Africa by Toto, Hi-hat sticking?

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I think cheating one 16th per bar (snare on 2 and 4) is an admiral goal to shoot for. Even Porcaro is cheating two 16ths per bar. And it still sounds awesome. (So my initial gut instinct was right on the money hee hee)
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. The OP looked at some transcriptions, but they obviously weren’t accurate. Fortunately we can analyze video and audio of live versions of the tune, which in many cases is going to be a better place to start than some transcription by someone who’s probably never even played the tune.
That might still be tough here. I've watched 4 live videos and they are all a bit different. The live 1982 video above he has a mallet in his left hand like half the song. Who knows if he even played it the same all the time.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I think cheating one 16th per bar (snare on 2 and 4) is an admiral goal to shoot for. Even Porcaro is cheating two 16ths per bar. And it still sounds awesome. (So my initial gut instinct was right on the money hee hee)
It’s all “cheating” unless you have a shaker, congas, and a cowbell playing a 16th note groove.

My advice is: play some of the 16ths with the hi hat, and some with ghost notes. It’s a good approximation, and doesn’t leave any holes in the groove.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
That might still be tough here. I've watched 4 live videos and they are all a bit different. The live 1982 video above he has a mallet in his left hand like half the song. Who knows if he even played it the same all the time.
That’s crazy! Maybe just don’t choose that version? The rest are all very reasonable.

This one is good:

 
Last edited:

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. The OP looked at some transcriptions, but they obviously weren’t accurate. Fortunately we can analyze video and audio of live versions of the tune, which in many cases is going to be a better place to start than some transcription by someone who’s probably never even played the tune.

This is a case of placing too much faith in written music found for free on the internet, and not enough faith in doing your own transcriptions.
I don't disagree, and I'm not denigrating analysis. I read drum music fluently, but unless I'm instructed to play a part precisely as it's written, I rarely do. For me, the joy of interpretation flows from the addition of creativity. I like to engrave my own signature upon everything I play. I see little merit in replicating the drum parts of cover songs note for note. I don't decry those who do so. It's just not a convention to which I subscribe.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I updated my post, changing the words "is the same as" to "is based on".

Anyway, here is a soundcheck of Shannon Forrest and Toto doing Africa - he's playing the hihat, but if you listen closely you can hear electronic hihat in the background during his fills. Interesting he plays the auxiliary snare to the left of his hihat. It's hard to tell from the camera angle, but I would not be surprised if a Roland SPD-SX isn't sitting somewhere over there to start off the hihat sequence.

 

iCe

Senior Member
How do you guys play the 16ths on the hats? The notations I've looked at imply right hand only, but it's 93 bpm, and feels intense one handed for a chilled out song like Africa. Just curious if everyone does it that way? I've been working on getting comfortable with Tom Sawyer, and it's only 88. The simpler groove on Africa does make it more manageable though.
Oh and to reply on technique on how to go faster... i use a version the 'pull-push' method mentioned before and let the stick rest loosely between my thumb and index finger. I also control the motion of the stick with my ringfinger (loosely translated from Dutch, the finger next to our pinky) and through that way i control the bounce of the stick. With the push-pull method you can achieve quite some speed!
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Fast is a subjective thing. Just work on it and keep your sticks low.

Jeff is sort of known for "fast" single handed 16ths and he wouldn't do this two handed simply because it would feel and sound too stiff. Doing side stick would also be hard that way.

Do something like this and e.g. Michael McDonalds "Keep Forgeting" which is also Jeff.

This is one of the great uses for something like Transcribe or Amazing Slow Downer as you can slow things down a bit without things sounding too weird. Pull it down to 90% and focus on relaxing.

I definetly use a sort of push-pull for his, most people would. Probably easier on the ride than on the hats, so that's something to keep in mind as you work on increasing the tempo.
 
Last edited:

mikyok

Platinum Member

From the man himself, from about 7 mins onwards, he explains about one handed 16th notes and how to get that flow.

Comes with practice.

They always play it live in a different arrangement. I've seen them live 3 times and they played it the Simon Phillips way the first time. The other two times they had Lenny Castro on percussion, he's an absolute powerhouse of groove. Didn't even notice Shannon Forrest either time.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
I will need to listen to that track again but s much stuff was in that drum loop that it is hard to know what was in the loop and what Jeff played on the kit. Any live video of that tune is going to be an intepretation of that and not a good source regarding what went down in the studio
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Ok, finally a version that I can tell for sure has no electronics. Shannon Forrest on drums - slow it down to 0.5x:

 

planoranger

Junior Member
I don't disagree, and I'm not denigrating analysis. I read drum music fluently, but unless I'm instructed to play a part precisely as it's written, I rarely do. For me, the joy of interpretation flows from the addition of creativity. I like to engrave my own signature upon everything I play. I see little merit in replicating the drum parts of cover songs note for note. I don't decry those who do so. It's just not a convention to which I subscribe.
Couldn't agree more. It's more important that the spirit and the style of the cover is played...not the actual note for note version.

C.M.: You're THE MAN as usual. Thanks for your wisdom.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
When someone asks for assistance in learning a specific part or phrase, telling them they don't need to worry about it and to do their own thing is not helpful.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
When someone asks for assistance in learning a specific part or phrase, telling them they don't need to worry about it and to do their own thing is not helpful.
I'd never advise anyone "not to worry" about a part or phrase. I merely believe it's important to keep things in perspective. Countless rhythmic options and sticking patterns can be applied to a given groove and time signature. Yes, you can copy exactly what another drummer is doing in a recording, and that's fine if it's an outcome you value. But if a given part or some aspect of technique perplexes you, there's always a means through which you can circumvent that obstacle -- so long as you're open to creativity rather than enslaved to transcription. That's my central point.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Here's a good explanation on how Simon Phillips plays it
Seems like a triplet feel with the hi-hat opening up every quarter note

Yep, that's what he's doing in the clip I posted. The great thing about this approach, is that it works well even if you don't have a percussion loop going, because there's a nice 16th note flow. The right hand is playing 1 &a2 &a3 &a4&a, and the left hand is filling in the "holes" with ghost notes and other snare notes.

So far, none of the videos posted here shows a drummer playing all the 16ths with the right hand in this song. Yes, right hand 16ths is a thing; we all know that. But it's clearly not the method of choice by any number of professional drummers who actually play(ed) with Toto.

Mastiff: it's ALWAYS a good idea to research what the drummer plays live, especially when there is additional percussion on the track. Do NOT trust online transcriptions completely. Even hard copy printed transcriptions that you purchase in books usually have some errors. (A friend of mine has a book of Rush transcriptions, and all the really cool fills are wrong.) Of course, if you have a ton of experience with a song, then sure, go ahead and do some interpreting. But the world is littered with drummers who barely know the song, or are doing a bad approximation; you're not going to cause any problems by knowing the song too well.
 
Top