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  #1  
Old 07-05-2016, 09:18 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Some unrelated questions

#1. When playing the disco beat, do you play eighth notes on the hi hats? Or do you play quarter notes on the "ands"?
It's hard to hear the difference, but it feels different playing.

#2. For those who practice on pillows, do you play the drums like you are playing pillows too? Meaning do you pick up the sticks or let them rebound? (When that's called for)
Not knocking anything, just curious.

#3. At practice, do you concentrate on what you play... over how you play... or the opposite. Or do you focus more or less equally?

Bo's "Fast" thread got me thinking, because pillows were brought up. To me that equates to a runner practicing running in sand, a valid thing. And kinda like Bo having to really reach for those toms.

So anything that makes drumming harder, ultimately should benefit the drummers ability on a drumset, is the message I'm getting. Like metal practice sticks or weights around the forearms. Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 07-05-2016, 09:23 PM
DrummerCA35 DrummerCA35 is offline
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
#1. When playing the disco beat, do you play eight notes on the hi hats or just quarter notes on the "ands"? It's hard to hear the difference, but it feels different playing.
Depends on the song, but I try to emulate what was on the original. We play "Disco Inferno" which sounds like a closed hi-hat on the "ands". Or some songs have the open hi-hat on the "ands" like portions of "Ladies Night." I'm sure you already know all this.

One strange one for me is "Boogie Oogie Oogie" which sounds like 8th notes, but with the "ands" accented.
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  #3  
Old 07-05-2016, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

1. I play or at least imply the 8ths in order to maintain an even pulse.

2. Have only used a pillow for extreme doubles development many years ago. Once your hands learn to do those movements, it doesn't matter how long you've been out of practice. It just takes a few moments to come right back.

3. Ultimately, it's what I play, but that is often predicated by how I play it. So, yes.

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Old 07-05-2016, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

For #2 and #3:

I think that anything that turns off the brain's autopilot is a good thing. It could be as simple as switching out your normal sticks to SD1's, it could be playing on various surfaces, it could be playing out in a field naked, it could be balancing a bible on your head while you play. What you do doesn't matter as much as why you're doing it.

I tend to forego the pillow and toss a towel over my snare. If I want a softer surface, I throw on two towels. If I want a pillow, I fold the towels over.

Last edited by KamaK; 07-11-2016 at 06:32 PM.
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  #5  
Old 07-05-2016, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

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Originally Posted by DrummerCA35 View Post
Depends on the song, but I try to emulate what was on the original. We play "Disco Inferno" which sounds like a closed hi-hat on the "ands". Or some songs have the open hi-hat on the "ands" like portions of "Ladies Night." I'm sure you already know all this.

One strange one for me is "Boogie Oogie Oogie" which sounds like 8th notes, but with the "ands" accented.
I strictly limiting that question to the variation where the hi hats are being opened on all the "ands", and closed on all the downbeats. I want to know if people play the hi hat during the downbeats (1,2,3,4) or not.
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  #6  
Old 07-05-2016, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

Regarding the note on making drumming "harder" to improve, a while back I bought Evans SoundOff pads for all my drums. Playing on those things is a workout although think doing so at times has improved my playing.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

My playing is all about the rebound and holding the sticks as lightly as is practical. I feel if I started practicing on a pillow and lifting the sticks my grip would tighten and compromise my technique. Thats just me, each to there own.

If I switch off and get in the zone I play without thinking, just "inside" the music not alongside the music. Thats when I play best. It happens rarely but when id does its a beautiful experience, and when the whole band is doing it, magic happens.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

1) Whatever feels right for the groove. I use a lot of quarters on the "ands" in feels that are more Latin or ska, so I'm more likely to play it straight for a disco-esque groove. Occasionally 16ths with "and" hi-hat barks are appropriate too.

2) I have never practiced on a pillow and wouldn't know. I try to play the same no matter what I'm playing on/with, though.

3) Most of all when I am playing, I am playing the song. I'm trying to fit a feeling, a groove, or a character to my playing. I'm trying to complement everything else that's happening musically around me. As others have posted, I have gotten to a point where I don't focus so much on what I am playing anymore, because my limbs seem capable and content to take only vague direction from my brain and still get it (mostly) right. I only focus on *what* I'm playing when I'm learning the song for the first few times.
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:13 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

Here is my opinion and understanding of the idea of practicing on a pillow. My Dad was a drum teacher. He was very old school.
He was born in 1916. In 1955 he had me practicing on a pillow for about the first year of my training.

