"Diggin' on James Brown" - Tower of Power - Performance/Transcription

johnwesley

Silver Member
Damn dude. That's some sho nuff groove you got there. I love that you aren't just keeping a steady beat on the hats. Shows me real style. Tower of Power is bad ass. I was in a Bay Area band back in the 60s and we shared a practice space with T of P. Nice people and great musicians. Thanks for the video.
 

newoldie

Silver Member
Love that funky TOP groove- nice drumming!
[Transcriptions open up new worlds of drumming creativity for me...](y)
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Very nice groove and playing! I gave the transcription a try and it was NOT instinctive at all to me. The first big deal was the missing BD on the & of 4 on the first measure. I think that's down to my bass-heavy foot technique. So I guess I learned something. Although the next question is how do I make this thing stick? How did you yourself learn this piece? Was it just practicing the transcription or was there some underlying construction going on? Thanks
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
Nice job with this tune. Garibaldi is one of my favorites of all time. I can't even count how many times I've seen T of P but it's a lot. Garibaldi is the king of funk drumming. I found a video of Garibaldi doing this tune and noticed that he has a closed hi-hat mounted to his right. I think that makes it easier for him to do that groove than doing it with only one hi-hat as you are. Props to you on that. That's a tough groove to do no matter what.
 

funky2714

Junior Member
Damn dude. That's some sho nuff groove you got there. I love that you aren't just keeping a steady beat on the hats. Shows me real style. Tower of Power is bad ass. I was in a Bay Area band back in the 60s and we shared a practice space with T of P. Nice people and great musicians. Thanks for the video.
Thanks so much for the very kind words! I appreciate you taking the time to check it out and to comment! BE WELL!! PS...sorry for the late response! DW Email notifications were going to junk mail!
 

funky2714

Junior Member
Very nice groove and playing! I gave the transcription a try and it was NOT instinctive at all to me. The first big deal was the missing BD on the & of 4 on the first measure. I think that's down to my bass-heavy foot technique. So I guess I learned something. Although the next question is how do I make this thing stick? How did you yourself learn this piece? Was it just practicing the transcription or was there some underlying construction going on? Thanks
HELLO and SO SORRY for the late reply. All of my DW notifications were going to my junk mail! 😦 For me, the key to internalizing a groove/fill is to do it in steps. First, you have to break the groove down so you can learn it correctly. This is done VERY SLOWLY. For a complex 16th note groove, I learn one beat at a time. I start with playing only beat one including its subdivions (1 e an du) , and then continue to only count and not play the remaining beats. Then I play the same for only beat 2 and count the remaining beats. Then beat 3, then beat 4. Once i have a great understanding of each beat, I put beat 1 and 2 together and only continue counting and not playing for beat 3 and 4. Once comfortable, I add beat 3. Then once comfortable with that, I add beat 4. Once I have the whole groove slowly, I start to use a metronome and practice it VERY SLOWLY. Then I gradually increase BPM when comfortable. You are about half way there. The other 50% is then bridging the gap between playing it as an exercise and playing it in a musical setting. You must be able to subtly let the groove remain fluid and to "expand and contract" so to speak, for each musical situation you are playing it in. It WILL NOT be the same for every tune. You NEVER want to force something on a tune simply because its the exercise that you learned and thats the way you play it. You have to take into account the degree of swing or lack thereof for the tune you are playing in. The dynamics of the groove are also paramount. You should be able to play the groove smoothly at different levels of volume. Once again, you cant force a volume of a groove on a tune simply because you cant play it soft and smooth or loud and smooth. These are only SOME of the elements of the "bridging the gap" stage. IMHO, these elements are essential to get yourself from being a good drummer to an exceptional musician. I work on this consistently when I practice and it is how I teach my students. Its essentially like reading the language. Think about how you read when you were 6 or 7 and how you read now. The difference is experience. The more you do something, the more it becomes second nature. The same holds true for how we do anything, including drumming. Repetition is the key to internalization, you just want to make sure what you are repeating is correct! THAT is why we start in small sections at a VERY SLOW pace. Hope this helps! BE WELL!!

