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  #1  
Old 02-14-2011, 03:15 AM
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Coldhardsteel Coldhardsteel is offline
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Default No Standard Technique?

I read today that there is no universally accepted way to play a cymbal.

This can obviously be applied to any piece of a drum kit, but c'mon.

There's no such thing as universal with drum set, but isn't there a majority-accepted way to play?
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Old 02-14-2011, 03:25 AM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

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Originally Posted by Coldhardsteel View Post
I read today that there is no universally accepted way to play a cymbal.

This can obviously be applied to any piece of a drum kit, but c'mon.

There's no such thing as universal with drum set, but isn't there a majority-accepted way to play?
What kind of cymbal? What style? What kind of sound are you looking for? These make a difference on how I play. I think, once you address these questions, there may be more of a standard technique to cymbal playing than you think.
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Old 02-14-2011, 03:25 AM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

This has been beaten to death. The majority on this forum have decided that there is no such thing as a "better" or a "worse" drummer. The only thing is the "right thing for that particular song." So, if the "right thing for that song" is to hold the sticks between your butt cheeks and play backwards, then that is the "correct technique." If there was such a thing as a "majority accepted technique", then some people would say that that technique is better, and it would make the buttcheek players sad, and we couldn't have that.
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:49 AM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

There were definite techniques and approaches in the past. A glance through old (as in 1930s or earlier) tuition books will tell you that!

It seems to change with every generation...
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

There's definitely better and worse ways of going about it. Rule of thumb is, the more you're able to stay relaxed, work the bounce and grip the sticks lightly to let everything resonate, the better.

In other words, the more you do the opposite to what I picked up from learning to play with garage bands in the 70s, the better off you'll be :)
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:05 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

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Originally Posted by Average View Post
This has been beaten to death. The majority on this forum have decided that there is no such thing as a "better" or a "worse" drummer. The only thing is the "right thing for that particular song." So, if the "right thing for that song" is to hold the sticks between your butt cheeks and play backwards, then that is the "correct technique." If there was such a thing as a "majority accepted technique", then some people would say that that technique is better, and it would make the buttcheek players sad, and we couldn't have that.
The point is that provided you make the sounds you intend to, without causing physical damage to yourself or your equipment, your technique is good enough. Evidently you feel there is a correct technical approach which is being neglected in the name of political correctness. Do feel free to enlighten everybody on this subject.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

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The point is that provided you make the sounds you intend to, without causing physical damage to yourself or your equipment, your technique is good enough. Evidently you feel there is a correct technical approach which is being neglected in the name of political correctness. Do feel free to enlighten everybody on this subject.
I would never presume to enlighten anyone on any subject. I don't know where you're getting the pc angle in your response. I never said any of that. To restate my point for clarity - it is generally accepted on drummerworld that there is no such thing as better or worse when it comes to drumming. The drummer can be magnificent only if he/she fits the situation. If the situation demands a drummer with sloppy, monotonous playing, then that is the best drummer with the 'correct' technique. A 4 year old with child like playing is a better drummer than vinnie in the right musical context. See? We can all be superstars! To say that there is a majority accepted correct technique would imply that drummers who execute that majority accepted technique are better, regardless of context. If 'true in all contexts' idea of better drumming were allowed to exist, it would disenfranchise drummers who did not meet the 'better' standard. More importantly, it might anger the fans of those drummers and lead to a discussion which could possibly make those fans go berserk and cause a big nasty fight. It might even be a violation of the terms of service, and we would never want to do that.

Its Valentine's day! Think love and bunny rabbits. Say only flowery things about every drummer!

Last edited by Average; 02-14-2011 at 03:48 PM. Reason: Spellz
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:45 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

Oh, I see. I think we're in agreement then, sometimes this text-only interface can lead one down the wrong path as far as meaning is concerned. As you were!
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

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Oh, I see. I think we're in agreement then, sometimes this text-only interface can lead one down the wrong path as far as meaning is concerned. As you were!
I am glad we are in agreement!

I was driving to my afternoon gig and a question hit me and it is boggling me a little. If there is no 'better' or 'true in every context' when it comes to drumming, then how do we decide that a particular drummer is the best for a particular context? How do we know that the 4 year old is 'perfect for the gig' if there is no universal drumming yardstick or truth to evaluate if he is 'perfect for the gig?' Then I said to myself, there are no universal truths in drumming... which led me to this puzzle:

---->there is no universal truth except that there is no universal truth except that ... --->
|.................................................. .................................................. ..........................................|
|.................................................. .................................................. ..........................................|
-----------<--------------------<-----------------------------------------<---------------------------<------------

I got stuck in the loop! The only way out of it was to say 'Well its highly probably that he is the best drummer for the gig. And my stupid brain asked, well if there isn't a universal truth about drumming and no universal better or worse, then how do you know that it is highly probable that the 4 year old is the best drummer for the gig? So it led me to this puzzle:

