Consecutive 16th notes on Bass drum

Donkeyshed

Junior Member
Hi,
looking for any tips. I have been trying to play the main groove from 'Organ Donor' by DJ Shadow (it's in the Breakbeat Bible).

This involves playing the bass drum on the 'ah' of 1, on 'Two' and the 'and' of two.
(so 'ah, two, and').

Although I can do this on the bass drum only at speeds beyond what is required, the problem comes when playing the hi-hat at the same time. My right foot is thrown out of sync or I hesitate with the stick. I have struggled for months to get beyond about 90 bpm comfortably.

I can play consecutive 16ths on the bass drum starting on any other beat perfectly well but starting on the 'ah' seems to completely throw me!!!

I know the answer will probably be 'practice', but this is what I am doing to little avail.

Any tips/tricks/sources that might help me to crack this?

Cheers,
John
 

shemp

Silver Member
This was a great struggle of mine on similar songs....and to be honest I'm just coming out of the woods on it.

I'm sorry but personally, the only answer I can give is persistent practice on an exercise that involves that movement....and time. It took me, and this really disgusting, over a year of work to be able to get that type of thing...

It's the twitch movement....here are a few things I learned in the process

1. Do,offline exercises on the kick...metronome, qtrs, eighths, triplets, 16ths
2. This is more esoteric, but you really do have to prepare in your mind for those consecutive 16ths and train your right leg to make that motion independently....in other words relax and train yourself to focus on the kick leg and instruct it to prepare and move on its own.

For me there was no shortcut....repetition, rest, repeat....time

With my experience, from the day I started heel up, I could feel the muscle groups that were developing from the muscles in my foot and working all the way up to the ligaments and muscles in my hip area.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Yea, I have a trick. Do this slower at first. Play everything except the bass drum. (or whatever is giving you the problem) You are omitting the problem area and playing the remainder of the beat with the other limbs.

OK now try and vocalize the bass drum part with your mouth. If you can't vocalize it, you can't play it.

If you have a problem moving your lips when you are supposed to, just grunt where the note is supposed to go. If you can't grunt either, just imagine it. But eventually, you have to be able to mouth it. Once you are at the point where you are able to vocalize it or grunt it... at the right place... you should be ready to incorporate your bass drum. Keep vocalizing, and try and play the bass drum in unison with your vocalization. You have a mental coordination hurdle you have to get past. That's how I get past mine. It's all in your head. You should have it within 10 minutes to a half hour, then after that, you will have it for life.
 

shemp

Silver Member
I learn something everyday here....this sounds like an excellent method


Yea, I have a trick. Do this slower at first. Play everything except the bass drum. (or whatever is giving you the problem)

Vocalize the bass drum part with your mouth. If you can't vocalize it, you can't play it.

If you have a problem moving your lips when you are supposed to, just grunt where the note is supposed to go. Once you are able to sing or grunt it at the right place, you should be ready to incorporate your bass drum. Don't stop vocalizing, and try and play the bass drum in unison with your vocalization. You have a mental coordination hurdle you have to get past. That's how I get past mine.
 

Donkeyshed

Junior Member
Wow! two excellent replies.

larryace: That's a really interesting approach (verbalising it) and I'm going to try that right now. A 'mental coordination hurdle' is exactly what it is.

shemp: I hear you loud-and-clear! It's REALLY frustrating but I'll see it through!!! It's reassuring to hear your words and to know you've come up against this (and conqured it).

Many thanks, guys!!!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Kind of proud of this method. I invented it out of necessity, but I'm sure others have "invented" it too. I was surprised that I couldn't even sing it at first. Even grunting took effort, so then I downshifted to just imagining it. Once that was going I tried grunting it, then eventually mouthing it. I was stuck on a Bo Diddley beat. I was trying to play the Bo Diddley beat on the bass drum, and quarters on the hats with my left foot. That was no problem, but the minute I added RLRLRLRLRLRL on the snare, yea, the wheels would come right off. I could do any 3 limbs, but not 4. I eventually figured out this method from that experience. You are actually creating a new circuit in you head.
 