https://www.franmerante.com/
 

funky2714

Junior Member
Nice job with this tune. Garibaldi is one of my favorites of all time. I can't even count how many times I've seen T of P but it's a lot. Garibaldi is the king of funk drumming. I found a video of Garibaldi doing this tune and noticed that he has a closed hi-hat mounted to his right. I think that makes it easier for him to do that groove than doing it with only one hi-hat as you are. Props to you on that. That's a tough groove to do no matter what.
Thanks for watching and also for the compliment! DG is one of my biggest influences! THANKS AGAIN!!
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
HELLO and SO SORRY for the late reply. All of my DW notifications were going to my junk mail! 😦 For me, the key to internalizing a groove/fill is to do it in steps. First, you have to break the groove down so you can learn it correctly. This is done VERY SLOWLY. For a complex 16th note groove, I learn one beat at a time. I start with playing only beat one including its subdivions (1 e an du) , and then continue to only count and not play the remaining beats. Then I play the same for only beat 2 and count the remaining beats. Then beat 3, then beat 4. Once i have a great understanding of each beat, I put beat 1 and 2 together and only continue counting and not playing for beat 3 and 4. Once comfortable, I add beat 3. Then once comfortable with that, I add beat 4. Once I have the whole groove slowly, I start to use a metronome and practice it VERY SLOWLY. Then I gradually increase BPM when comfortable. You are about half way there. The other 50% is then bridging the gap between playing it as an exercise and playing it in a musical setting. You must be able to subtly let the groove remain fluid and to "expand and contract" so to speak, for each musical situation you are playing it in. It WILL NOT be the same for every tune. You NEVER want to force something on a tune simply because its the exercise that you learned and thats the way you play it. You have to take into account the degree of swing or lack thereof for the tune you are playing in. The dynamics of the groove are also paramount. You should be able to play the groove smoothly at different levels of volume. Once again, you cant force a volume of a groove on a tune simply because you cant play it soft and smooth or loud and smooth. These are only SOME of the elements of the "bridging the gap" stage. IMHO, these elements are essential to get yourself from being a good drummer to an exceptional musician. I work on this consistently when I practice and it is how I teach my students. Its essentially like reading the language. Think about how you read when you were 6 or 7 and how you read now. The difference is experience. The more you do something, the more it becomes second nature. The same holds true for how we do anything, including drumming. Repetition is the key to internalization, you just want to make sure what you are repeating is correct! THAT is why we start in small sections at a VERY SLOW pace. Hope this helps! BE WELL!!

https://www.franmerante.com/
No problem. Thanks for the reply.

I guess what I'm asking is, how do you construct each limb of the groove so that it sticks? What you described is a brute force method that always works but takes more time than trying to tie something into what one already knows or has in their arsenal. Eg, the 3-2 Rumba is a slight variance of the 3-2 Son clave pattern, with the last note of the '3' group shifted out a 16th. Or a funk groove with a paradiddle pattern between the hands on hihat and snare, with the bass drum on top of that, lining up with the bass guitar. In that case you wouldn't learn that by playing one hand of the paradiddle against the bass drum, and then adding the other hand. Thanks
 

funky2714

Junior Member
No problem. Thanks for the reply.

I guess what I'm asking is, how do you construct each limb of the groove so that it sticks? What you described is a brute force method that always works but takes more time than trying to tie something into what one already knows or has in their arsenal. Eg, the 3-2 Rumba is a slight variance of the 3-2 Son clave pattern, with the last note of the '3' group shifted out a 16th. Or a funk groove with a paradiddle pattern between the hands on hihat and snare, with the bass drum on top of that, lining up with the bass guitar. In that case you wouldn't learn that by playing one hand of the paradiddle against the bass drum, and then adding the other hand. Thanks
My explanation is specific to learning this groove. It is the same approach I would use to learning any groove of this type and level of complexity. It is also specific to what works for me and for my students. It appears you are looking for a quick and easy approach to "just getting it". Some grooves are just not that easy. I would disagree with you on the approach being a "brute force" method. It's actually a very delicate method with care taken to pay attention to detail, which a groove like this requires in order for it to sit right. But, I guess how the method is perceived is relative to the individual. The hi hat pattern is on the complex side and care needs to be taken to play it accurately from the standpoint of note placement and dynamics, and more importantly, to become so comfortable playing it, that the feel is not hindered. Unfortunately, this is NOT a case of ...."this pattern happens to be "x" and all you have to do is shift a note by a 16th" OR "this is just a "insert rudiment here" pattern with the hands while the kick plays "x". Not all grooves are that simple unfortunately. Some actually involve a good degree of work as well as learning something that may be outside of what you " already know in your arsenal". Even if it were that easy, it would be futile for me to try to explain it to you that way as I have no idea what your arsenal consists of. Also, it's not a bad thing to learn new things to actually add to your arsenal. So I guess your options are, 1) keep searching for a quick and easy method. or 2) Try using the method I have explained. It's actually not as difficult as you might think, nor does it take as long as you might think. BEST OF LUCK!!
 
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