---->its highly probable that its highly probable that its highly probable that ... --->
|.................................................. .................................................. .....................................|
|.................................................. .................................................. .....................................|
----------------------<----------------------------------------------<---------------------------------<-----

Stuck again! The only way I can find out of that loop is to say that every person's evaluation is valid in their own universe and in their own context. There are 4 billion different universes just on Earth, all with their own little realities. Then my stupid brain said - well, what if a drummer in California says "Travis iz the bests evar!' and someone in New York says 'Travis sucks,' and both are true, what would happen if they should ever meet? I worry that it would be like matter and anti matter meeting. It might tear a hole in the space/time continuum and destroy ALL of the universes, and, by the way, violate the terms of service. Looking back, we have seen evidence of these mini-collisions right here on the forums! Usually, the believer in what I call 'The Flower Doctrine' flips out, calls everyone a bunch of names like dog-molester etc and gets banned. You can still read their posts. They show up as 'guest.' I read through the Ginger Baker trash talk thread and I see a few 'guests' posting in there.

So anyway, this 'Flower Doctrine' is hard stuff to wrap your head around. I'm trying but I keep getting stuck. I am certain of one thing now that I wasn't this morning - you can't say anything negative or positive about a drummer without a potential clash of 2 universes. Its best just to be mute, stand in the field of flowers, be the same as every other flower and enjoy the beauty of the field. Or not enjoy the beauty, if another consciousness should percieve it as ugly.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:02 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

That's it. I guess impressions of how good one is relative to another comes from the similarities between those many many different viewpoints. If a certain percentage of people would say that someone is a good drummer...then you are that percentage likely to be one of those people...

The difficulties arise when trying to talk to somebody who isn't in that category about it, because there will most often be irreconcilable differences, because the whole basis for the evaluation is someone's personal viewpoint. There's no need to reconcile any two personal viewpoints.
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  #11  
Old 02-14-2011, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

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Originally Posted by PQleyR View Post
That's it. I guess impressions of how good one is relative to another comes from the similarities between those many many different viewpoints. If a certain percentage of people would say that someone is a good drummer...then you are that percentage likely to be one of those people...

The difficulties arise when trying to talk to somebody who isn't in that category about it, because there will most often be irreconcilable differences, because the whole basis for the evaluation is someone's personal viewpoint. There's no need to reconcile any two personal viewpoints.
Finished afternoon gig and while driving home I read your post and got confused again. The flower doctrine is hard. I'm not sure I read your post right. To me your post seems to be saying that the agreement/alignment of all of the different universes regarding the suitability of a 4 year old for a gig is what makes it true. But the only universal truth about drumming is that there is no universal truth except that there is no universal truth except that (loop).

SYNTAX ERROR

Stupid brain! So I tell my brain 'look dumb dumb, each person has his own reality and what is true for me might not be true for someone else and visa versa. So then my brain asks 'if everyone has a different reality and all of their opinions are valid, and there can be something which is both simultaneously true and untrue, why does it matter if there is agreement between two viewpoints? Furthermore, if there is no 'better', then why have you wasted 34 years practicing?

SYNTAX ERROR

Last edited by Average; 02-14-2011 at 11:45 PM.
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  #12  
Old 02-15-2011, 02:26 AM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

Average, both of your posts highlight the fact that music is an art, not a science. There are basics and ideas that can solidly be considered 'yes or no questions', but once you get to the higher levels of playing and thinking and creating, the black and white starts to mix into a lot of shades of grey.

I just think that there should be some things that are dragged to one side or the other.
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:38 AM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

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Originally Posted by Average View Post
viewpoints? Furthermore, if there is no 'better', then why have you wasted 34 years practicing?
So you can play the things you want to play the way you like to hear them?
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  #14  
Old 02-15-2011, 01:32 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

Polly's right, but also, what you seem to be trying to do is establish some sort of objective way of determining how good someone is. But you can't separate the evaluation from the perspective that made it.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

Well, there's definitely an objective measure. I mean, people like the Steves - Gadd and Smith - Keith Carlock, Jojo, Brian Blade etc ... those guys are clearly a cut above.

However, what's probably most pertinent to the thread is they all use different techniques and hold different postures to pull the sounds and groove or swing like, um, female parent lovers.