When you are just starting out to learn how to play drums, playing on a pillow helps train your muscles. Particularly your arms and wrists. It trains them to lift the stick off the drum. In other words it trains them to get out of the way and to flow with the rebounding stick. It also helps the drum teacher to see if you are using the proper technique with regards to your fingers, hands, wrists and arms. Once these muscles are trained to move properly, when you finally start playing on harder surfaces your fingers, hands, wrists and arms know what to do when the stick rebounds. Of course you also need to learn to control the rebound. But the first thing to learn is overall proper movement and to have your hands and arms, lift the stick and get out the way, and not impede the rebound of the stick.

Playing on a pillow is good for beginners, or drummers with bad technique. But it is not very beneficial for seasoned players.


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  #10  
Old 07-05-2016, 10:14 PM
tcspears tcspears is offline
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
#1. When playing the disco beat, do you play eighth notes on the hi hats? Or do you play quarter notes on the "ands"?
It's hard to hear the difference, but it feels different playing.
I don't play the disco beat often, but if I do, I just play the HH on the ands. It doesn't add anything, plus the HH makes a sound when closing, so you really don't need to play 8ths on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
#2. For those who practice on pillows, do you play the drums like you are playing pillows too? Meaning do you pick up the sticks or let them rebound? (When that's called for)
Not knocking anything, just curious.
When I practice on pillows, I'm playing rudiments the same way as I do on the drums. The only difference being that it takes a little more work since you're effectively getting no rebound. I heard Dennis Chambers give a talk at Berklee once, and he said that the idea is that when you are playing the drums, you are only using your muscles on downward strokes, so pillows allow you to work out al the muscles involved, and build greater control for when you play the drums...


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#3. At practice, do you concentrate on what you play... over how you play... or the opposite. Or do you focus more or less equally?
I live in a condo, so my practice is just with a pad. I also gig 4-5 times a week, so I get plenty of kit time in. Every once in a while I'll practice by finding a studio at my old school, or renting a practice studio near me for a night or two.

If I rehearse (I bill clients for rehearsals), then I focus a little more on what I'm playing, then how. I might play quieter, or just use brushes so the group gets the general idea. I wouldn't rehearse with the same amount of showmanship or enthusiasm as a live show.

That being said, I'm mostly playing jazz/cabaret type stuff, so I'm being hired to play with the group, not play a specific drum part. For theater gigs, there are usually rehearsals and I have to play specific parts exactly as I would play them live.
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  #11  
Old 07-05-2016, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

1. 1/8ths but I don't often play the disco beat.
2. never used pillows
3. focus on what I play. Am a big fan of autopilot, because it sure feels better.
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  #12  
Old 07-05-2016, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

I avoid cymbals altogether on disco numbers.
I don't practice on pillows unless I want to get gigs where I'm playing pillows.
I don't recommend heavy metal sticks.
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  #13  
Old 07-05-2016, 10:56 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

#1.
I would play this with all the 8ths to keep the feel linear. It might just be me or my lack of skill, but if I don't have a straight linear thing happening, I start gravitating toward a swing feel, which is not very disco IMO. They're not played to be heard so much as played to keep a straight feel. YMMV

#2.
I don't practice on pillows much, but I do like me some air drumming (!) which has even less rebound than a pillow. I remember playing bass drum in my high school orchestra and I must've been burying the mallet because the band teacher came over and demonstrated this "pulling the sound out of the drum" technique where he was very active in getting the mallet off the head as quickly as he could. That was a Eureka moment.

On a kit, the toms, and especially floor toms, have relatively slack heads compared to snares, and the rebounds can be sloppy and unpredictable, which can muddy up quicker figures. The only way I know to ensure individual strokes don't get lost on a flabby head is to use that same technique of pulling the sound off the drum. But it doesn't rely on much rebound, if any.

#3.
Like Bermuda, I'm focused on what I'm playing, and the how I'm playing only to the extent that it gets me the what that I'm going for.

For example, I'll use a more relaxed grip on the snare and smaller toms where using some rebound is doable, but it morphs more into like playing on a pillow as I get farther down on the bigger drums. Cymbals are similar in that I'm not using any rebound on the crashes. Whipping, or snapping motions don't work if you're stuck waiting around for rebounds.
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  #14  
Old 07-05-2016, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

1. Quarters on the "ands"

2. I don't pick up my sticks when I play drums, I use the rebound.

3. I focus mostly on how I play, and stick to the basics. I could practice singles, doubles and flams for the rest of my days. Lately I'm on a singles between my hands and feet bender.
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  #15  
Old 07-06-2016, 12:08 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

1. I lost my swing in the war so even my disco beat is straight as an arrow. So Im guessing I would play straight 8ths if I ever played disco.

