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  #1  
Old 03-19-2011, 07:41 PM
Zeus Mutation Zeus Mutation is offline
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Default Help w/my perception as a drummer

Hi,

I have been playing drums for a year now... After seeing me buy a set of drums my long time friend decided he would play the bass again and we started jamming on a regular basis. So now a year has past and we have hours upon hours of recorded jam sessions... we've made numerous jam songs out of these sessions and even been to a studio twice. My wife thinks we sound like grunge rock but thats not our aim.

I've taken drum lesson twice a month on average over this "drum year" timeline. I can read some basic sheet music and I have a pretty good understanding of drum sheet music and I watch a ton of videos from DVDs to the drum channel and youtube.

So here is my long winded question...

After a year of jam sessions I want to make songs. Sounds easy enough but the bass player can't play these jam session songs the same way twice... He doesn't know what key he begins in or even what the notes along the fretboard are. I have tried telling him and being more than patient and encouraging when I stress putting some organization to the songs... and by that I mean just combine the phrasing you like and define the number of times he play's each phrase.

I'm wondering if I should just stop playing with my buddy the bass player? We've known each other for 16 years and the other day I was so pissed I told him to take what he wanted and leave... Look I'm 39 and this is about being creative and having fun. I feel I cant be creative when everything is on the fly... I want to build drum melody's and create sound expressions... I want to know a change is coming versus just "feeling" the change come, you know set up the movements versus just react to them?

So at my limited ability Am I being dumb by getting frustrated with my buddy who plays bass? I mean at my age its not like people are knocking down the door to jam... But shouldn't he come to me with bass riffs or complete phrasing ... after he gets a verse or two organized he wants to just jam again... He really thinks its good enough and I think its total crap.

Any suggestions, opinions, or perspective changes are welcomed.

Thanks
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:02 PM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Perhaps you should have a discussion and talk about how having him play with you is not fun anymore? If you're just getting frustrated, this could lead to more problems between the two of you down the line, better to stop so your friendship remains in tact.

I would think at 39 you could have a discussion like this and work out how your playing collaboration ends.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

I think the only way you are going to get better is to play with better people. He is not getting better and is actually holding you back. Look for someone else.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:19 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Have you tried talking to him like you are talking to us? Telling him to be better or encouraging him to do what you like may be far less effective than simply telling him how you feel. From there, is will become obvious which way you both should go.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:47 PM
Zeus Mutation Zeus Mutation is offline
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Appreciate the feedback...

Yeah I've pretty much had the adult direct conversation... It literally took me semi blowing up for him to hear me. I think he understood that I need to make order out of this material or move on without him but he is still in excuse and denial mode.

Its a deep story and I know its hard to get you all involved from just my point of view and with limited background so Im not going to try.
I think its probably time to move along... if I'm here looking for ideas I guess I've made up my sub-conscience mind.

I have played with a few other guitarists and bass players and they gave me great feedback however its was kinda difficult to feel loose... where with my buddy it just kinds flows effortlessly and Thats why I keep jamming. I thought maybe its due to such a long friendship but I tested that theory and it failed. Another long time friend who plays guitar would jam with us and he just could fit in... he really struggled, and him alone was even worse lol.

I want to progress and I agree that being around better players is a good solution. I've just started playing my own bass riffs and recoding that... adding some samples and drumming to it. Its been helpful to understand how to build song structure and such. Onward we go...

Thanks everyone
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

have a friend that plays guitar come over and jam, then just explain to your bass player friend..." time to step up to another level" if he doesn't want to, he should understand that you want to move on.
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Sounds like your buddy the bass player may have some intuitive playing ability who lacks theory, but more importantly, lacks song writing skills.

Maybe the thing to do is find a guitar player who likes to write actual songs. That might be all it takes to get the bass player to do something productive.

I'm with you, FWIW. I don't like jamming either. I used to when I was young because just banging away on the same riff for what seemed like hours was just fine by me since I got to explore with a lot of different beat and fill ideas. But at some point, it just gets old. I can't even do it anymore. I like to compose drum parts, or at least play withing a known framework.
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:28 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Your cohesiveness as musicians has nothing to do with how long you know them. It can do with how long you've played together, but it mostly has to do with something on a higher level that you can't explain. Sometimes you are just on the same wavelength as other people in the band, and things just click. I had a wonderful group back home which that was true. Our best gigs were ones where we were unrehearsed and winging it. It really came together because of our chemistry and communication.

