Charlie Watts

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
He's self-taught so it's probably something he stumbled on in the early days and it's still the most natural way for him to play. Maybe when he started off he didn't have the coordination? Or maybe it was easier for him to accent the 1-a and 3-a upbeats to get the beat bouncing? Maybe he liked the clean snare sound? I've never heard or read an explanation from him.

Self-taught players tend to have quirks about their playing. A lot of them are handicaps but every now and then someone like Charlie makes it work.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I notice some players do this because they have their hats on the left but play them with the right hand and they play the snare with the left hand. So, their right hand or stick may cross over and above the left hand or stick. If they have to hit the snare hard, they may have to lift their right hand up and out of the way, thereby making it impossible to play hats while they hit the snare that way.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Good point, DMC. During Sydney's halcyon pub rock days in the 80s a lot of drummers were peppering their bands' sets with big money beats (eg. Rob Hirst of Midnight Oil), lifting the left hand high and pulling the RH out of the way.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Good point, DMC. During Sydney's halcyon pub rock days in the 80s a lot of drummers were peppering their bands' sets with big money beats (eg. Rob Hirst of Midnight Oil), lifting the left hand high and pulling the RH out of the way.
Another thing I like about playing open handed (left hand on hats and ride, right hand on snare). You can raise either hand as high or as low as needed and they will never interfere with each other.
 

utdrummer

Senior Member
I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but I noticed he did that years ago when I first started playing and could never figure out what the hang-up was. Why couldn't the drummer in the worlds greatest rock band make two sticks hit at the same time? I still don't get it. Is it laziness? Is it mental? I don't know what the basis is, but it is still annoying as hell to watch. It really takes away from the visual performance for me. People would call me out in a bar if I did it I'm sure.
 

toddy

Platinum Member
Is it laziness? Is it mental? I don't know what the basis is, but it is still annoying as hell to watch. It really takes away from the visual performance for me. People would call me out in a bar if I did it I'm sure.
i'm sure when you are at the same 'level' as charlie watts no one will call you out anymore ;)
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I know what you're getting at, utdrummer. He can look at bit amateurish at times, yet his tracks don't sound amateurish at all.

Look at this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOncnLgS3tA. A very simple jam but he's sooo in the pocket from go to whoa, timing and tempo is spot on, the rimshot backbeat is always consistent, the kit sounds great, and every pattern he plays is appropriate.

That's what marks top players; they have the basics down so well that they can always be relied upon to provide a professional-sounding drum track, no matter what they do to get there. That's what most other musos want from us more than anything.
 

Bernhard

Founder Drummerworld
Staff member
The Charlie Watts thing - leaving out the Hi-Hat when hitting the snare in a basic Rock pattern - is a kind of linear drumming, no?
It's a help in a real uptempo tune - so fast, that you can't hold the tempo with the right hand.

Now, Charlie had the idea to try it at slow tempos - as nobody else does - and it sounded cool cool cool - here we go....

Bernhard
 

con struct

Platinum Member
I tried that once and it definitely makes for a different sound, although I found it to be really counter-intuitive.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
I read in some interview, maybe that 90 MD issue, that he started doing it sometime in the 70's because he simply liked how the snare sounded better without a hi-hat note hitting at the same time. A cursory listen to 60's Stones records reveals he clearly played more "normal" then. I do it when I play "Beast of Burden" and "Start Me Up", but not on "Honky Tonk Woman" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash".
 

toddy

Platinum Member
personally i think linear drumming is awesome. breakbeat and the genres that utilize it today are so fun to play.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
One thing that Keltner pointed out to Charlie was his habit of coming off the hi-hat with his right hand whenever he would hit a backbeat with his left. "I was never conscious of it until Jim mentioned it," Charlie comments. "But I do it a lot. I've noticed it on videos, and it actually annoys me to see myself doing it. It really comes, I think, from coming down heavy on the backbeat. I don't use that grip that Ringo uses. I did for a few years, because I thought it was popular. But then I was told to go back to the other way by Ian Stewart, who used to set up my drums. He virtually ordered me to go back to what he called 'the proper way of playing,' " Charlie laughs. "So I went back to the military grip, and I really do prefer it, but because of the amount you ride on the hi-hat, I suppose I got in the habit of pulling the other stick out of the way to get a louder sound.​
"I've never consciously done it, but a lot of times when we make a record I am consciously not doing it......"​
as quoted from Modern Drummer, Feb. 1990.​
 

Bernhard

Founder Drummerworld
Staff member
One thing that Keltner pointed out to Charlie was his habit of coming off the hi-hat with his right hand whenever he would hit a backbeat with his left. "I was never conscious of it until Jim mentioned it," Charlie comments. "But I do it a lot. I've noticed it on videos, and it actually annoys me to see myself doing it. It really comes, I think, from coming down heavy on the backbeat. I don't use that grip that Ringo uses. I did for a few years, because I thought it was popular. But then I was told to go back to the other way by Ian Stewart, who used to set up my drums. He virtually ordered me to go back to what he called 'the proper way of playing,' " Charlie laughs. "So I went back to the military grip, and I really do prefer it, but because of the amount you ride on the hi-hat, I suppose I got in the habit of pulling the other stick out of the way to get a louder sound.​
"I've never consciously done it, but a lot of times when we make a record I am consciously not doing it......"​
as quoted from Modern Drummer, Feb. 1990.​
Great post - but well, be sure:
Charlie was never as naive as it comes over here.
Take it as british understatement...and we can't see when reading the wink wink in his eyes during this interview...lol

Problem came up when recording Carol - a really fast tune. That was just a little too fast for Charlie, so they also put in a heavy handclapping and faded out finally - duration only two minutes and some.... Of course these times was no Pro Tools and Sequenzing around... Rumour goes, that also another drummer was engaged...

In this video you see (..playback), that he mimiks a simple jazz swing groove ( around 0:35) - not to compare with the steady hi-hat and backbeat on the orignal Stones recording:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDUoOZwv5QU

Later on, they played it much slower, here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI7t3kQLf0s

Then he found the trick!!!!

Bernhard
 
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A-customs

Silver Member
I feel bad for not jumping in the bandwagon here, but I have to be honest. I'm not crazy about his 8th note pause on the HH for the back beat, it sounds too tentative and uncontinuous to me. Sorry Charley. I don't dislike his playing, I do like his tone, but his playing just never tripped my trap. He does make the song work however.
He is a gentleman for sure, personally I like him better than his playing.
For simple styled drumming, I'll take Ringo every time. No disrespect to Charley. He's had a helluva ride.
Im with you larry..Not that im bashing Charlie,but hes not my cup of tea...........
 
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