2. I leaned early that rebound control is one of the keys to fast drumming, therefore I always practiced on a drum. Not practice pads or wood and definitely not pillows.

3. While composing the songs I am focusing on what I am playing. Once we have it completely written I focus on how am I playing. Specifically how I am playing with the other guys in the band (groove, dynamics, starts and stops, etc).
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  #16  
Old 07-06-2016, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

I recommend practicing with what you will play with. Once the sticks become part of your hands you won't know that they are there. I was always under the impression that running on the sand was to make you stronger and not faster. It would do more for endurance than speed.
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
#1. When playing the disco beat, do you play eighth notes on the hi hats? Or do you play quarter notes on the "ands"?
It's hard to hear the difference, but it feels different playing.
Only the upbeats. I trust my left foot to make the downbeats sufficiently audible, and they are.

Quote:
#2. For those who practice on pillows, do you play the drums like you are playing pillows too? Meaning do you pick up the sticks or let them rebound? (When that's called for)
Not knocking anything, just curious.
I rarely if ever practice on surfaces that aren't reasonable facsimiles of surfaces I'll actually be striking. I have a RealFeel practice pad that goes everywhere with me. I use it to practice rudiments and warm up before gigs (and to stay loose during set breaks).

I guess that means I prefer rebound. I'm fundamentally lazy. If the sticks can work for me, I let them. If I need power, I'll do it, but I have neither the skill/stamina nor the inclination to play through the head on every stroke.

Quote:
#3. At practice, do you concentrate on what you play... over how you play... or the opposite. Or do you focus more or less equally?
Both. I've been doing this long enough - and received enough training - that the how is what feels "right." I notice when the how feels off, and work to fix it.

That said, if the how isn't in order, it's a lot harder to get the what right (for me at least), so working the how into shape needs to happen first.

Quote:
So anything that makes drumming harder, ultimately should benefit the drummers ability on a drumset, is the message I'm getting. Like metal practice sticks or weights around the forearms. Thoughts?
I disagree.

Thought goes back and forth on whether or not it's actually helpful to use weighted implements, for one thing, whether it's drumsticks or baseball bats. If your muscles aren't ready for the extra weight, if you're not well and truly stretched and warmed up, and if you don't already know exactly what you're doing swinging the heavy thing around - if your technique isn't really good - you can badly damage yourself. That's not smart.

The fine motor muscles needed to move sticks around don't cope well with the kind of shocks drumming can impart, irrespective of what sticks you use; unless you do it exactly right you can suffer strains. Even when you do it right, you can develop RSI in those muscles and tendons. Using heavier sticks just exacerbates that. Playing into a surface with give and no rebound, like a pillow, puts ALL of the reliance for speed and power on small muscles in the forearm and wrist. (Which is in my opinion itself poor technique. Percussion instruments have rebound, and a smart percussionist uses physics to his advantage.) Adding in heavier sticks just amplifies those stresses. For that matter, running in sand isn't a smart thing to do unless you're an experienced runner with well-developed physique in the areas you're working out. There's a significantly increased risk of injury. I don't think the potential benefit outweighs the attendant risks.

I spent many years in marching percussion. I don't think using heavier sticks did anything at all for my drumset playing. In fact, I think it screwed me up, because sticks appropriate for drumset feel like pencils in hands used to marching sticks. Switching back and forth from Ralph Hardimons to 5As messes with the fine muscles; things feel different. Of course, when I was doing that, I was also switching between 5As and Hardimons and marimba mallets and tympani mallets and triangle beaters, and I was doing it 6-10 hours a day (the perils of a music major), so I was kind of used to it. But it was still hard. Moreover, the techniques are remarkably different. Marching percussion did help my stroke accuracy, enough that even today my drumset heads have marks precisely in the centers, except for the snare, which has marks from where I do tip-shots for sonic effect. But other than accuracy, the techniques and especially the kinesthetics are completely different.

Ultimately, I don't think "anything that makes drumming harder, ultimately should benefit the drummers ability" is a good message, not in the context we're discussing. Certain elements of percussion techniques should challenge the player, yes. But making playing physically "more difficult" in this context means increasing physical stresses on the body. That runs a very real risk of injury, which is counterproductive because it at worst brings a hiatus for healing or cessation to your playing life. If hand speed is the desired outcome, working appropriate stick-control technique - using the sticks to which your hands are used and a practice pad or actual drum - is in my opinion far preferable to muscling heavier sticks into and out of a pillow. You're better off working on stroke accuracy and rudiments than just using 2Bs instead of 7As.

