groove vs chops?

Drumsinhisheart

Silver Member
Whenever a discussion happens about players who have great speed and moves there are comments about grooving - BUT, can he/she/they groove?

In thinking about this I am not able to come up with a single example of a drummer who has all the technique and CANNOT groove. Being drummers, having to relate to time, how could anyone who has developed the craft in ways of speed and moves NOT be able to play solid time? I can see someone just grooving, not being interested in developing more "chops." But if you have the chops how could you not be able to groove? Unless you went straight from drum corps, doing incredible stick things on a snare or toms, etc., and had no real experience at a drum set, how can people learning to play drums, develop great technique and not be able to groove? We all began playing to records. Time naturally comes first, then the technique.

There might be examples of unknown players on youtube, but seriously, can you show examples of players who have chops but no groove? Not anecdotes, but show real examples. Especially is this the case with Black drummers who have sense of time and rhythm from ancient eras in their DNA. How can they not groove?

I tend to think asking if people can groove is simply saying you don't like drum solos or the drum battle kind of thing. But, I mean, where are examples of players who can fly all over a set and yet not lay down a decent groove? How do you achieve one at the expense of the other?
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Your criteria makes things hard.. I couldn't name many famous drummers (maybe one ousted prog drummer) but I can remember a few times in my life where I heard someone soloing or playing licks but they couldn't play a beat to save their lives.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
There might be examples of unknown players on youtube, but seriously, can you show examples of players who have chops but no groove
There are legions of them, if you've ever been around drum corps, or any big college music program, or your average drum shop. There aren't many famous examples of players like that, that I am aware of, because those players don't tend to get asked to be on a lot of records.

Especially is this the case with Black drummers who have sense of time and rhythm from ancient eras in their DNA. How can they not groove?
"They" are human beings just like you, and we all come from the same place and share the same DNA. And they acquire their rhythmic knowledge the same way everyone else does.
 

Drumsinhisheart

Silver Member
There are legions of them, if you've ever been around drum corps, or any big college music program, or your average drum shop. There aren't many famous examples of players like that, that I am aware of, because those players don't tend to get asked to be on a lot of records.



"They" are human beings just like you, and we all come from the same place and share the same DNA. And they acquire their rhythmic knowledge the same way everyone else does.
Don't even come close to implying I am a racist. I do not believe in "race" except the human race. By DNA I simply meant the heritage of their continent, which, as Mr. Beinhorn mentions in his very interesting blog, is the background for all modern, popular music.

I happen to believe in the effect of the gene pool, and what it contributes to human talent. Some drummers groove because it is in them to do so already, they just need knowledge of four limb technique.
 

Drumsinhisheart

Silver Member
You seem to imply grooving means keeping precise time, which it does not.
Sorry, did not mean to imply that at all. But in watching drummers able to do incredible things in soloing contexts, I just fail to see examples of such drummers not being able to "groove."
 

sethlowden

Senior Member
I'm not trying to be smug posting that link, and I am sure you already read it. Precise subdivision of time is not the same as groove or pocket or whatever you want to call it though. I had a drummer friend in college that shedded like crazy, and developed some great chops, but could not keep steady time. If he worked on precise time, he would be better, but still probably not "groove". No organic push-pull. No dynamics. I guess there are lots of types of music where pocket is not necessary though.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Don't even come close to implying I am a racist. I do not believe in "race" except the human race. By DNA I simply meant the heritage of their continent, which, as Mr. Beinhorn mentions in his very interesting blog, is the background for all modern, popular music.

I happen to believe in the effect of the gene pool, and what it contributes to human talent. Some drummers groove because it is in them to do so already, they just need knowledge of four limb technique.
Yeah, I don't get why you need to bring race into that, but that's fine, I don't have to understand everything. I did answer your question, anyway.
 

Drumsinhisheart

Silver Member
I'm not trying to be smug posting that link, and I am sure you already read it. Precise subdivision of time is not the same as groove or pocket or whatever you want to call it though. I had a drummer friend in college that shedded like crazy, and developed some great chops, but could not keep steady time. If he worked on precise time, he would be better, but still probably not "groove". No organic push-pull. No dynamics. I guess there are lots of types of music where pocket is not necessary though.
I'm curious to know what your friend's basic genre of playing was.

