Drumming Style...What does that mean?

drummergirlgina

Senior Member
Hi everyone,

Someone asked me what my "drumming style" is? I really wasn't sure how to answer that? Not the genre that I play but my "style". I've played everything from country to Prog Rock.
Can someone tell me what my style may be? Maybe look at some of my videos?

thanks!
 

mikel

Platinum Member
If you play lots of genre's then your style is what you are playing at the time. For your default style it would be what you naturally play when you are noodling about when you practice. What grooves move you the most and make you want to sit and play for hours and explore everything you can get out of them. Thats your style, In my book anyway. What comes naturally.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I don't think style is something you put a label on. Your style is all of the things you do when you play that others may not do. Lots of adjectives could make up your style like, flamboyant , quite, stiff, reserved, dynamic etc. If anyone asks tell them your style is Gina. Most of us have inherited of absorbed lots of traits from all we have seen and that becomes our style.
 

drummergirlgina

Senior Member
I don't think style is something you put a label on. Your style is all of the things you do when you play that others may not do. Lots of adjectives could make up your style like, flamboyant , quite, stiff, reserved, dynamic etc. If anyone asks tell them your style is Gina. Most of us have inherited of absorbed lots of traits from all we have seen and that becomes our style.
Cool...this is what I told them:

How do you describe your drumming style?
"G"-style! LOL. I just play what I feel but mostly I play what's appropriate for each song. I'm a musician first, but I would say I play with a lot of focus. I tend not to smile a lot and just concentrate on what I'm doing to make the song sound good.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It's an impossible question with infinite answers.

Really, the only answer I can think of is: That's something that only you can answer by watching me play because everyone sees things differently. One person's reserved might be another person's intense.
 

calan

Silver Member
mostly I play what's appropriate for each song
I think everybody tries to do that. The thing is, people can have quite different opinions of what that is, and then that idea has to get filtered through their skill set.

I guess maybe that's part of what a signature style is to me, the confluence of imagination and ability. Tone is also a part of it too.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Well, I'm going to disagree with everybody here, because we hear allover this site people using words for descriptions of somebody's style (and to stir a pot).
"He's a heavy drummer. He's a groove drummer, she's a jazz drummer, a metal drummer, a big band drummer...." These words cook up an image of style. Sure many drummers play all these styles, but they are styles defined nonetheless. Steve Jordan is not a jazz drummer. yes we know he could play jazz but he is to most of us a 'groove' drummer... no?
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Well to quote myself from above, "Lots of adjectives could make up your style like, flamboyant , quite, stiff, reserved, dynamic etc. ", so I'm with you, but I think if I'm reading Gina correctly, they are trying to pin her down to "a style" and that, like all of our styles, is hard to pin down.
I think all of the adjectives you used but two were genres, and in this context, or Ginas context, that isn't what people are asking her.
 

evolving_machine

Silver Member
Damn, I find this discussion so philosophical. It seems to get to the root of the ability of drummers to communicate without the use of verbiage, and just using the phrasing of rhythm patterns. I am reminded of the Bill Frasell, Dave Holland,Elvin Jones album, that shows Elvin playing something different from what we associate to be Elvin's style. Yet, you can hear Elvin on that record and you will ask yourself all the time, "is that Elvin?"
 

bonerpizza

Silver Member
I've been asked the same thing before and trying to describe your drumming style with words is difficult.
When I was asked to describe my drumming style I said "I'm a hard hitting but dynamic, tasteful and simplistic not technical", while that is a description of how I play I don't think it really tells anyone anything about how I play!

Words are stupid.
Watch a video of me playing or listen to a song I played drums on if you want to know my style!
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Everything that makes you you.

Your sound, your signature phrases, how you naturally feel the beat, general approach.... your unique fingerprint.

Sometimes it's not so apparent if you're an allrounder asked to cop someting completely, but it will usually shine through.

All the greats have something that a well listened musician will recognise immediately.

The guitar players. Takes two seconds to recognise B.B., Jimi, Eric, Mark, Jeff.

Same with drummers.

Elvin, Papa Jo, Steve, Vinnie, Dennis.....
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Everything that makes you you.

Your sound, your signature phrases, how you naturally feel the beat, general approach.... your unique fingerprint.
Yep, also how you hit the drums. Do you slam? Do you have a lighter touch? How do you strike your hats? those are things that can make the same kit sound very different with different players.

