Do your crashes disrupt your time?

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I notice some older drum tracks have the crashes overdubbed while the drummer records time on the hats/ride.

And I notice sometimes when I go for a crash it disrupts the even flow of my hihat playing or time in general more than anything. If I have to hit a syncopated crash (e.g on the 4+) it can compound the problem. I may have smoothed it out over time but I never feel confident, and honestly it makes me to want to hit less crashes.

I also find it very hard to feel consistent time if I'm riding the crash (quarter notes or 8th notes with the shoulder of the stick). Maybe that's another topic altogether but I once decided to keep time with the kick while I am riding the crash, but that's hard if you have a syncopated bass drum pattern.

I think probably the best answer to my own question is to keep time in your mind (counting or feeling a pulse) but most of us feel time with our bodies, and the consistent 8th note bounce on the hihat is how we sense our consistency or flow. So I'm interested to know, when you are riding on the crash, does your time feel uncomforatble? When you go to ht a crash, do you notice you're not as confident when you come back to the hats? Do you hear yourself sounding slightly out of time in recordings where you have lots of crashes?

I'm interested in improving this and I'm not sure how to go about it.

*Substitute crash with effects cymbals like splashes/chinas if applicable*
 
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eric_B

Senior Member
Don't take my amateur advice too seriously as there are much more capable people over here.
But I think timing has to be inside you (as Ringo said: be the click) and not depend (too much) on hitting a constant pattern of notes on a hihat (or whatever drum/cymbal).
Playing syncopated patterns, hitting whatever drums or cymbals, dropping part of or entire bars (a good exercise BTW), ideally it shouldn't matter to your internal pulse.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I think probably the best answer to my own question is to keep time in your mind (counting or feeling a pulse) but most of us feel time with our bodies, and the consistent 8th note bounce on the hihat is how we sense our consistency or flow.

Different topic, but related-- you can't really have reliably good time just by feeling it-- you have to know what the tempo is and make your hands follow it.

So I'm interested to know, when you are riding on the crash, does your time feel uncomforatble? When you go to ht a crash, do you notice you're not as confident when you come back to the hats? Do you hear yourself sounding slightly out of time in recordings where you have lots of crashes?

Practice keeping 8th notes (or whatever rhythm) steady when you move to the cymbal and back to the hh/ride. Just hit a lot of crashes in the regular course of practicing your rock grooves so it's not an unusual thing. Also practice switching from hihats to ride cymbal, and whatever other ride sounds you use, so that goes smoothly.

A drill I give a lot of my students that will also help-- mainly cymbal accents within fills:

Use pp. 47-49 of Syncopation-- read the top line only, ignore the bottom line. Hit the accents on a crash, with bass drum in unison; hit non-accents on the snare drum. Play that with: RH only - LH only - both hands in unison, on two different crashes and two different drums
 

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
And I notice sometimes when I go for a crash it disrupts the even flow of my hihat playing or time in general more than anything. If I have to hit a syncopated crash (e.g on the 4+) it can compound the problem. I may have smoothed it out over time but I never feel confident
I understand this feeling well. It feels like an uncoordinated limb movement. That limb movement, once executed, makes everything else feel off balance for a second or two. To combat this, I will often leave out either the note before or after the crash. Just depends on what feels better. The left out note usually feels pretty natural.
 

ColdFusion

Active Member
I also find it very hard to feel consistent time if I'm riding the crash (quarter notes or 8th notes with the shoulder of the stick).
It takes a little while to get used to riding on the edge of a crash cymbal. It doesn't bounce or give you the articulation feedback of a hihat or ride cymbal bow. This is likely why it suddenly feels watery and out of time when riding on a crash. It's almost like hitting air.
I didn't start trying to ride my crashes until I started recording drum tracks for heavy guitar music. I didn't love how it felt riding a crash cymbal at first, but I noticed that it really does fill in the space and sounds great in a heavy music mix.
And you're correct the bass drum doesn't really need to aid in this kind of thing. The consistent crashes will do their job in the mix, while your other hand and foot are filling out the groove.

