Thread: Steve Smith
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Old 03-29-2007, 08:05 PM
joeybeats joeybeats is offline
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Default Re: Steve Smith DVD: Developing a strong swing Pulse (From Shuffle to Straight Eighth

Originally Posted by tim1987 View Post
Hi all,

I have been studying the section on Steve Smith's DVD entitled Developing a Strong Swing pulse. He explains that by using the 3 over 2 polyrhythm in the following exercises helped him develop his strong swing pulse.

He first starts off by playing this polyrhythm in his hands, with the 3 syncopated quarter note triplets on the snare and the 2 on the ride cymbal, while the bass drum plays quarter notes with the hi hat on 2 and 4. Then he plays it with the classic jazz ride pattern, as this polyrhythm falls naturally into it. Then you accent the 2 and 4 while playing the syncopated quarter note triplet against the swing and shuffle ride pattern.

My question is regarding the next section which he covers which is to do with Straight Eighths. He says that although they may sound unrelated, the Straight Eighth rhythm came directly out of the shuffle. I think that when he's playing the shuffle pattern in his snare part, he starts to accent the upbeats, so that you can hear the straight eights?? How do I approach this??

He then plays the polyrhythm with his feet and goes through the same exercises, of accenting the 2 and 4, with the swing and shuffle, which I can do, but it's when he switches to straight eights again then I don't understand how he does this.
What I did was to use the loop repeat button on the dvd and watched each measure of a section over and over and over, until the beat was filling my head. I slowed it down to 1/2 speed and had that 1/2 speed sound in my brain down cold. Then, sat at the kit and slowly worked it out, limb by limb, hit by hit, beat by beat, measure by measure, increasing speeed as I became more comfortable.

I spent a month working out that section of his disk, but found it quite satisfying when I would move forward, even if it was at the rate of half a measure a day. (Having newbie coordination, that is about the speed I was at!) I found it particularly helpful watching how he brought his right hand ride into the groove to the straight eights. I recall having a very difficult time going from the ride 2 and 4 jazz spang-a-lang to the jazz shuffle, to straight eight beat ... I couldn't get it to consistently line up correctly when I made each transition. Sometimes it would be on 1, othertimes on 2, or 3 or 4. I had no control. If you listen really closely, you will eventually be able to hear each hit line up with the rest of the limbs. Hopefully it won't take you as long as it did for me, but I found the result quite worth the effort. When I figured out that puzzle and played the section through, man, that was the first day I felt like a drummer. Of course it wasn't anything more than a monkey see - monkey do type thing, but it still felt great. I use that entire section, from the 3/2 to the straight eights, and back again as part of my jazz warm up. I love the sound of that polyrythym and feel comfortable with it finally. I like the fact that the complete groove includes a couple fills, a splash hit or two, a small tom run, rimshots, different dynamics on the snare, kick and HH, it just feels good. Hope this helps or gives you the push to find your way to success. Have fun! Joey
My Kit . . .

Last edited by joeybeats; 03-29-2007 at 08:36 PM.
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