Learning your own beats

JT1

Silver Member
Hi everyone.

I had a revelation last night at band practice, we are in the process of writing and we like to jam and exchange ideas etc. I notice that beats I am playing to songs are actually too hard for me to play fluently however they are parts I want to play to the song.

My question to you all is do you settle for something simpler and something you can apply straight off when putting a beat to a song or do you go and learn what you have in your head?

I'm finding that transcribing is helping a lot here (yes I am learning to transcribe =D) but I was curious to find out if anyone else has to 'learn' a part they want to put to a song.

Also are there any other ways I can help myself to learn these parts other than transcribing?

Cheers guys
 

Pkaneps

Senior Member
Practice!

I just started a new band about a month ago and we've played two shows, we've got one again tonight. They've pushed me out of my comfort zone quite a bit, but I've managed to push myself back in fairly easily. I'm so impressed with myself, it's incredible.

Other than transcribing, I've been practicing a LOT more than usual.
 

synergy

Senior Member
I remember reading in one drum mag a while ago a pro drummer who I can't remember at this time recorded their whole album using drum machines and cut up samples of his drumming and then pieced back together for the final album cut.

He had to go back to that album and basically learn all his entire drum parts for the songs in order to take the show out on the road.

You say your transcibing- that would be the best way to go to consistently remember the parts. You may want to record the various sections- get them so that you are happy with how they sound individually and then make a master copy of all the pieces together so that you can listen/play along to yourself for the entire song etc

Just the first thought from my head
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
...I notice that beats I am playing to songs are actually too hard for me to play fluently however they are parts I want to play to the song.

...do you settle for something simpler and something you can apply straight off when putting a beat to a song or do you go and learn what you have in your head?
There are a couple of schools of thought on this.

Some drummers just go for the easiest, most reduced part that will fit. The thinking here is that nobody's going to complain that your part is too simplistic since your job is to support the song. Plus, you can always add to it later and in the meantime you won't be hosing anyone else up while you learn your part.

The other approach is to work out whatever ideas you have in your head, no matter how tricky they may be at first, because it will be custom tailored to the song and not a one-size-fits-all generic part.

Myself, I don't go out of my way to come up with a tricky part, but if one pops into my head, I don't shy away from it either. I like to keep things interesting if at all possible, but overplaying then becomes a risk to watch out for. Nobody likes that!
 

720hours World Record

Senior Member
Hi everyone.

I had a revelation last night at band practice, we are in the process of writing and we like to jam and exchange ideas etc. I notice that beats I am playing to songs are actually too hard for me to play fluently however they are parts I want to play to the song.

My question to you all is do you settle for something simpler and something you can apply straight off when putting a beat to a song or do you go and learn what you have in your head?....Also are there any other ways I can help myself to learn these parts other than transcribing?

Cheers guys
Many famous songs have been written with the drummer playing the parts of the drum set separately, then learn to play the song on the full set. You can really create some wild patterns this way.

I like to write patterns quickly with a basic drum pattern from a machine or DAW - to get a feel for the song I am writing, then later on record the full set, replacing the basic pattern generated in the begining.

If you are writing patterns that you will never be able to play.......thats a problem.
 

AJNystrom

Member
I remember reading in one drum mag a while ago a pro drummer who I can't remember at this time recorded their whole album using drum machines and cut up samples of his drumming and then pieced back together for the final album cut.

He had to go back to that album and basically learn all his entire drum parts for the songs in order to take the show out on the road.

You say your transcibing- that would be the best way to go to consistently remember the parts. You may want to record the various sections- get them so that you are happy with how they sound individually and then make a master copy of all the pieces together so that you can listen/play along to yourself for the entire song etc

Just the first thought from my head
I believe that was either Thomas Haake on Obzen or Raymond Herrera from Fear Factory. I get my MD articles mixed up- regardless if they're years apart.

@JT1: My advise- as I've done this numerous times is to tab it out in language/ signs that you understand and to break it down slowly. Break it up into hands/ feet, section by section, or whatever you feel comfortable with.

