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  #41  
Old 06-22-2010, 06:39 PM
AudioWonderland AudioWonderland is offline
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

Having been a guitarist just as long as I have been a drummer, I can assure you that playing guitar is not easier. In addition to much smaller, high speed muscle memory to develop there is the entire world of harmony/melody/pitch/key sigs etc that have to be dealt with.

If guitarists think drumming on the other hand is easier, well, showing up with a 4pc and doing nothing but time keeping will give that impression. While it is certainly easy to overplay, I find most drummers tend to be way too conservative and add very little musically. Its not that guitarist WANT the drummer to be a glorified drum machine. Its that that's all they usually get from most drummers. "Play for the song" is great. "Add something to the song" is usually better
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  #42  
Old 06-22-2010, 07:55 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

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If guitarists think drumming on the other hand is easier, well, showing up with a 4pc and doing nothing but time keeping will give that impression. While it is certainly easy to overplay, I find most drummers tend to be way too conservative and add very little musically. Its not that guitarist WANT the drummer to be a glorified drum machine. Its that that's all they usually get from most drummers. "Play for the song" is great. "Add something to the song" is usually better
I was saying that while back, although grove is great, coming up with funky cool licks will get you noticed as a good drummer. But i suppose being able to do that and not over play does make you a great drummer...ie. Gadd, Jordan
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  #43  
Old 06-23-2010, 03:26 AM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

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Having been a guitarist just as long as I have been a drummer, I can assure you that playing guitar is not easier. In addition to much smaller, high speed muscle memory to develop there is the entire world of harmony/melody/pitch/key sigs etc that have to be dealt with.

If guitarists think drumming on the other hand is easier, well, showing up with a 4pc and doing nothing but time keeping will give that impression. While it is certainly easy to overplay, I find most drummers tend to be way too conservative and add very little musically. Its not that guitarist WANT the drummer to be a glorified drum machine. Its that that's all they usually get from most drummers. "Play for the song" is great. "Add something to the song" is usually better
AW, I personally find drums easier than other instruments but I don't know if it's just me or something more objective. I've always envied bassists because if a drummer stuffs up it sticks out like dog's balls but when a bassist stuffs up most punters just think the band as a whole is a bit off.

I too like drummers who do more than than just apply a standard backbeat to everything. A standard beat can be made to fit almost everything but it may not be the best choice artistically. However, opportunities to be more creative are limited by the imperative for most bands to get people drinking and dancing.
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  #44  
Old 06-23-2010, 04:05 AM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

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... if a drummer stuffs up it sticks out like dog's balls ...
You have such a way with words. :)
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  #45  
Old 06-23-2010, 06:07 AM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

Apples and oranges.

'Nuff said.
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  #46  
Old 06-23-2010, 06:39 AM
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You have such a way with words. :)
Heh, I tried to think of a more polite alternative but couldn't think of anything that describes it quite so clearly :)

Thing is, drummers don't have to worry about harmonies or chords or scales or melodies or have micro-muscle control like guitarists. We contribute melodically and harmonically with the colours we choose but it's a very, very limited contribution when compared with guitar.

Our penance for having an easy ride in that area is being almost as exposed as vocalists. More than anyone, singers and drummers need to get it right or they bring down the whole house of cards.
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  #47  
Old 06-23-2010, 12:50 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

I once calculated how many different patterns are possible only in the 4/4 rythmic space only with 16th notes present. It was such a huge number that even couple of human lifetimes wouldn't be able to play them all even if we changed the pattern every second.

Now, there ARE more possibilities with melodic instruments just because of harmonies, BUT then again what does it matter? You still won't be able to play them all in a life time. The better question is, where do you put your focus? What patterns do you decide to play and why? That's what makes you a better or worse musician, it doesn't matter what the instrument is.
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  #48  
Old 06-23-2010, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

Perhaps the guitar's musical versatility is threatened by that of the drum-kit. (don't just think of "musical roles" of instrumentalists)...

...it's the kind of thing that puts egos on edge.
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  #49  
Old 06-23-2010, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

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Really? Most bands I know of (local, indy, pro, and famous) the drummer was one of the last to be hired and they usually went through multiple drummers. That's how it is in the multitude of flavors of rock. Maybe it's different in jazz, I dunno, but if it is you should change your statement to, "Ask a jazz band leader..."
No my statement was correct the first time. I did not differentiate between styles. Maybe you should try to know more bands. Normally I wouldn't be so contrite with you, but an Oh Really doesn't make a weak argument any more substantive. Sorry, but this is just the way it seems sometimes. I've lived with world class bandleaders all my life and I'm aware who they hire first for various genres of American music, and it's the drummer. And of course you can bring up exceptions to the rule like your Clapton, Hendrix, Les Paul examples, but you also know those are the exceptions and not the rule. And even in those cases a bad drummer is going to wreck a lot of their good playing too, whereas a mediocre band with a fantastic drummer is going to sound pretty OK.

