Chops?

Chromium

Senior Member
I hope this is not going to make me sound too dumb, but I see the word 'chops' bandied around on the forums, and it seems important to have them, but I don't know what they are.

Is it a type of difficult fill? Some of the drummers say their chops are not up to scratch and others seem to be saying it doesn't matter too much if your beat is good, but it's confusing.

Can someone please explain - I want to learn as much as I can... Do I need them at this very basic stage?

TIA,

Chromium
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Chops are skills. Individual skills. "He has great chops."
Sometimes chops get in the way of the music when someone decides to show off "his chops"
 

Duracell

Senior Member
When people talk about Chops they refer to a drummers raw skill (speed) which is not always directly related to the drummers musicality.

In other words a drummer who can play blazingly fast and intricate patterns on the drum set has great chops but this does not have to mean he's an equally great player in a band setting.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Chops are the "muscles" that allow you to play what you want to play.

Chops can mean many things to many people and very broadly it means 'skills' as GD said, but muscles..? Where did you get that? One needs muscles to play drums? Just asking..

...
 
Quite interesting thread, seeking for the broad meaning of: Chops.

I have a question: a money-beater drummer as Phil Rudd, Charlie Watts, can be considered drummers without chops, skills?

Please don't bash Ringo...
 

Chromium

Senior Member
a money-beater drummer as Phil Rudd, Charlie Watts, can be considered drummers without chops
So does 'money-beater' mean PR and CW can hold a good solid beat, but are not known for having good technical skills? Or perhaps they don't do a lot of complicated rolls and fills around the kit? Does it mean that they are good at a 4/4 but would be screwed with a 6/8 or 7/4 or something?

I'm still a little confused as to what is meant by 'skills' really - great at paradiddles, know all the rudiments off by heart, can do complex stuff all in time?

Sorry if I'm being a bit dumb. :)
 
You are not dumb mate! You have brought back to surface, an interesting issue for all of us to analyze.

So does 'money-beater' mean PR and CW can hold a good solid beat, but are not known for having good technical skills? Or perhaps they don't do a lot of complicated rolls and fills around the kit? Does it mean that they are good at a 4/4 but would be screwed with a 6/8 or 7/4 or something?

I'm still a little confused as to what is meant by 'skills' really - great at paradiddles, know all the rudiments off by heart, can do complex stuff all in time?

Sorry if I'm being a bit dumb. :)
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
From the Free Dictionary:

chops (chps)
pl.n.
1. The jaws.
2.
a. The mouth.
b. The lower cheeks or jowls.
c. Muttonchops.
3. (Slang) The technical skill with which a jazz or rock musician performs


Chops are skills. Individual skills. "He has great chops."
Best answer yet. Nothing to do with muscles and "chops" doesn't necessarily equate to blistering speed.
 

Coldhardsteel

Gold Member
Chops, when referring to drum and percussion, is a descriptive used in relation to speed and endurance of strokes and playing. If a guy can play a sixteenth note single stroke roll at 180 bpm for five minutes straight, he has good chops.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
The only kind of chops I'm familiar with ... tofu, of course :)


I think it's kind of weird the way thay make it into the shape of a real pork chop.

But about chops. I have chops. You have them too. We all have chops. Now we may not all have great chops, or even what would be considered to be good chops, but we all have chops. If you've been playing for only a few days, though, it's highly unlikely that you have chops. In about a year, if you keep at it, you'll have chops.

After you've been playing for, say, ten years, well you're definitely going to have some chops. Does that mean that after ten years you'll be a good drummer? Sadly no, it does not.

Musicianship, that's what matters. Chops are nice too, though.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I think it's kind of weird the way thay make it into the shape of a real pork chop.
:) I guess they were hoping to make it more enticing to win over new converts ... or maybe they just thought it would be fun?

It feels like an analogy of my playing ... I can sort of pretend that I have chops to fool laypersons in the audience, but it's really just tofu ...
 

Dedworx

Senior Member
I hope this is not going to make me sound too dumb, but I see the word 'chops' bandied around on the forums, and it seems important to have them, but I don't know what they are.

Is it a type of difficult fill? Some of the drummers say their chops are not up to scratch and others seem to be saying it doesn't matter too much if your beat is good, but it's confusing.

Can someone please explain - I want to learn as much as I can... Do I need them at this very basic stage?

TIA,

Chromium

Chops --- a highly refined technique.

mostly speed and licks when relating to drumming.

but you can have chops in anything. i've heard it used in a lot of ways, "he's got great "insert any style" chops" ect... meaning that person really can make that music feel good and understands it.

technique only really matters to other drummers. the grooves you play and how you make the music feel is far more important to the other musicians and a general listening audience. so it depends on who you're aiming to play for.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Chops, when referring to drum and percussion, is a descriptive used in relation to speed and endurance of strokes and playing. If a guy can play a sixteenth note single stroke roll at 180 bpm for five minutes straight, he has good chops.
Not completely correct......not totally incorrect, just missing the mark a little.

That may be some new fangled description, but go back and look at what was being referred to back in the day.....when the old jazz guys started using the term "chops". It wasn't specific to speed and endurance at all. Sure, that could be an element of "having great chops", but it ain't the be all and end all. It encompasses more than that. It's about skillset......what if the music didn't need speed and endurance, does that then mean that you don't use your chops? Of course not.
 

Chromium

Senior Member
Thanks all,

I'm a bit more clued-up now... so hopefully in the future as I practice my 'chops' will start to develop. Some great 'food for thought' as well as some actual food too!

Ta,

Chromium
 
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