Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?"

bud7h4

Silver Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

I think it's generally more difficult to play a more technical song, but easier to play along to a technical song than play along to a groovy song. Even more so a song with lots of empty space creating much of the feel.
 

Gottliver

Senior Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

Sounds to me like you are rushing the backbeats. Maybe try them a little slower with more swagger. The rest sounds good to my ears.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

That electronic kit is going to make it a lot harder to get a light-textured groove like that. I don't think you are as bad as you think you are, it's just the nature of triggered sounds versus sounds pulled from a kit. Dynamics are flattened, and it's harder to make inflections into the playing.

This will stand out in things like jazz, softer styles, and bouncy grooves like this. It is quite minimized when you're doing things like prog rock/hard rock where often the mix is designed to be more flat and the emphasis is on consistency and patterns rather than texture and feel; often e-kits are favored in certain genres because they enhance solidity and consistency. It's all one big thing obviously, and I will say that you can absolutely play these styles on e-kits, it's just something I find a bit more difficult. Triggering sounds is such an exact thing; you have to be extra diligent with note placement.

Lastly it's totally normal to have "home-base" styles or pattern types that are easy for you while other styles don't come as natural. It could be you just don't feel as comfortable as you'd like, but to me that sounded alright in your example, maybe a touch stiff, but as I said above... Slight handicap there, which I think you handle pretty well.
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

That electronic kit is going to make it a lot harder to get a light-textured groove like that. I don't think you are as bad as you think you are, it's just the nature of triggered sounds versus sounds pulled from a kit. Dynamics are flattened, and it's harder to make inflections into the playing.
Couldn't agree more.

Ironically I've found E-kits to be well suited for metal (certainly in terms of noise reduction) and it doesn't REALLY matter if the little nuances you can get from an A-kit are missing (it would drive me insane trying to play jazz using mesh heads and a module though).
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

I think it's kinda' hard to groove smoothly on a electronic kit. You just don't have the dynamics available to you (or even the real feel of a drum). Maybe you would perform it better if you were on an acoustic kit?

I hate to use myself as an example, but this was live drumming and singing to a track, and it's still a proud moment for me - i had no idea the 16th notes would come out so well ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SIKDJVLUXo
 

Gottliver

Senior Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

Electric drums has nothing to do with it. Groove is about playing time.
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

Electric drums has nothing to do with it. Groove is about playing time.
Not sure what you mean by this. Playing in time with the music or playing slightly behind the beat?

I'm certainly no expert on the subject but I would imagine the nuances of an A-kit (which are missing in a E-kit) at least contribute to making a beat "groovy"?
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

Not sure what you mean by this. Playing in time with the music or playing slightly behind the beat?

I'm certainly no expert on the subject but I would imagine the nuances of an A-kit (which are missing in a E-kit) at least contribute to making a beat "groovy"?
The failure of a e-cymbal to produce the desired sounds, for example, bell versus bow, might give different timbres. But the timing comes from the spacing of the notes. Give a good drummer that e-cymbal, and as long as the notes come out when it's hit (no mis-fires), it will groove. It may not have the same number of bell notes or bow notes, but the spacing of those notes, i.e. the degree to which they are swung, will determine the groove.

(This is not about playing "slightly behind the beat". No need to open that can of worms.)
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

The failure of a e-cymbal to produce the desired sounds, for example, bell versus bow, might give different timbres. But the timing comes from the spacing of the notes. Give a good drummer that e-cymbal, and as long as the notes come out when it's hit (no mis-fires), it will groove. It may not have the same number of bell notes or bow notes, but the spacing of those notes, i.e. the degree to which they are swung, will determine the groove.

(This is not about playing "slightly behind the beat". No need to open that can of worms.)
I see what you're saying.

The only thing which may affect spacing on an e-kit then is that microsecond delay between striking the pad, sending signal to the module then you hearing it (but it's probably negligible).

Didn't realise there was a can of worms to open re: playing behind the beat but I'll keep it in mind : )
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

"How do I develop feel?"

For starters...

Simplify.

Everything.

It's OK.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

The failure of a e-cymbal to produce the desired sounds, for example, bell versus bow, might give different timbres. But the timing comes from the spacing of the notes. Give a good drummer that e-cymbal, and as long as the notes come out when it's hit (no mis-fires), it will groove. It may not have the same number of bell notes or bow notes, but the spacing of those notes, i.e. the degree to which they are swung, will determine the groove.

(This is not about playing "slightly behind the beat". No need to open that can of worms.)
We will have to disagree. Been playing now 20 years or so, have several kits of both electronic and acoustic persuasion; and in my opinion, grooving smoothly on an electronic kit is harder to do due to the lack of nuance and feel you can put into the notes. It's kind of like the difference between quantized note-replaced recordings versus real humans grooving on an acoustic kit. All those little aspects of the performance come together to make groove, it's not JUST the note placement.

But on that note, you're correct that the note placement is the important part, especially with e-kits. They're so much less forgiving in that they either trigger a sensor exactly or they don't Dynamics are another part of "groove" and on e-kits those flatten dramatically into a number of stepped-levels. I also just can't fully relax as much due to the discipline I have to put into maintaining the dynamic digital levels and avoiding accidental triggers of other pads or even just things like rim triggers which can totally take me out of the groove moment.

