Gavin Harrison here!

Juan Exposito

Junior Member
Hi again Gavin!
Two questions please:
1) In some interview I heard you mentioning the app "Live BPM", talking about timing or something related to it. I find it very useful for using it in band rehearsals or practice sessions (with no click tracks) and see clearly where the ups and downs with the time happens and your ears don´t notice those changes (I mean my ears ;)...)
Have you used it or have some opinion on that app?
2) And when will YOUR timing app be available?

Thanks Gavin!
 
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Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Robthedrummer

can you tell us about what all you have going on right now, or some things to check out?

Right now I'm on a long tour of the Americas with King Crimson. We have 7 weeks remaining. If you're curious to know where we're going - https://www.dgmlive.com/tours

Straight after that I will be rehearsing with The Pineapple Thief for a couple of festival shows in the UK and then after that we're playing about 20 concerts in the US and a couple of shows in Mexico. http://www.pineapplethief.com/tour/

I have been busy mixing a TPT live album (which should be out in November) and I've been writing with Bruce Soord for a new TPT album for next year.

Also some influences that you are currently into?

Mainly I've been bouncing around on YouTube checking out random things. From old Buddy Rich clips to guys like Anderson .Paak and everything in between.

Hi Juan Exposito

1) In some interview I heard you mentioning the app "Live BPM", talking about timing or something related to it. I find it very useful for using it in band rehearsals or practice sessions (with no click tracks) and see clearly where the ups and downs with the time happens and your ears don´t notice those changes (I mean my ears ;)...)Have you used it or have some opinion on that app?

Yes I like that app. I haven't used it in a live concert or rehearsal - but it's very interesting playing old songs through it to see what happens to the tempo. It shows you that things can still feel great but still speed up or slow down.

2) And when will YOUR timing app be available?

It's almost finished. I will see Terry Branam in a couple of weeks time and we would hope to have it available very soon. The idea of the app is really simple. It's an ear training 'timing' game where you learn to recognise when things are 'out of time' to quite small degrees. You test yourself to hear notes ahead or behind the beat - and tempos that might slow down or speed up. I found there was a lot of ear training courses for 'relative pitch' and 'perfect pitch' but not much for 'timing'.

cheers
Gavin
 

Juan Exposito

Junior Member
Hello Gavin,
Forgive me for three questions in a row!
1) I think that in Porcupine Tree and The Pineaple Thief you use a click track most of the time (correct me if I´m wrong). Are you the only one in the band with the click? All your bandmates are incredible good musicians, but have you experienced some conflicts or situations because of the fact that you are the one with it?
2) About practicing with the click but with silenced bars. Have you practiced that type of routine with the metronome, for example 2 bars click + 4 of silence or more? How long have you reached with that practicing? Tips?
3) I´ve noticed that many drummers plays always with click, live concerts, band rehearsals and individual practice...They sound good with it but when they play alone, without the click, their timing and time keeping is not good. Simon Phillips, in my interview with him, said: "Young players and bands are growing always playing to a click and they are not developing the quality of good timing as a band without that device". I think the metronome is essential to develope our internal clock but equaly important is to play without it. What´s your opinion on that? Do you think that playing always with a click may go against us in some point?

Thanks x 10.000
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
HI Juan

I think that in Porcupine Tree and The Pineapple Thief you use a click track most of the time (correct me if I´m wrong). Are you the only one in the band with the click? All your bandmates are incredible good musicians, but have you experienced some conflicts or situations because of the fact that you are the one with it?

No we all have the click and it makes it easy for the times where there are not drums playing. When I am playing, I think the band listen more to me than click

2) About practicing with the click but with silenced bars. Have you practiced that type of routine with the metronome, for example 2 bars click + 4 of silence or more? How long have you reached with that practicing? Tips?

I have tried that method of programming silence in the click but I don’t find it particularly helpful. If you want to improve your ability to synchronise with a click I found it more useful to play in between the clicks and judge how even you can make it sound. If you play a rock drum pattern to a quarter note click then probably you will only hear it when you are out with it or you have to have it unbelievably loud to get over the volume of the drums.