Starting a four piece for example of any western popular style without the drummer being the primary consideration means you're often playing with a decent guitarist who could be great if only someone had hired a better drummer. And most guys who play music full time all their life don't just play one genre of music. They play everything or after a while they don't play. So in reality there is no such thing as a jazz bandleader. It's just bandleader and that's how they see it too, as do the people who contract them.


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Yes, there is definitely good and bad. However, everyone has their own definition of good and bad which is why it's subjective. You can prove that 1 + 1 = 2. You can't prove that Joey Jordison > Travis Barker > Dave Grohl > Ringo Starr > Charlie Watts > Buddy Rich.
Again this identical comment has been rebuffed on this forum for years and years. A person having their own definition of good and bad doesn't change an absolute truth. That's the it's all opinions deal which is also silly. Using this logic, an inexperienced musician believing the section leader of his high school drumline is an icon can alter an absolute truth and claim that he's just as good as Vinnie Coluatia because it's really only opinions. This is actually good news for everyone. All we have to do is round up as many people who have never heard drums as possible, convince them we're the greatest drummers who ever lived, then that magic opinion becomes an absolute truth.

Crap, all these years of practicing for nothing when all I had to do was change opinions.
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  #50  
Old 06-23-2010, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

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.

Crap, all these years of practicing for nothing when all I had to do was change opinions.
Bad news Matt, just checked with my 2 year old and she confirmed it.....I'm definately better than you.....sorry.
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  #51  
Old 06-23-2010, 07:28 PM
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Maybe you should try to know more bands. ... I've lived with world class bandleaders all my life and I'm aware who they hire first for various genres of American music, and it's the drummer.
Then you should say, "In my experience..." because I know a lot of people in a lot of bands and that's not what I've seen. In all my days I've always had buddies in bands that just needed a drummer. Led Zep hired Bonzo last. Ringo got hired last. Keith Moon got hired last. Queens of the Stone Age has had a new drummer every album or two. The Foo Fighters went through a few drummers. It goes on and on. Most times (IN MY EXPERIENCE) a band starts with a guitarist and a singer.

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Again this identical comment has been rebuffed on this forum for years and years.
That's because it's true.

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Crap, all these years of practicing for nothing when all I had to do was change opinions.
Now you're getting it. Just answer the biggest, most damning question to your point: Why do so many millions of people think Travis Barker is "the best drummer ever?" I've already posed that question a few times and it's been sidestepped. So, why is it then? Because that's their opinion. You can never, ever, ever prove to them that Buddy Rich is better than Travis just as I can't prove Dave Grohl is better than Buddy Rich.
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  #52  
Old 06-23-2010, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

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You can never, ever, ever prove to them that Buddy Rich is better than Travis just as I can't prove Dave Grohl is better than Buddy Rich.
Sure, but we can break down categories as far as , "better at what ?"

Speed ? Technique ? Natural Time Feel ? Able to play different styles ? Creativity ? Innovation ? Groove & Pocket ? Better at Rock ? Better at Jazz ? Better at reggae ?

Those things can be measured and be used as criteria to determine who may excel in those categories more so than others
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  #53  
Old 06-23-2010, 08:28 PM
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Sure, but we can break down categories as far as , "better at what ?"
Speed ? Technique ? Natural Time Feel ? Able to play different styles ? Creativity ? Innovation ? Groove & Pocket ? Better at Rock ? Better at Jazz ? Better at reggae ?
Those things can be measured and be used as criteria to determine who may excel in those categories more so than others
Right, and I mentioned that too. But those things don't necessarily make someone better or worse as a drummer. Let's compare Marco Minnemann to Dave Grohl. Marco is clearly faster. Hell, Dave can't even play double bass so he loses 5 points there. Well I've heard Marco play, and I think he's crap. Therefor, in my opinion, Dave is better than Marco. Does the purely physical act of hitting drums faster make one a better drummer? Does one drummer's chosen genre score more points than another's? How do you even begin to rate style? It's like Olympic figure skating. They have two sets of scores, right? Technical and artistic. Triple jumps get more points than doubles, etc. The artistic portion is 100% subjective because as we all know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You can prove to me that Marco can do double bass faster than Dave, but you can't equate why I should like him more.
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  #54  
Old 06-23-2010, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

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Then you should say, "In my experience..." because I know a lot of people in a lot of bands and that's not what I've seen. In all my days I've always had buddies in bands that just needed a drummer. Led Zep hired Bonzo last. Ringo got hired last. Keith Moon got hired last. Queens of the Stone Age has had a new drummer every album or two. The Foo Fighters went through a few drummers. It goes on and on. Most times (IN MY EXPERIENCE) a band starts with a guitarist and a singer.


