Asking band members about your parts


Senior Member
I have asked bands for opinions about what part I play. Do you like ride here or the Hi Hat? Do like this bass drum rhythm or this? It seems like many times it becomes a very strange conversation like they don't really expect drummers to actually ask or care. I have found it easier to just play it. If anybody doesn't say anything it's probably OK.

Others have the same experience?


Senior Member
I think for the most part, other musicians expect you to "know" what to play and where. On the one hand, it's a good musical question to ask them, as they might have good suggestions. But i find that i have never suggested to another guitarist or horn player what kind of parts they should play. We all assume that the other knows what to do. (Unless it becomes obvious that they don't). Many times, it can just breed confusion or even lead into an argument when you ask another musician what you should play and where. So be careful about that. Sometimes it's good, but sometimes it opens the pandora's box to trouble. Exude confidence in what you're doing and "sell" your part to the others. If they have suggestions, hear them out. But in the end, its all up to you. They expect you to know your instrument, which means knowing what to play when and where. :>)



Platinum Member
It doesn't always work, because whereas it's not uncommon for drummers to know a bit of musical theory and suggest different chords or progressions (or may even write some riffs for the band to use), very few non-drummers seem to grasp how a drum part is constructed.

I had a bandleader/songwriter who eventually resorted to constructing a part on a drum machine to communicate what he wanted on a certain part. Most other musicians, I'm happy if they can tell the difference between a snare and a tom, the hi-hat or the ride, or the floor tom and the kick.


Senior Member
I've never asked "what shall I play here", but that's not the question that was posed. I have on occasions asked if anyone had any specific preferences re eg specific bass placement, 1/4s or 8ths on the hi hats, crash here or not, that sort of thing. My experience is that it's often only the bass player who has had an opinion, but generally just asking has been well received and led to useful discussion. Guitarists, singers - in my (limited) experience they don't often care, so long as they can rely on the backbeat. But on the other hand, I've known the guitarist ask for the band's opinion on specifics.

All provided, of course, that you're working with reasonable people who know what "discussion" actually means.


Senior Member
...often only the bass player who has had an opinion.

Lol I did chuckle at that. But seriously just play It's your style of drumming and if bands want something else they normally tell you. But a good question and I know where you coming from.


Silver Member
I've only gotten two was "man, just play"...the other was "i don't judge art,
just play like you want". One of the senior veteran jazz musicians in our community always
starts off the gig like this...he turns to the musicians and simply says "play". I love hearing
that from really sets the mood.


Senior Member
It seems like other have the same experience. I play in a band that play only originals. I see discussions amongst the others about what they will play all the time. I guess i should enjoy the freedom.

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I play in a band that play only originals. I see discussions amongst the others about what they will play all the time. I guess i should enjoy the freedom.
Pretty much the same storyline for me, I've played mainly in bands who write their own materials, and I've had the "freedom" to create my parts, obviously, it has to fits the songs, and from time to time someone would say "why don't you use the ride on that passage" or "can you play a fill that would lift the end of my solo", but for most of the time, I could do whatever I wanted to do.

However, we discussed arrangements, feel, emotions and what we wanted to tell, musically. With such briefing, almost everyone always had it more or less right.

And if you're playing covers, do you really need to ask about your parts? Isn't it already lay down on the original version?... unless you're doing a different take on a cover.


Junior Member
When I start to play a groove for a new song we wrote I just play it and don't ask for. And if my bandmates don't like it they say "Hey, can you play the groove like this..." and do a little bit beat box, you know what I mean? :D
And then I try to play what they beat boxed and we talk a little bit about it. But the most time I just play my grooves and they even don't care about it what I'm playing. Just try to play "the same" like the bass player is playing, then everything will normally be fine ;)


Senior Member
In my band, we are all multi instrumentalists, so we freely talk about each other's parts and give suggestions when necessary. Our guitarist was originally a drummer before he lost his leg in an accident, so as a relative newbie, I value his suggestions and often ask for them. I was a bass player for 30 years, so our bass player has no problem discussing his bass parts with me. It is all done in a friendly and constructive way and for the good of the band. How you approach it, both when asking for or giving suggestions makes a big difference. Of course, it should be done only when absolutely necessary. I save my questions for the times I am really undecided about how to approach something.


Silver Member
My band talks about it too. If I am torn between 2 different ways to play a particular section I'll ask my band mates what they think. Or if I'm stuck on a part I'll ask.