First time playing with a guitarist...

BigBelly

Member
I've only been playing drums for about a year and a half. A few months ago while at a birthday party, a friend of mine walked up to me and asked me if I played the drums. I responded yes, but was quick to tell him I was VERY new. He told me he had been playing guitar most of his life and while I was incredibly excited for the chance to play along with someone, I was scared to death at the same time. He had a few cocktails in him at the time of this conversation and I was sure he'd forget all about it...but I was wrong.

He called me a few weeks ago and asked if I was still interested in playing and without even thinking, I jumped at the opportunity...then the nervous butterflies set in... What the hell did I get myself into???

Long story short, I showed up at his house last night and he has his own music room filled with instruments, sound equipment, a drum kit and stage lighting. I knew the second I stepped into this room I was in too deep and way over my head. I started sweating before I even touched my sticks...

I plugged in my headphones to his sound system and desperately searched my iPod for an easy song to help me shake off those damn butterflies. I started with Back In Black from AC/DC and within a few seconds I got into the groove and felt like a rock star. Playing along with another musician (if I can call myself that) was an unbelievable experience!

We played for two hours before he blew up his amp. I was sweating like a pig but loving every minute of it. I made a ton of mistakes but somehow didn't let them bother me. Garrett (the guitar player) was nothing but complimentary towards me and is a very laid back and easy going guy. He made me feel very comfortable even though my ability as a drummer is FAR less than his ability as a guitarist.

I have a ton of practice to do but I can't wait to do it again!

Being that most of you are lightyears ahead of new drummers like myself, I posted this in hopes that you would post up your "first time" experiences and how it motivated you to practice better or smarter which is definately advice I could use.

Thanks for reading...

Chad
 

tezzerii

Member
I got into my first band at school, my friend in the art class played a mean blues/boogie piano, and he had a mate who played harmonica. We dragged in a guitarist friend and jammed, and learned some songs.
The harp player was a blues purist, and had very clear ideas about what he wanted, and at times I felt very inadequate - hadn't been playing long. But I think the piano player persuaded him to give me a chance - besides, there weren't many drummers about!
We played our first gig - a charity do, one of many different acts - singers, dancers, poets and all sorts.
I had a 4" olympic snare and a poxy fixed-height hi-hat (2nd hand from a friend) - and that's all !!!
They stuck one mike in the piano and one in the acoustic guitar through the soundhole, and one on a stand for the vocals.
I was so nervous sitting there waiting to start! 3 bar harp intro and we come in on the 4th on an offbeat - will I mess it up?? Gulp!!
No, I came in ok - we play thru the first song, which is called "It's Over" - I think, it's over, I did it! Huh?? But what's that noise? There's an audience out there, and they're applauding!!!!
We did 3 more I think, and by the time we reached the end of the last one, I was so in the groove I nearly forgot to stop!!

I've never looked back, I just love playing, and working with other musicians can be so fantastic. The harp player always told me, don't be choosy, try anything, all styles of music, all kinds of gigs, etc - it's all experience, he said - and he was right.
If you can find musos who are a bit better than you and will give you a chance, that's plenty motivational to make you work at making yourself a better musician. Don't worry about mistakes, that's how you learn.
It'll take time and effort, but you'll get there! :eek:)
 

isawstars

Junior Member
Thanks for sharing that! I'm really nervous about playing with other people. I'm STILL nervous about playing in front of people! That's awesome :)
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Great stuff mate......that is truely what playing an instrument is all about. Nothing equals kicking back and making music with others.

Keep at it......there'll be many, many more to come.

I'm really nervous about playing with other people. I'm STILL nervous about playing in front of people! That's awesome :)
25 odd years mate, and I still feel a degree of nerves before a gig. It generally only lasts until the first chord is struck. :)
 

BigBelly

Member
I was very nervous. When we finished, I walked into his living room and his wife and kids were all sitting there. I got nothing but praise from them but I didn't really expect anything less. They are all a wonderful family. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall when I left though;)
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Wish I could have been a fly on the wall when I left though;)
I'm sure you wouldn't have heard anything different. You were upfront from the start, told him you were still finding your feet and didn't misrepresent your abilities. Man, he played with you because he WANTED to......and it doesn't get much cooler than that, IMHO.

All I can say is, get him on the phone and hook up another session mate.....playing with those who are "better" than we are is a great way to get yourself up to speed. As important as personal practice is, nothing beats making music with others......it's why we play in the first place.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
This is a great post. I think I sometimes forget how great it is to be able to play music with other people. That's why we do it. But as the years have gone on I've forgotten this basic joy of making music with others!

I take it for granted because I grew up surrounded by music. I had a jazz trumpet-playing uncle who of course rounded out my record collection and had me listening to the right guys and as soon as I was old enough to play, he had me sit in with his quartet. It wasn't great, in fact, I probably totally sucked, but they were so nice to me as well that I continued on. He told me from early age, watching someone like Buddy Rich is not supposed to scare me away from playing, but inspire me to play even more, and I can't believe I've been telling myself this for some 35 years now, and I still believe it!

I had taken a sort of hiatus from playing drums the last couple of years, and discovering drummerworld has brought me back into it a bit. And it has led me to put together a band and actually booking myself or the band for gigs. I'm kinda' glad I took a break be cause now I really realize what I have, and what I had lost. It's the joy of it all. In fact, I no longer really get into arguments about the best drums, or the best cymbals, but am now really about how we all play. Music is all about emotion and if you're not having a good time, there's other things you could do if it's not your forte.

