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Old 11-10-2011, 02:40 AM
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Default No bass drum....?

So the jazz band director has told me not to use bass drum (unless a part of fills or with a crash) for all of the swing and shuffle songs. I can see how it would work for some of them, but I think cutting it out for all of them is too much... I can understand why he would want light playing, which I think is the best decision, but he insisted on none at all. There's this one medium/slow gnarly type shuffle we play, which I do just not see happening without bass drum. Of the 4 songs he told me not to play it on, 3 of the recordings have it.

I'm not going to argue, he's the director after all, but his secondary instrument being drums, I find it very strange that he doesn't want any bass drum. Has anyone ever had a situation like this?

And by the way PFOG, I already know it's a useless drum anyway so no need to hit me up on that one again ;)
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Old 11-10-2011, 02:44 AM
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Default Re: No bass drum....?

On one occasion in school the director had the drummer leave out the bass drum and told the stand up bass player to be a little more loud. Part of it was the drummer had bad timing. The other part was the bass drum was too loud.
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Old 11-10-2011, 02:53 AM
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Default Re: No bass drum....?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daredrummer View Post
And by the way PFOG, I already know it's a useless drum anyway so no need to hit me up on that one again ;)
Ha! I'd forgotten about that discussion......so you do rely on it? ;-)

No bass drum? Man, I'd feel like I left the house with no pants!!
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:30 AM
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Default Re: No bass drum....?

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
On one occasion in school the director had the drummer leave out the bass drum and told the stand up bass player to be a little more loud. Part of it was the drummer had bad timing. The other part was the bass drum was too loud.
Yes he told me one reason was too make the bassist work harder. Although it's an electric bass, which doesn't really make up for a lack of bass drum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold View Post
Ha! I'd forgotten about that discussion......so you do rely on it? ;-)

No bass drum? Man, I'd feel like I left the house with no pants!!
Yes it certainly does feel strange. I kept accidentally adding it and getting glares from the director.

Also, here is the shuffle which I feel does not work without bass drum. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cCDiI1IrK4

Lester Leaps In is the other one which just doesn't feel right without it...
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Old 11-10-2011, 04:42 AM
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Default Re: No bass drum....?

Jeff Hamilton plays it on all 4's even w/a singer. You want to feel it not hear it.
Work on feathering the bass drum beater and play it anyway. If you're doing it right there's no way the director will hear it with the whole band blowing.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:09 AM
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Default Re: No bass drum....?

Feathering solidly at a variety of tempos is hard. But yeah, if your band is loud, no way will it be heard if its really feathered. But it can still really pull in the groove and drive.
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Old 11-10-2011, 11:08 AM
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Default Re: No bass drum....?

I once played in an all-star high school jazz band where the director had me add different pieces of the drum set a little at a time. It really made me mad at first. First he gave me just a ride and said keep time on this. Then he gave me hi-hats and said give me crisp two and fours. Then a bass drum and he said feather the bass. after that he gave me the snare and said now comp. After all of that he told me that I could comp on the bass drum too. later I asked him why he did it and he said because a jazz song isn't good until the player has mastered every single part of the instrument on the song. I have taken this with me forever and that is now how I learn every song I play. You would be amazed at how much better a song is when you do this. So maybe he wants you to improve or "master" your hands before you add in the bass drum.
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Old 11-10-2011, 01:59 PM
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Default Re: No bass drum....?

Take a large sock and toss it on the beater... Play light + sock = low thumb.
Try to make a deal with that director...
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Old 11-10-2011, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: No bass drum....?

Stick a "powder puff" beater on your pedal. That will soften the bass drum's output.



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Old 11-10-2011, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: No bass drum....?

Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerjims View Post
I once played in an all-star high school jazz band where the director had me add different pieces of the drum set a little at a time. It really made me mad at first. First he gave me just a ride and said keep time on this. Then he gave me hi-hats and said give me crisp two and fours. Then a bass drum and he said feather the bass. after that he gave me the snare and said now comp. After all of that he told me that I could comp on the bass drum too. later I asked him why he did it and he said because a jazz song isn't good until the player has mastered every single part of the instrument on the song. I have taken this with me forever and that is now how I learn every song I play. You would be amazed at how much better a song is when you do this. So maybe he wants you to improve or "master" your hands before you add in the bass drum.
I agree with this as a general approach, and with those who've said to feather your bass.

But since in effect you're working for a boss, what makes the most sense to me is to discuss this with him, not by saying you disagree but by expressing your bewilderment. Why drive yourself crazy trying to get into someone else's head and figure out a situation when you have access to that person and therefore have a good chance at getting the info you need?

Re-reading, I see that he's already told you this is to help the bass player. In a learning situation, I think it makes sense to sacrifice a small bit of yourself to aid someone else's development. But since you're trying to learn too, it probably would help you more to talk to the band director again and get his point of view vis a vis the use of the bass drum in jazz.

God, I miss the days when we could keep the 2-4 beat on the hi-hats, play away on the ride, comp with the snare, and drop bass drum bombs as needed. That's the way I learned to play, and, probably because of that, it feels as right to me as it seems to feel wrong/uncomfortable to you.

Best,
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Old 11-10-2011, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: No bass drum....?

Thanks for all the input guys. I am guessing drummerjims is right. I have a feeling once I really get the hands down he will let me lightly play or feather the bass drum.
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