It's sort of the opposite principle for your issue of accent crashes knocking you off time. When using a crash as an accent, the bass drum is usually automatically employed to give body to the open note. Likewise, that crash accent on the & of 4 could be reinforced with a left hand snap of the snare drum (reggae accents are usually way off beat and enforced with a hard snare hit.)
If you think of your crash accents as a function of your foot rather than just your hand, it can help your body to ignore the weirdness of hitting a big thin object in the middle of your steady groove.

To combat this, I will often leave out either the note before or after the crash. Just depends on what feels better. The left out note usually feels pretty natural.
This is a pretty legit way to adjust, by building negative space around tricky hits. Even the neg space feels like structure, a rest note, giving your mind/body something to hang on to and keeping it in time. But it doesn't hurt to remind yourself that the reason you are doing this is so your crash note isn't negatively influenced by the ride/fill notes on either side, or vice versa. Defeating this issue is probably more crucial if you are going to be recording drum tracks. It's something to strive for anyway.

And while a china cymbal is not a crash cymbal, it's a decent stepping stone for learning to hold a ride pattern on the edge of a big cymbal. China cymbals are rigid in a way that crashes are not. So your china strikes feel more solid and even the sound feels more controllable in time.
 

ottog1979

Senior Member
not depend (too much) on hitting a constant pattern of notes on a hihat (or whatever drum/cymbal).

THIS. But in my experience this only comes after significant timing/metronome work which gets so ingrained that I "feel" the consistent pulse independently of what each limb is doing including right hand riding.

A lot of my current drum teacher training is to get away from constant HH or cymbal riding - playing non-constant patterns, highly accented/unaccented, or simply intermittently creative. The MAIN THING is bass & snare drum pattern and what you're doing with those two instruments. HH & cymbal riding would optimally only augment that. HH & cymabals are nearly always ancillary flavors (like spices in the stew) and not the main thing (nobody's dancing to your ride pattern). Constant riding unnecessarily fills up space and often muddies the waters. I've been working more & more on finding, listening to and freeing up more space in my playing, especially with regard to riding, and how other instruments use that freed-up space. At the very least, awareness of the constant ride or the possibility of NOT doing so, opens up all kinds of creative goodness!

My 2 cents for what it's worth and my current area of focus.
 
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mrfingers

Senior Member
Messing up your timing with crashes I think involves laying into the crash, not done with drum heads, especially if cymbals are at too great an angle to get the crash’s sound or even so heavy your hits have less effect. So using more energy and uncomfortable arm& wrist movements is bad.
My other problem was listening to cymbals’ sustain, often at least for an additional note in time. Guaranteed to screw up timing.
I solve this by hitting more edge-on and using more effects cymbals( ones with holes in them.)
 
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JimmyM

Platinum Member
I’m fortunate to have really good time, but I am still not playing great. And switching from drum to drum to cymbal evenly is the second biggest challenge for me, the first being getting the bass drum to read my mind when my foot doesn’t. But rehearsing a movement till the slop goes away helps immensely. Until you go to play the entire riff and screw up again ;). Then you have to rehearse the entire riff a few times. This drum stuff is work.
 
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PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
So I'm interested to know, when you are riding on the crash, does your time feel uncomforatble?

No, not really. It may be the fact that my ride is so thin that if I want to ride a crash, I just ride the ride cymbal on the edge.


When you go to ht a crash, do you notice you're not as confident when you come back to the hats?

No.


Do you hear yourself sounding slightly out of time in recordings where you have lots of crashes?

No.


First, record yourself and see if it sounds awkward or off whenever you listen back. You might be surprised that it doesn't sound as odd as it may feel to play. Also, practice with a metronome. If it feels weird going from riding a crash back to the hats, practice that transition with a metronome. Start slowly, then speed up. Play it until you feel comfortable with it.
 
