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  #1  
Old 04-08-2012, 06:03 PM
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Default Something Positive for a Change.

...So, I have been jamming on a weekly basis with a bunch of guys from work.

We jam at a buddies house. I have a history with this guy, as we went to high school together about a half a million years ago. There are a few other guys from his department that play and sing with various degrees of musical proficiency who also attend.

Most of the music that we play is slower country/folky/medium horse power pop/rock. The drumming is not too complex, and I am able to sing harmonies as I play. It is a good thing that the drumming is not too demanding, as I am finding it a real challenge to play and sing to the level that both require. My breathing patterns are different for my singing than they are for my drumming, so I find myself running out of gas at the times when I really need to push.

At first, I was reluctant to post about this as I was contemplating packing it all in. Such was my frustration with my lack of playing, and my playing. It bothered me that even though I was jamming again, my drumming sounded so stale, cliched, and un imaginative. I was blinking the red LEDs on the suck-o-meter. That was how I was hearing it from the throne, and I was not very encouraged. That changed however when I heard a rough mix of the overall group. Hearing the drums in the mix made the dull boring cliches make sense. The drumming fits, and it actually sounds pretty good, despite the usual degree of "oops" moments. Frustration over my lack of imagination is being replace with a feeling of pride for my contribution to the song. In some cases, my drumming has not really changed all that much, but my attitude has.

A few of the guys who rotate through have never played with a drummer before, and for some, it really shows. I used to play in what I referred to as " Pastors Wife Time", which can rush, drag, change keys and language at any given time. That is how I usually play when I play with those who have less than perfect time,I have to anticipate where to put the boom, thwap, chhhhh. No more mister nice time, I have become the time nazi. I set the tempo and I stick with it. If I am going to play boring, it better be solid, so if the singer, guitar player has to rush or drag a phrase, he should still be able to land on one. This is also a new survival technique, as I am hoping that being able to play as close to metronome solid as posible it will help me with my singing/breathing.

All in all, after this winter of my discontent, it's nice to see this glorious summer looming.

Thank you.

Barry
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  #2  
Old 04-08-2012, 08:18 PM
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

Great news Baz, & very well portrayed. I think most of us suffer from false dissatisfaction sometimes. We feel we should be adding flavour. We feel the reason we're not adding flavour, is that our box of tools is almost empty. Ok, sometimes it is, but more often than not, our same old simple crap is actually the only supportive route to take. I'm glad you've proved your instincts to be correct. Rock on Baz, & crack that timing whip :)
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  #3  
Old 04-08-2012, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

I would rather see a drummer underplay with solid time. Then, overplay period. (with or without solid time).
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:03 AM
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

A lot of us aren't going to provide much entertainment for drummers in the audience, with our isolated drum tracks being simple and repetitive. However, in the context of the music it can be just right.

You can't have 5 people yapping at the same time unless it's more musically democratic affair like jazz, and to get everyone "talking" without stepping over each other takes much syncopation, with attendant dedication and skill.

Most of us don't operate in a musical democracy and we are truly servants to the music (and probably the singer and guitarist and/or keyboardist). We're musical maids and butlers :)

If the "master of the house" has genuine talent and we servants play our role right, it all works.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:48 PM
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

good on ya !!!

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  #6  
Old 05-01-2012, 04:52 AM
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

...Thank you KIS, Bryan, Polly, Unfunk.

Since my first post, more positives to report, and many more questions to ask. On the positive side, I am miking my drums at my buddies jam palace. This is a big deal for me, as up until now, the drums in the mix were what bled through the vocal mikes. Being miked up I can hear myself in the mix, and that in itself has sparked this semi creative bent. I still look in the rearview as to what I should have played but missed the moment. That will likely never change. Now that we are getting more familiar and comfortable with the songs we once butchered, I am able to catch more of those moments. I still butcher my share of them, but I am enjoying the attempt rather than worrying about the mistakes.

The set up that I am using at jam palace is one of those Shure PG mike kits. I have the bass, toms, and snare miked, plus one overhead. I run that all into a an fx mixer, then to the main mixer. I do not know very much about mixing sound, so I went for as simple a set up as I could. From what I have heard so far, I am happy with the sound.