When I was asked to describe my drumming style I said "I'm a hard hitting but dynamic, tasteful and simplistic not technical", while that is a description of how I play I don't think it really tells anyone anything about how I play!

Words are stupid. Watch a video of me playing or listen to a song I played drums on if you want to know my style!
Words may be crucial in this case, where you don't always have the luxury of immediately playing for someone, or they don't have instant access to YouTube (although that's hard to imagine today.) I think it's a little off-putting to be asked to watch a video because a musician has a problem talking about how they play. It's actually a little arrogant. I need a little verbal direction to make me want to explore further.

I think your description is good - it tells them how you approach what you do, and that is important. If I heard that, I would explore further. I have a somewhat more concise version I use for myself: "I play with economy and authority." For most musicians & artists, that says a lot.

Bermuda
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
One could say that they are a chameleon, changing colors to suit one's surroundings.

If ever there were a pigeon-holing question, this is it.

Plus the question doesn't address skill level, at all.

I could call myself a whatever drummer but how good am I at it?

I'm a prog drummer. Total beginner, but a prog drummer lol.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I think it's hard to describe your personal style, but we all have one. Or at least, we will after we've been playing for a while.

Just as the clothes you wear represent a certain style, our playing does too. But if someone asked you to describe your personal style (in terms of clothes) you'd have trouble answering too, and it might change depending on the day, on your mood. But there is something about the way we dress (whether we think about it or not) that is distinctly 'us'.

Think of what you do when you play drums, and how you interpret/play the parts, that is our style. It probably won't fit nicely into 3 adjectives, but it's the sum of all your influences, not the genre(s) you play.

For example, Elvin Jones had his own style. You could say he was explosive, dynamic, expressive, powerful, confident, et cetera...
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Words may be crucial in this case, where you don't always have the luxury of immediately playing for someone, or they don't have instant access to YouTube (although that's hard to imagine today.) I think it's a little off-putting to be asked to watch a video because a musician has a problem talking about how they play. It's actually a little arrogant. I need a little verbal direction to make me want to explore further.
It's the same with booking a band or group. You want to verbally describe the band, and its style, before you start sending off YouTube links.

I booked a group that I work with and the club owner ased me to describe the style. I didn't say "watch these vids", I thought about it and came up with a description, then pointed him to the videos.

I think I came up with something like "Middle Eastern melodies, mixed with afro-cuban rhythms, and bebop sensibilities" Now, I don't think that describes the group perfectly, but it let's them know in a general way what to expect before listening or watching the music...
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Perhaps it was an innocent question from a none muso, trying to get a handle on what you like to play? Naming a genre gives people an idea about the style of your playing. If you love thrash metal and play in a thrash metal band its probably safe to tell someone that asks that your style is thrash metal. That instantly gives them an idea of how you play. If you said "I play thrash metal but I would rather be playing Jazz" then thats a whole different ball game. If you would rather be playing Jazz you obviously love the genre, and practice it, so your default style is Jazz.

Claptons guitar style is Bluesy, whatever he plays thats his style. If you are a multi genre drummer but prefer one of those genres then its easier, and more descriptive to the layman, to name your default music.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Words are stupid.
Watch a video of me playing or listen to a song I played drums on if you want to know my style!
But words are all we've got sometimes, and they work for people asking, because that's all they've got. I've watched your vids, listened to you band camp, and will go out on a limb here and would say you are a 'heavy' drummer or a rock drummer. That is a compliment, it suits very much what I've seen you play :)
Back to OP 'G', I guess if I had to pigeon-hole I'd say you are a heavy drummer too, or a rock drummer, based on your live band vid.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
In my line of work, we're encouraged to always think about our "elevator speech", which is just like it sounds; you're on an elevator with a potential client who asks a general question about what you do, so you have about 20 seconds to verbally communicate the essence of it and to market yourself.

For my drumming and music, I have it down to: Modern original hard rock with an aggressive jazz-punk sensibility.

I think that captures it succinctly enough and I know it works. Wanna know how I know? I don't get hired! Ever!! Haha

Well, not entirely true .... turns out the bands I've played with over the years were actually looking for that already, so it's worked out. So far ...
 
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