If I were you, I wouldn't under any circumstances give that up with your friend. It is hard to find/build that connection with other musicians. Now that I've moved, circumstance forced me to leave the group, and I miss every minute of it. I'm in a few bands here, but its not the same.

You can always work out the song writing issue. Find another member that enjoys writing and clicks with you two. Or just go with what you have. I agree jamming on a riff forever is boring. Listen through those old jams you have and find a melody that you like. Turn it into a song, and encourage improvisation on part of the bassist and you. You guys can take a song in any direction you want with just some communication and confidence. Just do it.
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:27 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

It is possible to play with him just for fun, as a shared expression of your friendship, knowing that you really aren't going to get anything else out of it, but also be exploring other creative avenues with other players whose direction and abilities better compliment your own. I wouldn't cast off a friendship so cavalierly, and perhaps once he sees how serious you are with others, it will encourage him to step up to the plate. Failing that, you'll have someone to call up for a quick jam if you're bored.

Very few of the bands I've been in that I immensely enjoyed working with, have been with longtime friends. More often than not, I've auditioned into them. But as I often remark, music can be an emotional shortcut to a pretty deep, meaningful relationship with other people, that may even fly in the face of how you might perceive each other outside of music.

I think finding some musicians with like minds and goals will probably help you in your desires. I would also suggest potentially learning as much as you can about song structure and music theory in a working-knowledge sense, if you're serious about songwriting, even to the point of learning enough piano or guitar to at least sketch out ideas. Good luck.
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

You have surpassed your bassist friend and you are ready to play with more advanced people. You have invested much time and effort to bring yourself to this place and you need to find people who are in that same place. There is nothing wrong with him or you. You are each just ready for different things. Time to step out of your comfort zone and move on to a new adventure.
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  #11  
Old 03-19-2011, 11:06 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsabol View Post
Your cohesiveness as musicians has nothing to do with how long you know them. It can do with how long you've played together, but it mostly has to do with something on a higher level that you can't explain. Sometimes you are just on the same wavelength as other people in the band, and things just click. I had a wonderful group back home which that was true. Our best gigs were ones where we were unrehearsed and winging it. It really came together because of our chemistry and communication.

If I were you, I wouldn't under any circumstances give that up with your friend. It is hard to find/build that connection with other musicians. Now that I've moved, circumstance forced me to leave the group, and I miss every minute of it. I'm in a few bands here, but its not the same.

You can always work out the song writing issue. Find another member that enjoys writing and clicks with you two. Or just go with what you have. I agree jamming on a riff forever is boring. Listen through those old jams you have and find a melody that you like. Turn it into a song, and encourage improvisation on part of the bassist and you. You guys can take a song in any direction you want with just some communication and confidence. Just do it.
+1

I am a strong believer of being a "musician" rather than a "band member."

Get out and meet some other musicians. Doesn't mean you and your friend still can't get together. Nothing saying you can't have quite a few projects of your own. Including playing with your friend for just the sake of spending time together...
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:14 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Your answer is very simple. Get a guitar player. Keep your bass player friend. Make your 2 piece into a 3 piece.

The bass isn't the best instrument to write songs from and you are putting all of the responsibility of songwriting on him. Not very fair to him, I'd say.

Like any instrument, songwriting is something that takes practice and it helps to supplement the practice with music theory. Your local community college most likely offers courses in music theory, and with the knowledge gained you will be able to share your musical ideas with others much more easily. How? You'll be able to use proper terminology and you will be able to express your musical ideas on paper that others can interpret.

Guitar players are often more into songwriting, and with a guitar in the band your bass player friend will be able to work off of them instead of relying solely on you.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

regarding your chemistry...there is a curious link that happens when people learn to play their instruments together. there is a bond / link / intuitiveness that you will will forever be searching for, even once youīve advanced to another level. in a weird way, we are all looking for our first bands again, every time we play with new people. 10 years down the road you may play with him after not playing with him for a while and youīll be like ahhh there it is. thatīs what iīve been missing. even if your pairing isnīt competitive in the market.

iīve played with players (as a guitarist myself - new at drums) that i was better than, but their groove was so tight (just a bassist and guitarist) that i couldnīt even squeeze myself into that groove.

