ray Vaughn's albums, him being the artist, he has repeated alot of the same riffs from one album to the next

Am I looking at this the right way?
I think you're spot on. As far as "sounding like someone else" well... you may THINK you do but in reality, we all sound like ourselves. Just as your fingerprint is unique enough of an identifier of your person, so is your groove. And that's a very liberating realization to finally let sink in. I mean, you don't have to be anyone but yourself!
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
It's hard to quantify for sure.

In particular, if you take a baisc rock beat, 1 and 3 on the bass drum, 2 and 4 on the snare, and 8th on the hit-hat, there are still multiple ways to play that, depending on the tempo and what you are going for.

You can push it to give that over-caffeinated/punk vibe.

You can lay back to give it a Bonham type vibe.

You can play it a bit funky to go for a Billy Jean kind of vibe.

You can play it really stiff and mechanical for a new wave or industrial kind of vibe.

or just slam it out for an 80's rock vibe.

Same beat, different grooves.

And different players can play the same beat and make it groove differently than someone else.

I've always admired the way Stan Lynch could play something, and make you think, wow that's amazing, and then when you analyze the notes, you realize he's just playing the most basic beat. But the way it grooves makes it seem like he's doing so much more.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I think you're spot on. As far as "sounding like someone else" well... you may THINK you do but in reality, we all sound like ourselves. Just as your fingerprint is unique enough of an identifier of your person, so is your groove. And that's a very liberating realization to finally let sink in. I mean, you don't have to be anyone but yourself!
Oh yeah, I know I sound like myself. I'm just in the business to give people what they want as a drummer. I know I can get close to what somebody else did, and when in cover band mode, it's almost a given I will nail the groove note-for-note the way it was originally performed.

And to get to TC's point, I understand where he's coming from. I'm just hardly in this situation where I get to do all the crazy stuff I'd ever come up with.
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
Oh yeah, I know I sound like myself. I'm just in the business to give people what they want as a drummer. I know I can get close to what somebody else did, and when in cover band mode, it's almost a given I will nail the groove note-for-note the way it was originally performed.

And to get to TC's point, I understand where he's coming from. I'm just hardly in this situation where I get to do all the crazy stuff I'd ever come up with.


I've always maintained that "we draw lines in the coloring book for others to scribble within" so approximating the "drawing" of "Porky Pig" AKA "Everlong" by Foo Fighters for example... you'd want Mr. Pig to look like himself and NOT Daffy Duck! :D
 

picodon

Silver Member
Are you thinking of this in terms of Tommy Igoes Groove Essentials DVDs?

i.e. I have a groove vocabulary of 3

1. Basic Metal
2. Basic Rock
3. Basic Samba

?
I too think that's where he's coming from.
You should see Groove Essentials as a cook book.
Ask a cook how many dishes he has in his cooking vocabulary and he will go errrr...??
Define dish. Define groove.

But if your question really is, how many of the grooves of Groove Essentials do you master, my modest answer would be 10 or so, and the A variations and a few B's. Slow.
 

meanman89

Junior Member
I too think that's where he's coming from.
You should see Groove Essentials as a cook book.
Ask a cook how many dishes he has in his cooking vocabulary and he will go errrr...??
Define dish. Define groove.

But if your question really is, how many of the grooves of Groove Essentials do you master, my modest answer would be 10 or so, and the A variations and a few B's. Slow.
Well that is a great analogy. I am no master chef but I do have about 5 dishes I can make and they turn out pretty good! There are always variations which can be traced back to the basic beat.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I could never bring myself to say I've mastered this or that. Like I'm jinxing myself. Plus you can always do something better. I have no problem saying I'm fairly comfortable with something but I feel a little pompous saying I've mastered X or Y. That's up to others to say.
 

picodon

Silver Member
Master is a bit strong. I just mean, be able to play, record, listen back and not sink through the floor from embarrassment.
 
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