Feel or Technique, importance?

Average

Senior Member
Here's a video with Jeff Pocaro discussing lope and feel. Starts around the four minute mark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7p-aFv40kM&feature=related
Jeff Porcaro is unquestionably one of the great technique masters. He is a perfect example of someone who had monster technique and used it to help develop his "feel." Do you think it doesn't take monster technique to be able to play a "lope" on the hi hat? Or those crazy 16th notes with a lope? Check out part 2 of that video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdaxu5rUjcQ
His early demise was at least as much of a loss as Jim Gordon's exit from the music world.

As far as "getting lost in the music" goes, I know a performance is good when I get there. But there is a huge difference between someone with technical competence getting "lost in the music" and a 5th grade snare student. This simply must be restated - "feel" is a nebulous, mushy concept. It can't be argued about or discussed in a meaningful, rational manner. "Feel" has become a currency for people to use as credit without putting in the work.

How about we invent a new concept called "moonbeam". No one really knows what "moonbeam" is or how to achieve it, but if you have "moonbeam" it means you are secretly a better drummer. Every novice in the world can now say 'Steve Gadd is a pretty good drummer, but I don't like his Moonbeam. I think I have better Moonbeam than Gadd and my grandmother says so too!'
 
Last edited:

Average

Senior Member
Gosh,
I had that video of Porcaro when I was a little kid. It was on VHS and the tape was long ago eaten. I muse have watched it 300 times. I forgot how much of an influence he was on my playing.

Talk about what technical mastery can do for "feel". Porcaro is one of the best examples, in my opinion. He is absolutely solid. Every note is perfect. His "feel" is - to use the modern term - 'bombass.' It would be impossible to achieve Porcaro's "feel" without many years of practice. How many people do you know that sound that solid when playing a groove with no other instruments playing? There are maybe 100 guys alive today that have a right hand capable of playing 16th notes that fast with that much control, probably fewer. What do all these Copeland fans have to say about Porcaro's hi-hat work?

I urge you to watch that series of videos if you haven't already. Also, what do Gadd, Gordon, Porcaro, and other masters have in common? Steely Dan! Talk about an awesome band that gets very little credit.
 
Last edited:

Xalky

Member
Gosh,

I urge you to watch that series of videos if you haven't already. Also, what do Gadd, Gordon, Porcaro, and other masters have in common? Steely Dan! Talk about an awesome band that gets very little credit.
And don't forget Bernard Purdie. Steely Dan made musicians music. some of the best stuff ever put out on LP.
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
- "feel" is a nebulous, mushy concept. It can't be argued about or discussed in a meaningful, rational manner.
I guess we will agree to disagree. When Jeff talked about the groove he played on FM he first played 16ths and didn't like the feel. It was too stiff.

When he choose to use 8th notes it changed the feel. He was trying to duplicate the snakey feel the band had when they played the tune. His words, not mine.

Clearly technique is important. Take the Pocaro track "Dirty Laundry" Four on the floor, two and four on the snare, and an eight note hat ride..Not exactly the upper end of technique, but the feel of that tune is what made it, and not the chops.

Take care.
 
Last edited:

zambizzi

Platinum Member
I don't think there is anything "nebulous" about feel at all. Any drummer can sit down and learn a pattern...it's just a series of physical movements. The subtleties that make it sound good and make you feel good when listening to it is exactly what makes it music - the feel.
 
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

From the get go, GTBT, Bonham was playing those sixteenth note triplets on the bass drum. That requires technique and quite a bit of it. And he always had good hands. His placement of notes as well. You have to be able to tell the foot and hands exactly where you want them to place the note, and that is a technical question. Once you develop that technique, it becomes part of your feel.

I listened to Presence the other day because Achilles Last Stand was being discussed on the board. I noticed that Bonham's playing was quite different than on the earlier albums. His drumming evolved. it did become a little more refined. At that point, they were just a studio band so that had to have a profound affect on his drumming.

The over drawn rigors of having to play with a click is a different question. That is a technical ability that one can develop. I think that once you develop the discipline of being able to play with a click, it will help your groove. I got that from Purdie. Again, another great groover with great technique.

I would say that feel is like technique in the sense of once you have it, what are you going to do with it. One of my favorite bands was Stuff, and now that their stuff is out on CD, I have repurchased the recordings, One of the great feel bands like Booker T and the MGs. But to tell you the truth, as much as I love it, I tire of it because at points it just doesn't go anywhere. Why can't you have both?

When we talk about technique it is also necessary to know what technique is and what it does. I have heard musicians many times say things like "I love Jaco because he is not a technical player." Jaco had wonderful technique: wonderful tone and wonderful nuance and great expression. That is all anyone can hope that technique will give them..

I also wanted to add that the question becomes so much more interesting when it is phrased as "feel and technique" and one is not pitted against the other.
Deltadrummer,

I really enjoyed and captured the essence of your message, very constructive.

Thanks,
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
From the get go, GTBT, Bonham was playing those sixteenth note triplets on the bass drum. That requires technique and quite a bit of it. And he always had good hands. His placement of notes as well. You have to be able to tell the foot and hands exactly where you want them to place the note, and that is a technical question. Once you develop that technique, it becomes part of your feel.
I tend to think that note placement is all about feel and not about technique. Playing on top, ahead, or behind, is feel not technique.