The common thread as far as I can tell is they are all relaxed while using and controlling the bounce. There seem to be quite a few different ways of achieving that. I've heard people talk about how one teacher says it should be done this way, and other says that way ... play the crush roll like this ... no no, that's terrible, do it like that ... etc

Like politics, it can be hard to know who to believe at times.
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

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Originally Posted by PQleyR View Post
Polly's right, but also, what you seem to be trying to do is establish some sort of objective way of determining how good someone is. But you can't separate the evaluation from the perspective that made it.
The sentence in italics in your post says to me -

There are 4.1 billion different universes, one for each person. That is the only way I have been able to logically get out of the following loop:

-->there is no universal truth except that there is no universal truth except that -->
^................................................. .................................................. ................|
|................................................. .................................................. ................ |
<-------------<---------------------------------<-------------------------------------------------<-----------<-

Now, if there are 4.1 billion different universes, one for each person, then something that is true in one universe can be false in another. So, something can be both true and untrue at the same time. If that is the case, then there IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that is true and there can be no such things as facts, and it would be really, really pointless to discuss anything. I told this to my brain and I got the Blue Screen of Death. After hitting control-alt-delete, my stupid brain says "if something can be both true and untrue at the same time, discussion leading to any kind of a conclusion is impossible, and all we can expect to do is walk around screaming inarticulate sounds all the time. Further, if there are no facts there can be no language. How can you use a word to describe an apple, if in fact, it can either be an apple or something else at the same time." My stupid brain is now throwing a temper tantrum and refuses to say anything, because language is impossible. My brain plans to make meaningless gestures when it gets hungry, which I am supposed to interpret (using nonexistent language) to mean 'eat something.'

What was that you were saying earlier about a certain percentage of people agreeing etc? Could you elaborate?
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

If there was a standard technique, the modern drum kit would never have been invented.
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

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Well, there's definitely an objective measure. I mean, people like the Steves - Gadd and Smith - Keith Carlock, Jojo, Brian Blade etc ... those guys are clearly a cut above.
Ouch. OUCH. OUCH! If there is an objective measure, then by definition it is universal and doesn't change depending on perspective. To use the apple example again, if a boy in California sees an apple and says 'thats an apple' and a boy in New York sees the same object and says 'thats a banana' then ONE OF THEM IS WRONG.

In the world of drumming, if 2 people use the objective yardstick to compare drummer A and drummer B, and one person thinks drummer A is better and the other thinks drummer B is better, then one of them is WRONG.

Also in the world of drumming, if there is an objective measure and drummers A and B are compared using it, and A scored better than B, then drummer A is UNIVERSALLY BETTER than B, regardless of context.

Last edited by Average; 02-15-2011 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

I don't believe there can be a standard once you start playing mulitiple drums and cymbals at the same time. What is comfortable for me to play (height, angles, etc) may not be comfortable for someone who is my same exact size. If we can both accomplish what we are trying to, how can you say either of us has bad technique?

I think the real question you are trying to answer is how to decide who is right for the gig, in which case, again, it's all opinion. You learn to trust those with the experience over the ones who haven't been doing it as long. That's not to say the "4 year old" couldn't do it, but I'd be willing to bet any band would "try-out" someone with limited experience, where as if someone like Jojo offered to play they would just let him.
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:37 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

To compare drummers and claim one is better than another is purely subjective. There is no drummer IQ or SAT or license test. The art of drumming is so multi-faceted that some drummers can be better than others in certain areas, but on the whole the rating would be just opinion.

This holds true for most businesses. I manage a group of engineers, and some are better with certain things, while the rest are better at other things. To say engineer X is better than engineer Y is purely subjective. You have to factor in so many things, such as salary, experience level, communication skills, teamwork, etc.

That being said, I can say without any doubt that any drummer mentioned on this website, is better than me. ;)
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:17 PM
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Default Re: No Standard Technique?

This is getting absurd. I too have managed groups of engineers. Each have their own skill set and the art of management is utilizing all those skill sets most effectively.

But, there is no doubt when someone has a collection of highly developed skills that are applicable to the task and are capable of accomplishing more tasks, then I consider that engineer as "better" than a less skilled, or less effective engineer

The same thing holds true for musicians. If I have a gig and am looking for folks to call, I know players who are great at one or two things. And I know players who are great at many things. They can do the same thing as several limited players. If I only need one thing for the gig, the "specialist" will often be more available and less expensive than the multi-faceted monster player. So you often pick the person who fits the application. But if the gig requires some breadth or may go in several directions, then I'm calling Vinnie or the closest complete player I can afford.

As to the op, there are lots of tone production techniques on cymbals. There are also lots of "chops" methodologies. The more tools in your toolbox, the less of a "specialist" you will be and the more in demand for gig you will find yourself.

A couple of weeks ago I took a ride I had down to a jam night where the "house" drummer is a friend and tours with lot of folks. You can go down to the blues section of any decent music store and find bunches of albums wih him on drums. His take on the cymbal? "Man, in the studio I could work the f*#k or of that cymbal." That's what you want to achieve. To be able to work many different sounds out of a cymbal by where you hit it, how you hit it, and so on.
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