itīs hard for a bassist playing without other instruments to get a bearing on songs sometimes. beacuse as they often wander or cut paths throughout the song. they will emphasise a part of the melody here, hold the bassLINE there, double the rhythm guitar there. i guess what iīm saying is that maybe itīs hard to be a part of the support system (bass + drums) without knowing what he is supporting. and then maybe he IS Jaco Pastorius....but even Jaco could hold the bottom as well as fly all over the neck.

i like Mike Mīs suggestion, but you said that you had tried that. maybe try to play more with the other musicians that you know and then try to work the bassist into that situation. give him the songs and see if he is willing (or capable) of learning them.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy8s View Post
Your answer is very simple. Get a guitar player. Keep your bass player friend. Make your 2 piece into a 3 piece.

The bass isn't the best instrument to write songs from and you are putting all of the responsibility of songwriting on him. Not very fair to him, I'd say.

Like any instrument, songwriting is something that takes practice and it helps to supplement the practice with music theory. Your local community college most likely offers courses in music theory, and with the knowledge gained you will be able to share your musical ideas with others much more easily. How? You'll be able to use proper terminology and you will be able to express your musical ideas on paper that others can interpret.

Guitar players are often more into songwriting, and with a guitar in the band your bass player friend will be able to work off of them instead of relying solely on you.
ditto.

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Old 03-19-2011, 11:36 PM
Zeus Mutation Zeus Mutation is offline
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Again, My thanks to everyone.

Love the suggestions. Understood regarding a guitar player and that is another layer to the story. The bass player really wants to play guitar but he can't or is unwilling to make the required sacrifices to learn it... same as the bass. He doesn't work on his ideas at home or on his own time. I play the bass a little and some guitar so I understand what you mean about the direction for the bass to follow and outline... shoot I've got several riffs and phrasing and I just dabble when I'm not practicing my drums so I think this again is why I get frustrated.

I'm going to keep practicing myself and look for an opportunity to play with others...
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:21 AM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Have a long or short talk and tell him you want to get serious about your music and there are not many sucessful if any bass/drum 2pc. bands out there...I would say its time for him to go or grow.. playing in a band is very rewarding..dont miss the opportunity to try it..
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

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Originally Posted by Zeus Mutation View Post
Again, My thanks to everyone.

Love the suggestions. Understood regarding a guitar player and that is another layer to the story. The bass player really wants to play guitar but he can't or is unwilling to make the required sacrifices to learn it... same as the bass. He doesn't work on his ideas at home or on his own time. I play the bass a little and some guitar so I understand what you mean about the direction for the bass to follow and outline... shoot I've got several riffs and phrasing and I just dabble when I'm not practicing my drums so I think this again is why I get frustrated.

I'm going to keep practicing myself and look for an opportunity to play with others...
ah. how much theory does he know ? can he play chords ? does he recognise chord patterns ? does he understand how lead lines and melody lines and yes, bass lines run through (and interact with) the chords ? does he know what enharmonics are ?

perhaps he doesnīt know where to start so he keeps doing what heīs doing.
perhaps he has an idea of where to start, but is not sure how to start.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:28 PM
Zeus Mutation Zeus Mutation is offline
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Funky... You pose great questions... all of which are desire related. No he has no knowledge of those things. In turn he hasn't attempted to learn anything either.
This is where my main bone of contention comes from... He uses my bass even though he has two of his own, a 4 & 5 string. I bought the strings for his 5 but he said its "too different to practice with" I say bull. His 4 is broken down and he hasn't repaired it... I've already bought everything he uses so I'm done providing him with the tools.

I've provided a great learning website... a bunch of tab books and a chart of the fretboard but he doesn't use any of it.

I'm not asking him to be a complete songwriter I'm asking him to make a strong effort at learning the instrument, its basic roll within the type of music he wants to make, and to remember the patterns he's playing sense he considers them to be complete songs, no... works of art. Seriously its about the process... He thinks he has like 15 songs... I say ok, play them ... he can't play them the same twice. Ok, so lets build on what you've got... take this phrase play it 4x now bridge into this... and play it 2x and now back into this...

I thought this would be supportive... to help him work out his own material. I feel he should be doing this on his own, where is his passion, desire to take those little nuggets and turn them into some more expressive?

Its not about expecting him to be at a high level of knowledge and ability but rather to make the effort needed to get to that level.

