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  #1  
Old 02-28-2013, 01:49 PM
Duracell Duracell is offline
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Default Need help with brushes (Ed Soph technique)

Hi all. Been trying to get better at using the brushes. I found a great tutorial on this forum by Ed Soph on how to use brushes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poX07Mxjxeg). It left me with two questions.

1) Ed uses a counter clockwise motion. This means that the counts all end up on the same spot on the head. I like using a counter clockwise or swimming motion. My 2 and 4 are on the opposite side of the head when compared to 1 and 3. Does this matter? It's fine as long as it sounds the same right?

2) For ballads he shows a half moon figure. Why wouldn't you always use this motion (why only for ballads) ? It feels very natural.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:21 PM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: Need help with brushes (Ed Soph technique)

brush playing more than any aspect of drumming is very personal

as long as you can get a good sound it really doesn't matter what pattern, direction, or technique you are using......everyone is different

check out the Steve Smith DVD the Art of Playing with Brushes to see how each one of the greats in it plays brushes in a way unique to themselves

some clockwise ....some counter clockwise .....some short movements....some large round movements.....it really doesn't matter as long as you can support the music

I always played clockwise......but after studying with Peter Erskine ..who plays counter clockwise ....I experimented with counter......now that feels much more natural to me

a brush stroke to a drummer is unique to the individual like a paint brush stroke to a painter

have supporting the music at the forefront of importance and you will be fine

in my opinion one of the most important things you need to do to get a nice sounding brush stroke.....if not the most important ......is listen to the great players play brushes and mimic what you hear .

it does not matter if you take the same strokes that they take.....if you can recreate what you hear in a way that is comfortable for you then you win

listen to some Vernel Fournier , Papa Jo Jones, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Persip, Ben Riley , Max Roach, .......some of my favorite brush players

also Peter Erskine, Jeff Hamilton, Steve Smith, and Karriem Riggins
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:18 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Need help with brushes (Ed Soph technique)

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Originally Posted by Duracell View Post
Hi all. Been trying to get better at using the brushes. I found a great tutorial on this forum by Ed Soph on how to use brushes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poX07Mxjxeg). It left me with two questions.

1) Ed uses a counter clockwise motion. This means that the counts all end up on the same spot on the head. I like using a counter clockwise or swimming motion. My 2 and 4 are on the opposite side of the head when compared to 1 and 3. Does this matter? It's fine as long as it sounds the same right?

2) For ballads he shows a half moon figure. Why wouldn't you always use this motion (why only for ballads) ? It feels very natural.
1) Yes, it does matter. I'm not sure how, but it sounds like you've inverted the pattern. The main idea is to place the downbeats all on the left side of the drum, which is the key to playing a variable ride pattern while sustaining with both hands, and keeping things as simple as possible. If your 2 and 4 are on the opposite side of 1 and 3, then it might be too complicated to really be useful as a starting pattern. Ed's left hand, when not accenting, actually plays clockwise, but when accenting, makes a short counterclockwise circle, such that his left makes a small figure 8 (watch vid 3 at 3:33). It's very unique. Most drummers would accent by flicking the brush outward, but he pulls it inward. I'm sure he's able to do both.

2. The half moon figure is probably just too much motion for a medium or fast tune, which is why it's best suited to ballads. When things get fast, it makes sense to simplify so that the pattern is oriented in one direction, rather than trading directions all the time.
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:39 PM
jackie k
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  #4  
Old 02-28-2013, 06:09 PM
Sera Sera is offline
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Default Re: Need help with brushes (Ed Soph technique)

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Originally Posted by Duracell View Post
Hi all. Been trying to get better at using the brushes. I found a great tutorial on this forum by Ed Soph on how to use brushes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poX07Mxjxeg). It left me with two questions.
Try Powerballs in both hands. They give you lot of understanding about how everything rotates, both directions, up and down, forward and backward.

Another direction is just easier, "natural" as you discribed, but there hides huge area of practise.

Do it another direction and feel the grinding force.

I think it's natural that right hand rotates easier on right, and left hand left, and when you change direction, you need more power. Any other perception?

In this video you see all possible directions in hands and lot of changes of direction.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNfzXJNr7p0
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:18 PM
Duracell Duracell is offline
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Default Re: Need help with brushes (Ed Soph technique)

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Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
1) Yes, it does matter. I'm not sure how, but it sounds like you've inverted the pattern. The main idea is to place the downbeats all on the left side of the drum, which is the key to playing a variable ride pattern while sustaining with both hands, and keeping things as simple as possible. If your 2 and 4 are on the opposite side of 1 and 3, then it might be too complicated to really be useful as a starting pattern. Ed's left hand, when not accenting, actually plays clockwise, but when accenting, makes a short counterclockwise circle, such that his left makes a small figure 8 (watch vid 3 at 3:33). It's very unique. Most drummers would accent by flicking the brush outward, but he pulls it inward. I'm sure he's able to do both.

