How Important Is It...?

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plangentmusic

Guest
To be able to play at top speed? By that, I mean top speed for YOU?

I play several instruments and it seems to be the case across the board -- after playing a while, it becomes a part of you -- you can do it anytime -- to a degree. It's playing the real chop-sy stuff that requires you practice and stay on top of your game. Interestingly enough, the guys who are best at it DO IT TOO MUCH!!!

Case in point : On bass, I can slap pretty well, but don't do it too often because it's kinda dated. And those chops go quickly unless you do it a lot. And who are the guys who do it best? The guys who slap over EVERYTHING. Guitar playing is 90% rhythm playing. Pianists who can improvise substitution chords over substite to the point where you can't tell what it is. And DRUMMERS...they're the WORST! lol

Drums are the one instrument where practice consist of purely technique. By that I mean, a drummer doesn't play modes, scales, notes, harmonies etc. And who are the guys with the best chops? The guys who tend to overplay. And a LOT of drummers overplay. I've found drummers and pianists are the main culprits in this area -- probably because pianists often play by themselves and drummers don't get to show off unless they're soloing -- and how often do you get to play a solo?

Even some of the top guys do it. Hell, last time I saw Dave Weckel it seemed like he played every lick he knew every 4 measures. After 5 minutes I was bored and left the hall.

It's amazing how much diligence it takes to keep your chops up and yet HOLD BACK using them until just the right time.

What's your take on it? And who do you think is a good example of someone with monstrous technique who also uses taste and restraint? I mean, besides Steve Gadd. LOL
 

SticksEasy

Senior Member
The first experience I had with a band was playing very old rock and classic country (it was my mother's band), This got me good excercise in control, as I had to play quietly and slowly. Then a bit later down the road, I joined a Metal band a bunch of my highschool friends put together, and my previous band experience made playing with control much easier.

I currently play for a Pop Punk band, and our tempo is usually really moving, and if it weren't for having good stick control, a lot of times I'd lose total control, and suffer some intense injuries.

Playing at high speeds is important - but you should develope a very sturdy foundation at slow speeds, and the good technique will carry over at high speed.

I studied Okinawan Karate for four years when I was a teen ager. I only made it to the first degree of black belt before I quit, but my instructors taught me one valuable thing that I've always applied to drumming - All the speed and power in the world doesn't mean anything IF YOU CAN'T HIT YOUR TARGET. Speed is always the LAST thing you develope.

I hope this helps.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
What's your take on it?
This is my version of restrained playing, a long time ago though, and I don't have monstrous technique either :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_zdCYoA9cs

And who do you think is a good example of someone with monstrous technique who also uses taste and restraint? I mean, besides Steve Gadd. LOL
This, Black Dub with Brian Blade... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ydc1DkrtxP8&feature=channel&list=UL
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Any drummer for Steely Dan or Cinematic Orchestra - skill and taste.

I saw Albare ITD tonight, with Antonio Sanchez. An absolute monster but he often overplayed IMO. Like Dave Weckl it seemed like he could hardly bear to leave a bar unadorned. Does every bar of music need ornamentation? Even some Edwardian architecture has some flat, functional surfaces that creates the space that highlights the detailed sections. I find it frustrating because he was otherwise so masterful, but I guess he has his reasons.

Nelson, I was just talking about the points you raised with an old guitarist friend tonight. We agreed that there's a type of drummer that sounds pretty generic. Like they learned the rudiments so they use them all the time.

I've only delved lightly into rudiments but I figure that they're supposed to get you hands in shape, foster control and provide tools at your disposal if needed.

Still, one person's "tasteful" is a another person's "dull". We play what makes us happy.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
That's great but not what I would call very restrained! : )
Yes, I know that specific clip isn't restrained (although there's plenty of restrained groove within it), but I answered a direct question, "who do you think is a good example of someone with monstrous technique who also uses taste and restraint?"

In the spirit of your thread, I'll find an example more fitting the vibe :)
 
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plangentmusic

Guest
Any drummer for Steely Dan or Cinematic Orchestra - skill and taste.

I saw Albare ITD tonight, with Antonio Sanchez. An absolute monster but he often overplayed IMO. Like Dave Weckl it seemed like he could hardly bear to leave a bar unadorned. Does every bar of music need ornamentation? Even some Edwardian architecture has some flat, functional surfaces that creates the space that highlights the detailed sections. I find it frustrating because he was otherwise so masterful, but I guess he has his reasons.

Nelson, I was just talking about the points you raised with an old guitarist friend tonight. We agreed that there's a type of drummer that sounds pretty generic. Like they learned the rudiments so they use them all the time.

I've only delved lightly into rudiments but I figure that they're supposed to get you hands in shape, foster control and provide tools at your disposal if needed.

Still, one person's "tasteful" is a another person's "dull". We play what makes us happy.

I brought up that point in the piece I wrote for Modern Drummer. Tasteful and solid is fine but in some cases those type of players are just a polite bore.

I want a guy to light a fire under my ass! (But some guys burn the house down in the process).
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
And who do you think is a good example of someone with monstrous technique who also uses taste and restraint? I mean, besides Steve Gadd. LOL
Just about every last working drummer you can name does that on a daily basis-- it's not a rare thing. You'd be much harder pressed to name a professional who doesn't routinely play with taste and restraint.

