Advices for 'Ringo' drumming

GuiGeek

Member
I'm in a Beatles cover band (or tribute band?) and I'm trying to find what are those little things that make Ringo's drumming special. Except his hair of course!

At the moment I'm especially struggling with his fills. I just can't get a good swing when playing those. And also, what about the bass drum? You can barely hear it on recordings, so am I supposed to caress the head or hit like a donkey?

Now about cymbals and drums!

I have a 20" Sabian AAX Stage Ride at the moment and it doesn't work at all. I can't 'crash' it, it sounds like a gong. My 20" HHX Evolution and Paiste Rude don't work either (oubviously).
So which ride will do the trick? I thought about a 20" AA Rock Ride or maybe a Zildjian Avedis Crash/Ride?

Don't hesitate to tell me about other things, Ringo's playing is much more than what's in this post!

Thanks
 

T.Underhill

Pioneer Member
Isn't it better if you do your own thing, instead of just copying the greats?
I'd normally agree but for a tribute band you try to keep it sounding like them, from tone to vocals.

For the kick I'd recommend changing the eq of your music to maybe make it stand out, if that fails I follow along with the bass guitar, locking in the rhythm section. I don't recall Ringo getting too crazy with the kick so keep it basic.
 

adam!

Senior Member
Now about cymbals and drums!

I have a 20" Sabian AAX Stage Ride at the moment and it doesn't work at all. I can't 'crash' it, it sounds like a gong. My 20" HHX Evolution and Paiste Rude don't work either (oubviously).
So which ride will do the trick? I thought about a 20" AA Rock Ride or maybe a Zildjian Avedis Crash/Ride?
Try some Paiste Giant Beats or 402's.

As far as his playing style goes, it's that "in-between straight and swing" feel. I know it's not much help, but you just have to feel it. Good luck!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
As far as his playing style goes, it's that "in-between straight and swing" feel. I know it's not much help, but you just have to feel it. Good luck!
Yeah (yeah yeah) that's the hard part about Ringo. It's easy to play what he played, but difficult to play the way he played. His drumming was mostly about his feel, although he had some great parts and fills that I still source today. It's easy to say that Ringo's grooves tended to be a little relaxed, and he was sometimes choppy on fills, but there were many exceptions in the Beatles' catalog. Each song could have its own feel, there's no single rule to go by.

GuiGeek, just work with the original recordings until you start to settle into where Ringo is at, but don't expect to do it exactly. If you can get 75% there, you're doing better than most Ringo imitators.

Note that Ringo was basically a hard-hitter, so the drums should be tuned with that in mind. Also for sounds, the Beatles' production changed drastically throughout their career, so there's no single Ringo drum sound. You'll need to pick one sound that works best with the songs selected, or be prepared to adjust muffling, tuning and miking throughout the gig.

Bermuda
 

moontheloon

Silver Member
Ringo is left handed and starts most fills with his left hand which gives them a unique approach and sound
 

The Scorpio

Senior Member
I think the best possible thing you could do would be to study The Beatles catalog. But that's a pretty massive undertaking, so a quicker solution would be to pick up a copy of The Beatles One, the compilation of all their #1 hits. This will give you excellent examples of Ringo's feel across the board, as well as the varied drum sounds throughout his recordings with The Beatles.

I really don't have any practical tips on playing like Ringo because I can't. As a matter of fact I don't know anyone that can play like Ringo except Ringo. But I think really studying the songs with give you a better idea of what to do.

As far as cymbals, 70's era Zildjian A's are the way to go IMO. But those can be hard to find sometimes, so the Paiste's Giant Beats would be a good option as well.

Good luck on your band! Please post some videos I'm a huge Beatles fan!

-Kyle
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I can't really answer your questions. I think Bermuda is right by saying if you can capture 75% of his feel, you're doing great. I wouldn't over-analyze the guy too much. He was a really good drummer, but nothing too hard to duplicate. Anyway, the whole point of my post is to share this great link that I stumbled upon. It's worth a look.

http://www.ringosbeatlekits.com/

 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Isn't it better if you do your own thing, instead of just copying the greats?
Don't underestimate the difficulty in copying another drummer's parts and feel. It often requires a lot more skill than just making up parts from scratch. Trust me, it's what I do.

