How does Gavin do this?

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I think plenty of non-drummers, especially at that level, aren't going to be fooled by a swiss triplet or a blushda, they're both just phrases of three with some extra.
Non-drummers couldn't care less about stickings. The point is: Did they study
polyrhythmic and polymetric stuff or not. Some of them dig deep into that kind
of concepts, others not so much. Once you can hear certain rhythms or pulses
going against each other, it doesn't matter what instrument plays it or how the
sticking/fingering/melody is. You just hear something familiar and are able to
follow it.
It's not that drummers invented polyrhythms, let alone are the only musicians
who use them...
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
so we did a chorus of 4s and then he and the bass player - apparently behind my back - decided to just drop out and leave me to it. I hate that!
That's very uncool. You just don't F with someone like that mid solo, it's disrespectful. As a drummer, you'll get "wtf" look if you just dropped out during anyone else's solo. Hoping these were younger dudes just being immature.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I see Gavin has in ear monitors.

I'm guessing there has to be a click or something. The way the band hits the figure perfectly...after 16 bars...has to be lined up, right? He (and the rest of the band) are not just counting in their heads, right?
He doesn't seem to be feeling pressured to set up the horn figure, or to register any communication with the band near the end of any of those crazy breaks, so I guess they all have a click going with detailed enough information to make their entrance basically foolproof. It's not a very unrealistic kind of playing. Without the click it would sound very different-- we'd get to see how Harrison handles his actual job of sounding amazing while making sure he doesn't lose the band-- people he's probably never played with before.

The bandleader insists on me keeping any form intact...and I really struggle with it. I can't actually do it on a 16 bar form. I can do 4 and 8 though. I can do 8 bars and keep count. For some reason, after 8...I'm drifting out to sea lol. This is actually very theraputic lol

WhoIs? gave me some great tips, but TBH, they go right out the window when I solo. Not because they're bad tips, because I can't do them yet. It's a mental thing, I know this. I default to the wrong headspace, instead of playing 2 progressions of say "Jingle Bells" for instance. (Jingle Bells is 8 bars) Jingle Bells is not even anywhere near my head 1 second before the solo lol.

I stand in awe of drummers who can make up a solo (not pre rehearsed) and be able to make nice sounding phrases, and still keep form totally perfect, all by themselves.

My question here is, how did Gavin do that?

My biggest problem while soloing is I get nervous. I'm pulled out of any zone I was in, and now I have to step up. I hate pressure. I don't like being the center of attention for more than a few seconds, (unless it's written into the song, no problem there lol) so for me, solos = social anxiety. I'm putting 100% ME out there. My solos are so unsatisfying. I don't do flashy triplets or "wow" stuff, I try and play melodically, (I suck at melody! I never studied it!) which usually misses the mark, and which doesn't do thing one for the people watching (a guess). Sometimes I will hit on a rhythmic jungle thing that seems to be the best thing I do, so you'd think I'd go for that all the time, but yea, no.

So after writing all this, I realize my biggest problem isn't a solution to to problem, I have that, it's dealing with the anxiety. On paper I know what to do. Jingle Bells. Once or twice. When it comes time to solo, I stiffen right up. How do you guys remedy this?
I don't know, I can do musical, and I can do arty-- busy, or not-- but I hate playing stupid-ass show-type solos in any genre. You have to dumb down a lot. A thing you can do for that kind of playing is to just take a few stock one- or two-measure licks and learn to revoice them and move them around the drums a little bit. If you get really desperate, you can just do the old Gene Krupa thing of stomping out quarter notes or 8th notes on the bass drum while doing a bunch of hand crap over the top of it-- accented singles, accented open rolls, triplets/sixtuplets in mixed stickings. Just work the last few sections of Syncopation verbatim, with the bass drum and everything. We're not talking about high art here.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
That's very uncool. You just don't F with someone like that mid solo, it's disrespectful. As a drummer, you'll get "wtf" look if you just dropped out during anyone else's solo. Hoping these were younger dudes just being immature.
Yeah, they'll owe me a beer. They're a couple of good friends who have decided to take it upon themselves to make me solo more as they feel that I'm much better at it than I think I am. Shitty way to do it, and I let them know, but their hearts are in the right place.