That's because it's true.


Now you're getting it. Just answer the biggest, most damning question to your point: Why do so many millions of people think Travis Barker is "the best drummer ever?" I've already posed that question a few times and it's been sidestepped. So, why is it then? Because that's their opinion. You can never, ever, ever prove to them that Buddy Rich is better than Travis just as I can't prove Dave Grohl is better than Buddy Rich.
OK man, I will simply say in my BETTER experiences. And in saying that I judge no one's quality of experiences. I'm only trying to faceitiously point out the futility of this point that you appear to believe is some natural law issue. Geez. I stated an entire point regarding the quality of experiences based on what someone brings to the table and you just flew right past that and started typing.

An absolute truth could care less what anyone thinks, feels or reinvents. It is what it is, meaning that proven something isn't in its job description. The only way to reach such a designation as judge or arbiter would be to know all there is to know. Therefore those with a wider range of experiences are going to get a heck of a lot closer to making qualified rulings. A person limited to one or two sets of criterion is in a far weaker position. Therefore their idea of good, better, best is merely a delusion.

You may not agree with my assertions, but I get it just fine.
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  #55  
Old 06-23-2010, 11:10 PM
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And what's up with the "my opinion will destroy all proof". If it were that easy every proof in mathematics could be destroyed by some 15 year old saying "I just don't believe it works that way". Same way Travis Barker isn't better than Vinnie Colaiuta, no matter what some people think. Absolute truth isn't about opinions. And no, I'm not giving absolute truth as an opinion either, prove me otherwise. If you like more Barker's music that's another story, but when speaking of purely about the drumming experience and knowledge there really is no argument to be had.
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  #56  
Old 06-23-2010, 11:13 PM
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Geez. I stated an entire point regarding the quality of experiences based on what someone brings to the table and you just flew right past that and started typing.
No, I actually read your whole post. I just didn't need to quote the whole thing.

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A person limited to one or two sets of criterion is in a far weaker position. Therefore their idea of good, better, best is merely a delusion.

You may not agree with my assertions, but I get it just fine.
Based on the previous line, I don't think you do. Are you saying that the opinions of millions of people are invalidated or hold less weight because they aren't schooled musicians and such? I hope not because that's just ridiculous. Especially considering I don't need a degree in psychology or interior design to know a paisley couch is f'ing ugly. Anyway, that's all beside the point since it all comes down to fact and opinion. I still defy you to prove that Bonzo is better than Barker. Go ahead and do that and I bet I can find more than a few people who can "prove" the opposite.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opinion

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If you like more Barker's music that's another story, but when speaking of purely about the drumming experience and knowledge there really is no argument to be had.
That doesn't hold up because there's no concrete set of criteria that has been designated and agreed to be the key things used to determine if a drummer is "good." Also, your biased criteria would dictate that an 8 year-old prodigy would not be better than a "crappy" drummer who's been playing his whole life. You can easily find YouTube videos with 8-12 year old drummers who would absolutely crush a lot of lifers.

Also, your math vs opinion analogy doesn't fit because you can show a 5 year-old 2 apples and that kid will know for a fact you're showing him 2 apples. You can't prove to him that they are delicious or that they are better than oranges. More to the point, I've been eating all my life. I think hamburgers are better than sushi. Hundreds of millions of people believe the exact opposite.

Last edited by motojt; 06-23-2010 at 11:46 PM.
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  #57  
Old 06-23-2010, 11:28 PM
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Just throwing in my two cents. I've played guitar for about 8 years and drums for 1. The band I'm in at the moment is my first one ever on drums. I have to say that it's really easier to learn a song because I'm really not, as Polly mentioned, having to learn the melodic composition of the music as I would have to on a stringed instrument. I do sing a lot of backups but that's another beast.

The biggest hindrance I have noticed though, one that I had never actually realized as a guitar player or singer, is the drummers duty of keeping the tempo. Its proving a very difficult thing to learn because I've always relied on someone else to keep me on time. The beat is the heartbeat of the music but its really something that we take for granted and don't notice unless its off time.