There are as many examples of this as there are players, but you could dig up Weckl's playing with Madonna or Diana Ross, Dennis Chambers with Parliament, Jack Dejohnette with Bill Evans, Vinnie Colaiuta on 90% of the recording dates he ever played, or my favorite example, Billy Cobham with Deodato.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
I brought up that point in the piece I wrote for Modern Drummer. Tasteful and solid is fine but in some cases those type of players are just a polite bore.

I want a guy to light a fire under my ass! (But some guys burn the house down in the process).
Is the piece online, Nelson? I've done both sides of the fence. I used to be a rocker and my main aim was to really burn. Now I'm playing loungy music that requires me to be "boring" - at least by my standards in 70s/80s.

I think a lot of it has to do with energy levels. When you're young you have tons of verve and you look for that in other players. Unless you're a livewire, when you get older you become less active and lively and, for me, I'm enjoying just laying back with a "boring" groove - no fuss, no pressure, just doing my bit. That way I can sit back and hopefully make a pleasing impact in the passages where I ramp it up.

These days really intense younger music like metal and hardstyle techno feels like an assault to my poor old frail sensibilities :) Really. It's like a slap in the face.

So I'd say I'm almost as unworried by the opinions of those who find my approach dull today as I was unworried about people who thought my playing was too in your face in the old days. Different time, different target audience.

Most musicians mellow out over time. The only thing I'd worry about is if you'd never looked for serious heat in your playing when young. That's like never being idealistic in your teens. You've got to have the flame, even if it's more like a match than a furnace.

IMO

Todd, always loved that Deodato number. When I got the album I was surprised that BIlly and Stanley were the rhythm section. Both were their usual quality selves but way less upfront than usual, and Stanley achieved the unthinkable - an effective bass solo in a popular song.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
To be able to play at top speed? By that, I mean top speed for YOU?
I guess it's good to be able to play fast, but it was a rare occurrence in my career when I had to really blast at fast tempos, certainly not doing studio work.

Can you imagine, say, a Popeye's chicken commercial at a break-neck tempo? Ha.

Now I did used to work on my singles, to get them as fast and as clean as possible, so they would sound almost like a buzz roll. I got pretty damn close. And I'd mess about with punk tempos, Dead Kennedys tempos, super fast and articulated. That's fun.

I never got my speed up, I mean really really up, as a jazz drummer, mainly because I just couldn't feel music at that tempo. In my opinion tempos ridiculously fast are nothing more than a display of chops, and I find that boring. I always had to sort of fake it when it got that fast.

But the most important part of drumming is to be there, in the pocket, solid and sure and providing a good sturdy surface that the other players can walk on, so to speak. That's what's always been the most important aspect of drumming to me, down in the pocket and grooving steady.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
It's playing the real chop-sy stuff that requires you practice and stay on top of your game. Interestingly enough, the guys who are best at it DO IT TOO MUCH!!!
I think this is a falsehood. Most of the drummers who play solid, groove-oriented stuff have an abundance of technique they keep in their back pocket.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
an abundance of technique they keep in their back pocket.
the key to it all ......is it not?

I've always felt that if you have a high ceiling your knuckles will never scrape it no matter if someone offers you a pogo stick or a trampoline
 
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plangentmusic

Guest
Is the piece online, Nelson? I've done both sides of the fence. I used to be a rocker and my main aim was to really burn. Now I'm playing loungy music that requires me to be "boring" - at least by my standards in 70s/80s.

I think a lot of it has to do with energy levels. When you're young you have tons of verve and you look for that in other players. Unless you're a livewire, when you get older you become less active and lively and, for me, I'm enjoying just laying back with a "boring" groove - no fuss, no pressure, just doing my bit. That way I can sit back and hopefully make a pleasing impact in the passages where I ramp it up.

These days really intense younger music like metal and hardstyle techno feels like an assault to my poor old frail sensibilities :) Really. It's like a slap in the face.

So I'd say I'm almost as unworried by the opinions of those who find my approach dull today as I was unworried about people who thought my playing was too in your face in the old days. Different time, different target audience.



Most musicians mellow out over time. The only thing I'd worry about is if you'd never looked for serious heat in your playing when young. That's like never being idealistic in your teens. You've got to have the flame, even if it's more like a match than a furnace.

IMO

Todd, always loved that Deodato number. When I got the album I was surprised that BIlly and Stanley were the rhythm section. Both were their usual quality selves but way less upfront than usual, and Stanley achieved the unthinkable - an effective bass solo in a popular song.
...............

Agree 100%
 
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plangentmusic

Guest
I think this is a falsehood. Most of the drummers who play solid, groove-oriented stuff have an abundance of technique they keep in their back pocket.
Sure, a lot the top guys do. I just saw a buddy of mine do a gig with Anton Fig and I was surprised to see him display some chops. But a lot of great groovers aren't the most burning guys in regard to having really intense chops. Purdie couldn't play a solo like Buddy and Buddy couldn't groove like Purdie. Some guys don't need it. Nigel Ollson OWNS that slow groove that Elton uses but I doubt he could play burning fours . He never has to!

If you're working in a set situation you make it work for the music and make it your own. But for 95% of the guys who have to find work by jumping from one thing to the next, it can be a challenge.
 
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