It's also a pretty low stress gig and we've had a couple of weeks recently when we played to the restaurant staff, so I didn't get as worked up about it as I might've had we been in more auspicious surroundings. But I hear you.

Again, though, this is part and parcel of this attitude that has drummers asked to hold the fort and solo without accompaniment and it's just normal. So normal that you just "give the drummer some" whenever you like. No need to even discuss it up front. I suppose the bass player gets similar treatment, though I'm usually giving him some time to work with. And you're right, if I just stopped playing every time the piano did a solo I'd get sh*t on from On High.

Oh well. They're dinks and they know it.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
He doesn't seem to be feeling pressured to set up the horn figure, or to register any communication with the band near the end of any of those crazy breaks, so I guess they all have a click going with detailed enough information to make their entrance basically foolproof. It's not a very unrealistic kind of playing. Without the click it would sound very different-- we'd get to see how Harrison handles his actual job of sounding amazing while making sure he doesn't lose the band-- people he's probably never played with before.



I don't know, I can do musical, and I can do arty-- busy, or not-- but I hate playing stupid-ass show-type solos in any genre. You have to dumb down a lot. A thing you can do for that kind of playing is to just take a few stock one- or two-measure licks and learn to revoice them and move them around the drums a little bit. If you get really desperate, you can just do the old Gene Krupa thing of stomping out quarter notes or 8th notes on the bass drum while doing a bunch of hand crap over the top of it-- accented singles, accented open rolls, triplets/sixtuplets in mixed stickings. Just work the last few sections of Syncopation verbatim, with the bass drum and everything. We're not talking about high art here.
Without a click, it would likely fall to the bandleader to "conduct" the band through the drum breaks. Not that big a deal, really. Maybe GH would simplify or make more clear the pulse. As long as something is playing or acting the quarter note, it'd be fine.

That approach to soloing that you mention (hand patterns over bass drum quarter notes), is a great place to start, since there will be a minimum of coordination issues.

Everybody says "think melodically", but it's not accurate. The drums only get melodic when you deliberately use them that way, i.e. the drums are tuned to pitches, frequently done by Ari Hoenig. And he's not improvising much if at all. He's worked out way ahead of time how to play The Saints Go Marching In on two toms and a snare.

"Melodically" sound intimidating to a drummer in this sense. How about we just say "engaging" instead? Using common musical tools like repetition, them and variation, and others makes more sense.

Larry, don't sing a tune in your head while you try to solo, at least not at first. Instead, play a simple rhythm, and then play that same rhythm again. Be able to repeat yourself exactly. Now, add, subtract, or move a note or two, and develop a variation of your first idea. Play that first idea again, and then develop a different variation in the same way. "Soloing", in this sense, is really just learning to improvise, and there is no trick to it. You just have to do it lots and then you'll improve. Getting good at it will give you confidence, and likely improve your mental state when doing it in front of an audience.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
"Melodical" in our sense doesn't mean in absolute pitches, but to combine
the sounds we have, and let them "speak" like we do by lowering and highering
our voice. When we talk, we don't talk in a certain key either.
A low tom figure followed by a high tom figure "says" something different than
the other way round.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
I think melodic also can mean "following the melody" in the sense of imitating the shape, phrasing, mood, etc. of the melody line. Take Max's solo on Stompin' at the Savoy with Clifford Brown:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcQmn5d9-b4

For me, at least, it doesn't take a lot of effort to hear the "melody" in what Max is doing. He never plays it outright, but I think he's doing more to suggest it and play off of it - in response to the imagined melody - than just keeping to the AABA form. Much like a horn player would use the melody as a jumping-off point while not outright stating it.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I think melodic also can mean "following the melody" in the sense of imitating the shape, phrasing, mood, etc. of the melody line. Take Max's solo on Stompin' at the Savoy with Clifford Brown:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcQmn5d9-b4