3) I´ve noticed that many drummers plays always with click, live concerts, band rehearsals and individual practice...They sound good with it but when they play alone, without the click, their timing and time keeping is not good. Simon Phillips, in my interview with him, said: "Young players and bands are growing always playing to a click and they are not developing the quality of good timing as a band without that device". I think the metronome is essential to develop our internal clock but equally important is to play without it. What´s your opinion on that? Do you think that playing always with a click may go against us in some point?


Of course up until around the very early ’80’s nobody recorded (or played live) with a click so the band was very dependant on the drummer’s ability to hold a steady tempo. It is a different skill to playing with a click and it requires a different mind set. Experience and confidence play a big part in it. Now lots of bands use a click, so it is a skill a young drummer needs to be good at too - but I would suggest practising without one and playing with other musicians without one. Record yourself so you can check if it’s feeling good and not speeding up or slowing down. How good you are at judging depends how good (and quick) your ears are at noticing timing errors. You can only be as good as your ears. At first you might notice that the song finished at a different tempo than you started at. Then you might notice certain sections of the song moved tempo. You might notice certain phrases or fills moved tempo and finally you might be able to notice the evenness of every note you're playing. I think that’s what you should aim for, so that your ears can hear timing issues even within one bar…but remember we are human and nobody has perfect time. The best you can hope for is that it sounds even and tight within a certain tolerance window.

cheers
Gavin
 

Juan Exposito

Junior Member
Hello Gavin,
I hope your American tour with The Pineapple Thief is going great.
In this picture (from that tour) you have a device attached to your cymbal stand, over your monitor mixer.
(seen in your Facebook)
Is it a sound/synth module, a tablet?
What´s the use of it?
Thanks Gavin.
The picture here
 
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Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Juan
The iPad in that picture is running the controller software App for the PreSonus monitoring system. That way I can change anything in the mix during the show. It works very well

cheers
Gavin
 

michaelg

Member
HI Juan

I think that in Porcupine Tree and The Pineapple Thief you use a click track most of the time (correct me if I´m wrong). Are you the only one in the band with the click? All your bandmates are incredible good musicians, but have you experienced some conflicts or situations because of the fact that you are the one with it?

No we all have the click and it makes it easy for the times where there are not drums playing. When I am playing, I think the band listen more to me than click

2) About practicing with the click but with silenced bars. Have you practiced that type of routine with the metronome, for example 2 bars click + 4 of silence or more? How long have you reached with that practicing? Tips?

I have tried that method of programming silence in the click but I don’t find it particularly helpful. If you want to improve your ability to synchronise with a click I found it more useful to play in between the clicks and judge how even you can make it sound. If you play a rock drum pattern to a quarter note click then probably you will only hear it when you are out with it or you have to have it unbelievably loud to get over the volume of the drums.

3) I´ve noticed that many drummers plays always with click, live concerts, band rehearsals and individual practice...They sound good with it but when they play alone, without the click, their timing and time keeping is not good. Simon Phillips, in my interview with him, said: "Young players and bands are growing always playing to a click and they are not developing the quality of good timing as a band without that device". I think the metronome is essential to develop our internal clock but equally important is to play without it. What´s your opinion on that? Do you think that playing always with a click may go against us in some point?

Of course up until around the very early ’80’s nobody recorded (or played live) with a click so the band was very dependant on the drummer’s ability to hold a steady tempo. It is a different skill to playing with a click and it requires a different mind set. Experience and confidence play a big part in it. Now lots of bands use a click, so it is a skill a young drummer needs to be good at too - but I would suggest practising without one and playing with other musicians without one. Record yourself so you can check if it’s feeling good and not speeding up or slowing down. How good you are at judging depends how good (and quick) your ears are at noticing timing errors. You can only be as good as your ears. At first you might notice that the song finished at a different tempo than you started at. Then you might notice certain sections of the song moved tempo. You might notice certain phrases or fills moved tempo and finally you might be able to notice the evenness of every note you're playing. I think that’s what you should aim for, so that your ears can hear timing issues even within one bar…but remember we are human and nobody has perfect time. The best you can hope for is that it sounds even and tight within a certain tolerance window.