As far as tabbing, I'll actually number my toms from high to low (when I started this I actually wrote the numbers on the drumheads to make it easier. If you have old drumheads throw those on for practice and try that out.

I hope that helps and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to PM me.
~A.J.
 

JT1

Silver Member
Thanks for all the advice friends.

Synergy: That was really interesting, and yet such a strange way of working.

MikeM: Thanks for your input, very good advice indeed. I don't feel the parts are overplaying but just a bit complicated for me so this is my dilema. I feel like I shouldn't struggle to play my own song so I'm still torn in what to do.

720+AJ: Yeah I heard about Raymond, apparently he used to work out all of the drum parts on a computer first then go away and learn it. Haake did use a drum programme for a Meshuggah album but I forget which one it is. I'm not too good with software so I tend to just play what I think but I want to put more thought into it now not so that I'm overplaying but just to keep the ideas fresh and interesting.

To coin a phrase: a good drum part is much better than an average one.
But even then good could be simple.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Good question.

JT, with me it depends ... on whether the more elaborate part is essential to give the song spark or essential for me to strut my stuff. At times I cling to parts that aren't working for whatever reason - pride, stubbornness, lack of focus - but the penny usually drops in the end (I think).

If an awkward drum part really adds to the song as a whole, then it depends on how close I am to getting the part right. If I'm almost there, then I will persevere. If not, I'll settle. IMO it's better to nail a somewhat bland part than to fluff The Perfect Part ... unless you're playing at a party where everyone is off their heads, in which case all bets are off :)

If you are a serious and ambitious, then you'd play the simpler part tightly with the band and practice like a demon at home so you can play the ideal part ASAP
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I think you need to decide up front what part you're going to play. Nailing a simple part with a view to changing it for another later on, IMO, is a bad move. It's certainly not fair on the rest of the band. Almost every change of part will affect the overall feel & vibe of the number. This in turn, means the rest of the band will need to adjust accordingly.
 

JT1

Silver Member
I cling to parts that aren't working for whatever reason - pride, stubbornness, lack of focus - but the penny usually drops in the end (I think).
Haha Poll this made me laugh. I know I've had to bite the bullet before and accept that something I want to play is not always what should be played.

KIS, I totally agree about changing of parts to a song that's why I have a set beat that I will play forever! The thing is, we will never really play a song when we aren't confident enough to play it live that's why I'm trying to use the time between now and when we want to play it live to establish a drum part that I feel will be better. The problem is I'm struggling to play it straight off the bat and it's really getting to me I don't have a lot of patience or discipline when practicing and this is a huge weakness.

God I hate it sometimes.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
KIS, I totally agree about changing of parts to a song that's why I have a set beat that I will play forever! The thing is, we will never really play a song when we aren't confident enough to play it live that's why I'm trying to use the time between now and when we want to play it live to establish a drum part that I feel will be better. The problem is I'm struggling to play it straight off the bat and it's really getting to me I don't have a lot of patience or discipline when practicing and this is a huge weakness.

God I hate it sometimes.
Not necessarily a problem. You play a simplified version of what you think is the ideal drum part and then add nuance as you get more comfortable with the groove. If it really is the ideal drum part - for the song, not our own indulgence - then the others will probably be happy to adjust because they will think it's a better drum part too.

Might not work so well if the others use the space you leave to do something even better for the song, of course ... nature abhors a vacuum so, if you leave space, chances are some clown will jump in and fill it :)

I guess there could be the odd occasion when a simplified version of the ideal won't work, in which case you will have to take a different approach, but that's been the exception rather than the rule for me.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I don't have a lot of patience or discipline when practicing and this is a huge weakness.

God I hate it sometimes.
You & me both. Try concentrating on the vibe & enjoyment rather than the mechanics. If you can get into the zone, & play a part with your eyes closed, it's probably the best groove for the song, & more importantly, you!
 
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