Fun point to note is how the guitar player is very quick to call me out when I'm off beat but on tunes where he starts off, he'll usually be about 20bpm too slow. I've also noticed that If I play faster to correct it, how quickly everyone will adjust to my speed. Some days i'll deliberately play faster just to see if they'll follow. It's a lot of fun :-D
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  #58  
Old 06-23-2010, 11:58 PM
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That doesn't hold up because there's no concrete set of criteria that has been designated and agreed to be the key things used to determine if a drummer is "good." Also, your biased criteria would dictate that an 8 year-old prodigy would not be better than a "crappy" drummer who's been playing his whole life. You can easily find YouTube videos with 8-12 year old drummers who would absolutely crush a lot of lifers.

Also, your math vs opinion analogy doesn't fit because you can show a 5 year-old 2 apples and that kid will know for a fact you're showing him 2 apples. You can't prove to him that they are delicious or that they are better than oranges. More to the point, I've been eating all my life. I think hamburgers are better than sushi. Hundreds of millions of people believe the exact opposite.
At least I gave some criteria. We can all pat ourselves on the back with "being the best drummers with the name [insert your name] in this band called [insert your band's name] today [insert date] here in [insert your location]" and no one could prove us otherwise. But such criteria would be silly. I'm quite sure Colaiuta would absolutely nail every gig Barker would ever play. And even do it better. But Barker has more tattoos. Being popular isn't criteria for being a good drummer imo, because there a lot more to being popular than only being a good drummer. But popularity sure does give an illusion for people, that doesn't mean it's the truth though.

If you like hamburger better than sushi that's fine, but arguing that the Big Mac is more healthy to you or has less calories might be a different story. Also there's completely different set of skills required to make a good shushi, Big Macs are more about the industry standards which doesn't need awful lot of practice to produce. And I would even argue that the guy who has his own sushi restaurant here where I live and travelled all the way to Japan to be trained to be great sushi cook has more skill in cooking than the guy who makes the burgers in McDonalds nearby. Even if I don't like sushi I would pay more for his meal than for the big mac.
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  #59  
Old 06-24-2010, 12:14 AM
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At least I gave some criteria. ... I'm quite sure Colaiuta would absolutely nail every gig Barker would ever play. And even do it better. ... Being popular isn't criteria for being a good drummer imo...
But those are your criteria. Those criteria may or may not be important to someone else. And while Colaiuta might nail Barker's songs, I bet the ones who paid to see the concert would be pissed Barker wasn't the one playing them, and they'd probably say he sucked. Because he brings more than the technical, and chronological order of hitting surfaces with sticks. I personally think he's shit, but again, that's just me. Those are my criteria. Finally, popularity may or may not be a Blink182 fan's criteria. Maybe it's his overall performance? Maybe it's his style? Again, he's more than just a tattooed robot hitting cans with sticks. Otherwise a drum machine would be a better drummer than all of us combined.

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If you like hamburger better than sushi that's fine, but arguing that the Big Mac is more healthy to you or has less calories might be a different story.
You proved my point exactly with that comment. I can't say it's better. I can say it's cheaper and more delicious to me, which to me are two criteria of good food. I don't care how they're made, I just want to be sustained and enjoy it. Maybe Baker fans don't want to hear odd times, syncopation, and a jazzy swing. Maybe they want to see a skinny, tattooed, flashy, ass hole flailing about while making noises in a manner his fans appreciate. If so, Barker would fit their criteria for what makes a good drummer.

Hey, while we're on the subject, who's the best band? :p
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  #60  
Old 06-24-2010, 12:53 AM
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You proved my point exactly with that comment. I can't say it's better. I can say it's cheaper and more delicious to me, which to me are two criteria of good food. I don't care how they're made, I just want to be sustained and enjoy it. Maybe Baker fans don't want to hear odd times, syncopation, and a jazzy swing. Maybe they want to see a skinny, tattooed, flashy, ass hole flailing about while making noises in a manner his fans appreciate. If so, Barker would fit their criteria for what makes a good drummer.

Hey, while we're on the subject, who's the best band? :p
But how does likeing him make him better than someone else?

I really like Keith Carlock (especially with Krantz) but at the same time I can say that you can take any aspect of his drumming and compare it to someone else and you would eventually find a drummer that is better at that one particular side of drumming. But I like him, his ideas and how he puts everything together. But I'm not posting youtube comments about him being better that everyone else, because he isn't, I just happen to like him very very much. I might not like Colaiuta as much but I know he's the better drummer.

It's the same way with sports teams. We like different teams but only one will win. Same thing in the olympics. Not everyone liked Phelps although he clearly was the best swimmer in the competition.