As always, much appreciated feedback.
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Old 03-21-2011, 03:35 AM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeus Mutation View Post
Funky... You pose great questions... all of which are desire related. No he has no knowledge of those things. In turn he hasn't attempted to learn anything either.
This is where my main bone of contention comes from... He uses my bass even though he has two of his own, a 4 & 5 string. I bought the strings for his 5 but he said its "too different to practice with" I say bull. His 4 is broken down and he hasn't repaired it... I've already bought everything he uses so I'm done providing him with the tools.

I've provided a great learning website... a bunch of tab books and a chart of the fretboard but he doesn't use any of it.

I'm not asking him to be a complete songwriter I'm asking him to make a strong effort at learning the instrument, its basic roll within the type of music he wants to make, and to remember the patterns he's playing sense he considers them to be complete songs, no... works of art. Seriously its about the process... He thinks he has like 15 songs... I say ok, play them ... he can't play them the same twice. Ok, so lets build on what you've got... take this phrase play it 4x now bridge into this... and play it 2x and now back into this...

I thought this would be supportive... to help him work out his own material. I feel he should be doing this on his own, where is his passion, desire to take those little nuggets and turn them into some more expressive?

Its not about expecting him to be at a high level of knowledge and ability but rather to make the effort needed to get to that level.

As always, much appreciated feedback.
oh. i see.

that being the case...i would try to FORGET HIM as best as i could. only if God kept bringing him back to me would i attempt to seriously play music with him.

good friends are a rare treasure. but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. hopefully heīll understand and you can still hang out.

your attempts at arranging are absolutely correct and should be put to use on other than deaf ears. you should be on a stage. having fun.

has he ever heard himself play ? or presented his works of art to others for opinion ?
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

another thought.

is he dyslexic or ADD ? that may explain his concentration problems.
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:14 AM
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Try not to lose patience with him, he's probably learning, too. Have you thought about recording the jam sessions? Maybe you guys can go over together what you need to improve on and that will help the bassist understand that he needs to step it up, as well.
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:40 AM
Jim Mattingly Jim Mattingly is offline
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Personally I believe it is time for you to progress and move on to bigger and better. You will regret trying to make something out of what appears to be nothing on his part. Your friendship is separate from you musical endeavors and you are obviously wanting more out of your time and efforts. This will be the first of many frustrating moments for you to come, regrettingly it is a part of playing and you need to figure out how to deal with these situations. Musicians are a different breed and if you are not thick skinned and not able to take constructive criticism then this is not going to workout for your friend. Be open, be honest but be both with some tack and try not to offend him. Sit down like adults and have a DISCUSSION about where your head is at....Good luck, it will work out, and it is up to you to make sure it does. If you are not having fun with this it will not be worth it in the long run...
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:33 PM
Zeus Mutation Zeus Mutation is offline
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Update:

So I answered an add on craigslist looking for a drummer, auditioned, and they asked me to join the band.
As for my friend, the depth of the issue is more than his lackluster approach to learning how to play. Using all my equipment, mistraeting my space, bringing people to my house that I don't know nor does he, for jam sessions, so all of this and more was under my skin. I've just moved on... and to be candid, I could really care less if I have a multitude of friends, him being one of them.

The advise was great, thanks everyone!!
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:21 AM
Jim Mattingly Jim Mattingly is offline
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Default Re: Help w/my perception as a drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeus Mutation View Post
Update:

So I answered an add on craigslist looking for a drummer, auditioned, and they asked me to join the band.
As for my friend, the depth of the issue is more than his lackluster approach to learning how to play. Using all my equipment, mistraeting my space, bringing people to my house that I don't know nor does he, for jam sessions, so all of this and more was under my skin. I've just moved on... and to be candid, I could really care less if I have a multitude of friends, him being one of them.

The advise was great, thanks everyone!!
Ah ha, so there was quite a bit more to this than you stated in your original post. Freindships can only go so far and a friendship certainly does not mean taking advantage of one another. I have also been in similar situations with people taking advantage of the stellar practice space I provide. As most drummers do provide the rehearsal space for their bands it certainly does not give the other musicians the open invitation to do as they please. I am very anal about others leaving their cans/trash and other crap just laying around and not picking up after themselves. I really can't believe he had the nerve to bring strangers over to your home without you inviting or giving him the OK to do so. Sounds like you made the correct decision, good luck with the band and remember you are more than likely to run into other situations down the road that will test your frustration level. See my previous post titled Band Drama - Will It Ever End...
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