Are you slowing down///literally?

sonormapex

Senior Member
I played for 10 yrs in a 50,60,s doo wop band and retired, finally. They call me up to sub for their drummer, no problem, I thought. Same show, tunes, schtick, etc. Bass player says to me "those fast songs seem a little slower than usual". I say "are you serious" as the sweat is pouring off my face.I think its happening, I'm slowing down. Anyone else?
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
I've never been fast, so it's not a concern.

There are occasionally songs I need to work at because they are faster than my comfort zone.

My $0.05 is not that you're slowing down (as in deteriorating) but falling out of practice/training.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
There are some days when I just sound better playing slow. But I know I just have to work up the ol' muscles and get 'em back in line ;)
 

2bsticks

Platinum Member
I agree with JustJames, If you were still their full time drummer you would be playing the music fine. I'm 63 and stay busy so I feel I'm playing the material fine. My issue is trying to practice. Just can't seem to stay focused?
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Not necessarily. I find I have days where my natural tempo sense is just a bit off; sometimes too slow, sometimes too fast. Not sure why that is.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's just a question of staying in practice, which helps stamina and technique. I'm close to 61, and I play pretty bright tempos without breaking a sweat or getting fatigued, assuming I've stayed in shape (which is just one reason that I play with other bands between tours.)

Note that players' perceptions of tempo is extremely subjective. That's why we'll play something that feels nice and energetic, listen to a recording only to discover it's noticeably faster than what we thought. Same for a song that feels a little lazy when playing it, but sounds just right when hearing it back. This can be a good rule of thumb when counting-off songs: go slightly lazy and it will sound perfect.

The Al band did have a tempo wake-up call when we re-introduced an old uptempo song, and at the first run-through, all of us - Al included - swore that the track was sped-up somehow. It was frantic! The key was correct, but certainly something must have gone digitally awry. We went to YouTube to check the video for the song, which of course revealed that it was at the correct tempo, and we were simply out of practice. It didn't take long before everyone was comfortable with the tempo again.

Bermuda
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
I played for 10 yrs in a 50,60,s doo wop band and retired, finally. They call me up to sub for their drummer, no problem, I thought. Same show, tunes, schtick, etc. Bass player says to me "those fast songs seem a little slower than usual". I say "are you serious" as the sweat is pouring off my face.I think its happening, I'm slowing down. Anyone else?
Nope.

I'm 47. And 23 stone. I'm literally a giant.

The music we are playing now is the fastest I have ever played. I practice every night playing along to Ramones/Dead Kennedy's/random fast punk to keep up to speed.

We play two hour gigs, with a half hour break and I am literally drenched with sweat at the end of it and totally drained.

Wouldn't change it for the world though :)
 

River19

Senior Member
As others said, I think it is more about staying in practice, and perhaps as we age, certain physical attributes and abilities require additional levels of maintenance than they used to. I see with with drumming and personally with mountain biking and specifically endurance racing on the bike.....

I am actually faster now at 42years old than I was in my early 30s due to better technique and less movement of my limbs etc. Once I realized I needed to relax more to play faster longer I was on the right path years ago.
 

TheElectricCompany

Senior Member
I usually count off a little too fast live, but playing regularly with a band over the past six months has improved my time. Although, I did have an issue with starting too slow a few weeks back. I did a live audition and we played Superstition. I must have counted the song off 10 BPM too slow. It felt good doing the opening groove at that tempo, but once the band came in we had to adjust big time. Got the gig, though!
 

Merlin5

Gold Member
Speaking of slowing down, I was watching this video the other day. It starts off very bright at about 124/125bpm, but as the song progresses it's down to about 115 and settles at 118bpm.

I'm wondering what's happening in that particular situation. Is it that the whole band felt a natural inclination to pull it back? The original stevie wonder version is even slower, around 105bpm. Is it that the drummer dragged unintentionally, or could it be that he felt it was too fast?

Have a listen. Nice playing though.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FEhZvQ-eGA
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Could it be that you play behind the beat, and, compared to the other guy, it feels slow, but is not?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
For me, I find that time wavering is a mental drift problem not a muscular one. The more I play, the better my time is getting, because my latest thing is laser focus on time. Everything is mental first. Sharp mind, sharp drumming. My goal is to not lose focus on the song, until the last note is struck. IOW a lazy mind is my foe. I'm trying to be Johnny on the spot 100% of the time with my mental focus. Once I identified my issue, mental drift, it makes it much easier to correct.

