Why is it ok for guitarists?

aydee

Platinum Member
to rip it up in most froms of music ?

They all shred. And everyone expects them to. Be it metal, jazz, rock...doesnt matter... maybe with the exception of the blues cats.

And it is SO uncool for a drummer to do that. Its almost frowned upon by the entire community?

Any theories ? Is there a way all music is supposed to be?


...
 
Truth is, it hasn't always been okay.

Four score and seven years ago, most guitars used in musical performances were "pad" instruments. Solos were usually performed by horns, woodwinds, pianos, and vocalists. Even in country music, you were more likely to find banjos and fiddles holding high melodies, while guitars strummed along in the background.

I'm not sure it's as much shredding that brought guitars to the forefront, as much as it was expression. Once guitar players started composing expressive, dynamic melodies, it turned playing on it's head. Blues and Jazz really had a big impact on this.

As far as drums, I think it's perfectly fine for a drummer to "shred", as long as it's expressive and dynamic.
 

Arky

Platinum Member
It's not as drastical as you describe...

Would you like to shred but aren't allowed in the bands you're in? Or is this to be a general discussion?

I think if you have a say in the music - do exactly as you wish. In one band this can mean shredding while another band might call for laid back stuff - both is perfectly fine. (Being a guitarist mainly, I like to shred but I think I know when NOT to shred. Although in the end this is purely subjective both from the muso and audience side.)

I think many people can tell whether shredding guitarists do the music justice, do "quality shredding" or "poor shredding". The same applies to drums. I think most drummers do feel when they get into the overplaying zone so they would adjust their playing automatically.

Well many drummers get away with playing busy stuff - it can even contribute significally to their style or make the bands they're in more unique. If you like to shred just create a music context in which shredding works and you're good to go ;-)
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
If you're hearing too much guitar you're listening to the wrong type or quality of music. I hate constant guitar; I like tasteful dollops of it. Currently listening to a lot of funk and soul and a bit of jazz.

It's just certain genres that let the guitarist w**k on endlessly
 

dmacc

Platinum Member
Depends on musical context to me and the definition of shredding.

I play mostly jazz so though the role of the drummer is still to play time, it's also a very different sort of time than playing rock/country/blues/R&B, etc..... I have played many, many pop/rock/country gigs and understand there's a very big difference between playing jazz.

What I get to play is extremely different than standard groove and in fact, demands that I do. Playing 2/4 would not be acceptable to the musicians within the musical situations I play, but no matter what I play must groove, if that makes any sense.

Look at a drummer like Steve Gadd. His playing with Eric Clapton is extremely different than his playing with Chick Corea or Steps Ahead or a million other things he's done. Ultimately he's Steve Gadd and makes it all groove but he adjusts to the musical context in what he's in.

Look at Elvin Jones or Tony Williams. Nothing much laid back there either.

Ultimately it's every musician's role role to serve the music being played. That sometimes means something different within different genre's. It's too diverse to claim only one way is correct.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
There's all sorts: Keef, Ronnie Wood, George, John, David Gilmour, Steve Cropper, BB King, John Mayer, etc

Then there's all the fusion and hard rock guys shredding like mad.

Then there's Jeff Beck :)

Abe, what style are the groups looking for groovy drummers and shreddy axemen? You seem to play a lot of funky fusion.

In my experience it also depends on the soloist. Some get thrown off if you don't hold steady time and others want to you to crank it up. If the latter, then you need a good-natured bassist ...
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
And it is SO uncool for a drummer to do that. Its almost frowned upon by the entire community?
In the right setting it's not considered uncool though. Bonzo, Paice, Powell, Carey and a ton of others have all been given the freedom to let rip within their respective musical settings. Play what fits, has always been my motto. Only on drum forums do I continually see the idea of musical expression by a drummer shunned. As long as you're not crowding out others and treading on toes.....and (most importantly) your musical situation affords you the liberty to express a bit of flair, then it's fair game IMHO.

Obviously I'm not taking about a constant desire to overplay here, but I certainly believe it's acceptable for a drummer to do a hell of a lot more than just hold down a 2 and 4 if it's appropriate. To my way of thinking, knowing the difference is where being "just a drummer" stops and being a "musician" takes over.