On the home front, I picked up some new/used PA gear for my very own jam central. I bought a bigger mixer, three SM 57s, assorted stands, cords, and an eight input DI box. My evil plan is to mike up my home kit, and play around with all of the electronic jiggery pokery to try and develop some skill with it. Both mixers I bought are from the same manufacturer, so the basic controls and functions should be similar. I also have an older Senheiser MD421 for the bass drum, and the second condenser from the drum pack for an overhead. I am afraid of this sound reinforced pandoras box I am inching ever closer to open. I know what a gear head I am, and how dangerous that can be to my retirement plans.

Thank you all once again.

Barry
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  #7  
Old 05-01-2012, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

Baz,

Once the 'technology bug' hits you, there's no shying away from it I'm afraid. I have my set mic'd permanently in its room - playing into my laptop so that I can record at any time I like. I also practice with isolating headphones on so I can hear the kit at a volume I choose - essentially like a monitoring setup.

It's quite tragic really but it's fun and that's what it's all about.
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  #8  
Old 05-01-2012, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
Baz,

Once the 'technology bug' hits you, there's no shying away from it I'm afraid. I have my set mic'd permanently in its room - playing into my laptop so that I can record at any time I like. I also practice with isolating headphones on so I can hear the kit at a volume I choose - essentially like a monitoring setup.

It's quite tragic really but it's fun and that's what it's all about.
...Thanks Bacterium.

I think my retirement has been set back a couple of years.

That brings up another question. How do you connect with your lap top. Do you use an interface, or some other method? I have an old laptop that I can use as a permanent recorder, I also have a digital recorder that belongs to a friend of mine. I might play around with that when I get this all set up.

Thanks again for the reply.

Barry



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Last edited by baz; 05-02-2012 at 12:13 AM. Reason: adding photos
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  #9  
Old 05-01-2012, 03:00 PM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

I have an interface that has eight inputs (and eight outputs) that connects through USB. I then put the feed into DAW software (in my instance, Logic Pro because I'm on a Mac). There are various different ways of dealing with it from there. The interface will also do direct monitoring so I can hear back what's going into the interface even without a laptop connected but obviously I can't record.

There are two basic ways that most consumer interfaces will connect. USB and FireWire. USB is the more common but probably the lesser of the two protocols. Both work fine up to about twelve channels and FireWire can deal with more. I'm not sure how many interfaces there are that work with the new USB3 protocol but with an older laptop, that's not really a concern.

You probably know all of this already, so apologies if it's nothing new.

I really like standalone recording devices too. Dedicated hardware brings a level of certainty to what you're doing and the basic operation is usually simpler - although editing is always a challenge on those devices.

You can get yourself a very decent eight-in interface for probably around $350. The main weak point then will be the laptop. Older laptops may have latency problems if you're not careful but there are ways around that too provided the hardware is at least reasonable.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:51 PM
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Deathmetalconga Deathmetalconga is offline
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by baz View Post
...So, I have been jamming on a weekly basis with a bunch of guys from work.

We jam at a buddies house. I have a history with this guy, as we went to high school together about a half a million years ago. There are a few other guys from his department that play and sing with various degrees of musical proficiency who also attend.

Most of the music that we play is slower country/folky/medium horse power pop/rock. The drumming is not too complex, and I am able to sing harmonies as I play. It is a good thing that the drumming is not too demanding, as I am finding it a real challenge to play and sing to the level that both require. My breathing patterns are different for my singing than they are for my drumming, so I find myself running out of gas at the times when I really need to push.

At first, I was reluctant to post about this as I was contemplating packing it all in. Such was my frustration with my lack of playing, and my playing. It bothered me that even though I was jamming again, my drumming sounded so stale, cliched, and un imaginative. I was blinking the red LEDs on the suck-o-meter. That was how I was hearing it from the throne, and I was not very encouraged. That changed however when I heard a rough mix of the overall group. Hearing the drums in the mix made the dull boring cliches make sense. The drumming fits, and it actually sounds pretty good, despite the usual degree of "oops" moments. Frustration over my lack of imagination is being replace with a feeling of pride for my contribution to the song. In some cases, my drumming has not really changed all that much, but my attitude has.