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shemp

Silver Member
Yes.....creating a new circuit.....that's an excellent description.

I encountered this problem on Man In The Box (chorus), Walk This Way, Crazy Bitch, Rock Steady (there is a semi ghosted kick hit in there during primary groove)

It drove me crazy and took months and months and months to create that new circuit.
 

Donkeyshed

Junior Member
Hey larryace, I've just been practising with your method. It will take time to absorb but I think it'll work! A really interesting and innovative idea. Thanks for that!

Shemp: I have also encountered this problem with 'Walk This Way'. Maybe I'll go back and nail it if larryace's method gives me an advantage and helps me to 'create the circuit'.

Been a pleasure, gents!
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
Kind of proud of this method. I invented it out of necessity, but I'm sure others have "invented" it too. I was surprised that I couldn't even sing it at first. Even grunting took effort, so then I downshifted to just imagining it. Once that was going I tried grunting it, then eventually mouthing it. I was stuck on a Bo Diddley beat. I was trying to play the Bo Diddley beat on the bass drum, and quarters on the hats with my left foot. That was no problem, but the minute I added RLRLRLRLRLRL on the snare, yea, the wheels would come right off. I could do any 3 limbs, but not 4. I eventually figured out this method from that experience. You are actually creating a new circuit in you head.
very interesting uncle L

for the past decade in my teaching studio hangs a huge poster I printed that says

IF YOU CAN'T SAY IT .....YOU CAN'T PLAY IT

I'll take a picture when I get back there monday

great minds think alike

I knew we were related :)
 

shemp

Silver Member
Vehicle.....by Ides Of March....to me has a little tongue twister of a drum track. Well, I just think it is a very musical and driving drum track....fantastic playing and MOJO!

I used the "create a circuit" larryace vocalizing technique today while practicing and it really helped me get the main verse beat cooking....

Great advice, and, whoistony, those words from your poster are now programmed in.

Thanks
 

Donkeyshed

Junior Member
Another practice this morning and I'm definitely getting there and picking up speed.
Have pinned your advice to my practice room wall. Exciting times ahead!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm glad you are finding it useful. Now you have a new tool!

It's funny, as I was figuring this method out, even trying to sing the part would throw me off. That's when I tried grunting. Even that threw me off. So that's when I thought of trying to just imagine it, with no physical movement.

It occurs to me that "playing" the problem part by blinking the eyes might be another way to open up that new circuit.
 

Donkeyshed

Junior Member
After 6 months of fruitless banging away, countless tantrums and unheard-of expletives, I have now cracked 'Organ Donor' (yeeeessss!!!). I think I've made more progress in the last 24 hours than I have in the last six months. What a simple but incredible tool this is!!!

I can't believe how effective this has been in a short space of time. Bloody fantastic! It also made me focus on exactly what each limb was doing and I noticed that on the 'ah' I needed to bring the stick a bit higher to avoid rushing the high-hat stroke on the 'two'. I now know that was what was throwing me out. I'm now going to revisit a few other tracks that have caused me similar difficulties.

Larryace, you're a legend! I shall certainly pass this on and attach your moniker to it! What a wonderful thing the internet is.
 

Grolubao

Senior Member
Kind of proud of this method. I invented it out of necessity, but I'm sure others have "invented" it too. I was surprised that I couldn't even sing it at first. Even grunting took effort, so then I downshifted to just imagining it. Once that was going I tried grunting it, then eventually mouthing it. I was stuck on a Bo Diddley beat. I was trying to play the Bo Diddley beat on the bass drum, and quarters on the hats with my left foot. That was no problem, but the minute I added RLRLRLRLRLRL on the snare, yea, the wheels would come right off. I could do any 3 limbs, but not 4. I eventually figured out this method from that experience. You are actually creating a new circuit in you head.
It is the foundation of Gary Chester's new breed book
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It is the foundation of Gary Chester's new breed book
Hey that's nice to know, I wasn't aware. I never worked that book. Just for the record, I didn't know about and use Gary's method and claim I made it up, that's pathetic. I just needed to figure out a way to get past a hurdle.