But again, as I said earlier, it is possible with practice and putting in the time to get used to these elements. I merely think it's harder to smoothly groove on e-kits or play highly nuanced drum music like jazz... Not impossible. Being careful and placing notes with a lot of accuracy minimizes the impact of these things I'm mentioning.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

I also just can't fully relax as much due to the discipline I have to put into maintaining the dynamic digital levels and avoiding accidental triggers of other pads or even just things like rim triggers which can totally take me out of the groove moment.
Agreed here, for sure. I'm just trying to illustrate the difference between "sounds" and "spacing". If you hit all bow notes, and don't try to make bell notes happen, this groove can be played fairly easily, with the appropriate swing, on an e-kit. The spacing is the more important aspect here, since the OP struggles to play with a slight swing (since nearly all of his experience is outside of that idiom).
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

I see what you're saying.

The only thing which may affect spacing on an e-kit then is that microsecond delay between striking the pad, sending signal to the module then you hearing it (but it's probably negligible).

Didn't realise there was a can of worms to open re: playing behind the beat but I'll keep it in mind : )
The latency (delay) from the e-kit could be problematic, but probably not. Sound travels at approximately 1 msec per foot. So if your ride is 3 feet away from your ears, you'll experience a 3 msec delay, which is all but unnoticeable. For most, latency starts to get noticeable at about 7 msec and higher. Not sure what latency your e-kit has, but if your headphones are connected to it, it's probably not enough to be problematic. You can look it up online, most likely. My advice here is: play according to the sound you hear, not to the sound that you feel.

And above all, slow down the tempo way down, and work on playing swinging 16ths with your right hand (while playing normal rock beat stuff with your kick and left hand).

For the sake of contrast -- in an analog recording environment, the kit's sound travels through the close mics, which are right on top of the drums. Sound travels near the speed of light, through cables, and to your headphones. So the latency is practically zero! And it's a bit weird at first, adjusting the now more "present" feel of the drums in your ears.
 

foursticks

Pioneer Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

Lots of good suggestions.

Just to try and add to them, actually learning how to swing and really nailing the feel may help you swing other grooves.

Keep it simple, mind - no need to master jazz - but see if you can play the ride like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkogQxKXwZc


B
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

Sound travels near the speed of light, through cables, and to your headphones. So the latency is practically zero! And it's a bit weird at first, adjusting the now more "present" feel of the drums in your ears.
Um, someone didn't pay attention in physics class? : )

Speed of sound = 343 metres per second
Speed of light = 299792 kilometres per second

However, the speed of electricity (through copper wire cables like you said) is around 95% the speed of light- is that what you meant?

The other thing I was thinking is that not all triggers are created equal (even within the same drumset) so the very slight differences in latency between pads may affect spacing between notes as well.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?

Um, someone didn't pay attention in physics class? : )

Speed of sound = 343 metres per second
Speed of light = 299792 kilometres per second

However, the speed of electricity (through copper wire cables like you said) is around 95% the speed of light- is that what you meant?
Didn’t realize I was in class, haha! For the sake of brevity, I just didn’t bother to state that sound gets converted to electricity.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
My former teacher said feel can't be taught - but it can be shown. And it is, all the time, everywhere around you. But it starts, and ends, with you.

You have to be relaxed to play relaxed. If you're an anxious or nervous person, it'll come out in your playing. Address this as you see fit.

Do go to clubs and listen to drummers who make people dance. Funk bands are great for this. Spend the time to absorb as much of it as you can. Truly get a feel for what the drummer is doing. Soon enough you'll begin to hear and feel the ebb and flow in the way that the drummer (and the band, really) plays and phrases the music that gets people moving.

Learn to dance. Tap and ballroom dancing are ideal, but even disco will do. You don't have to become great or even good at it, but again, it'll help show you what it is that gets people moving.

Your bass drum has to be solid. It's the root of this type of music. For some simpler stuff done really well, listen to Double Fantasy. A lot.

Like anything else related to drumming, it'll take time, but it'll happen... as long as you're willing to learn what you've been shown.

Getting older helps, too.
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
Re: Tom Sawyer was easier for me to play than Son of a Preacher Man. How can I develop better "feel?


try and address the groove aspect only, maybe try losing that stuff temporarily and just playing straight through the whole song, no fills, no extra anything...just keep time and do dynamics. Easy, right? :)

ALL your focus goes on landing the hits so they feel great....no creative ideas for now...maybe even straighten the bass drum pattern out to quarters, for now. Definitely simplify it to some ostinato. I believe that's what has to happen in the head to address groove. Lose everything extra, play ONLY what's essential, try not being great, simplify not complicate, and focus on the dynamics....coming down for the vocals, smoothly build the solos, whatever needs to be done, without losing that feel.

Groove is a feeling and feelings are conveyed very simply.
That's it for me. Groove is all in the mind, you have to start with the attitude and play until you feel the attitude coming through. Spend time just playing the time and noticing how it feels. It will take time, but it will come.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Can we all stop for just a second and talk about how well your electronic hats are dialed in? Holy cow. I've NEVER been able to manipulate an electronic hi-hat the way you do, and I've been playing a long time. Good job!

Overall, good playing! When it comes to groove, really pay attention to the bass playing to feel the groove.

Keep up the good work!
 
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