I apologize if that sticks in anyone's craw. That's not my intent. I've thought a lot about this since it came up, and wanted to state unequivocally my position. If your position differs, and your 2Bs and pillow work for you, have at it. Just be careful and don't injure yourself.

At the end of the day, it's all drums. :-D
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  #18  
Old 07-06-2016, 01:26 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

Great questions.

#1 - I do both, sometimes play all the eighths, sometimes just the offbeats. I'm not sure how I decide which - probably the tempo leads me to play one way or the other.
The same question arises when I'm playing offbeat accents on the ride bell. Sometimes I play all the eighths and move left and right from bow to bell every eighth note. Other times I just play the offbeats. If the bass/snare groove isn't too hard, I'll play hihat foot on the four beats, plus offbeat ride in between.

#3 Practice: First I'll learn the new material slowly and/or simply, then I concentrate on getting it precisely in time with the correct feel. This applies to private practice (slowly) as well as whole band practice (simply).
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Old 07-06-2016, 03:31 AM
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  #19  
Old 07-06-2016, 03:50 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

Moeller and push-pull remove the need for rebound to help you play clean. I can play almost as fast on a pillow as I can a high-tensioned snare head, because I use those techniques. I don't usually practice them on a pillow, but I make sure I play the rudiments and especially push-pull singles on the low tom, in addition to the snare. I keep my low tom tuned pretty low, so it really helps me keep my technique clean.
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Old 07-06-2016, 04:33 AM
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  #20  
Old 07-06-2016, 04:54 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

1. It depends on the tune and or what the bass player is doing. It seems to me that most disco esp the later stuff was straight eighths with the hats opening on the ands or upbeats.I read an interview with TSOP ,the sound of Philadelphia drummer that played on those records by the Spinners Stylistics O Jays etc and he said the disco beat descended from the "Skip" beat,which was open hats on the upbeats and you skipped or left out the quarter notes on the downbeats on the hats.This probably was the first linear beat ever used in popular music,and I know it was the first linear beat I ever learned.
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Old 07-06-2016, 05:20 AM
WallyY WallyY is offline
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

#1)
It depends on the song.

#2)
When I was a kid I played on pillows, but now I understand that only larger drums get played in any fashion similar to pillows. All drums have rebound and each drum gets played with the action that it dictates. I don't play any drum solely like a pad or pillow.

#3) A practice I concentrate on what I play until I have a good handle on the song. Sometimes the song is screwy so more thought is put on what to play, but after it's learned it's all about how to play it with benevolent dominion of groove.

I don't think it's as broad as anything that makes it harder makes you better, I would think it's anything that gets you to not screw up makes you better.
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Old 07-06-2016, 09:52 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
I recommend practicing with what you will play with. Once the sticks become part of your hands you won't know that they are there. I was always under the impression that running on the sand was to make you stronger and not faster. It would do more for endurance than speed.

This is quite true, its a winter strength and endurance session. You get faster by running/playing short fast intervals.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:36 PM
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Anon La Ply Anon La Ply is offline
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

1. Usually, eighth notes, for the same reason as Mike.

2. Dunno. I've played on drums, pads, pillows, coffee tables, carpets, shelves, cups, bongs, books and anything else in hitting range :). In my teens I tried practising on pillows but found it dull.

3. Of late I'm trying to clean up my technique a tad so I'm concentrating on more on "how'. Still, I often need a tune in my head to groove.

All playing is extra experience and probably beneficial in the long term, especially when stuff goes wrong at outdoor gigs and you find yourself trying to balance on a throne that's trying tip over while the bass drum seems intent on creeping out towards the audience. That's when you're grateful for trying out all kinds of unstructured, crazy stuff at home. I can't remember who said it but someone here once talked about practising making mistakes and recovering. I've dedicated myself to that approach :)

Seriously, it depends. If you play in a mellow band, practising free strokes during the week can leave you feeling straitjacketed when playing a lounge tune the next day. It helps to mostly practice what you're playing out IMO. I can imagine feeling stressed playing hard rock after practising softly too.
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Old 07-06-2016, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
I can't remember who said it but someone here once talked about practising making mistakes and recovering. I've dedicated myself to that approach :)
That sounds like something I might have said, Grea! If not, it still describes how I approach practicing.

