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Old 11-12-2009, 04:05 AM
hunterde hunterde is offline
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Default Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system.

Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system. Do you feel that it improve your timing or independence more? Did you practice it with and with out using a metronome?
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Old 11-13-2009, 03:01 AM
Toby_Jackson Toby_Jackson is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

Benny Greb's system is very similar to how I developed rhythmic layering exercises for myself as was first learning to play, so the whole thing felt very natural when I started working through his DVD.

First off, the ability to play any possible rhythmic variation in a given subdivision of the beat will do loads for your confidence insofar as you'll never have to worry about losing your coordination (re: independence). If you take the time to work through accents, doubles, buzzes, flams or any of the possible stroke combinations not included in his DVD, your level of execution will rise to effortless, depending on what tempo/subdivision your working towards and how hard you plough through it all. Layering this through all four limbs against any ostinato you can come up with basically solves every coordination problem your typical drummer encounters.

I took the New Breed route with exercises like this - using two or three of the patterns stacked on each other as an ostinato, then reading through all of the rhythms (or "letters") with a seperate limb. You can get very heavy with stuff like this - as deep as you have time to commit. Imagine playing a sequence of M-N-O-F with your RH on the ride, I-C-N-M with your RF, upbeat 16ths with the LF and then soloing through the letter chart with your left hand on the snare and toms. You can do this forever, making new combinations - but thankfully it's not very long before you have some serious independence, and you don't have to try anywhere near the possible variations to feel in complete control of your drumset (think "headroom" - you'll have lot's of it!).

So you ask if I feel that it improved my timing or independence - I'd say Benny's system (or should I say a near-identical process I worked myself through) helped me to master practical independence, and has allowed me to keep perfect time no matter how complex the pattern I'm playing may be. After working out all those subdivisions and combinations you can really relax in the moment and focus on groove, dynamics, and the full-band sound.

And I've practiced these ideas both ways, with a metronome and without. Early on, the metronome was essential to feeling these patterns in good time. Later on, as my internal sense of time (and more importantly, groove) started to strengthen, practicing without the click became an important meditation. I also appreciate Benny's exercises on bringing the click in and out during a groove. Once you have things like that down, you stop worrying about time and you just feel the groove - it's very liberating!

Edit - PS. Here's a tip not included in the DVD that I like to do with his system - specifically for fills. You can use each variation as an exercise in hand-foot fill-ins, for example doing M (o - o o) as snare-kick-snare-snare. Or try doubling the notes to 32ns, so T (o o - ) would be snare-snare-snare-snare-kick-kick. You can get a lot of classic fills out this way, and once you start combining letters into phrases (M-G-J-N) you can develop some great, longer-phrase ideas. Those are just 2 examples, but there's so much more you can do with an open-ended system like Benny's.

Last edited by Toby_Jackson; 11-13-2009 at 03:19 AM.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:38 AM
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nolonx nolonx is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

Cool! I'm getting my copy of his DVD in a matter of days. It's nice to read that his method is so effective :)
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:01 PM
hunterde hunterde is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

Toby thank you for your insight. You sound very knowledgeable and well studied could you suggest any other good books or DVDís that focus on time keeping?
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:58 PM
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dairyairman dairyairman is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toby_Jackson View Post
Benny Greb's system is very similar to how I developed rhythmic layering exercises for myself as was first learning to play, so the whole thing felt very natural when I started working through his DVD.
i'm impressed! it sounds like you've achieved a bit of a breakthrough. benny greb will be here for a clinic in a couple weeks. i was planning to go anyway, but now i'm psyched!
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Old 11-14-2009, 12:07 AM
donv donv is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

Phil Perkins first came up with the alphabet thing years ago, but:

Reading and the alphabet are right brain functions, while reading music is left brain math thing. Plenty on this if you do a google search. I don't have any answers about the differences but it has had me wondering about his system.
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Old 11-14-2009, 02:58 AM
hunterde hunterde is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

I donít feel that Bennyís system or should I say the system really has nothing to do with the alphabet itís just a simple way of presenting the structure.
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Old 11-14-2009, 03:04 AM
hunterde hunterde is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

Mistyped ďanything to do with the alphabetĒ.
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Old 11-14-2009, 07:25 PM
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mcbike mcbike is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

I got the dvd's from netflix and studied them that way. I think all drummers could find something of value from these dvds. Actually even non-musicians will appreciate his dvd, becuase the production is so cool. It is really fun to watch.

He does help with timing alot and helps your understanding of timing especially counting with "chid" instead of "one, two, three, etc"l

I found the actual letter system to be not that useful to me, but I have already spent alot of time working on independence before by coming up with my own exercises and using methods I learned form ed soph. I think the letter system would be more help for people who don't read music, but if you learned to play by reading music you will end up just translating his "letters" in to something more familiar.

