Re: Billy Ward here!
It was a real pleasure to see you on this site, Billy!
I hope I'm not mistaken in this, but in one of your books, you described in some detail a lesson you once took with Elvin Jones. What I took away from that story was how you marvelled at his tone. You mentioned that, even though he was playing a sort of rag-tag practice kit, he managed to make that kit sound amazing! I also recall your discussion of the importance of tone.
I'm a relative beginner-playing about four years-but for some reason, I'm really starting to think about this, and some of the other perhaps less-thought-of aspects of playing. I guess I'm just tired of playing and hearing it back as if I'm hitting a cardboard box-no offense to boxes, though!
Could you recommend any exercises or stick techniques that might start me off on helping to improve my tone? It's something I'd like to explore, but know little or nothing about how to do it. I will also say that, although not financially able to take lessons consistently, I'm considering getting with a teacher, even if only once a month. Thanks for your inspiration!