Suggestions for an intermediate Drummer?

WyattDrumming

Junior Member
Hey all, I am moving into being more of an intermediate drummer, yet I am still playing on a beginner, CBDrums 5 set 2 cymbals. I am slowly making my way to upgrading but not everything is cheap obviously.

Lately I have been just hopping on the seat and playing by ear to some songs I enjoy. Not really paying attention to playing right, more to just playing by what I believe sounds right. I am 15 and I only just started drumming about a year and a half ago. A couple months ago is when drumming really clicked for me. Now I play as much as I can...

Does anyone have any suggestions for learning and getting better? I feel like playing by ear is just a strongsuit for me, although with the cheap set I have, some pieces of a song I can't exactly play.

So overall, I would love to know exactly:

1. What I should be aiming to upgrade within my set
2. How I can learn to be a better drummer ( Playing by ear the best way?)
3. Best place to setup my drumset. ( I currently have my drumset just sitting towards my wall in my room, because of this, I obviously have some echo when I hit the set. I wish I could get rid of that echo. If anyone could help out with that.)
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
The first thing I'd advise a 15 year old who's just developing an interest in playing music to do is, to find a few like minded people of similar age and experience levels and just make some music with them. You don't need to be great to do it. You don't need to have any intentions of setting the world alight. You just need to have fun and enjoy the process. Playing with others is a pivotal point that all players must reach sooner or later.......I've always been a firm advocate of sooner. Your playing will come along in leaps and bounds as a result. It's where you learn musical interaction. There's nothing better. It's why we pick up an instrument to begin with.

As for gear upgrades, it really isn't necessary at this stage, however I do remember what it was like to want to start aquiring better instruments to play on. If you really feel the need to spend, then I'd suggest start saving your pennies and aim to upgrade your snare first, especially if you're playing on the CB snare that came with your drums. That one purchase alone with make a noticeable difference. Do some research, ask questions and start to slowly build a profile of what you want in a drum as well as building the cash with which to make it happen.
 

WyattDrumming

Junior Member
The first thing I'd advise a 15 year old who's just developing an interest in playing music to do is, to find a few like minded people of similar age and experience levels and just make some music with them. You don't need to be great to do it. You don't need to have any intentions of setting the world alight. You just need to have fun and enjoy the process. Playing with others is a pivotal point that all players must reach sooner or later.......I've always been a firm advocate of sooner. Your playing will come along in leaps and bounds as a result. It's where you learn musical interaction. There's nothing better. It's why we pick up an instrument to begin with.

As for gear upgrades, it really isn't necessary at this stage, however I do remember what it was like to want to start aquiring better instruments to play on. If you really feel the need to spend, then I'd suggest start saving your pennies and aim to upgrade your snare first, especially if you're playing on the CB snare that came with your drums. That one purchase alone with make a noticeable difference. Do some research, ask questions and start to slowly build a profile of what you want in a drum as well as building the cash with which to make it happen.
Thanks, I appreciate your advice.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I learn from charts. I am always studying new rhythms.

There may be drum tabs that can give you a clearer idea of how to play some drum parts of your favorite songs.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
The first thing I'd advise a 15 year old who's just developing an interest in playing music to do is, to find a few like minded people of similar age and experience levels and just make some music with them. You don't need to be great to do it. You don't need to have any intentions of setting the world alight. You just need to have fun and enjoy the process. Playing with others is a pivotal point that all players must reach sooner or later.......I've always been a firm advocate of sooner. Your playing will come along in leaps and bounds as a result. It's where you learn musical interaction. There's nothing better. It's why we pick up an instrument to begin with.

As for gear upgrades, it really isn't necessary at this stage, however I do remember what it was like to want to start aquiring better instruments to play on. If you really feel the need to spend, then I'd suggest start saving your pennies and aim to upgrade your snare first, especially if you're playing on the CB snare that came with your drums. That one purchase alone with make a noticeable difference. Do some research, ask questions and start to slowly build a profile of what you want in a drum as well as building the cash with which to make it happen.
THIS ^^^

Playing with others will point you in the direction of things you need to improve on. Also, start trying to cover things as closely as you can when you practice/play as this will also point you in the direction of things you need to work on. This process will train your ear to hear more and more complexity and subtlty and THAT is better than half the battle of playing more complex and subtle things. Complexity and subtlety are always relative to the development of your ear. Beginning drummers should always be gearing their technique development toward imitation of what has already been played, not toward abstract goals like speed, independence or toward breaking any new ground, IMO. Develop your vocabulary and your ear and then you'll know what to do with it all when it comes time to create.

