A Drummer's Most Important Quality

Vandalay

Member
" I always say watch Krupa and Moon, They both smile and are playful in their approach. Makes it fun to watch them. Yeah, Buddy always had this kinda "Fuck you grimace" when he played...
 

planoranger

Junior Member
I think it is the ability to show up at a gig. Ever see a band play a gig and the drummer doesn't show up? Sounds a lot different when that happens.
Or the drummer is there in body...but the way he/she plays SOUNDS like they didn't show up (see "Plays with conviction" on p.1).

Isn't there an old saying that goes something like, "The first step to success is showing up"?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Taste, I've seen drummers that have insane ability but they're unable to reign it in, I've also seen drummers that couldn't do anything technical if they had a gun to their head but are the better drummer because they have taste.

As I get older the more I'm finding that along with the bassist, if you do your job well you don't get noticed. I like that, let the guitarists a and singers deal with the public!
I've always believed that a good drummer is one you can completely ignore. He blends with the music seamlessly, and because he's focused on doing his job, he has no cause to draw ridiculous forms of attention to himself. The quality of his playing is what fulfills him.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Joy while playing!
I'm pleased to see you write that, dboomer. If I've gathered one thing from your posts in other threads, it's that you're a top-notch sound expert and a thoroughly technically aware drummer. I would have expected something more along the lines of "A drummer's most important quality is his ability to achieve perfect tuning intervals among his toms." I'm not poking fun at you. I'm just glad that you have a good time with the whole thing.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Along with the other responses, "consistency" is of great value. Of course that applies to everyone in the band, but probably more so the drummer than everyone else
Agreed, BruceW. A drummer is a band's North Star. If things get off course, the drummer is the fixture that guides the way home. Our positioning amid performances reflects this fact. We're on risers up in the sky, and our coordinates never change.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Along with the other responses, "consistency" is of great value. Of course that applies to everyone in the band, but probably more so the drummer than everyone else
Consistancy was my answer also, but BruceW beat me to it. If you aren't consistant, none of the above can fall into place.
 
I was about to say "owning drums". :p
If a drummer makes a stroke and no drum is around to take it, does it make a sound?

Aside from the ability to drum, which is native to the state of being a drummer
I feel like this question is impossible to answer as the ability to drum requires all kinds of different skills and qualities already. Anyway, I'll say "big ears" - listening to the other musicans and playing appropriately which is another big bag of all kinds of different skills. Damn it, can't we name 20 qualities instead?
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
What's a drummer's most important quality? Aside from the ability to drum, which is native to the state of being a drummer, I believe confidence to be the requisite trait every drummer must possess. While all musicians must be confident to an extent, a drummer's self-assurance is of singular significance. We're expected to display a contained yet transparent cockiness, a subtle swagger that communicates to our fellow musicians, "There's nothing to worry about here. Leave the metronome to me, and we'll be just fine." A drummer can't waver in mentality or execution. Every stroke must be decisive and meaningful. All hesitation is potentially deadly. If a drummer doesn't carry out his or her duties with composite conviction, everything else gets wishy-washy. The music takes a lethal dive.

What do you consider a drummer's most important quality?
His/her gear, the amount of notes they can physically fit into a measure and the oddest time signature they can play while successfully coming in on the 1 (but not actually playing the 1 because only nerds actually hit the 1 in odd times).

All tied for the #1 spot.


My top two answers have already been mentioned - I think confidence is highly important...you really have to believe in every note you are playing because you're the only in the band that exists in the sonic spectrum that drums exist in and the only person doing the non-tonal time keeping thing...so if your sheepish to the point of missing a note - everyone will feel it and every musician will know on some level.

The second being professionalism - showing up on time, showing up sober, knowing the songs, being set up, etc. etc. makes all the difference in the world. I've had so many horror stories with people that simply were not professional for a variety of reasons and those experiences have lead me to really narrow down the people I work with...I won't subject myself to sitting at a gig set up and ready for sound check at show then waiting until near show time for some singer or other band member to come stumbling in at the last minute and delay the whole thing. It's painful and not worth the time.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I won't subject myself to sitting at a gig set up and ready for sound check at show then waiting until near show time for some singer or other band member to come stumbling in at the last minute and delay the whole thing.
I mentioned this very phenomenon in one of Larry's threads last week, citing singers as the most common offenders. I should add that some singers are very punctual and respectful of other band members' time. In my experience, though, far too many haven't been. It's something I've just grown to laugh about, as long as nothing calamitous results from it.

In my own behavior as a drummer, I've always placed punctuality and reliability at the top of my value system. We have so much equipment to set up that arriving early is often our only option. Also, because we're the backbone of the band, a late drummer doesn't do much to create a sense of calm. It's hard to be at ease when your foundation is missing.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Be a musician first, and a drummer second.
I’ve always liked this answer and have borrowed it many times. In fact, it sorta makes the OPs question kinda moot. All musicians must display confidence and time. I mixed a swing big band at Disneyland once and the drummer was stuck in traffic. We started without the drummer and the band swung so hard everyone was dancing anyway. When the drummer finally got there for the third set, we all kept joking “what’s that noise?”
 
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