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Philaiy9

Junior Member
Yes. It's now less of an issue than it was but it's still something I have to think about at times. It's one of those things where when I'm playing lazily it'll happen for sure.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I've found over time that placement of the cymbals makes a big difference. Perhaps if you have them too high or too far away then you are reaching and it can throw you off because your body is at a weird angle or at faster tempos you don't have time to get your hands back to the hats.

Placement is certainly a possible reason for why the crashing doesn't feel natural. And it may not be that the cymbal is too far away, it could just as easily be too close or too low.

From time to time I like to tear down my entire kit and start from scratch. When I do I like to sit at the throne and air drum a little, then place everything back where my body was imagining the pieces to be. Often things drift away from an ideal placement over time, and that awkwardness while playing is our body's way of telling us.
 

LittleLegs

Senior Member
And I notice sometimes when I go for a crash it disrupts the even flow of my hihat playing or time in general more than anything. If I have to hit a syncopated crash (e.g on the 4+) it can compound the problem.

I think everyone’s comments about cymbal placement are very helpful. Also (and I’m writing this assuming you are right handed) are you playing this syncopated crash with the same hand as the hi hats? If so, practice playing the crashes with your snare hand. I see a lot of drummers thrown off their time because they are trying to move one hand rapidly around the kit in syncopated ways while the other hand isn’t doing very much. Let them share the work, then the time keeping hand can do it’s job with fewer interruptions. If you want to drill this, use two cymbals for a while placing your crash by the hi hat (maybe even to the left of it so it’s harder for your right hand to get to) and ride by the floor tom - try to cross your arms over as little as possible. Good luck.
 

LittleLegs

Senior Member
And I notice sometimes when I go for a crash it disrupts the even flow of my hihat playing or time in general more than anything. If I have to hit a syncopated crash (e.g on the 4+) it can compound the problem.

I think everyone’s comments about cymbal placement are very helpful. Also (and I’m writing this assuming you are right handed) are you playing this syncopated crash with the same hand as the hi hats? If so, practice playing the crashes with your snare hand. I see a lot of drummers thrown off their time because they are trying to move one hand rapidly around the kit in syncopated ways while the other hand isn’t doing very much. Let them share the work, then the time keeping hand can do it’s job with fewer interruptions. If you want to drill this, use two cymbals for a while placing your crash by the hi hat (maybe even to the left of it so it’s harder for your right hand to get to) and ride by the floor tom - try to cross your arms over as little as possible. Good luck
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
This is an interesting topic. TBH - like Larry, time is somewhere in me, and it could be in my mind, or in my body, or somewhere, it just is. This is why I could split up the time between instruments, or how Charlie Watts would stop the hi hat so he can get the backbeat on the snare in there. It probably just has to be learned through experience. I'm hearing (or feeling) an internal metronome (or singing the song in my head) and I just happen to be playing a drum set (meaning time should be the same for all musicians regardless of what instrument they play). But I find if I'm really locked in with the time, the entire set is the time-keeper, not just one of its instruments. People I play with are also listening to the entire drum set and just not one of my instruments, like the hi-hat. Once we get started, I am the time.
 

Lennytoons

Senior Member
An old professional drummer told me one time that most drummers use crash cymbals way too much. He said when you play live hit the crash 25% of what you think you want to do. Oh, and never crash during a guitar solo.
 

eric_B

Senior Member
Oh, and never crash during a guitar solo.
Well, that will affect playing a cover of Sweet Child Of Mine...;)

I do prefer using cymbals for accents instead of a constant wash of sound.
Although I have to say in general I like the sound of drums better than cymbals.
That's why I 'play drums' and don't 'play cymbals' :)
 

jda

Gold Member
when sweeping across the drumset a crash is just an accent; I can remember -way back- a crash throwing one off because all the body weight and motion was disrupted by - dedicated to- this single note.
See a crash as an accent (let the cymbal design do the work somewhat) Part of one's overall motion- but don't upset entirely your overall flow.
 
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