Perhaps just over the years as I get older, I realize life is too short, and sometimes it gets taken away from you. So now I enjoy what I do and want to share it with everyone who will listen!

And not to brag here, but I'm going to post a link to my first band video here for you to see. I had not played with this particular guitarist in about 17 years. I just called him and said "we have a gig", he brought a bass player, and for 5 hours, we played music. No rehearsal, just calling out songs and going for it. Oddly enough, I wasn't nervous because I was so happy to be doing it! You keep playing!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBd5bThkC2o
 

aaajn

Silver Member
BB, first off, great name. I had a similar experience about three weeks ago. Started playing as an old guy, 46, three years ago. Always loved the drums and finally had the time and $$ to buy a kit and start lessons. Learned a lot about music. Everyday, put on the Zeppelin, Alvin Lee, Hot Fun in the Summertime for 12/8th practice, but no live music. It is really easy to find 2 and 4 when you hear the snare beat through headphones, occurred to me that I had 4 choices to hit the snare, same for the base but it was still "practice".

I moved to a new town and my sister's friends runs a really hot blues band here. I called her up and invited her for dinner and a jam thinking she (the blues player) would no sooner play with me that Michael Angelo would paint a velvet Elvis.

She was real cool about it, brought over a professional musician friend from another band who plays stand up base. They came to the house and we jammed for two hours. It was really hard to keep it steady, not run away with the tempo. At one point, the base player turns to me and apologizes for inverting the beat. I explained that if anybody was going to screw it up, it would probably be me, both said, "No, you were right, we messed it up". They were both incredibly encouraging.

It was a great night. The most powerful part of the experience, and it only happened 3 or 4 times for about 10 seconds each, there were times where I didn't have to concentrate on keeping the groove steady. This may sound weird and maybe some of you can explain it but it became effortless. I was exactly where I needed to be in the tempo. And then I would start thinking and it would become hard again. It was like I could feel it in my sternum.

My problem is that I am 49 years old and have been playing for 3 years. The average person my age has been playing for 40 years so you feel kind of funny asking to play with people, People who have been playing for 3 years are usually 12 years old. :).

Either way, the drum journey is one of the best things I have ever done. I can really relate to your experience.


John
 

diegobxr

Silver Member
Wow, what a nice post, thanks for sharing your experience. :)

I also think that playing with others is what it is all about. For me, it really is the best part of drumming.. sharing with others and making people have a good time.

My humble suggestion is: Play with people that you like and feel comfortable with (like your experience). I've played with a lot of people now (been playing drums for 8 years) and in the way I've met guys that played really well, but it didn't feel right, and also with guys that weren't that good but even though, it sounded a lot better.

Now, I'm back playing with the same guitarist that I played for my first time, 5 or 6 years ago.. He is a lot better than me too, haha, but I don't feel bad about that. :)

In sum.. to BB and AAJN, keep playing and enjoying.. in the end it's all about having fun and making music.. and fortunately, we don't need to be Virgil Donati to do that.. :)

And AAJN.. congrats man, great decision you made, it is never too late to learn what you love. You won't regret it.

Cheers.
 

BigBelly

Member
Geez,

You guys have me as pumped to go play with your comments as I was actually playing for the first time with another musician (again, reluctant to call myself that).

Thank you very much for the encouragement and nice words. I wish every "fourm" I went to was like this!!!

You folks have made my day, thank you!

Chad ( BigBelly )
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
Great story Chad! The random jam sessions at times have been more rewarding than a lot of the gigs I've played. It still amazes me how two people how might not even know each other very well can communicate on a deep personal level. *sigh* I love being a musician.

OK, you wanted stories. I've actually been playing drums actively for about a year but I've played guitar for many years. I had just got my first electric as a birthday gift from my mother. I couldn't really play but I loved messing around on it. In casual conversation I learned that a friend of mine played the bass. We had a jam session in my parents back yard and I've been hooked since then.

Our band gave me the motivation to start taking lessons and really work on my chops. I really didn't like practicing but I loved jamming. The collective musical experience became my inspiration to practice.

Almost a year ago that same friend and I were in a group together, I on guitar and he on drums. We came across a kit a few years back and made him switch, He'd given me a few lessons across the way and I played a little in church. I ended up following him into another band, me on drums and him on bass. That group became my motivation to practice my butt off and buy my own kit.

I'm now done with that group but I stole the singer and our new group is what keeps me hitting the practice pad and paying for drum lessons.
 

t120bonneville

Junior Member
That is awesome! I've been lurking on here for quite some time and I guess it took your post to inspire me to post! It made me smile to think about how happy that must have made you and that your first time was so positive. I'll have to get off my butt and post an official introductory post!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
That is awesome! I've been lurking on here for quite some time and I guess it took your post to inspire me to post! It made me smile to think about how happy that must have made you and that your first time was so positive. I'll have to get off my butt and post an official introductory post!
That's what it's all about. Getting off your butt and doing something! If it makes you happy, then it's totally worth doing, I say.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
as I was actually playing for the first time with another musician (again, reluctant to call myself that).
Chad, you play music, therefore you're a musician, get used to it! Great post BTW. There's nothing like getting in the zone & communicating with other players by musical interaction alone. Almost makes you believe telepathy might actually exist, but we don't know how to tap into it!
 

Pkaneps

Senior Member
Since I was little, I alwasy wanted to play drums, but never had the money or the parents that could live with the noise. So then I got Rock Band, learned the bare basics, and went over to a friends house to watch them jam. There ended up being 12-14 people there, and they asked if I wanted to play drums...so I did, it worked out, and I had to go buy a kit.
 
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