I suppose someone can develop frenetic speed and moves at the expense of time and groove. I don't know why they would, but that's another subject, I guess.
 

Drumsinhisheart

Silver Member
Yeah, I don't get why you need to bring race into that, but that's fine, I don't have to understand everything. I did answer your question, anyway.
Well, for instance, in the gospel chops thread there was posted some differences between black gospel praise and worship, and white praise and worship. Difference in worship styles, certainly, but also in the approach to the drums, themselves. To me, it is not a "race" discussion that blacks can groove circles around others in modern, popular music. The early jazz drummers, the motown drummers, the fusion drummers ... an endless list. That is the influence of Africa and that gene pool in that talent and ability, aside from what individual players learn and develop at the art.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Whenever a discussion happens about players who have great speed and moves there are comments about grooving - BUT, can he/she/they groove?

In thinking about this I am not able to come up with a single example of a drummer who has all the technique and CANNOT groove. Being drummers, having to relate to time, how could anyone who has developed the craft in ways of speed and moves NOT be able to play solid time? I can see someone just grooving, not being interested in developing more "chops." But if you have the chops how could you not be able to groove? Unless you went straight from drum corps, doing incredible stick things on a snare or toms, etc., and had no real experience at a drum set, how can people learning to play drums, develop great technique and not be able to groove? We all began playing to records. Time naturally comes first, then the technique.

There might be examples of unknown players on youtube, but seriously, can you show examples of players who have chops but no groove? Not anecdotes, but show real examples. Especially is this the case with Black drummers who have sense of time and rhythm from ancient eras in their DNA. How can they not groove?

I tend to think asking if people can groove is simply saying you don't like drum solos or the drum battle kind of thing. But, I mean, where are examples of players who can fly all over a set and yet not lay down a decent groove? How do you achieve one at the expense of the other?
I like Jojo quite bit, but he was not quite getting this groove in my opinion. Though, it is probably a pretty rough groove to get. I was glad to see him get out a little though, I think he starts sound pretty 32nd-ee sometimes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBXOWDw67gM
 

motleyh

Senior Member
Drummers get hired for their groove, not for their chops. Overplaying and showboating just overshadows the lead players in a band, so the leads like a drummer who plays the pocket and stays out of their way. As they say, you get paid for the 2 and the 4.

That being said, if you're looking at successful professional drummers for examples, you're looking at people who can groove or they wouldn't have gotten where they are. But if you cruise Youtube a bit looking at nonprofessionals who are not covering a recording, you'll find lots of examples of good chops with little or no pocket. Seems like some of the ferocious solos that can be accessed on video these days have gotten drummers focused on chops and neglecting the groove -- or at least that's what I hear from a lot of bands.
 
I think the groove comes from inside. Chops let you express your groove more accurately. If your internal groove is weak then all the chops in the world won't help.

It's like trying to tell a story with a limited vocabulary. Or have a huge vocabulary and still being a boring story teller.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Some people cite Stewart Copeland as a guy with chops who doesn't groove. IMO Neil Peart qualifies as well. If I'm not mistaken, Thomas Lang was cited as fitting this description too.

I'm not sure you're aware of the history of this exact topic here, but there are threads upon threads dealing with this precise issue. They are legendary for the polarizing effect they have on the forum. Some pretty heated debates have been the result of this topic. In fact it could be the most cliched topic here ever, it's been so beaten to death.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Must admit, saw the thread title, & had a "uh oh" moment (forum history, etc), but I'll play along.

Groove gets you work, chops gets you noticed by drummers, & to a lesser extent, other musicians. I'm sure that in 99%+ of cases, chops are a route to groove, but not guaranteed. Limited chops repertoire = limited groove repertoire (I should know ;), but quality of chops does not = depth of groove. Outside of the very basics, that's a skill set almost apart from chops.

Edit: Just noticed Larry made the same history point as me.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
I'm not getting into this silly little discussion..... but I will express that I hate this "new" definition of "chops"

all "chops" ever meant to me and anyone I studied with was that you could play and make the music sound and feel good

like....the band leader calls..."Cherokee , you got the chops to keep up ?."

now all the sudden it means you distract the music with flurries of 64th note linear patterns and blinding over the top licks and being able to perform speedy acrobatics on the drum kit

in my school of thought being able to groove is a chop
 
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