Erskine Is Shaming Me

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
This Erskine video has totally disrupted disoriented me and shaken my already shaky confidence. He is adamant in his public service announcement toward the end of the video that if you're swinging the hats (what is often called walking the dog but he simply calls syncopation) and on 2nd of the 3 strokes you're playing that 2nd stroke on closed hat it's wrong wrong wrong. Ya gotta watch the video to see how adamant he is about it (he's funny about it too). Starts at about the 8:00 minute mark:


After that video I found other videos on how to swing on hats and they do it the "wrong" way. And honestly I think the "wrong" way sounds better. But, man, Erskine is shaming me!

I think I probably play it more like this:


And this is the total "wrong" way:

 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
Erskine is right. The middle vid has the guy opening up the hi hat on the "and," but not quite as much as Erskine, but it still sounds good. That's a stylistic choice, and while he does it right, I don't buy into the idea that the hats should always sizzle. However, I still liked the way he did it. The bottom guy sounds stiff when he does it, and if anything proves Erskine right, it's that vid.
 
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toddbishop

Platinum Member
This is why I hate all drumming videos:

1650038909472.png

They're supposed to help you, not make you neurotic. Like how do I make people terrified of not watching my damn video of the same ten seconds worth of information as everybody else in this grift.

The hell with it. Just keep playing and make the adjustment.

This kind of thing makes me really cranky.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Erskine is right. The middle vid has the guy opening up the hi hat on the "and," but not quite as much as Erskine, but it still sounds good. That's a stylistic choice, and while he does it right, I don't buy into the idea that the hats should always sizzle. However, I still liked the way he did it. The bottom guy sounds stiff when he does it, and if anything proves Erskine right, it's that vid.
For jazz, my New Beats just don't work. They're too loud. They're the equivalent of a "ping" ride. I want a sizzle. A shimmer.

I drove up to Cymbal House in Cincinnati area cymbal house

I bought two 16" Istanbul Agop paper thin crash cymbals for use as hats. Perfect behind small jazz combos. They shimmer and sizzle.

I am also closing gap between the cymbals per the first two videos, too.

If I start playing again with a sou/ funk band or a blues band I'll use the New Beats. But for our jazz combo I'm going with paper thin sizzle and shimmer.
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
For jazz, my New Beats just don't work. They're too loud. They're the equivalent of a "ping" ride. I want a sizzle. A shimmer.

I drove up to Cymbal House in Cincinnati area cymbal house

I bought two 16" Istanbul Agop paper thin crash cymbals for use as hats. Perfect behind small jazz combos. They shimmer and sizzle.

I am also closing gap between the cymbals per the first two videos, too.

If I start playing again with a sou/ funk band or a blues band I'll use the New Beats. But for our jazz combo I'm going with paper thin sizzle and shimmer.
Whoops! I have to correct myself. I thought Peter was opening up the hats more than the middle guy. I guess he's not. Maybe that's the difference between cymbals that you're talking about, eh?
 

s1212z

Silver Member
I think it would be a far better lesson to focus on what works and to actually have music behind it as one example of many possible. On the recent swing date I did, I made subtle changes on every arrangement based on what the song needed for hihat swing and try to have it a bit more period correct based on big band ensemble plus what sounded good which I wouldn't necessarily do in another context; there are alot nuances where I would just play my version of a generic hihat swing. But to say "this how how you do it"....I say to what? Where is the music to validate that choice? Does that apply to another arrangement? Probably not all the time.

And the Qtip to say never use the shank and always use tip at a specific area is total bullshit to me...it a texture choice to service the music however needed and what gets the most out of the instrument or the job done. I've interchanged intentionally for what I thought was best for the music, not some YT clickbait rule plus hi hat swing covers alot different eras. Maybe I'm 'wrong' but I could give two !@#$s less....I would side with using your ears, brains and hands to figure it out on your own, listen to your recorded performance and refine it and work on it again (plus the other details like instrument choices, dynamics, swing spread, stick dynamics, stick tip choice and then making an instinctual choice to improve it).
 

dcrigger

Senior Member
For jazz, my New Beats just don't work. They're too loud. They're the equivalent of a "ping" ride. I want a sizzle. A shimmer.