I hate constant guitar;
Great. Send 'em my way. I'll play with 'em......can't get enough of a good axeman.
 

Bad Tempered Clavier

Silver Member
Bonzo, Paice, Powell, Carey and a ton of others have all been given the freedom to let rip within their respective musical settings.
That's a fair point, but those guys are 50+ (or would be in the case of 2); For young up-and-coming rock musicians I'd say there seems to have been a general coyness about overt displays of virtuosity from the new generation of both drummers and guitarists - certainly in the UK.

Every time I listen to Rock radio stations or see the magazines etc the bands that people still go on about the most are the ones who have been at it for decades: check out the line up for this year's Download [Donington] festival - Metallica, Megadeth, Saxon, Soundgarden . . . even the original line up of Black Sabbath. Same deal with Sonisphere [Knebworth] - headliners are Kiss, what's left of Queen, and Faith No More.

Don't get me wrong, I love this stuff - but I think the point is that the reason why these bands still draw the crowds that they do is that there hasn't yet been a young band to take their place and I feel that is in part owing to this recent trend of young rock guitarists and drummers overdoing the less-is-more approach to rock music: i.e. they are painfully dull.

I don't want to be one of those old coots who wanks on about The Good Old Days, but surely the point about Rock music is that you are supposed to be over the top - never mind your austere, laughably-serious, hipster no-solos/no-fills/no-songs-over-3-minutes horse-pat. Give me King Arthur On Ice.

Every great guitar shredder had/has a barking, booming, bludgeoning (but ultimately skilful) drummer behind them: Townshend had Moon, Page/Bonham, Clapton/Baker, Hendrix/Mitchell, Blackmore/Paice, May/Taylor, Van Halen/Van Halen, Gilbert/Torpey, Bettencourt/Geary (and Mangini), Petrucci/Portnoy; and players like Vai and Satriani always used the best (occasionally shredding) drummers on the circuit - Gregg Bissonette, Terry Bozzio, even Manu Katche did an album with Satriani.

What's the best we can manage these days? Coldplay? Seriously?
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Awesome post, BTC. So true with the behind-every-great-guitarist-is-a-great-drummer examples.

At the same time, less IS more when it's Steve Jordan brilliantly doing less with John Mayer. In the hands of a lesser drummer his lines would be boring as bat sh...droppings. Unless it was a cool raw thumper like the guy in the Black Keys.

I blame drum machines for making drummers' jobs more prosaic today.

The rot started with disco, which was just poppified funk. Then those basic backbeats morphed into mini explosions in the 80s, and that more constrained style tempered the drumming in the 90s' grunge revival bands (plus some punky "anti-wank" attitude).

Then we had the march of the machines, drilling their way down into Zion to exterminate humanity (in music). As drummers, this should be our battle cry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju0UOrnWoZk

There's going to be a revival of cool drumming. I think it's just about due. Just hoping it's not just that showoffy acrobat gospel chops stuff, which is awesome for 5 minutes, tiresome for 30.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Blame it on the blues. And country/folk. Mainstream pop music had guitars and banjos (4 string) as rhythm instruments. Happy, shiny people sang happy, shiny songs. Big band, polka, etc. Horns, reed, and keys, were lead instruments. But, in Appalachia, and down in the delta .... folks were brewin' stronger mojo. 5 string banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle .... players started cutting a different style.​
Mantovani and Glenn Miller was music, for "proper" folks .... but blues and bluegrass .... music for ruffians. Beer drinkin' and whiskey drinkin' .... house parties .... all kinds of E-LIS-IT behaviour. Menz and wommenz all dancin' crazy, like they was possessed by satan (or something). Yup, big trouble in River City. And bein' a guitar player evolved into the parallel of bein' a gunslinger.​
Now, of course, lots of this music, there was no drummer. Who could afford a drum kit? Or even just a drum. People stomped their feet. Slapped wood boxes. So, the percussion was the timekeeper. 4/4. Everyone tap your toe. Audience members clapped time.​
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
.....but those guys are 50+ (or would be in the case of 2); For young up-and-coming rock musicians I'd say there seems to have been a general coyness about overt displays of virtuosity from the new generation of both drummers and guitarists.......
Excellent point. You're right.....it would seem even the guitar solo has become a dirty word within a lot of modern "rock" music.