For me, at least, it doesn't take a lot of effort to hear the "melody" in what Max is doing. He never plays it outright, but I think he's doing more to suggest it and play off of it - in response to the imagined melody - than just keeping to the AABA form. Much like a horn player would use the melody as a jumping-off point while not outright stating it.
This is exactly what I was talking about when I said to play the melody; you're not playing the actual chord progression, but you need to interact with the melody. and play over it while maintaining the form. One of the biggest mistakes drummers make is to think they are rhythm only and not worry about the melody lines; just like every other soloist, you need to work with the melody line and its implicit rhythm in order to come up with your motifs when soloing. I was always taught the the song is a conversation and that solos are a chance for everyone to tell a little story... in context!
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
This is exactly what I was talking about when I said to play the melody; you're not playing the actual chord progression, but you need to interact with the melody. and play over it while maintaining the form. One of the biggest mistakes drummers make is to think they are rhythm only and not worry about the melody lines; just like every other soloist, you need to work with the melody line and its implicit rhythm in order to come up with your motifs when soloing. I was always taught the the song is a conversation and that solos are a chance for everyone to tell a little story... in context!
When I was a kid, I used to read my Dad's Modern Drummer mags religiously. Basically ALL the jazz cats used to advise to "sing the melody" and I took it to heart. I still have other musos remark on my quiet humming/singing/grunting while I solo. Nothing near Keith Jarrett territory or anything, I'm usually (nearly) in tune.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Nothing near Keith Jarrett territory or anything, I'm usually (nearly) in tune.
LOL I love Keith Jarrett, but sometimes the grunting and groaning is like nails on a chalk board! The first Jarret album I played, I thought there was something wrong with the needle on the record player... after changing it a few times, I figured out it was him...
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Hey guys I just want you to know that because of your help here, it forced me to deal with the whole "keeping my place during solos" shortcomings, and today, it finally got through to my incredibly dense brain. I've been thinking about this whole thread a lot, and today I had a breakthrough.

I lose the form when I solo. In my tightrope walk, I just toss it out, and I'm always winging it. I never put it together that the form is my life preserver, and why TF am throwing it out and winging it? (hits forehead with heel of palm) Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Play the form!

I don't have social anxiety if I have a plan that I can pull off reliably lol. So that part took care of itself.

I have no problem "singing the song" in my head while I solo....if I plan on doing it that way, duh. Singing the song gives me something to latch onto instead of drifting out to sea. I know it's so Captain Obvious, and I feel like a dope, but I really wanted to thank you guys and apologize for my colossal denseness.
 

LetsTalkDrums

Junior Member
Hi there, I'd like to offer some help. To practice soloing, first practice playing the tune on the drums. Make it Musical. Then, start to embellish the melody only slightly. Also, many drummers think they need to play more complicated things than they actually do. Start with a small idea, and play around with that. After you've experiment with that idea for just bit, you'll have already played 32 bars. Your solo does not need 20 ideas, it only needs one. Also try limiting yourself. Don't play every drum and cymbal. Take an idea and develop it between just the hihat and snare. Or perhaps only on a tom. The beauty of improvisation is that ANYTHING can be made into something, so most importantly, don't dismiss your ideas.

-LetsTalkDrums.wordpress.com
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Hey guys I just want you to know that because of your help here, it forced me to deal with the whole "keeping my place during solos" shortcomings, and today, it finally got through to my incredibly dense brain. I've been thinking about this whole thread a lot, and today I had a breakthrough.

I lose the form when I solo. In my tightrope walk, I just toss it out, and I'm always winging it. I never put it together that the form is my life preserver, and why TF am throwing it out and winging it? (hits forehead with heel of palm) Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Play the form!

I don't have social anxiety if I have a plan that I can pull off reliably lol. So that part took care of itself.

I have no problem "singing the song" in my head while I solo....if I plan on doing it that way, duh. Singing the song gives me something to latch onto instead of drifting out to sea. I know it's so Captain Obvious, and I feel like a dope, but I really wanted to thank you guys and apologize for my colossal denseness.
Good to hear!

You should check out "The Drumset Soloist" by Steve Houghton. The book is essentially some play alongs in different styles (not much rock, lots of blues and bluesy jazz). You trade 4s or 8s with the band, or solo over a vamp. This is the best book about drum soloing ever written, because it directly addresses the issue of keeping form.
 
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