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Old 03-19-2011, 10:48 PM
kmoonfan kmoonfan is offline
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Default Ride Cymbal Technique/Swing Feel For Playing Jazz

Hello everyone. I've checked out this forum once in a while and it seems like there are a lot of knowledgeable people on here. I have recently got into jazz, from reading about my favorite drummer, Keith Moon (my screen name obviously points that out lol). I was reading that Keith Moon was a big fan of Gene Krupa and highly influenced by him. So I decided to check out Krupa and really enjoyed his playing and it now has me interested in learning jazz.

I was hoping that somebody could help me out with a question I have about playing a swing feel. As I understand it, there is a triplet, then quarter note pattern with the quarter note coming on two and four. The triplet pattern being played on the ride cymbal and the quarter note on the high hat. I was told to always start on the quarter note.

From what I've been told there is a catch and release technique involved with the ride cymbal and there should be very little wrist movement if this is done correctly. I'm having a difficult time with this and wanted to know if anybody could give me any advice or point me to a good instructional video for this.I have both acoustic and electronic drum kits, but I was told to stay away from the electronic kit while practicing this because it would not allow me learn the proper technique on the ride.

Any help is much appreciated.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:24 PM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
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Default Re: Ride Cymbal Technique/Swing Feel For Playing Jazz

I don't follow your description- the pattern is quarter notes on the cymbal, plus hihat with your foot on two and four, plus the little swing note on the cymbal after beats two and four. There's one explanation of it here, and also in Jim Chapin's Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer, which you should own if you want to learn to play jazz.

At mf at a medium tempo I play it with my thumb on top of the stick with a little outward forearm rotation, but really I wouldn't be getting over-analytical with the technique at this point- just play it a lot and listen to the music where it's used. Try to make it sound like this.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:42 PM
kmoonfan kmoonfan is offline
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Default Re: Ride Cymbal Technique/Swing Feel For Playing Jazz

Thank you Toddbishop. Sorry if my description is incorrect. I'm very new to this. I'm going to print out that Paul Wertico page, and pick up that book that you mentioned as well. Thanks for the video link too. I'm going to do some more searching of jazz drummers on you tube. What are some big band drummers you would recommend to check out?
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:53 AM
Soupy Soupy is offline
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Default Re: Ride Cymbal Technique/Swing Feel For Playing Jazz

This might be useful:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl1KPz2t-KQ
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:56 AM
Bertram Bertram is offline
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Default Re: Ride Cymbal Technique/Swing Feel For Playing Jazz

Well, i know two jazz beats on the ride.
"And 1, 2 and 3, 4"
just count 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and play the ride on above. Sounds like "dudum, dum, dudum, dum" - hehehe

You can also go like, well i don't know how to put it in here, but something like "and1, and2, and3 and4" sounds like "dudum, dudum, dudum, dudum"

Don't smash my face if im wrong on the notes, / triplets whats 'o' ever. Im only learning this, not teaching.. . I MIGHT BE WRONG! - but it sounds like i've described
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:45 AM
Drumolator Drumolator is offline
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Default Re: Ride Cymbal Technique/Swing Feel For Playing Jazz

I suggest listening very closely to lots of jazz and playing along with it too. Learning jazz will help your overall drumming quite a bit. Good luck.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:53 PM
kmoonfan kmoonfan is offline
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Default Re: Ride Cymbal Technique/Swing Feel For Playing Jazz

Thanks for all the help everybody. It's much appreciated. Who are some jazz drummers you would recommend? Especially big band.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:04 PM
chaymus chaymus is offline
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Default Re: Ride Cymbal Technique/Swing Feel For Playing Jazz

Swing feel is hard to explain, if you're counting and playing everything "perfectly" it will sound mechanical. Try to feel a gap build between the 2 and the 'ah'. I guess I think about a ship swaying in the water and the ah-3 changing momentum, but I doubt that helps anyone. Definitely something you have to listen to understand. Moving helps me feel it better too.

Buddy Rich is up there with Gene's influence on a lot of drummers.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:22 PM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
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Default Re: Ride Cymbal Technique/Swing Feel For Playing Jazz

For big band I'm partial to Mel Lewis and Stan Levey (of Woody Herman's band). Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich are great, of course, but their respective showmanship and virtuosity can get in the way of understanding what's going on musically.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:59 PM
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Zickosdrummer Zickosdrummer is offline
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Default Re: Ride Cymbal Technique/Swing Feel For Playing Jazz

My description of this is way more complicated than if I could draw it out and post it, but I can't, so, hear goes.

IMHO, if you notate a 16th note rhythm (one 1/4 note, four 1/16 notes, etc) as 1 2e&a 3 4e&a 1, etc. and a triplet rhythm (one 1/4 note, three triplet 1/8th notes, etc.) as 1 2-la-li 3 4-la-li 1, etc, the jazz ride rhythm should be somewhere in-between, though notated usually as the 16th note rhythm and used hear as 1 2 a3 4 a1, etc.

Envision a small oval, perpendicular to the cymbal and open as you face it. Going counter clock wise from right to left, place 1 as the right side of the oval, the arc of the oval is the stick travel and 2 is the right side of the oval. The "a" is the stick bounce between the left side (2) and the right side (3) followed by 4 on the left side again, etc. The 2 and 4 are slightly accented.

I said this was way more complicated to describe than to draw out. I saw this drawn out in a flyer years ago about jazz time on the cymbal (I think published by Ludwig) and it was reinforced by a teacher I had in college (yes, they had colleges back then!).
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