Bonhamisms

Sutor

Member
Hey guys, I'm in a Led Zeppelin tribute band from the UK which obviously entails me doing Moby Dick. I've got along fine doing a pretty good version of it for a while based around his different versions and mix-matching the parts.

However, I feel there is still so much I still haven't got down with his technique and ideas. There are still things that I'm noticing recently that just passed me by before and I don't do them at all.

For example, Royal Albert Hall solo, Bonham always kept the high hat going in the snare based sections but later on he gradually adds the bass drum on every offbeat as well, which I've found really difficult to keep going whilst doing whatever over the top.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai0afK6Ctzw&feature=related
Also what the hell is he doing at about 1:56? Is that singles or what?

In this next video he does call and response with the snare and bass drum which I'm practising at the moment and I've pretty much got it, but when he's doing loads of snare based stuff, I can't make out what he's doing, is it just singles with whatever accents he likes in there?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plY5t9O6PL0&feature=related

I've got the triplets down, the whole Right Left Foot on the toms, crossing hands over etc.

Is there anything else people can suggest? Other Bonhamisms they've spotted? Any ideas of things for me to practise to help me develop a more authentic Moby Dick?

All help greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Andy.
 

Sutor

Member
It's arriving in less than 10 days from the states, Green Sparkle with maple shells and Superphonic Snare.

And thanks for your productive answers to my questions :p
 

diosdude

Silver Member
Bonzo was an innovator in making the simplest stuff sound waaaay more complicated. Almost like magic tricks for drummers. He's also one of the most studied drummers of his generation. I would comb over youtube for free drum lessons to pick up chops, Here's one of my favorite youtube guys, mike johnston:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFDlP8l-yX8&feature=related

That "showoff lick" is definitely bonham 101
 

Sutor

Member
Thanks for the link man, Yea I love Mike, I've been watching his vids since he started doing them. That's a pretty nifty lick!
 

diosdude

Silver Member
Thanks for the link man, Yea I love Mike, I've been watching his vids since he started doing them. That's a pretty nifty lick!
Many of bonham's fills are combinations of tom-bass patterns like rlrlRLrlrlRL or rlrlRRrlrlRR r=right hand l=left hand R= right foot L=left foot. Once you get the motions fluid and rapid, you just vary the stick placement around the kit
 
At about 1:56 I believe he is playing paradiddle-diddles.

About his triplets, as far as I've seen, it's always l r f, not r l f.

The fill he does in "Stairway" and "Night Flight" is snare, tom, floor (32 note triplets) followed by bass, bass (16th notes). He does that 4 times, followed by l r f l r f (as 16 note triplets).

At the end of songs, he sometimes does a variation of l r f triplet pattern, where he leaves out some of the foot and rh notes. It's something like lrfl (tom,floor,bass, snare) as triplets, with the snare hit being a quarter note (so the rh and bass don't play after the snare hit). He then plays the same figure, with his left hand going in the opposite direction (snare, floor, bass, tom). If you count the rhtyhm as triplets it goes: one trip-let two, three triplet four, repeat.


Another figure he commonly uses is l lrf (snare, snare, tom, bass) with the first left being an eight and the last three being 16th notes (and then, again, repeat). So it would be counted 1 and ah 2, 3 and ah 4. Of course, at the tempo he plays it, everything would probably be doubled so it would be a 16th note followed by 3 32 notes.

He also uses lrff as a 16th note figure quite a bit (uses it in "The Lemon Song" for instance), as well as the rlrlff as sextuplets that another poster already noted. Also, he'll play r/l f r/l f r/l f (r/l = flam) as sextuplets ("You Shook Me").

Sorry if my notation isn't very good. I'm sure there is a better way to describe some of these things, but I'm new at this computer stuff. Hope this helps some, and good luck with the band.
 
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