Time is everything in my world. Slowing down is one of the worst thing drummers can do. Hey so is speeding up. The Goldilocks tempo is the goal, then holding it there start to finish is the job. That's first. Anything else I do in a song is secondary to the time.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
If you find yourself physically struggling with fast tempos you used to cover fine, I'd look at your economy of movement around the kit, or consider changing things ergonomically.
But I have also found other band members usually err on the side of thinking something is 'too slow'. If they are contesting you on it, Live BPM clears that up pretty fast.
 

sonormapex

Senior Member
Great responses here, much appreciated. As I first indicated, I am retired from playing with that band. We did all the crazy fast early rock n roll, and like Bermuda said, I rarely broke a sweat. My theory is you do slow down as you age, just go for a long walk, you will see what I mean. If you want to keep going in high gear, you are going to have to work at it, like a training program. I told the band I would help them out ONLY if they were stuck again. Funny thing is we do all the old Motown tunes and I could play that all night long. Maybe because I enjoy it so much more? At 66 now, I enjoy my job with the Gospel band, and they cook!!..just not for 2 hours with a 15 minute break.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Time is everything in my world. Slowing down is one of the worst thing drummers can do. Hey so is speeding up. The Goldilocks tempo is the goal, then holding it there start to finish is the job. That's first. Anything else I do in a song is secondary to the time.
Your take on this kind of surprised me, Larry. You recently started a thread about human versus metronome time and you talked about how you wanted to play with the time, compress it and stretch it. This seems to contradict that, no?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Your take on this kind of surprised me, Larry. You recently started a thread about human versus metronome time and you talked about how you wanted to play with the time, compress it and stretch it. This seems to contradict that, no?
Well, I still stand by the thought that the guitarist like the solos a bpm or 2 faster. (mine will never admit that) I think it feels good to be a little looser and not nazi strict like the verse.

To put a finer point on things, because I have been thinking about time a lot now, I realized it's not steady time I have the problem with, it's the same exact tone with every backbeat of an electronic drum beat that actually bothered me. The handclap back beat makes me throw up in my mouth a little because it's so "perfect" and never varies. Yuck!
That's what I was really revolting against. Like I have no problem with Steely Dan records, and the tempo doesn't budge there. And on recordings, I agree with that approach.

But live? I think it good to be rock steady on every part of the song...with the exception of the guitar lead specifically. Not a piano lead, or a flute lead, or a bass solo etc. But a guitar solo yea, it's OK to loosen the reigns a little. OK a sax lead too. Live I think it adds to the excitement. To me a guitar lead is like sex, you do what you feel. And I like how it reigns back in when the verse comes back in. Tension and release. How do you do tension and release without gently manipulating time? It's not a crime, it's artistic license and one of the perks of a human drummer. It can be very powerful when used right. A solo piano player does it all the time, npi.

I reserve the right to contradict myself! I like steady time on records but live I want a little more energy.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Well, I still stand by the thought that the guitarist like the solos a bpm or 2 faster. (mine will never admit that) I think it feels good to be a little looser and not nazi strict like the verse.

To put a finer point on things, because I have been thinking about time a lot now, I realized it's not steady time I have the problem with, it's the same exact tone with every backbeat of an electronic drum beat that actually bothered me. The handclap back beat makes me throw up in my mouth a little because it's so "perfect" and never varies. Yuck!
That's what I was really revolting against. Like I have no problem with Steely Dan records, and the tempo doesn't budge there. And on recordings, I agree with that approach.

But live? I think it good to be rock steady on every part of the song...with the exception of the guitar lead specifically. Not a piano lead, or a flute lead, or a bass solo etc. But a guitar solo yea, it's OK to loosen the reigns a little. OK a sax lead too. Live I think it adds to the excitement. To me a guitar lead is like sex, you do what you feel. And I like how it reigns back in when the verse comes back in. Tension and release. How do you do tension and release without gently manipulating time? It's not a crime, it's artistic license and one of the perks of a human drummer. It can be very powerful when used right. A solo piano player does it all the time, npi.

I reserve the right to contradict myself! I like steady time on records but live I want a little more energy.
I hear ya, Lar. I think it all depends on the music and the situation.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Yhe 50's band I'm in now likes everything a touch quicker than the previous band I was in.
So its probably not you slowing down, its them speeding up. (Just like Einstein's theory of relativity.)
 
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