......is that there hasn't yet been a young band to take their place and I feel that is in part owing to this recent trend of young rock guitarists and drummers overdoing the less-is-more approach to rock music: i.e. they are painfully dull.
Perhaps they spend too much time on drum forums getting slapped senseless for daring to step outside the 2 & 4 syndrome? :)

I certainly don't want to sound like a naysayer to the "keep it simple" approach. For the most part I wholeheartedly agree. I guess it's just that I've never associated "keep it simple" with "keep it boring".

Perhaps "keep it in context" would be a better motto to adhere to?

At the same time, less IS more when it's Steve Jordan brilliantly doing less with John Mayer. In the hands of a lesser drummer his lines would be boring as bat sh...droppings.
See the funny thing is that I don't see Steve Jordan as being all that simple either. He has a hell of a lot going on with those hi hats and a hell of a lot more going on with that left hand of his. Granted he's not ripping endless rolls round the toms, but quite often he's far from a simple 2 and 4 approach too.

The heavy groovers like him, Gadd and Porcaro still manage(d) to get very busy at times. There's often no shortage of notes being played, but the dynamics, subtleties and feel of the whole thing make it sound simpler than what it actually is, I feel.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm not interested in hearing music that features drums anyway. I want a good song, a good lyrical story, a good melody, and musical ideas that are intriguing. Just because I'm a drummer doesn't mean that I want the drums to dominate, I don't.
The guitarists shred because that's their role. I'm totally in love with the role that the drums play. We are the cake on which the guitarists (and other lead players) spread their icing.

I think instrumental music has more room for complex drumming, but anything with a good lyric and melody...I think they should be more the goal than anything drumming. During the verse, the band defers to the lyric, during the solo, the band defers to the solo. Drummers are rarely the lead part in a song, almost never. I like it that way, it's in proper balance.
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
Same reason guitars have liberty to tune and noodle away whilst trying to "tune". Yet a drummer checks the sound of drums by playing just a little and gets yelled at and told to "keep it down" because the guitar players are trying to tune.

Age old concept: people dislike drums but consider them a necessary evil.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I can't understand how people can survive not playing a music that encourages extensive expression from the entire ensemble, like jazz. I like to play all the other stuff, but I'd go out of my mind if I couldn't get some time with some really elite musicians and just explore and express collectively. And this is coming from someone who completely gets the whole concept of playing "for the song" and laying down a solid groove. But to shut off that area of my brain that needs creative improvisation would just kill me.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
I can't understand how people can survive not playing a music that encourages extensive expression from the entire ensemble, like jazz. I like to play all the other stuff, but I'd go out of my mind if I couldn't get some time with some really elite musicians and just explore and express collectively. And this is coming from someone who completely gets the whole concept of playing "for the song" and laying down a solid groove. But to shut off that area of my brain that needs creative improvisation would just kill me.
completely agree

nothing like being in a room with some cats who completely understand their surroundings and their boundaries and how to control chaos and silence
 

aydee

Platinum Member
how to control chaos and silence
Therein lies the secret of the universe. Beautifully put.

I understand all perpectives expressed here, and follow conventional wisdom in my personal musical experiences & preferences, but I have an intellectual problem when instruments start to take on predeterrmined roles and fall into hierarchys and things they are 'supposed' to do.

We wouldnt have Yo Yo Ma, Esperanza Spalding, Toots Theilmanns, Othello Moleneux, JoJo Mayer, Hiromi and many others, if instruments only did what they were supposed to.

...
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
to rip it up in most froms of music ?

They all shred. And everyone expects them to. Be it metal, jazz, rock...doesnt matter... maybe with the exception of the blues cats.

And it is SO uncool for a drummer to do that. Its almost frowned upon by the entire community?

Any theories ? Is there a way all music is supposed to be?


...
I don't think it's ok for guitarists to do that. Actually, in the working realm of musicians, you hardly get that at all from anybody, unless directed to do so. However, drums and solo guitar are really two different things. Drums are this passive-aggressive thing where you're the glue with which everyone else is set in to. Guitarists can shred on top of this and no one would mind. But if the drummer steps out of his role as "the glue" then there's a musical problem going on. We all have to play our role. The ones that 'know their role' get to work more often!
 
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