Feathering The Bass Drum - Drum Lesson With John Riley

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
This is a terrific video lesson. He vividly explains a musicial concept that I remember Louie Bellson discussed during a clinic back in the early 1980's...

Last edited:


Platinum Member
Great video, it's all true. I think what hangs me up-- and it's certainly not Riley's fault-- is just the way ideas get packaged, and the way people use videos. Once something has a name, it becomes the one thing a lot of people know about how to play a type of music, and the one thing they work on. It turns this into a beginner topic, and to me this is not a beginner topic. It takes a lot of finesse to do it well, and not sound stupid.

People used to do this all the time, in all kinds of music-- the early guys were playing in swing bands where it needed to be loud, and later guys were playing R&B gigs where it needed to be loud. So there was a continuity between all the music they were doing, their entire playing lives up to the point where they could do it with the level of subtlety Riley demonstrates in the video. People weren't learning vestigial bass drum as an isolated technique.

I think the target audience for something like this is college student and above level musicians, who can already play that music somewhat, and are already forming opinions about how to play-- a lot of them/us need some help accepting old-but-relevant ideas.