Have I ever had to duplicate Ringo? Not yet, but it would be a challenge to get it right.

Bermuda
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Ringo is left handed and starts most fills with his left hand which gives them a unique approach and sound

Yep. According to Ringo he is a lefty playing a right-hand set and didn't play a lot of fill descending any way. I would check out Youtube and watch as much Ringo as possible. It would be easier to watch rather than have us try to decribe what he did.
 

larryz

Platinum Member
My brother has been in a successful Beatles tribute band for the last 10 years here in the PA/WV/OH area. His drummer throughout all those years really has only about 35-40% Ringo's playing down. I'm just learning myself, though I think I know every beat of every song in my head as I've listened to their songs over and over a billion times. Actually sitting down at the kit and playing is a whole different story. Funny, the drummer for tribute band The Fab Faux (the band with With Lee, Letterman's bassist) sounds very little like Ringo at all.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Ringo was pretty much inaudible on most Beatles recordings and wasn't given much creative input. It is understandable you'd have a hard time figuring it out. Just play with as little chops as possible and you should be OK.
 

SergiuM

Senior Member
My best advice would be to just listen to The Beatles. Remember that he lead into fills with his left hand often, so you'd have to get used to that. Try stealing some fills from "She came in through the bathroom window" if you need a few quick ones. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yobA-zDpa8.

"I've got a feeling" also has some pretty typical Ringo drumming. You can hear the drumming better in this alternate take: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiK6EV_L1Y4
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Ringo is left handed and starts most fills with his left hand which gives them a unique approach and sound
Yep. According to Ringo he is a lefty playing a right-hand set and didn't play a lot of fill descending any way.
From the man himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGyqoURpiK0&feature=related

My best advice would be to just listen to The Beatles.
I agree with Sergiu, listen and try to capture the feel of his playing. Playing along The Beatles CD's might help too. :)

There's also Beatles "backing tracks" highlighting the drum parts such as this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPMjbx5h0pw , you can use this and the original recording of the track, perhaps it could help to figure out Ringo's part. :)
 

Cameo

Gold Member
Don't underestimate the difficulty in copying another drummer's parts and feel. It often requires a lot more skill than just making up parts from scratch. Trust me, it's what I do.

Have I ever had to duplicate Ringo? Not yet, but it would be a challenge to get it right.

Bermuda
I didn't mean you should come up with everything yourself. I just thought he was going to do 100% what Ringo did (and that would be boring, I want him to be unique)

Though, when I play Weird Al tunes (has happened once or twice) I do... ;)
 

JRannefeld

Member
Don't underestimate the difficulty in copying another drummer's parts and feel. It often requires a lot more skill than just making up parts from scratch. Trust me, it's what I do.

Have I ever had to duplicate Ringo? Not yet, but it would be a challenge to get it right.

Bermuda
Amen. One of my bands is a Tom Petty tribute band. Much harder than you would think. Especially making it feel right. Stan, Steve and Keltner, for the most part..
 

GuiGeek

Member
Thanks a lot guys! This forum really is a beautiful place for us drummers ;)

I checked out the Giant Beat ride and came across this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UaW-SSITsU&feature=relmfu
When crashed, this cymbal sounds awesome for a 20"! But I really don't like the 'riding' sound, compared to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30wnesyemoU.

Now, only looking at a video is maybe a wrong move. But it seems to my ears that I can hear the 'real' sound of the cymbal from here. Right?!

Now about the bass drum, I think I'll follow the bass and don't get too crazy with it. Overplaying always sounds stupid when playing Beatles songs!

I'm still trying to find out how to play fills with this "in-between straight and swing" feel. It's pretty hard when you have always played straight OR swingy stuff when riding those toms.
I'll maybe give a try to my left hand as a 'leader' for those fills and see what comes out!

Also thanks for those precious links ;) The drums only tracks are great! And that website about Ringo's kits is intersting too, too bad the cymbals section isn't complete.

Btw, I've got some links too. I came across this guy while searching on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1rTTv_6U_g&feature=related
He's pretty good, the sound of the drums is a bit saturated but it's very useful for drummers who are trying to figure the songs out!

I'll post some videos of my playing or maybe of one of our gigs in the future.
You'll be able to rate me on the Ringo's scale! I hope I can get past the 50%!

Cheers and thanks again for such a nice feedback.
 
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