I drove up to Cymbal House in Cincinnati area cymbal house

I bought two 16" Istanbul Agop paper thin crash cymbals for use as hats. Perfect behind small jazz combos. They shimmer and sizzle.

I am also closing gap between the cymbals per the first two videos, too.

If I start playing again with a sou/ funk band or a blues band I'll use the New Beats. But for our jazz combo I'm going with paper thin sizzle and shimmer.
I use New Beats all the time for jazz - not saying that something thinner might be cooler for some situations - but that hasn't stop my New Beats from filling that role just fine for me. YMMV of course.
 

dcrigger

Senior Member
While I agree that we must use our ears and our own taste when approaching various musical situations. IMO there is still a place for knowing and understanding certain norms and conventions.

And this simple convention Peter points is a great case in point. And one I have to say eluded me until embarrassingly deep into my career. Until finally while playing a show that required a lot of that hi hat swing stuff, someone finally hipped me to it (an embarrassing, yet essential lesson).

And that lesson? Unless you are purposefully wanting the music to feel stiff and un-swinging, then you can't play a short, closed, dry note for the "skip beat". That stiff and un-swinging is the effect of doing that really isn't debatable - as it is a well established tradition (backed by countless recordings, performances, etc. that we use to define "swinging").

And trust me, I totally sympathize with anyone confronting "un-learning" this habit - as I still struggle with it to this day. (It is something I consciously have to think about - which admittedly is absurd after 55 years of playing) :)
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I'll keep wailing on this, bc it's what I do-- things like this are supposed to be part of a larger package. You're not supposed spend a week sweating it. You can't just chase around somebody's youtube channel trying not to all the little things he says not to do, and expect it to work. You just keep listening to records and playing with people, and every day try to get a little closer to your own ideal of what good drumming sounds like... as you continue developing your ideal through more listening and more playing.

And the Qtip to say never use the shank and always use tip at a specific area is total bullshit to me...it a texture choice to service the music however needed and what gets the most out of the instrument or the job done. I've interchanged intentionally for what I thought was best for the music, not some YT clickbait rule plus hi hat swing covers alot different eras. Maybe I'm 'wrong' but I could give two !@#$s less....I would side with using your ears, brains and hands to figure it out on your own, listen to your recorded performance and refine it and work on it again (plus the other details like instrument choices, dynamics, swing spread, stick dynamics, stick tip choice and then making an instinctual choice to improve it).

There are all kinds of times when I might play a hihat not correctly according to that part of the video. If he wants to tell a student that who is playing the cymbals badly, OK, but just broadcasting a blanket NOW DON'T DO THIS statement is not educational. Let's consult some video of Roy Haynes or Elvin Jones or Art Blakey and see if there's a way they never hit a cymbal.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
While I agree that we must use our ears and our own taste when approaching various musical situations. IMO there is still a place for knowing and understanding certain norms and conventions.

And this simple convention Peter points is a great case in point. And one I have to say eluded me until embarrassingly deep into my career. Until finally while playing a show that required a lot of that hi hat swing stuff, someone finally hipped me to it (an embarrassing, yet essential lesson).

And that lesson? Unless you are purposefully wanting the music to feel stiff and un-swinging, then you can't play a short, closed, dry note for the "skip beat". That stiff and un-swinging is the effect of doing that really isn't debatable - as it is a well established tradition (backed by countless recordings, performances, etc. that we use to define "swinging").

And trust me, I totally sympathize with anyone confronting "un-learning" this habit - as I still struggle with it to this day. (It is something I consciously have to think about - which admittedly is absurd after 55 years of playing) :)
Yes. Which is why right now my style is more that middle video.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
I'll keep wailing on this, bc it's what I do-- things like this are supposed to be part of a larger package. You're not supposed spend a week sweating it. You can't just chase around somebody's youtube channel trying not to all the little things he says not to do, and expect it to work. You just keep listening to records and playing with people, and every day try to get a little closer to your own ideal of what good drumming sounds like... as you continue developing your ideal through more listening and more playing.



There are all kinds of times when I might play a hihat not correctly according to that part of the video. If he wants to tell a student that who is playing the cymbals badly, OK, but just broadcasting a blanket NOW DON'T DO THIS statement is not educational. Let's consult some video of Roy Haynes or Elvin Jones or Art Blakey and see if there's a way they never hit a cymbal.
It was pretty black&white per Erskine. NEVER NEVER NEVER play it the "wrong" way because it's wrong.