cheers
Gavin
Great post,,,, but to be devils advocate , the Stones "honky tonk woman" starts and ends in two very different tempos. What do you take away from the drumming on that record ? Personally i think if it feels good,,,,,
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Michealg

but to be devils advocate , the Stones "honky tonk woman" starts and ends in two very different tempos. What do you take away from the drumming on that record ? Personally i think if it feels good,

That is an interesting one. I think that at the time they recorded it (late 1960's) there we not trying to speed up - it just happened and folks were not so sensitive to it. The guitars are very pushy and with everyone playing together - and with some lack of control - the whole song just got faster. I really don't think it was intentional and they were most likely surprised at how much it did speed up - but it doesn't feel bad. It certainly starts out with a really nice feeling rhythm. Might it have felt better by not speeding up? It was a different era. Interestingly when I checked a live version of the same song from 1998 it doesn't really speed up at all. "September" by Earth Wind & Fire speeds up - that feels pretty good as they all move together. The rhythm feels tight all the way through. It doesn't have to be perfect to feel good - but (with modern ears) there comes a point when a song might start to feel bad to you.

cheers
Gavin
 
Hi Gavin,
hope all is well.
In a recent video of yours, where you solo a bit on soundcheck in an empty arena, (besides a ton of crazy and interesting stuff...) you play a double strokes roll between right hand and right foot towards the end that caught my attention.
May you say a few words about double strokes with the foot? How would you describe your technique? Is it a kind of slide or swivel thing? Are there any useful exercises that helped you achieving it?
(...I find myself having always a bit of trouble with fast bassdrum-doubles. Sometimes they feel super easy almost with no effort and the next second the feeling is gone and I can't get them to work well - its weird.)
Greetz Robert
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Robert

May you say a few words about double strokes with the foot? How would you describe your technique? Is it a kind of slide or swivel thing? Are there any useful exercises that helped you achieving it?

I guess it depends which kind of foot technique you are using. I can remember a time where double strokes didn't always come easy or consistent. I think playing heel up and about halfway down the pedal board means it's close to just being a twitch. I don't slide or swivel. When your foot is a long way down the pedal board - the foot doesn't really move that much. I see drummers who play with their foot right at the front of the board and of course they have a lot further to travel to make the beater hit the skin (but it works fine for them). I guess I've done it for so long I don't have to think about it anymore.

best of luck
Gavin
 
Gavin, thanks so much. Believe it or not but the things you said really did the trick for me!! When I think about "twitch" and "not moving much" it works extremely well and without any effort. I was trying to slide and swivel around all the time - its completely unneccesary. But its taught pretty much everywhere like that...(and for some it obviously works but not for me.)
Ask a Pro and you get a simple answer that does it. :) Thanks again for the possibility that you gave us here in that thread.
 

KeithEnglish

New member
Hi Gavin - Great to read all your posts over the years. Such a refreshing atmosphere you create about your career, love of music and, of course, drumming. Hard work, determination and the ability to express yourself, not just play drums, runs through the 337 pages here. You’ve cost me a bucket of money over the past few weeks, i.e. Protean snare, Kelly Shu, duck feather pillows (they are heavier than goose. smaller feathers, so it’s takes more of them) some extra microphones and those Vic Firth batons, you designed. It’s been wonderful....lol! Not only am I loving it, but my wife, who doesn‘t mind that I practice/play for couple of hours everyday, enjoys it too! I’m working on Rythmic Illusions - so cool! Thanks again for being you. Hope to see you one day when you come to the states again! Cheers - Phil
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
Hi Gavin,
So there is a video on YouTube of you doing a soundcheck for Remo drum heads and the drums sound really, really good. All the comments on the post state how great the drums sound and beg for a tuning video to show exactly how you get that sound. From a past post of mine that you were so gracious to answer, you said that you weren't really concerned with specific intervals, but did have the toms tuned to notes which I believe ended up as some in fourths or augmented fourths. For those of us who are tuning geeks, I have two questions. One, are the bottom heads tighter, and if so, can you say how much...1/2 step, full step, more?.... and is the interval between top and bottom heads consistent with all the toms? Also, the largest floor tom is tuned pretty low and sounds really nice. There can't be much tension on the tension rods....do you have that drum or any other drums tuned as low as they will go? Thank you so much in advance for your reply. Cheers!
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Pavel

Which British drummers would you choose as the best currently?