BTW, how did this come to this argument again? Wasn't this about guitarists vs drummers?
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  #61  
Old 06-24-2010, 01:53 AM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

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Just throwing in my two cents. I've played guitar for about 8 years and drums for 1. The band I'm in at the moment is my first one ever on drums. I have to say that it's really easier to learn a song because I'm really not, as Polly mentioned, having to learn the melodic composition of the music as I would have to on a stringed instrument. I do sing a lot of backups but that's another beast.

The biggest hindrance I have noticed though, one that I had never actually realized as a guitar player or singer, is the drummers duty of keeping the tempo. Its proving a very difficult thing to learn because I've always relied on someone else to keep me on time. The beat is the heartbeat of the music but its really something that we take for granted and don't notice unless its off time.

Fun point to note is how the guitar player is very quick to call me out when I'm off beat but on tunes where he starts off, he'll usually be about 20bpm too slow. I've also noticed that If I play faster to correct it, how quickly everyone will adjust to my speed. Some days i'll deliberately play faster just to see if they'll follow. It's a lot of fun :-D
Haha Red Menace - welcome to the drummer's world of tempo silliness :) Posts like yours get to the heart of this thread. I had the same thing when I played (primitive) keyboards for a while. I was having to spend a lot of time between rehearsals learning songs, whereas on drums I just need to listen to and play along with a tune once or twice (or just wing it).

Larry often talks about tempo - both starting and maintaining - being a hugely important and unsung skill for drummers. The others really do rely on us and if the drums aren't working then pretty well nothing will.

I see the drums as the skeleton of most music over which the other musicians flesh out the tunes. If the the spine is bowed, broken or absent then nothing's going to work well. But the skeleton is rarely enough (apart from the occasional x-ray moment where we get to hold the floor) and we need the charm and beauty that other musos provide. That's why the whole competitiveness thing is such a crock ... it's a team effort.
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  #62  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:19 AM
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It's an interesting new position of power to be in now. I'm finding that I have the capacity to ruin or improve a song more than anyone else. If I'm having an off day and my playing is affected then everyone's feeling it. Now I may not be able to wow everyone with my speed and technique like on guitar but I can get everyone's head bobbing with the rhythm. For that and the sheer physicality of it I'd have to say that the drummer is more important than the guitar player.

Also consider how hard it is to find a damn drummer for a band. Guitar players at or above my skill level are a dime a dozen.
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  #63  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:52 AM
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@JPW, your last arguments all points to measurable things. The better football team scored more points. The better swimmer got there the fastest. Isn't what makes a good drummer more than the measurable things? Like I said, if the only things that count are speed, accuracy, memorization, and time, well then drum machines rule the world.

Is there a definitive best drummer ever? Why not? If we could measure what makes a good drummer, then we should be able to apply those rules to determine the best drummer. The reality is the "best" is just a consensus of opinion, just like who's better than what. How would African natives compare Bonzo to their local drummers? How would the Japanese compare him to their "best" taiko drummers? It's all relative.

Someone asked why bother to work at your craft if being good is subjective? That answer is different for a lot of people. I know what I consider good, and I try to improve myself within those guidelines. My guidelines are 1) Am I keeping good time? 2) Am I missing fills? 3) Do I like the way it sounds with the song? No matter how hard you work and how much you improve, there will always be those who think you're crap. Because it's not just the speed of your rolls or how many different genres you can play that makes you a drummer. It's also how you interpret a piece, where you decide to accent or ghost a note, what you personally add to a song. Those things aren't measurable except by someone else's taste. So why bother to impress someone else anyway? Why not play for you?

Incidentally, I think I'm to blame for the hijack. I think I said easy and hard are relative or subjective or some shit. ;)
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:53 AM
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I'm finding that I have the capacity to ruin or improve a song more than anyone else. If I'm having an off day and my playing is affected then everyone's feeling it.
That's my experience too. Everyone's playing has an impact but only the vocalist makes as much difference as the drums, and even that depends on the song. Having said that, it's all a matter of degree because if any member is ragged then it weakens the whole unit.


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Also consider how hard it is to find a damn drummer for a band. Guitar players at or above my skill level are a dime a dozen.
Tell me about it. That's why I'm back on drums. When I was playing keys we auditioned a bunch of drummers and none were suitable - they were either too loud and were incapable of toning down, or they overplayed, or they were loose, or they were too one-dimensional in their approach, or they had deficient tempo control.

All bar one of the drummers auditioned had more chops than I did but it's hard to find drummers who really listen in the non-pro scene.

Drums are such a fun instrument that we have all these delicious temptations that can distract us from the our basic brief ... groove, support the frontperson/s, follow the "story" with clear musical phrases, and find the spots to add colour and intensity.
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:54 AM
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Is there a definitive best drummer ever?
Yes! Brian Blade!