I don't go out of my way to create mistakes, but I don't avoid irresponsible recklessness (at band practice mostly) for fear of making mistakes, either, and I encourage my bandmates to take similar risks. It's good for creatively pushing the envelope with damage control practice as a welcome byproduct. I've definitely learned to not freak out when the train jumps the tracks and most people either don't notice or don't care :)
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Old 07-06-2016, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

There are three basic disco beats:
straight 8s; just the 'ands'; 16s (Shaft style).
It depends on the song but the first gives you a classic Stayin' Alive disco beat.
The second gives you a "boots and pants" push, as featured in I Will Survive. Although the drummer here is playing classic disco open-to-closed choked hats for a reverse whoosh, both open or closed is "authentic" see the unsurpassed Disco Inferno for a primer in groovy 'and' playing. You can also play a "double and" in the same vein.
The third gives you a more edgy 'hurried' sound ala Boogie Man. You can actually see the drummer playing it with reversed sticks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaPcKtLioww
There's a fourth, but now we're digging deep into the grooveyard.
In Cherchez la Femme the drummer is playing some kind of dotted swing beat on the hats but in straight fours disco at the Copa. There was a lot of that discoing-up of old swing tunes back in the day.

Before I could afford drums I practiced endlessly on the upholstered arm of my parents' sofa. It had very little bounce. Not rudiments of course (screw that), I was playing along to the songs of the day with many brilliant fills of my own devising. That's how, by accident and impoverishment, my hands became naturally fairly fast.
You should never rely on bounce to get you round the kit.
I ran into Pete York from Spencer Davis in 73, and he let me play his kit. Being a jazz drummer his heads were cranked way up with the drums set way low, and it was like God himself was reaching down and guiding my hands, compared to my slack-ass rock tuning. Made me sound way better than I was.

Practice is for whatever you need to improve or get tight, but I never play what people call rudiments. I can play them well some of them but I only ever put them into things. My favorite is paradiddles using right foot and left hand while playing fours with the right hand.

Hope this helps, amuses, aggravates etc.
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  #26  
Old 07-07-2016, 07:25 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

1) quarter notes on the "ands"

2) My first drum set was all pillows. I don't think I've play much on pillows since I got a real drums set.

3) Depends. More likely more on what than how. Which, in retrospect, might make things more difficult.
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  #27  
Old 07-08-2016, 02:33 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

Practice playing music. When you are unable to execute the ideas you have, work on those ideas in an isolated fashion, slowly, and separate limbs if necessary. If you just work on chops and you have no ideas, you won't sound very interesting. Ideas always trump chops. There are tons of musicians with crazy chops, but not as many musicians playing truly interesting musical things.

Playing "disco" doesn't require any specific "beat". Generally, there will be a very steady pulse on the bass drum and a regular back beat. Everything else should be in response to what the other musicians are playing.
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:05 AM
crash crash is offline
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

1. You can use both methods. It's good to change the sound. It's boring playing the same beat over and over.

2. Don't practice on pillows! You need to use the rebound, and build from that. You should always work towards having a loose grip. Learn to play with no tension.

3. For your own practice time, focus on how you play. Be precise, and very clean. This is the time to improve.
When you play with the band, your focus will change on what you're playing.

I'd say don't use metal sticks, or weights. You need to work on having a loose grip. That is playing with no tension ni the fingers, wrists or forearms.
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Old 07-08-2016, 05:48 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

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#1. When playing the disco beat, do you play eighth notes on the hi hats? Or do you play quarter notes on the "ands"?
It's hard to hear the difference, but it feels different playing.
The stereotypical "disco beat" in my mind has the emphasis on the "ands". I'll often only play the ands on the hats for a disco feel. 16ths on the hats with opening accents on the ands works well too.

Quote:
#2. For those who practice on pillows, do you play the drums like you are playing pillows too? Meaning do you pick up the sticks or let them rebound? (When that's called for)
Not knocking anything, just curious.
Of course not silly. I play each surface I'm hitting differently, because each surface is different. By practicing without any rebound, I'm forcing my hand to control the stick the whole way. When I don't have to control the stick the whole way because I'm playing a surface with lots of bounce, like a snare or cymbal, it feels effortless. When I move my doubles to the floor tom or sloshy hats is more when my hands have to work a bit more. Good thing I practiced even beyond that!