I'm looking for videos of some of the Art Blakey's etc. to see how they swing on their hats. The video plus audio is most helpful - sometimes it's a bit hard to discern how exactly their playing just from the recordings, which makes it IMHO more ludicrous to state it's absolutely "wrong".
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
And this simple convention Peter points is a great case in point. And one I have to say eluded me until embarrassingly deep into my career.

The key word being career. I think most people busy playing for a living will probably do a few things "wrong" according to someone. We go right from school to work, where we're not supervised by drummers any more-- there's not time to get every last thing dialed to a T according to Peter Erskine.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Whoops! I have to correct myself. I thought Peter was opening up the hats more than the middle guy. I guess he's not. Maybe that's the difference between cymbals that you're talking about, eh?
Erskine does open them a bit more. Biggest difference is Erskine plays hats all open on the 2nd &3rd hits just "The Dog". Closed only on the 1 "Walk". The second video on the 2nd hit they're barely open, and on 3rd hit open but the gap how far apart the hats are is much smaller gap in 2nd video than Erskine. Both of them talk about keeping gap small when they're open.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I learned this particular lesson early, when our high school jazz band was playing at a festival in Toronto. One of the judges was Ed Shaughnessy. I remember him saying, in the kindest of ways, "You've never really listened to jazz, have you?" He mentioned four on the floor bd and my hi hat as examples.

It was an absolutely true statement. I was good at reading, and I read the charts just fine, but I had no reference for what the music should sound like, really. I had never really listened to jazz at all, at that point. It was devestating.

Afterwards, I rode the elevator with him. He told me not to get discouraged. Said I was a good player, but I needed to learn the traditions of jazz if I wanted to sound authentic. He struck me as a very kind man.

So, don't get caught up in it, just recognize the traditions. As somebody said, you have to know the rules so you can break them on purpose.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
For the life of me, in jazz recordings of players swinging behind band, I can not discern the difference. In some Count Basie it almost sounds like the total "wrong"way.
 

dcrigger

Senior Member
Yes. Which is why right now my style is more that middle video.
If I followed the middle video - that's fine. Because he's to be right in line with what Peter is saying (as well as talking around the whole thing more - which to me, makes it even more confusing.) Which is that the "skip beat" notes - the off beat, swung 1/8th's should not sound like the closed, tight sound that we typically play on two and four. Meaning 1 2 &3 4 &1 should be tsh ti tsh tsh ti tsh tsh... NOT tsh ti ti tsh ti ti tsh

Unless of course the intent is for the swing to feel very stiff and "old timey".

How open the tsh's are not the issue - nor how tight the ti sound is. That's all subjective and personal.... The point is that off-beat 1/8th should be on "Team TSH" and not on "Team TI". :)
 

dcrigger

Senior Member
The key word being career. I think most people busy playing for a living will probably do a few things "wrong" according to someone. We go right from school to work, where we're not supervised by drummers any more-- there's not time to get every last thing dialed to a T according to Peter Erskine.
Actually for me - the key word there was "embarrassing". As it only took going and doing some listening to realize what a blindspot I had in how I was hearing that. Sad to say the realization pointed out that there weren't in quotes around the word "wrong" - it was more like OMG, that's really WRONG, how could I have missed that?

And for me personally - though I went to school, school barely figured into my drum set education at all.... except as a place to apply what I had been self-teaching myself since about 12 or 13.

But I get how that could be the case for some - just wasn't for me.
 

Benthedrummer

Well-known Member
This is why I hate all drumming videos:

View attachment 117716

They're supposed to help you, not make you neurotic. Like how do I make people terrified of not watching my damn video of the same ten seconds worth of information as everybody else in this grift.

The hell with it. Just keep playing and make the adjustment.

This kind of thing makes me really cranky.

I know right?

"If you don't play this like this....... you'll fail miserably in life"

"If you don't buy this.......no one will like you"

"If you don't play it THIS way, you will never get a girlfriend, or have any friends, or you will turn into a pumpkin covered in disfiguring boils"

For goodness sake.........I'm embarrassed for those kind of YouTubers.
 
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