A Drummer's Most Important Quality

dboomer

Senior Member
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.
Once I figured out that I would never become the best drummer in the world I decided if I could have as much fun as the best drummer in the world then we would be equals.
 

Ryan Culberson

Well-known member
I’m going to go with wisdom. Making wise choices in one’s playing, gear, hygiene, dealings with band mates, dealings with venues, etc... I strive for wisdom as a musician/drummer. Don’t always get there, but simply thinking about it helps get me at least halfway there most of the time.
 

rhumbagirl

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?
You've just made Nicholas more nervous with this post :)
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
There's a scene in "Fun with Dick and Jane" where Jim Carrey arrives to the building for his interview, only to find a thousand other interviewees also arriving, all dressed in suits and all carrying briefcases. I wonder if the stress of putting it all together, as Uncle Larry writes, would be solved by having more than one drummer showup for gigs or rehearsals. I used to drive around with my Gretsch 3-pc in cases in the back of my truck, under a tonneau cover, just in case someone called me for a gig, or another drummer forgot something (for the 3-drummer gig I spoke of recently).
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
On a more serious note, I think of the responsibility of putting it all together - dynamics, timekeeping, musicality, gear - is something that is already set in motion from the rehearsals. The pro drummer is in a perpetual motion due to the sheer volume of work he or she is already getting to make a living - studio, tour, gigs. By the time I get to the stage with any band, and I'm not a pro, maybe a semi-pro:
1. I know my bass drum pedal works. I may forget a spare spring. I've never been penalized on that one. The MTBF is high for the DW9000, considering I bought mine used off of ebay 14 yrs ago.
2. I know my hands and feet are working. In fact I'll posit that active drummers have some of the healthiest hands on the planet. Whenever I've had mouse-pain from work - is that called carpeltunnel? - drumming has always helped me through that.
3. My drums are tuned, unless there's a significant weather change.
4. The simple design of the hihat - a pushrod with a spring - leaves very little to fail, granted one isn't riding with the cheapest gear out there.
5. My playing is there if my hands and feet are, and I've played the songs during rehearsals.

So all these things are already in motion. Ask me to play music I haven't rehearsed and it's likely to be a nightmare.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
All that said, the drummer's Most Important Quality is keeping time. With good time, which of course includes directive playing choices that lay down that road map for the band, all other things can be forgiven. Without it, don't expect another call.
 

Houndog1964

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?
Bahahhhahuauuaaaa , ease up man ...
 

Houndog1964

Member
Be a musician first, and a drummer second.
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.
I can’t ignore
John Bonham
Kieth Moon
Neil Peart
Buddy Rich
Joe Morello
David Garibadl
Gavin Harrison
I could go forever ...
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I can’t ignore
John Bonham
Kieth Moon
Neil Peart
Buddy Rich
Joe Morello
David Garibadl
Gavin Harrison
I could go forever ...
I'm pretty confident that every drummer on your list would refer to himself as a musician first and a drummer second. Likewise, every drummer on your list would maintain that a drummer's ultimate goal is to function as an integral component that blends with a unit, not as a standalone spectacle that begs for attention. When I state that a good drummer can be ignored, my point is that he's doing exactly what the music demands and doesn't draw inordinate attention to himself like a hapless egomaniac in a "please look at me" YouTube solo.
 
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