Sorry, couldn't resist :)
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:28 AM
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Just throwing in my two cents. I've played guitar for about 8 years and drums for 1. The band I'm in at the moment is my first one ever on drums. I have to say that it's really easier to learn a song because I'm really not, as Polly mentioned, having to learn the melodic composition of the music as I would have to on a stringed instrument. I do sing a lot of backups but that's another beast.

The biggest hindrance I have noticed though, one that I had never actually realized as a guitar player or singer, is the drummers duty of keeping the tempo. Its proving a very difficult thing to learn because I've always relied on someone else to keep me on time. The beat is the heartbeat of the music but its really something that we take for granted and don't notice unless its off time.

Fun point to note is how the guitar player is very quick to call me out when I'm off beat but on tunes where he starts off, he'll usually be about 20bpm too slow. I've also noticed that If I play faster to correct it, how quickly everyone will adjust to my speed. Some days i'll deliberately play faster just to see if they'll follow. It's a lot of fun :-D
Welcome to my world too. I've played guitar since I was 6 and started fooling around on the drums when I was about 10. In my early 20's I was paying the rent playing guitar 6 nights a week. Doing the occasional drum cover on a song or two. But I didn't start playing proper gigs on drums until my 40's.

Now at 55, I'm burnt out on guitar. I've come to grips with the realization that I'm not going to be able to play what I hear in my head, or what I want to play. I just don't have the time and energy to study harmony, transcribe Henderson/Herring/Laudau/Ford/Carlton... solos, practice enough to keep my chops capable of playing that stuff, and deal with the rest of life. Spent the last 5 years with a corporate cover band that kicked ass, but it was serious work. Now the calls for casuals that I get usually involve some situation with a mediocre rhythm section. I've come to the realization that life's too short to play with bad drummers. Trying to play over someone with no groove, drifting time, wild fills that you don't know where they will land, etc, is like trying to stand on two bowling balls on an ice rink. It takes all your energy just to stand there. Never mind being creative or enjoying yourself.

Fortunately, nearly 50 years of playing music with a focus on feel and how it sounds, has given me a pretty good sense of time and musicality. At least according to the touring drummers I know that I've played guitar with and now hear me on drums. It won't be a chops fest, but that's not what I'm trying to accomplish. Channeling Jordan, Drayton, Evans and the like is. Getting people to dance is. Enabling the guitar player (some of whom are afraid of me because of my reputation as a guitarist) to play as well as they can is.

So I can play linear fills involving double hits on a single pedal, I can do the Dennis thing with 4 on the hat and 5 on my left hand (but not much else on the other limbs ;-), a couple of double shuffle variations, proper rhumba patterns, and a couple of other tricks. I can usually get the kick pattern from the tune or at least lock with the bass player's pattern. It's enough. I continue to work on inverted paradiddles, and various left lead rudiments because it's challenging and I want to increase my vocabulary.

But what I don't work on much any more, is extended chord substitutions, melodic minor over 2/5s, intervallic exercises, voice leading, half diminished and whole tone substitutions, tritone substitutions, and trying to sight read Au Privave.

I'm not in denial about anything. Just making a conscious choice about where to direct my musical energies.
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:30 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

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No, I actually read your whole post. I just didn't need to quote the whole thing.


Based on the previous line, I don't think you do. Are you saying that the opinions of millions of people are invalidated or hold less weight because they aren't schooled musicians and such? I hope not because that's just ridiculous. Especially considering I don't need a degree in psychology or interior design to know a paisley couch is f'ing ugly. Anyway, that's all beside the point since it all comes down to fact and opinion. I still defy you to prove that Bonzo is better than Barker. Go ahead and do that and I bet I can find more than a few people who can "prove" the opposite.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opinion


That doesn't hold up because there's no concrete set of criteria that has been designated and agreed to be the key things used to determine if a drummer is "good." Also, your biased criteria would dictate that an 8 year-old prodigy would not be better than a "crappy" drummer who's been playing his whole life. You can easily find YouTube videos with 8-12 year old drummers who would absolutely crush a lot of lifers.

Also, your math vs opinion analogy doesn't fit because you can show a 5 year-old 2 apples and that kid will know for a fact you're showing him 2 apples. You can't prove to him that they are delicious or that they are better than oranges. More to the point, I've been eating all my life. I think hamburgers are better than sushi. Hundreds of millions of people believe the exact opposite.
Ok, you're obviously not anyone who has ever considered another view other than your own knee jerk reaction. All you did was say everything again with restructured sentences. As for the extended metaphors, that all might play in the neighborhood, but---well you know the rest.