Quote:
#3. At practice, do you concentrate on what you play... over how you play... or the opposite. Or do you focus more or less equally?
When I practice, I focus on how I play. When I actually play, I focus on what I play. That's the whole point of practice for me. Burning in the movements and having the skill set to apply when I really go to play. I want to be free to play anything because I focused on technique and form and correctness in practice.

Quote:
Bo's "Fast" thread got me thinking, because pillows were brought up. To me that equates to a runner practicing running in sand, a valid thing. And kinda like Bo having to really reach for those toms.

So anything that makes drumming harder, ultimately should benefit the drummers ability on a drumset, is the message I'm getting. Like metal practice sticks or weights around the forearms. Thoughts?
Yep. I view pillow practice as sort of like a baseball player swinging two bats or using those bat-weights before they go out.
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Old 07-08-2016, 05:58 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

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2. Don't practice on pillows! You need to use the rebound, and build from that. You should always work towards having a loose grip. Learn to play with no tension.
Honestly, guys, practicing without rebound (such as on a pillow) is literally for the purpose of learning to work with rebound. You guys act like it's a detraction or something to be able to do what you want on any surface regardless of it's rebound or lack of. Trust me, it ain't.

The main thing to remember is that surface rebound is simply one tool. You should be able to use rebound, not be limited to only using rebound. Learning to control the stick through the whole stroke is an extremely valuable tool and the bottom line is that it even gives you more sound options when you aren't relying on a specific amount of rebound to play well.
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Old 07-08-2016, 07:32 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

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Honestly, guys, practicing without rebound (such as on a pillow) is literally for the purpose of learning to work with rebound. You guys act like it's a detraction or something to be able to do what you want on any surface regardless of it's rebound or lack of. Trust me, it ain't.

Agreed old mate. But let's be honest, it ain't the first time we've shaken our collective heads, is it? :-)


To answer my other old mate,

Disco Beat: I will play eighths and splash the 'ands'........or I will play a linear groove where my right hand only plays the 'ands'........or I might even play 16ths, as per Otters' "Shaft" example.
Like pretty much every other aspect of what I play or don't play. It depends.

Pillows: Whilst I seldom actually play on a pillow anymore, I do spend a ton of time on my Moongel pad that offers next to no rebound at all. Say what you will about rebound vs no rebound as a practice surface, it's certainly worked for me. Developing and strengthening my wrists has been as equally as vital as developing my control over a rebounding stick over the years. Both have allowed me to develop a level of control and dexterity to play on all surfaces and I wouldn't ever sacrifice one in favour of the other.....not in a million years.

Practice: I concentrate on both mate. So often the "why" dictates the "what"......and as a result, I'd be a fool to ignore the "what" because of the "why".
Ever come across something you couldn't play simply because you hadn't developed the facility to do so? In those cases, does anyone really ignore the "why" because the "what" is all that matters? Or do they knuckle down and drill the "what" because it'll ultimately help them express the "why"? I sure as hell know what I'd do.
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Old 07-08-2016, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

Pocket the last question was what and how, not what and why.

You have to stay after school today and write "I will pay attention to the details" 100 times :)
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Old 07-08-2016, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

Disco beat can vary and I tend to be playing songs with 1/16ths but not 16 notes per measure. Consider Superstition. 1/16 notes but not 16 per bar.

Not a fan of pillows. But there was a time after selling a set and not playing for about a year, I would play to songs on a couch cushion. Not because I thought it was a good idea, but because I couldn't keep my hands still! My two main drum teachers emphasized focusing on the rebound and playing away from the drum so that has always been key for me.

When learning a song I concentrate on what I am playing. Once I have it I then pay more attention to how I play within the music.
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Old 07-08-2016, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

People really get way too focused on surface rebound. I get it, I went through the same phase. It's a huge breakthrough when you first start playing to learn to play relaxed and let the energy of the swing bring the stick back... But you can't rely on it. Every drum has a different amount of bounce, every cymbal the same, when you play very fast, you might not even have time to let the stick bounce as you might at a slower pace, sometimes you really need to be able to control the stick through either the whole stroke, or maybe even just part of a stroke.

Practicing on anything with very little or no bounce will help get your hands in shape to fully control your strokes no matter what you're playing them on. Your bounce strokes will improve, not get weak because you have more control and aren't forced to rely on bounce.

And for the record, the goal of playing on a pillow or soft surface is to stay relaxed even though it's more difficult when the stick isn't flying back up. Leave your hands loose, use that looseness and bring in finger control and more wrist action to make up the difference in less rebound.