In terms of upgrading equipment, simply think of what you use most and work from there. I call the BD/SD/HH/Crash combination of instruments "The Business District" because that's where we do most of our business. Spend your time and money on improving those elements first. In general, improvements to the SD and cymbals will give you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of upgrading your sound - unless you fall for the trap we all fall for at 15 and spend a heap of money on a China Cymbal.

Don't do it.


No, seriously. Don't.
 
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PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Let me start off by saying how awesome it is you get to start this at age 15! Man, I wish I would have had a kit at that age. It's great you are playing! Others have done a great job giving advice, and some of my suggestions may overlap. Here goes:

1. What I should be aiming to upgrade within my set

I like what others have said about possibly upgrading your snare. If this isn't really do-able right now, I'd at least get new heads (top AND bottom) for your snare. Depending on what heads you are currently using, decent heads will probably make a world of difference. For example, I fixed up my old Tama Rockstar steel shell snare drum. In the past, no matter what heads I used for the top, the thing always had a bad/annoying ring to it. Well after about 20 years (literally!), I decided to change out the snare wires and the BOTTOM head as well. What a piece of junk it was. Where is that snare now? Sitting behind my USA Pork Pies of course! :)

Here are the before and afters (I also wrapped my steel shell snare too).

Before pic: Notice all of the residue from various types of muffling on the bottom head.



Old snare wires:




New bottom head and snare wires! (What a HUGE difference it made!):




It's new home (with its new wrap):




Also before I forget, I'm a HUGE fan of the Evans EMAD kick drum head. Buy one of those for your kick, and you can't go wrong. Once you get those sounding good, get to work on those toms!

This is where I'd start in terms of what to buy. I'm all about making the best out of what you have as opposed to always buying new.

Here are a couple of cool videos about making a cheaper drum set sound good:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udooOap4m2c (The 15 min. version)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klxwLwHEK_o (The 45 min. version)



2. How I can learn to be a better drummer ( Playing by ear the best way?)

I guess it depends on what your goals are. If you are wanting just to learn cool licks, fills, and patterns, there are TONS of YouTube videos out there. My favorite guy right now is from Vanz Drumming on YouTube. The guy teaching is a complete and utter goofball; however, he's a great teacher and drummer. If I had more time, I'd practice stuff from his videos every day.

I'd look into getting some noise cancelling headphones or IEM's (I use a set of Shure 215's) and play along with MP3's.

In addition, I'd try to find some folks to jam with. Don't feel like you need to get a band together. Just find a guitar player or piano/keyboard player that wants to get together to play around. Yes, it will sound like garbage, but it's so much fun. I swear I can get together with another person for 10 minutes and it does more good than practicing for an hour by myself.

3. Best place to setup my drumset. ( I currently have my drumset just sitting towards my wall in my room, because of this, I obviously have some echo when I hit the set. I wish I could get rid of that echo. If anyone could help out with that.)

How about turning your drum set around 180°? This should help!
 

WyattDrumming

Junior Member
Let me start off by saying how awesome it is you get to start this at age 15! Man, I wish I would have had a kit at that age. It's great you are playing! Others have done a great job giving advice, and some of my suggestions may overlap. Here goes:

1. What I should be aiming to upgrade within my set

I like what others have said about possibly upgrading your snare. If this isn't really do-able right now, I'd at least get new heads (top AND bottom) for your snare. Depending on what heads you are currently using, decent heads will probably make a world of difference. For example, I fixed up my old Tama Rockstar steel shell snare drum. In the past, no matter what heads I used for the top, the thing always had a bad/annoying ring to it. Well after about 20 years (literally!), I decided to change out the snare wires and the BOTTOM head as well. What a piece of junk it was. Where is that snare now? Sitting behind my USA Pork Pies of course! :)

Here are the before and afters (I also wrapped my steel shell snare too).

Before pic: Notice all of the residue from various types of muffling on the bottom head.



Old snare wires:




New bottom head and snare wires! (What a HUGE difference it made!):




It's new home (with its new wrap):




Also before I forget, I'm a HUGE fan of the Evans EMAD kick drum head. Buy one of those for your kick, and you can't go wrong. Once you get those sounding good, get to work on those toms!

This is where I'd start in terms of what to buy. I'm all about making the best out of what you have as opposed to always buying new.