When you decided to debate seriously we can talk. Until then it's just not worth it.

Good luck with your music. It's great you're passionate.
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

Does anyone else get the feeling that Matt and James probably aren't such poles apart but not quite clicking? Of course "better" exists and it matters a lot if you're pro competing for gigs, but not nearly so much if you're a hobbyist playing music with friends. And when it comes to listening, all that matters is enjoyment.


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But what I don't work on much any more, is extended chord substitutions, melodic minor over 2/5s, intervallic exercises, voice leading, half diminished and whole tone substitutions, tritone substitutions, and trying to sight read Au Privave.

I'm not in denial about anything. Just making a conscious choice about where to direct my musical energies.
Another nice post, Aeolian. Yeah, I think it's a simpler life on drums than on tuned instruments. It can be incredibly complex, of course, but not for many of us ... certainly not for me :)
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:03 PM
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Ok, you're obviously not anyone who has ever considered another view other than your own knee jerk reaction. ... When you decided to debate seriously we can talk.
So because you disagree with me, my stance is nothing more than a whim and I'm wearing blinders? That's real mature, Matt. I've thought long and hard about this specifically, and even more about the differences between fact and opinion. My "extended metaphors" were examples to illustrate a point further since you either weren't accepting or understanding the idea. Just different ways of looking at it that could make it more clear. Yes, I think about your points and address them. You, however, appear to just skim over my posts, or at best refuse to answer my questions.

Since you apparently don't want to discuss it further I'll leave with one last analogy. The simplest one I can think of in a music frame set. The vocalist. Is a good voice the only thing required to be a good vocalist? Or does the person's personal style also factor in to the total package of the title "Vocalist?" Christina Aguilera has an amazing voice. Her vocal range rivals Mariah Carrey's in her prime. Her style, on the other hand, is very busy. She can be pitchy and overly riffy. So she has a great tool set (her voice), but she's not a good vocalist (in my opinion).

@Aeolian, I'm going the exact opposite direction. I've always been into drums in one way or another, and never cared for the guitar. Recently, however, I've started feeling the limitations of drumming. That and the desire to make my own music got me started on bass then guitar. I have the utmost respect for you guys, man. Every time I pick up my SG I kick myself for not letting my dad teach me when I was a kid.
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:21 PM
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Yeah, I think it's a simpler life on drums than on tuned instruments. It can be incredibly complex, of course, but not for many of us ... certainly not for me :)
Oh, Polly just reminded me. The biggest headache I've encountered on drums is tuning. I love the guitar so much more than drums in that there is a standard set tuning that I can keep with the help of an electric tuner.
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:31 PM
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Oh, Polly just reminded me. The biggest headache I've encountered on drums is tuning. I love the guitar so much more than drums in that there is a standard set tuning that I can keep with the help of an electric tuner.
Fair point, Red. Like tempo control, tuning is another of those quiet arts of drummers that's harder than it looks but people don't consciously notice it.

On the other hand, we don't have to look after our micro tuning to ensure we're okay with bass, keys and horns. Swings and roundabouts ...
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:46 PM
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I despise tuning my drums. I f'ing hate it. The drum dial helps a lot, but I still want to gouge my eyes out with my sticks by the time I get to the toms. The only gripe I have about tuning my strings is intonation, and that's not even a big deal.
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

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Oh, Polly just reminded me. The biggest headache I've encountered on drums is tuning. I love the guitar so much more than drums in that there is a standard set tuning that I can keep with the help of an electric tuner.
Actually Red, drum tuning is one of my main joys of the instrument. It's not easy, but then, that's half the fun. I was trained up on timpani in my teenage years. Tuning is a very important thing with timpani. Not many people think of timpani as a true piece of tuned percussion, but it is. The beauty of mastering tuning of that instrument is the challenge of balancing pitch and sound charactaristics.

Anyhow, just to put my bit into the side spat about better. Of course there's better, but it's contextual. Once the context has been nailed, then it's the perception of the person making that judgement. Judgement is either based on a hierarchy of criteria, or a palpable feeling that defies definition.