Moreover, Bonham is revered for his feel and not his chops by most players.That's not to say he didn't have great technique. Clearly he did, but it was his feel that set him apart.

Maybe it's just semantics, I dunno.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
I tend to think that note placement is all about feel and not about technique. Playing on top, ahead, or behind, is feel not technique..
The point DD made, was that the ability to place a note or multiple notes in the exact 64th or 32nd or16th space that you want in a bar needs good control, practice & technique too.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Back to the feel thing....I was listening to some Motown songs today, and I thought it would be cool if someone was able to take those songs and using some software, somehow make them so they line up with a click, and compare the original to the altered version, just for kicks. I would like to hear that.
 

rootheart

Senior Member
you can have "feel" without any technique..no doubt about this..lots of great drummers did so..
You also can have technique without feel, no doubt about this..lots of drummers do so posting something on Youtube...
Feel counts, technique is just a lousy tool....
----a drummer cannot groove if the band does not groove----
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
you can have "feel" without any technique..no doubt about this..lots of great drummers did so..
You also can have technique without feel, no doubt about this..lots of drummers do so posting something on Youtube...
Feel counts, technique is just a lousy tool....
----a drummer cannot groove if the band does not groove----
You can count the great drummers who were technique challenged on one hand.

No doubt about that.

Great drummers groove poor bands all the time. But a poor drummer will ruin the best of bands.
 

Average

Senior Member
I tend to think that note placement is all about feel and not about technique. Playing on top, ahead, or behind, is feel not technique.
I have to disagree on this point. Being able to intentionally and consciously play ahead, behind or on top of the beat is a technical issue. It requires a lot of practice and a lot of live playing to be able to consciously switch that particular aspect of your playing from song to song or even within a song.

I will give you that certain drummers will accidently play ahead or behind the beat and that can make their sound unique, but intentionally doing it is another matter entirely. That ability is one of the things that separates novices from the pros. It is one of the reasons that studio guys get their gigs. The producer will say 'I need you to play a little behind the beat here,' and the studio drummer can do it on command.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
That's the point exactly. I did some minor studio work many years ago, and I found the limitations of my technique quite a struggle. When you listen back it is not what you thought it would be because the mic picks up everything, the nuance or lack there of. Never mind the ability to do what you want to do. It's frustrating to be able to hear it but not be able to execute with the same ease and musicality that is going on in your head. Although I had studied a lot and had what I considered good technique, I didn't have the technical training necessary to really excel in the studio. It was a bad experience for me as a young drummer. Had I been more prepared, my story may have been a lot more positive.

Technique allows you to relax and that is a big part of it. I remember when I first played Home at Last with a band. There was those triplet figures on the bass drum. There was a certain place where I wanted those bass drum notes to land, and it was not easy getting that feel, getting them to land where I wanted them to land. It is splitting hairs because it is either in the pocket of it's not and the difference is minuscule. But when I got it to fit in, the pocket was so much deeper; it took it to a new level of expression.

You can talk about Rosanna as well, and the great feel; but the technique that it takes to drive the feel out of the groove is staggering, and Jeff Porcaro was one dude who certainly had it.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
That's the point exactly. I did some minor studio work many years ago, and I found the limitations of my technique quite a struggle. When you listen back it is not what you thought it would be because the mic picks up everything, the nuance or lack there of. Never mind the ability to do what you want to do. It's frustrating to be able to hear it but not be able to execute with the same ease and musicality that is going on in your head. Although I had studied a lot and had what I considered good technique, I didn't have the technical training necessary to really excel in the studio. It was a bad experience for me as a young drummer. Had I been more prepared, my story may have been a lot more positive.

Technique allows you to relax and that is a big part of it. I remember when I first played Home at Last with a band. There was those triplet figures on the bass drum. There was a certain place where I wanted those bass drum notes to land, and it was not easy getting that feel, getting them to land where I wanted them to land. It is splitting hairs because it is either in the pocket of it's not and the difference is minuscule. But when I got it to fit in, the pocket was so much deeper; it took it to a new level of expression.

You can talk about Rosanna as well, and the great feel; but the technique that it takes to drive the feel out of the groove is staggering, and Jeff Porcaro was one dude who certainly had it.
great post. the ultimate argument against technique non believers.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
That's the point exactly. I did some minor studio work many years ago, and I found the limitations of my technique quite a struggle. When you listen back it is not what you thought it would be because the mic picks up everything, the nuance or lack there of. Never mind the ability to do what you want to do. It's frustrating to be able to hear it but not be able to execute with the same ease and musicality that is going on in your head. Although I had studied a lot and had what I considered good technique, I didn't have the technical training necessary to really excel in the studio. It was a bad experience for me as a young drummer. Had I been more prepared, my story may have been a lot more positive.
Yes, exactly. I remember one session I did, I think it was a bank commercial, and there was a kid there that nobody knew who was hired to play the pedal steel guitar. It was a country-ish sort of thing. The rest of us had it down in no time, but this kid couldn't get it. So he was brought into the control room, to dub his part in later.
The point is that the music was easy, I mean easy, a little two-beat country thing, no big deal, right? Forget about it. Simple as it may have been there was a lot of technique being brought to bear on that music, and that's why we always got called back.
 
Top