Here are a couple of cool videos about making a cheaper drum set sound good:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udooOap4m2c (The 15 min. version)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klxwLwHEK_o (The 45 min. version)



2. How I can learn to be a better drummer ( Playing by ear the best way?)

I guess it depends on what your goals are. If you are wanting just to learn cool licks, fills, and patterns, there are TONS of YouTube videos out there. My favorite guy right now is from Vanz Drumming on YouTube. The guy teaching is a complete and utter goofball; however, he's a great teacher and drummer. If I had more time, I'd practice stuff from his videos every day.

I'd look into getting some noise cancelling headphones or IEM's (I use a set of Shure 215's) and play along with MP3's.

In addition, I'd try to find some folks to jam with. Don't feel like you need to get a band together. Just find a guitar player or piano/keyboard player that wants to get together to play around. Yes, it will sound like garbage, but it's so much fun. I swear I can get together with another person for 10 minutes and it does more good than practicing for an hour by myself.

3. Best place to setup my drumset. ( I currently have my drumset just sitting towards my wall in my room, because of this, I obviously have some echo when I hit the set. I wish I could get rid of that echo. If anyone could help out with that.)

How about turning your drum set around 180°? This should help!
Thanks for taking the time to help me out!
 

tcspears

Gold Member
That's great that you are starting to play set at 15! Did you start off in drums, or is this your first percussion instrument?

I don't think you really need a better kit right now; as you should be able to practice and play on this one as you learn. If you start playing out, then you might want to think about upgrades...

Try messing with the tuning of the drums, and I think you'll find that you can make even entry level kits sound pretty good; just keep messing with the tuning until you like the sound. You can always get new heads to and experiment with your sound. Also, try using different sticks and maybe brushes; each stick will give you a different sound on your cymbals. I play professionally, and I have a 5 piece kit and usually only use HH and a ride cymbal (sometimes I'll bust out a second ride). You'd be surprised how many different sounds you can get out of each piece of gear.

If you havent' already, I'd say find a teacher. Playing by ear is great, but a teacher can help you with your technique so you don't develop any bad habits which could either inhibit your progress, or cause injuries.

I'll second what a few others have mentioned, that you should find some other kids that are starting out and try playing music together; one of the skills that you don't get from lessons or playing by ear is the need for dynamics and interplay.

Best of luck to you!
 

Headbanger

Senior Member
I'm with PorkPieGuy on this. Can the drumkit be turned around so that your back is to the wall and the bass drum is facing out into the room? You wouldn't be facing the wall if you were on stage or rehearsing with a band.
 

WyattDrumming

Junior Member
I'm with PorkPieGuy on this. Can the drumkit be turned around so that your back is to the wall and the bass drum is facing out into the room? You wouldn't be facing the wall if you were on stage or rehearsing with a band.
Yes, I can make it work and spin it around. The spot it was at now was kind of misplaced.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Playing music is offcourse where we really learn.

Toms and BD are lowest on the ugrade list. Heads and tuning make 90% of the difference.

Apart from snare and cymbals(I suggest quality over quantity) the most important part of your setup is really the throne. After that come the pedals.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I was still playing on a low end cb700/mataeo set past 25 years playing drums.

Its not the set that determines how you sound(within limits of the extreme)...its the set that determines how in debt you got trying to buy it.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Hey all, I am moving into being more of an intermediate drummer, yet I am still playing on a beginner, CBDrums 5 set 2 cymbals. I am slowly making my way to upgrading but not everything is cheap obviously.

I am 15 and I only just started drumming about a year and a half ago. A couple months ago is when drumming really clicked for me. Now I play as much as I can...
Hold on, I just re-read this. You're saying that you've really only been playing drums seriously for a couple of months. I think saying that you're now an intermediate player and need a new drum set is jumping the gun a little bit. As I said in my previous post, I think working on the setup that you have now in terms of tuning, heads, and sticks is going to be your best bet.

Playing any intstrument is a long journey, and you won't see results over night. Keep up the practicing and listening, and then work with a teacher/mentor. The drum set you have now should be able to last you many years until you really develop as a drummer, then you'll have a better idea of what you like and don't like in a drum set.
 

WyattDrumming

Junior Member
Hold on, I just re-read this. You're saying that you've really only been playing drums seriously for a couple of months. I think saying that you're now an intermediate player and need a new drum set is jumping the gun a little bit. As I said in my previous post, I think working on the setup that you have now in terms of tuning, heads, and sticks is going to be your best bet.

Playing any intstrument is a long journey, and you won't see results over night. Keep up the practicing and listening, and then work with a teacher/mentor. The drum set you have now should be able to last you many years until you really develop as a drummer, then you'll have a better idea of what you like and don't like in a drum set.
Ya, I am moving to fast. Thanks!
 
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