The best part for me was when he talks about odd-meter counting and different phrases you can say in your head to help when soloing over odd-meter. radio = 3 university = 5 listen to the radio = 7. it is really cool and I have actually been using these phrases in my own playing, and I actually like using "university" to count groupings of five (i think these would be called a fivetuplet or something)
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Old 11-14-2009, 07:46 PM
hunterde hunterde is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

When I first stated studying the letter system I clapped and focused on the chid as I moved to the sticks I found myself stating to focus on the subdivisions played by my hands. Thatís when it started feeling very solid and more like one long groove.
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Old 11-15-2009, 02:03 AM
Toby_Jackson Toby_Jackson is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

Quote:
Originally Posted by donv View Post
Reading and the alphabet are right brain functions, while reading music is left brain math thing. Plenty on this if you do a google search. I don't have any answers about the differences but it has had me wondering about his system.
Benny's system basically consists two parts that correlate to this right brain/left brain kind of thing. First part is the rhythmic alphabet, and a series of coordination and embellishment exercises designed to develop the mechanical (read: right brain) execution of your limbs. The second part is a phrasing concept that focuses on odd groupings, so your free to stretch within any grouping of beats or bars. This results in a certain freedom to express your left-side creativity without the encumberment of your right brain getting hung up on the details (you've dealt with that through the first stage of exercises).

So yes, these concepts of language, expression, structure, and creativity are all related through the way our brain is wired. I really think that Benny is describing a superior method of learning to phrase freely with sticks or on the drumset, but he doesn't claim any of it as his own. Honestly, any drummer worth their salt who has really analyzed what they do will recognize everything Benny talks about at a very basic level - it's just presented with a very nice structure, and it's a fantastic way to practice.

Last edited by Toby_Jackson; 11-15-2009 at 10:12 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-15-2009, 02:12 AM
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  #12  
Old 11-21-2009, 01:34 PM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

[quote=
Edit - PS. Here's a tip not included in the DVD that I like to do with his system - specifically for fills. You can use each variation as an exercise in hand-foot fill-ins, for example doing M (o - o o) as snare-kick-snare-snare. Or try doubling the notes to 32ns, so T (o o - ) would be snare-snare-snare-snare-kick-kick. You can get a lot of classic fills out this way, and once you start combining letters into phrases (M-G-J-N) you can develop some great, longer-phrase ideas. Those are just 2 examples, but there's so much more you can do with an open-ended system like Benny's.[/QUOTE]


Somebody else had metioned this a while ago and I was about to start working though it, do you mean literally as a fill in during a rhytmn so just playing every snare beat with the left hand or do you alternate hand to hand on the snare ????
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Old 11-27-2009, 01:23 AM
Toby_Jackson Toby_Jackson is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

To Witterings: What I'm describing would be played as a figure outside of the groove framework. Something like M would be most commonly sticked RLFFRLRL. T would likewise be sticked RLRLFF. It gets really interesting when you use different stickings over those patterns (RRLLFF, RLRRFF, RLFFRRLL, etc.) or change it up when you permutate the kicks (RFFLRL, RRLFFL, RLLRLFFL, etc.).

I basically just apply different stickings depending on which way I'm moving around the kit, for maximum comfort. It takes a little working out, but it's very rewarding.
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:34 AM
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kettles kettles is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

I picked up Benny's DVD recently, he's incredibly inspiring, and he makes playing advanced stuff seem a whole lot easier to achieve. I love the solo, if you haven't already, listen to it through some good headphones, sounds awesome!

I've got a question someone might be able to help with. He occasionally does this lick (various places throughout the DVDs), it sounds like a flam between the snare and tom followed by an accent on the snare. Kind of sounds like there's a kick in there as well, can anyone explain what he's doing? I'll try find a specific point in the DVD when I get a chance.
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Old 04-28-2010, 04:17 PM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Iím interested in hearing form drummers who have study Benny Grebís letter system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toby_Jackson View Post
To Witterings: What I'm describing would be played as a figure outside of the groove framework. Something like M would be most commonly sticked RLFFRLRL. T would likewise be sticked RLRLFF. It gets really interesting when you use different stickings over those patterns (RRLLFF, RLRRFF, RLFFRRLL, etc.) or change it up when you permutate the kicks (RFFLRL, RRLFFL, RLLRLFFL, etc.).

I basically just apply different stickings depending on which way I'm moving around the kit, for maximum comfort. It takes a little working out, but it's very rewarding.
I printed this off ages ago when you 1st posted and it sat on my music stand until yesterday morning as I had so many other things I've been working on recently.
Cheers for that really useful and some great sounds out of the various combos !!!
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