I don't really know who's best (or have any favourites other than ones from some time ago like Simon Phillips and Tony Beard) nor am I really in touch with the younger players on the scene these days. Sorry for the boring answer.

Hi Phil (KeithEnglish) - thanks for the nice message.

Hi cdrums21

So there is a video on YouTube of you doing a soundcheck for Remo drum heads and the drums sound really, really good. All the comments on the post state how great the drums sound and beg for a tuning video to show exactly how you get that sound. From a past post of mine that you were so gracious to answer, you said that you weren't really concerned with specific intervals, but did have the toms tuned to notes which I believe ended up as some in fourths or augmented fourths. For those of us who are tuning geeks, I have two questions. One, are the bottom heads tighter, and if so, can you say how much...1/2 step, full step, more?.... and is the interval between top and bottom heads consistent with all the toms? Also, the largest floor tom is tuned pretty low and sounds really nice. There can't be much tension on the tension rods....do you have that drum or any other drums tuned as low as they will go?

Thanks - I do get requests about making tuning videos - and I am considering it. I think it goes a bit beyond the drums/heads/intervals etc and more into an overall concept about sound. Anyway I did check the intervals for you and I can tell you that the bottom heads are always tighter than the tops. On the kit I have in front of me at the moment the toms are 8x7 10x8 12x9 15x13 18x15 the intervals are as follows:

8" tom. Top head = E. Bottom head = G
10" tom. Top head = B. Bottom head = C#
12" tom. Top head = F#. Bottom head = A
15" tom. Top head = B. Bottom head = C#
18" tom. Top head = G. Bottom head = A

*some of these notes are a little bit flat or sharp of the mark.

I do just tune by instinct - I've tried many tuning devices but I didn't really like the results better than what my ears were telling me.

I would say that the last two toms are tuned in a way that is very hard to play a double stroke roll on (the 12" is a bit hard as well).
Something else is that they are tuned for this setup. If I were to take away the 8" drum and move everything to the left and add a 13" (so the rack toms would become 10",12",13") I would tune the 10" and 12" higher than they are in the list above.

cheers
Gavin
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Hi Michealg

but to be devils advocate , the Stones "honky tonk woman" starts and ends in two very different tempos. What do you take away from the drumming on that record ? Personally i think if it feels good,

That is an interesting one. I think that at the time they recorded it (late 1960's) there we not trying to speed up - it just happened and folks were not so sensitive to it. The guitars are very pushy and with everyone playing together - and with some lack of control - the whole song just got faster. I really don't think it was intentional and they were most likely surprised at how much it did speed up - but it doesn't feel bad. It certainly starts out with a really nice feeling rhythm. Might it have felt better by not speeding up? It was a different era. Interestingly when I checked a live version of the same song from 1998 it doesn't really speed up at all. "September" by Earth Wind & Fire speeds up - that feels pretty good as they all move together. The rhythm feels tight all the way through. It doesn't have to be perfect to feel good - but (with modern ears) there comes a point when a song might start to feel bad to you.

cheers
Gavin
Interesting discussion – thanks Gavin for sharing your thoughts on this subject! And thanks for all your inspiration throughout many years! I hope you're doing well musically and personally!
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
Hi Pavel

Which British drummers would you choose as the best currently?

I don't really know who's best (or have any favourites other than ones from some time ago like Simon Phillips and Tony Beard) nor am I really in touch with the younger players on the scene these days. Sorry for the boring answer.

Hi Phil (KeithEnglish) - thanks for the nice message.

Hi cdrums21

So there is a video on YouTube of you doing a soundcheck for Remo drum heads and the drums sound really, really good. All the comments on the post state how great the drums sound and beg for a tuning video to show exactly how you get that sound. From a past post of mine that you were so gracious to answer, you said that you weren't really concerned with specific intervals, but did have the toms tuned to notes which I believe ended up as some in fourths or augmented fourths. For those of us who are tuning geeks, I have two questions. One, are the bottom heads tighter, and if so, can you say how much...1/2 step, full step, more?.... and is the interval between top and bottom heads consistent with all the toms? Also, the largest floor tom is tuned pretty low and sounds really nice. There can't be much tension on the tension rods....do you have that drum or any other drums tuned as low as they will go?