A few of the guys who rotate through have never played with a drummer before, and for some, it really shows. I used to play in what I referred to as " Pastors Wife Time", which can rush, drag, change keys and language at any given time. That is how I usually play when I play with those who have less than perfect time,I have to anticipate where to put the boom, thwap, chhhhh. No more mister nice time, I have become the time nazi. I set the tempo and I stick with it. If I am going to play boring, it better be solid, so if the singer, guitar player has to rush or drag a phrase, he should still be able to land on one. This is also a new survival technique, as I am hoping that being able to play as close to metronome solid as posible it will help me with my singing/breathing.

All in all, after this winter of my discontent, it's nice to see this glorious summer looming.

Thank you.

Barry

Great story to hear.

Getting stuck in a rut or using cliches is a particular risk with drums, I believe. I think a typical mid-sized set relies most heavily on a dozen or so distinct sounds in most cases, and maybe produces 100 or so distinct sounds. Keeping it fresh is a challenge.

A guitar can produce thousands of distinct sounds - yet even they get stuck in ruts.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:06 PM
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by baz View Post
..

At first, I was reluctant to post about this as I was contemplating packing it all in. Such was my frustration with my lack of playing, and my playing. It bothered me that even though I was jamming again, my drumming sounded so stale, cliched, and un imaginative. I was blinking the red LEDs on the suck-o-meter. That was how I was hearing it from the throne, and I was not very encouraged.
Your perceptions were out of whack with what the net output was. Such a common pitfall. All drumsets should come with a recorder. You are NOT boring or unimaginative if you are keeping a beat. It's good to hear you got past that. Yes, be a meter Nazi, they all need you to be like that. It doesn't have to be fresh all the time. A well played beat that has been done to death still hits the spot, always will too. Never underestimate the power of the simple beat. It's your own brain that messes things up by second guessing yourself. The beat is fine, it's the player who has the problem thinking the beat is not enough, that's the real problem in most cases. Keeping time works, bottom line.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deathmetalconga View Post
Great story to hear.

Getting stuck in a rut or using cliches is a particular risk with drums, I believe. I think a typical mid-sized set relies most heavily on a dozen or so distinct sounds in most cases, and maybe produces 100 or so distinct sounds. Keeping it fresh is a challenge.

A guitar can produce thousands of distinct sounds - yet even they get stuck in ruts.
...Thank you DMC.

My drumming has always been a little cliched. The difference now is that I can hear myself in the mix, and the cliches are starting to work for me. By keeping my playing simple, I am better able to keep my time on track, play with the dynamics, and sing some back up without sounding like I am riding a grocery cart down a cobblestone road. Those simple little things have added tremendously to the enjoyment that I am getting from this grey ponytail jam.

I am one of those more ego than talent guys. I get frustrated thinking my drumming should be a lot more than what it is. Problem is, I have never really done much about it, so I have no right to complain. If I think of myself as a drummer or musician, I feel that I come up short. If I think of myself as a buddy who gets together with a bunch of like minded nine to fivers for some good music and good laughs, I am not a bad drummer, or musician.

Barry


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Old 05-01-2012, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Your perceptions were out of whack with what the net output was. Such a common pitfall. All drumsets should come with a recorder. You are NOT boring or unimaginative if you are keeping a beat. It's good to hear you got past that. Yes, be a meter Nazi, they all need you to be like that. It doesn't have to be fresh all the time. A well played beat that has been done to death still hits the spot, always will too. Never underestimate the power of the simple beat. It's your own brain that messes things up by second guessing yourself. The beat is fine, it's the player who has the problem thinking the beat is not enough, that's the real problem in most cases. Keeping time works, bottom line.
...Thank you Larryace.

It looks like you were typing your reply as I was typing mine. I should have saved my energy, as you pretty much summed it all up.

I still find it funny that I went from being a lousy, boring, stale drummer to being a not too bad timekeeper with the only real change being my attitude.

Barry
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  #14  
Old 05-01-2012, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Something Positive for a Change.

Nice one my friend.

We are all, or should be, subservient to the song. But.............just cos the song or drum part is fairly basic matters not, It's how you play it that counts, and it is also you that drives the band. I'ts your groove and timing that the other musicians follow.

Keep them in the pocket Baz.
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