Donkeyshed, your excitement really made my day. Now you have a whole different approach to stumbling blocks. You sound really excited. You go dude.

Marty Feldman (in your avatar) right? That man has the most bugged out eyes EVER!
 

Dave_Major

Silver Member
Vocalizing it is definitely an awesome way of internalizing a rhythm/groove. It also has an added benefit of making you think about breathing and in turn space.

If you sing a guitar solo or a fill you tend not to fill the whole thing with notes and sound more like hendrix than satriani because you need to breathe and the solo has natural space.

Carrying on from the point that Tony said ...if you can't sing it your can't play it but if you CAN sing it you CAN play it.

Theres a youtube vid of Steve Jordan getting a kid to sing a beat he couldn't previously play. After singing it for a while the kid just launched into the beat and killed it. Looked so surprised! Can't find the vid atm but it's definitely out there.

Here is another angle on solving your problem. The way i look at learning grooves/fills/solos is to look at the techniques and ideas involved and then work on them separately. That way I can really know the idea and then be able to use it in my playing when i want to without it sounding like I am repeating a lick or stock pattern.

Try these following exercises to work on playing and controlling 2 (or more) kick ntoes one after another.

Quads - 2 on the hands 2 on the feet.

Try it in the following way (H = hand B = Bass)(bass can be the hi hat with the left foot if you want)

HHBB
BBHH
HBBH
BHHB

Try with left lead, right lead, doubles, both hands together around the kit.

I also have the follwing exercises I have used before which work wonders.

Do each for 5 minutes at a tempo where you can control it and make it sound good but still challenge it.
Sloppy is not what we are going for.

Alternatively play the beat from immigrant song!

Enjoy and best of luck

D
 

Attachments

Donkeyshed

Junior Member
Hey Dave, a huge thank you for those tips and resources. Its great that you have put so much time into helping me out- much appreciated!

Larryace: I'm glad my excitement made your day! Your advice was so great and (in terms of progress) I now feel like I've cracked a secret code (if that makes sense?!!).

Yes, Marty Feldman!!! His eyes freaked me out as a kid when I saw him in 'Young Frankenstein'.

Look forward to speaking to you again in the future!
 

shemp

Silver Member
Vocalizing it is definitely an awesome way of internalizing a rhythm/groove. It also has an added benefit of making you think about breathing and in turn space.

If you sing a guitar solo or a fill you tend not to fill the whole thing with notes and sound more like hendrix than satriani because you need to breathe and the solo has natural space.

Carrying on from the point that Tony said ...if you can't sing it your can't play it but if you CAN sing it you CAN play it.

Theres a youtube vid of Steve Jordan getting a kid to sing a beat he couldn't previously play. After singing it for a while the kid just launched into the beat and killed it. Looked so surprised! Can't find the vid atm but it's definitely out there.

Here is another angle on solving your problem. The way i look at learning grooves/fills/solos is to look at the techniques and ideas involved and then work on them separately. That way I can really know the idea and then be able to use it in my playing when i want to without it sounding like I am repeating a lick or stock pattern.

Try these following exercises to work on playing and controlling 2 (or more) kick ntoes one after another.

Quads - 2 on the hands 2 on the feet.

Try it in the following way (H = hand B = Bass)(bass can be the hi hat with the left foot if you want)

HHBB
BBHH
HBBH
BHHB

Try with left lead, right lead, doubles, both hands together around the kit.

I also have the follwing exercises I have used before which work wonders.

Do each for 5 minutes at a tempo where you can control it and make it sound good but still challenge it.
Sloppy is not what we are going for.

Alternatively play the beat from immigrant song!

Enjoy and best of luck

D
Excellent advice....

I used the beat from Immigrant Song as a milestone to shoot towards for my kick drum technique. Working towards the ability to play it helped me quite a bit and I've just recently been able to play it.

In terms of single pedal technique, would you call that a beginner kick pattern? Intermediate?

What would you recommend as a next step after Immigrant Song...if we are focused on single kick technique.
 
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