Waking up to drumming again
I think I have a unique perspective on drumming. I am now playing again after an absence of about 25 years. In drumming I am like Rip-Van-Winkle. About a year and a half ago I awakened to finding out about the new developments in drum equipment and started to play again. I am still rubbing the sand and sleep from my eyes and relearning how to play. I have noticed all the new equipment is much easier to play now then it what 25 years ago. Of course, I am older now, but some things I can do are much easier now. Except for cymbals all the equipment has increased in quality. I know many of you will disagree with cymbals being better back then than now.
It seems that back then you had to spend a lot more time developing your technique to compensate for the deficiencies in the equipment. Some of the best pedals back then were the ghost, the speed king and some other pedals from the major companies. Cymbal stands would collapse during a show, and bass drums would slide forward constantly. Many drummer of the time would put concrete blocks, spikes through the drum to the floor; wire the bass drum with hanger wire to their thrones (that is what I did). Even the entry level equipment now is better than a lot of the top of the line equipment back then.
I just bought an Iron Cobra lever action hi-hat stand. I replaced an old Slingerland hi-hat. Because the strap drive pedals back then used to break often, I kept away from anything with a chain, or leather strap for a while. This new Iron Cobra really does enhance the sound of my hi-hat cymbals because the cymbals meet each other almost perfectly and you have a nice chick as well as a nice sound when the two meet. I have the double bass demon drive now, and back then we had to have two bass drums. These demon drives are really much better than anything we had back then. There is no friction from the pedals and the heads now you have a lot more choices. Tuning is easier. Moon-Gel is a great tuning tool. I used to stick a pillow inside the bass drum, but now I have special muffler pads. No one had ported front heads back then. I do miss the handles on the bass drum lugs instead of the drum key lugs I have now. However, I am using some lugs that do not loosen under vibration from Tight-Screw Company, which works very well for me on the front bass head, and the snare drum I do not have to tune them as often as I used to.
The internet has allowed so much information to be available about the equipment. I read about bearing edges, and the history of Zildjian and Sabian. I read about the Istanbul line of Zildjians. I can view videos on YouTube of drummers I studied back then, and have been exposed to many new ones. I was able to see drummers play on videos when in the past I had to try to figure out what they were doing through my imagination only. If I saw them live, and I did many of them, I could not catch what they were doing most of the time. Yes, I had the benefit of seeing Max Roach, and Art Blakey play live. I saw Louis Bellson, Billy Cobham, Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette and Roy Haynes. I never saw Buddy Rich live. I had tickets to watch him play, but his tour was canceled because of illness and then he past away. Watching these great drummers was very enjoyable. However, being able to watch and listen and play over again a solo and pick it apart is a great learning tool from videos and the internet that we did not have back then.
Recording drums is so much easier now. Back than they would muffle the drums and cymbals with rags and tape to quiet them down. The crash cymbals were over-dubbed in on another track later. They had multi-track machines back then, but not as sophisticated as it is now. There were some engineering legends, like Rudy Van Gelder that did miracles in the studio, but Rudy was a rare exception.
Overall, I have to say that drumming has become much easier to do now because of mass production, CNC machining, CAD designing of equipment, and input from great drummers. I envy all you younger guys starting out playing now. You can buy equipment now that beats the best we had in the past.
I am not here just to keep the beat; I add color, timbre, and presence.
Last edited by evolving_machine; 05-23-2010 at 06:08 AM.