One of the biggest mistakes I see intermediate players make is that they are totally beholden to the bounce of what they play on. It sounds sloppy and un-controlled; they can't move that snare pattern to the loose floor tom, and worst of all, often the bounce of their ride or whatever will literally dictate the tempo; glaringly.

I really think it's doing yourself a dis-service if you refuse to practice on low bounce surfaces and really examine the techniques you need to do so. It's literally a hole in your ability if you can't play on low bounce surfaces.
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:14 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
People really get way too focused on surface rebound. I get it, I went through the same phase. It's a huge breakthrough when you first start playing to learn to play relaxed and let the energy of the swing bring the stick back... But you can't rely on it. Every drum has a different amount of bounce, every cymbal the same, when you play very fast, you might not even have time to let the stick bounce as you might at a slower pace, sometimes you really need to be able to control the stick through either the whole stroke, or maybe even just part of a stroke.

Practicing on anything with very little or no bounce will help get your hands in shape to fully control your strokes no matter what you're playing them on. Your bounce strokes will improve, not get weak because you have more control and aren't forced to rely on bounce.

And for the record, the goal of playing on a pillow or soft surface is to stay relaxed even though it's more difficult when the stick isn't flying back up. Leave your hands loose, use that looseness and bring in finger control and more wrist action to make up the difference in less rebound.

One of the biggest mistakes I see intermediate players make is that they are totally beholden to the bounce of what they play on. It sounds sloppy and un-controlled; they can't move that snare pattern to the loose floor tom, and worst of all, often the bounce of their ride or whatever will literally dictate the tempo; glaringly.

I really think it's doing yourself a dis-service if you refuse to practice on low bounce surfaces and really examine the techniques you need to do so. It's literally a hole in your ability if you can't play on low bounce surfaces.
Yes they do, but no drum or cymbal I have ever played has been dead like a pillow. Every hard surface has some bounce and if a drum is as dead as a pillow I would give it a few turns with the drum key. I still cant see the value in learning to pull the stick back off a pillow when I will never use that action when playing my kit. Each to there own, If you want to do it then great.
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Old 07-09-2016, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

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I still cant see the value in learning to pull the stick back off a pillow when I will never use that action when playing my kit.
It's aided in developing and strengthening my wrists. Add that to everything else I've ever done, like finger isolation drills, stick dribbling drills (which do encourage one to learn to use and control the rebound), and it's all had a material effect on getting my hands in shape.

Might not be everyone's cuppa tea, I can see that. I place no value in things other people swear by, like cleaning teeth or opening doors, or wiping your arse with your non-preferred hand in order to get that in shape, either. Tried all that years ago and didn't see any benefit whatsoever. But if it works for them, I'm not about to tell 'em they're wrong. But in my case and i'll assume in Watso's too, there's been immense value in putting in some time on a non-rebounding surface.....just has there has been benefit in learning to work on a high rebound surface like a drum pad.



Sorry Larry, by the time I'd got through all the responses and started to reply, I guess I must have jumbled your initial question. Ultimately, you can replace the how for the why and it'll still hold true.......kinda, sorta, if you turn your head to the side and squint a bit.....
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Old 07-09-2016, 02:02 AM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

I'll also say that if your drumming requires no pulling the stick off of a surface, rather than letting it bounce, you're either playing a very simple set of things, or not very far along on your drumming journey. That's not a knock of any kind, I'm really just pushing the idea that we should be able to be in total full control of the stick through the entire stroke. That means we can do it with bounce, without bounce, and everywhere in between.

I often walk around finding new surfaces around my house (and elsewhere :P) that I can play off of. Everything is different. Cardboard boxes are especially fun, they offer just a slight bit of bounce but also have some absorption properties, especially after you play it a bit and crunch down the corrugation.
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Old 07-09-2016, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

I don't post much in here, I have far more need to listen than advice I can give! But mentioning disco hihat made me watch again that great video by the amazing Yogi Horton, 29 mins in where he discusses the disco beat. I constantly question how I sound, but I'm never actually sure when I've got it right!

Cool thread :)
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Old 07-09-2016, 04:11 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

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Thought goes back and forth on whether or not it's actually helpful to use weighted implements, for one thing, whether it's drumsticks or baseball bats. If your muscles aren't ready for the extra weight, if you're not well and truly stretched and warmed up, and if you don't already know exactly what you're doing swinging the heavy thing around - if your technique isn't really good - you can badly damage yourself. That's not smart.