Thanks - I do get requests about making tuning videos - and I am considering it. I think it goes a bit beyond the drums/heads/intervals etc and more into an overall concept about sound. Anyway I did check the intervals for you and I can tell you that the bottom heads are always tighter than the tops. On the kit I have in front of me at the moment the toms are 8x7 10x8 12x9 15x13 18x15 the intervals are as follows:

8" tom. Top head = E. Bottom head = G
10" tom. Top head = B. Bottom head = C#
12" tom. Top head = F#. Bottom head = A
15" tom. Top head = B. Bottom head = C#
18" tom. Top head = G. Bottom head = A

*some of these notes are a little bit flat or sharp of the mark.

I do just tune by instinct - I've tried many tuning devices but I didn't really like the results better than what my ears were telling me.

I would say that the last two toms are tuned in a way that is very hard to play a double stroke roll on (the 12" is a bit hard as well).
Something else is that they are tuned for this setup. If I were to take away the 8" drum and move everything to the left and add a 13" (so the rack toms would become 10",12",13") I would tune the 10" and 12" higher than they are in the list above.

cheers
Gavin
Holy crap Gavin! That's exactly the information I was looking for! Thank you sooo much for sharing that with us all. My suspicions were correct in your tuning method and I understand completely about your comment on the concept of overall sound. All the best to you and continued success in all you do!

Clint
 
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KeithEnglish

New member
Hi Gavin - Did you say that you use S Hoops on the top and bottom of your toms? BTW, I have your Sonor Protean Snare Drum, I love it. It is absolutely the best snare I have every played. The crack, coupled with the sensitivity is amazing. Your years of experience have given us, mere drum mortals, a wonderful instrument....Thank you! - Phil
PS - I have since done a search and read your past reply, that you only use S Hoops on the tops. The search option can be your friend, I have found.....:) Thanks for all your music over the years. I'm sorry it took me so long to find it. It's truly wonderful!
 
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MGC101

New member
Hi Gavin - thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions...you could do a whole course just on the practical awesome things learned in this thread.

Did a very quick search and couldn't quite find an already given answer, so I apologize if this has been specifically brought up before.

My question - I know you attach most of your microphones to the rack itself. This obviously produces some shake and wobble in the mics, and potentially even audible vibration? I wonder, do the shock mounts you use on the mics generally take care of this? I have a pretty neat set up where most of the mics are attached to my small Gibraltar rack. I love the convenience, but do notice that crashing the cymbals can produces a very low rumble in the attached mics, due to the cymbals being attached to the same rack. Not cymbal noise, but a slow decaying rumble as the rack vibrates. This is almost immediately fixed for me using a little gate and some compression, and I'm curious if you do anything post-recording to negate this, or if you are rumble-free going into the board. I also notice some neat cymbal 'shock absorbers' that you discussed recently. Does that play any part in negating this?

Thanks again,
-Mike
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Phil

Did you say that you use S Hoops on the top and bottom of your toms?

yes in recent years I have been doing exactly that.

Hi MGC101

I know you attach most of your microphones to the rack itself. This obviously produces some shake and wobble in the mics, and potentially even audible vibration? I wonder, do the shock mounts you use on the mics generally take care of this?

Sometimes they do - it depends how 'isolated' and how efficient the suspension of the mic shock mount is. The H85 AKG ones I use are very good at suspending the mic away from shock through the rack as the mic is held via elastic bands.
Screen Shot 2020-02-14 at 12.33.24.png

...however that may not be enough - especially on say a snare top mic that might have a lot of compression assigned to it.
I found out about the Cymbal Resonance System (CRS based in Norway) and the owner was kind enough to send me some for trail. I was very impressed how well they worked.
These drastically reduce shock through the hardware.

Screen Shot 2020-02-14 at 12.29.06.png
it's hard to see from that picture so head over to https://www.crsnorway.com/ for more info.
You might find out that only one or two of your cymbals are creating an audible 'bang' through the rack hardware and so they might be the ones to have some 'shock isolating' device such as the CRS. To be on the safe side - I'm using both the CRS and the AKG mic mounts. Happy days!

cheers
Gavin
 
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