Just read your post Motoit. Man, you've got to fall in love with tuning! I'm surprised at the number of drummers who spend way more time choosing their drums according to the sound they desire to achieve, but won't spend a fraction of that time learning how to tune them. Put simply, if you can't/won't tune your drums properly, save yourself a bunch of money & go buy the cheapest set of tubs you can find.
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

You should try my approach Moto. I Just take it to my girlfriend's dad and say "can you tune this for me?" If he comes to gigs he'll just start tuning stuff if it sound off. I'm gonna need to start bribing him with beer soon though...
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:35 PM
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But James, at least you don't have to re-tune between songs all the time. That's painful! Ping ping ... ping ping PING PINGGGG zzzzzzzzzz

BTW, nice comment about "better", Andy.
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:40 PM
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Actually Red, drum tuning is one of my main joys of the instrument. It's not easy, but then, that's half the fun.
Ditto for me...I *love* tuning. I play a fairly traditional 4pc. kit but I'll easily spend 2 hrs. tuning them, every couple of weeks. I might spend another hour or two after that, during practice, tweaking and fine-tuning if I think it's necessary.

I won't play the drums until I think I've hit that elusive "sweet spot" on each of them and have heard them played by someone else or played back through a recording. When you hit that spot and the entire kit sings together...man oh man...it's inspiring.

I'm not bragging but I've gotten fairly good at it. I'm far better at tuning my drums than I am playing them...haha!
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:36 PM
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When you hit that spot and the entire kit sings together...man oh man...it's inspiring.
Yup, got it 100% there bizzy. That's why I'm trying a new reso head combo next week (ref: Evans G+ as resos thread) and I'm going to post a G3 comparison recording. Perhaps you can tell me if I've hit the sweet spot! I let my shells tell me when they're happy.

Moto, 2 hours on your snare? Nooo way. Best approach is spend a load of time getting it just right. From that point on, just remember how you did it. Ditch the dial (even though that helps with repeatability) and just crank it up until it's happy. Don't mess around and be constantly indecisive. Remember the sweet spot and let that inprint into your mind. I can tune my tubs in 2 mins flat at a gig, no problem.
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

I would say the drumming is the easiest of all instruments to pick up, but the hardest to master. Anyone can start playing a 2 4 snare rock beat, but making even that sound good is tough.

Ive been playing guitar for about 4-5 years now and its way harder to get started on than drumming, but i feel that alot of making a guitar sound good is knowing the theory. Yes, technique and ability are very important, but listen to great guitar solos like "Time" by Pink floyd. Its really easy to play, but possibly the greatest guitar solo to bless this world (in my opinion of course).
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

I guess playing melodic instruments all these years has given me a sense of pitch. That was one of the first things a pro drummer I used to play with told me; "you can tune the drums because you hear pitch". We were talking about how he felt is was somewhat simpler to tune clear heads than coated ones. I don't have perfect pitch, but I can tune a guitar to 440 within a few cents from pitch memory. I only use a tuner on stage for silent tuning. At rehearsals or a jam, I just tune by ear.

Part of this is that the sound the instrument makes has always been as important to me as what note it was playing. Growing up poor, I couldn't get sound quality with my wallet, I had to do it the hard way. With my hands. So I learned how to set something up as well as it could be (for what it was) and how changing what I was doing with my hands affected how it sounds.

Some years ago at a sound check, I told the drummer that they were getting a great sound out of his kit and he should go out front and hear it. I went behind his kit and played a bit while he smiled out front. Later the keyboardist came over to me and asked how come the drums sounded better when I played them. The drummer in that band was very studied. Had spent several years with a famous bay area teacher, and practiced constantly. But it was intellectual, he didn't listen to the sound coming out of the drums, and technique to him was the ability to play the parts written in front of him, not how to get any particular sound out of the drums.

To me, playing a musical instrument is a closed loop process. You hear a sound in your head, you try to create it with the instrument, you hear what comes out into the room, and you adjust what you are doing with the instrument until the sound in the room matches (as well as you can) the sound you are hearing in your head. That sound you are hearing in your head can be a combination of timbre, tone, rhythm and melody depending on what you are playing and where your focus is. The better you can hear the music in it's entirety in your head, the better you will be able to get the instrument to produce it.

And anyone who thinks rhythm isn't important on a guitar, I invite you to try James Brown's Doing It To Death (Funky Good Time). One simple 9th chord moved back and forth one fret. But the whole note triplet drug back in time followed by alternating an and foward and backwards in time, while keeping it together with the bass line and shuffish drums is a mind f*#k.
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:53 PM
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Default Re: Are Guitarists in Denial about the Drumset ?

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To me, playing a musical instrument is a closed loop process. You hear a sound in your head, you try to create it with the instrument, you hear what comes out into the room, and you adjust what you are doing with the instrument until the sound in the room matches (as well as you can) the sound you are hearing in your head. That sound you are hearing in your head can be a combination of timbre, tone, rhythm and melody depending on what you are playing and where your focus is. The better you can hear the music in it's entirety in your head, the better you will be able to get the instrument to produce it.
Bravo. 'nuff said.

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