2. The half moon figure is probably just too much motion for a medium or fast tune, which is why it's best suited to ballads. When things get fast, it makes sense to simplify so that the pattern is oriented in one direction, rather than trading directions all the time.
1) Odd. To me it looks like he's actually whipping outward, using the wrist. Hard to see exactly on the video how he does that part. He also states it would work counter clockwise, but he doesn't show what that would look like...

Thanks for all the comments thus far. They are really helping me out.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:50 AM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Need help with brushes (Ed Soph technique)

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Originally Posted by Duracell View Post
1) Odd. To me it looks like he's actually whipping outward, using the wrist.
Don't look at his hand, look at the tip of the brush.
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  #7  
Old 03-01-2013, 05:10 AM
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brady brady is offline
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Default Re: Need help with brushes (Ed Soph technique)

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Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
Don't look at his hand, look at the tip of the brush.
This. ^

Ed himself even says something to this effect in the video. Don't be concerned so much with the shape you are making, rather the sound you are making.

Like Anthony said, brushes are a very personal thing; no two players are going to play identically. Check out the Art of Playing Brushes DVD. I believe Anthony said that too but it bears repeating.

During one of the interview segments one of the drummers (Charli Persip I think) alluded to the fact that he often changes directions (clockwise/counterclockwise) with his sweeping hand. So just as with any other aspect of drumming, use whatever tool (or technique) you need to get the job done.

Personally, I primarily sweep counterclockwise since that was the way my first drum teacher taught me and also the same way Ed Thigpen demonstrated in his book. Plus, I'm left-handed...but play a righty kit...if I'm going to draw a zero, circle, whatever, I naturally draw it counterclockwise. I translated that directly to the brushes.

As for your questions, I don't think it matters too much what side of the head is 1 and 3 or 2 and 4, as long as it's consistent. If I understood your question, I play like you...with 1 and 3 on the left and 2 and 4 on the right.

Keep in mind though that that isn't the only way to play. A lot of times I'll make a quarter note circle with my left; hitting the same point on the head on each beat while my right taps out the ride cymbal pattern.

I think ballads are especially unique in that there is so much time--and space---to cover. It offers a lot of room for creativity. Not that I pay particular attention to shapes, but I make some sort of figure 8 pattern as well as a variation of the half moon shape you mentioned. I don't have a default ballad pattern. I play whatever fits the tune. If it's a quarter note circle with both hands, or my quasi figure 8 or something new that just comes out when I'm playing. Play for the music.



A couple more brush masters to check out are Philly Joe Jones, Ed Thigpen, and Clayton Cameron.

And some sampling of records...all brushes

Art Taylor on Red Garland's 'Red in Bluesville'

Elvin Jones on Tommy Flanagan's 'Overseas'

Paul Motian on Bill Evans's 'Sunday at the Village Vanguard'


Hope this helps. Good luck
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:41 AM
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Shedboyxx Shedboyxx is offline
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Default Re: Need help with brushes (Ed Soph technique)

The Ed Soph YT videos are great but on one of them (1? 2?) the audio is off by just a bit so be careful about mimicking where his hand is. It's just one of the videos from what I remember.


All good recommendations for brush masters. I own and have used the Art of Brushes DVD.

My recent work though has been using Florian Alexandru Zorn's more contemporary DVD, 'The Brush Secret'. I'm having a lot of fun with that and it is helping to expand my more traditional way playing.

One of the things I do want to do is to start listening to/watching (via YouTube) some the old tap/sand dancer guys like...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJv19KvNUDA

No technique or approach to copying this except make the sound work! :)

Jim
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Old 03-22-2013, 05:16 PM
scottjoev scottjoev is offline
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Default

Hi!
I would suggest you focus more on the sound and feel of a rhythm you are going for less than the patterns themselves. Getting the sound and feel will lead you to the patterns that are right for you. It's all about the sound. I have found lessons/books that are more about turning left then right and lots of circlres with arrows can be confusting and pull your focus away from what you are really after.

Check out Joe Morello's video clips with Steve Smith on this site. He had a very economical way to play brushes and didn't get into a lot of fancy patterns. For Joe, it was all about the sound. You can definitely hear that on his many recordings with Dave Brubeck.

Hope this helps!

Two related points I should have mentioned in my first note....

Although this may sound like a "no brainer", I see a lot of drummers playing brushes on clear heads. They will not produce the sound. Ensure you are using a coated head.

Try and old Jo Jones trick. Throw the snares off when using brushes. You'll notice a more disticnt sound that I find a bit richer and more pleasing.

Last edited by Bernhard; 03-23-2013 at 11:36 PM. Reason: Edited by Arky: merging consecutive posts
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