The fine motor muscles needed to move sticks around don't cope well with the kind of shocks drumming can impart, irrespective of what sticks you use; unless you do it exactly right you can suffer strains. Even when you do it right, you can develop RSI in those muscles and tendons. Using heavier sticks just exacerbates that. Playing into a surface with give and no rebound, like a pillow, puts ALL of the reliance for speed and power on small muscles in the forearm and wrist. (Which is in my opinion itself poor technique. Percussion instruments have rebound, and a smart percussionist uses physics to his advantage.) Adding in heavier sticks just amplifies those stresses. For that matter, running in sand isn't a smart thing to do unless you're an experienced runner with well-developed physique in the areas you're working out. There's a significantly increased risk of injury. I don't think the potential benefit outweighs the attendant risks.

I spent many years in marching percussion. I don't think using heavier sticks did anything at all for my drumset playing. In fact, I think it screwed me up, because sticks appropriate for drumset feel like pencils in hands used to marching sticks. Switching back and forth from Ralph Hardimons to 5As messes with the fine muscles; things feel different. Of course, when I was doing that, I was also switching between 5As and Hardimons and marimba mallets and tympani mallets and triangle beaters, and I was doing it 6-10 hours a day (the perils of a music major), so I was kind of used to it. But it was still hard. Moreover, the techniques are remarkably different. Marching percussion did help my stroke accuracy, enough that even today my drumset heads have marks precisely in the centers, except for the snare, which has marks from where I do tip-shots for sonic effect. But other than accuracy, the techniques and especially the kinesthetics are completely different.

Ultimately, I don't think "anything that makes drumming harder, ultimately should benefit the drummers ability" is a good message, not in the context we're discussing. Certain elements of percussion techniques should challenge the player, yes. But making playing physically "more difficult" in this context means increasing physical stresses on the body. That runs a very real risk of injury, which is counterproductive because it at worst brings a hiatus for healing or cessation to your playing life. If hand speed is the desired outcome, working appropriate stick-control technique - using the sticks to which your hands are used and a practice pad or actual drum - is in my opinion far preferable to muscling heavier sticks into and out of a pillow. You're better off working on stroke accuracy and rudiments than just using 2Bs instead of 7As.

I apologize if that sticks in anyone's craw. That's not my intent. I've thought a lot about this since it came up, and wanted to state unequivocally my position. If your position differs, and your 2Bs and pillow work for you, have at it. Just be careful and don't injure yourself.

At the end of the day, it's all drums. :-D
I can't imagine weighted sticks being a good idea, if anything I imagine better practice would be using extremely light sticks or brushes. Try using brushes then go back to sticks. These days I have been using 1/4in bamboo sticks like they use in Beijing Opera, really difficult to get a good sound out of with them.

I've used wrist weights to practice. I felt wrist weights were great. Counter intuitively they improved my ability to play quieter dynamics. I felt that the wrist weights improved my independence by decoupling the rhythm of gently striking the drums from efficiently getting my arm in position to do so. Likewise swimming and other athletic exercises like tennis help with this.

I tend to be in pretty good shape so I don't do the pillow thing, but it seems like if you were a consummate practicing fiend, you would want to think of ways to minimize shock related injuries during intensive practices. I know pillows are especially important in hand drumming.
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:24 PM
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Default Re: Some unrelated questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
#1. When playing the disco beat, do you play eighth notes on the hi hats? Or do you play quarter notes on the "ands"?
It's hard to hear the difference, but it feels different playing.

#2. For those who practice on pillows, do you play the drums like you are playing pillows too? Meaning do you pick up the sticks or let them rebound? (When that's called for)
Not knocking anything, just curious.

#3. At practice, do you concentrate on what you play... over how you play... or the opposite. Or do you focus more or less equally?

Bo's "Fast" thread got me thinking, because pillows were brought up. To me that equates to a runner practicing running in sand, a valid thing. And kinda like Bo having to really reach for those toms.

So anything that makes drumming harder, ultimately should benefit the drummers ability on a drumset, is the message I'm getting. Like metal practice sticks or weights around the forearms. Thoughts?
1. Eighths or sixteenths, depending. 8s for I Will Survive, 16s for Last Dance, as it were.
2. I only sleep on pillows. Since playing drums is more about training your nervous system than it is about muscular strength imho, the key is getting in your reps and pushing the boundary de jour.
3. I work specifically on technique first with some exercises like Lifetime Warmup, Drum Set Warm-Ups , etc, then work on the songs de jour from a "what" standpoint. It's like okay we've done our exercises, you now have permission to be artistic.
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