Missing that...something

Neil

Senior Member
Hey guys,

Is having a groove something that can be practised, or is it something that you just have.. Michael Schumacher is an outstanding F1 racer, statistically the 'best' there ever has been, Ayton Senna though, was the greatest F1 driver..he had that 'something'

I'm Missing that something from my drumming, I tend to find that my drumming is fairly steady and reliable but doesn't set the world alight. When I get home from a gig my fiancé asks how the gig went, it's replied with the standard 'Yeh I played alright...the odd fluff but nothing major'.

I can only use a pad at home for practice so it usually falls into rehearsal of various rudiments, so when not rehearsing with the band, how can I work on my groove? Fall asleep while listening to Billy Gene? lock myself in a room with only Buddy Rich CD's to listen to and only have Stanton Moore notation for sustenance?

When I play I always try and remember to pound the drummers into submission but to work with to get what I want...inevitably I get mentally tired my mind wandering off to think about what I'm going to eat when I get home.

Any advice?
 

ahector

Senior Member
I don't believe groove is something you just have or don't have. It's learned. It comes from practice, experience, and time. Some people pick up on it easier. Some people learn and develop it more quickly and effectively.

I know this: when I started playing drums, my time and feel was atrocious. It still has a long way to go (I'll never stop working on it), and sometimes I feel like I'll never to the level of playing that I'm striving for, blah blah blah.... but if you compare how I play today vs. back then, it's clear that I have developed it a whole lot. It's a billion times better!

So, I can say from experience that it comes from practice. In particular, I believe that it comes not only from time spent on the kit working on it, but also from developing your listening skills and learning how to put yourself in the right mindset while you play.
 

Homeularis

Gold Member
I'm somewhere in between. I believe you can be born with it. I think I was because groovin rhythms were very natural for me (I still need plenty work though...lol).

I also believe that it can be taught.

You are able to identify it at least, so that says that you know what it is but youre having trouble finding it, for now.

When you listen to music that has a heavy groove do you feel the groove and sometimes begin to bob your head almost involuntarily and/or even dance around a little?. (bobbing your head will do...lol)

You have to like what youre doing (playing) in order to bust out a meaningful groove. If youre feeling it then you can learn it. If you dont have "rhythm in you", you might not.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I was reading a study recently about being "beat deaf", which is a lot like being tone deaf, only with rhythm. There were subjects in the study who, for whatever neurological reason could not clap in time. It had something to do with their ability to anticipate or predict when then next beat would come along even if it was all just quarters.

I think these things exist on a continuum, where beat deaf people and their effortlessly beat-infused counterparts exist at the extremes and are likely born that way.

Then there's the vast majority of us who exist somewhere in between. I had a lot of trouble not speeding up when playing fills and slowing down when playing slow to mid-tempo tunes when I was younger. Other musicians heard it and pointed it out, and I heard it myself when listening to recordings. It's something I've deliberately worked on over the years and have gotten a handle on by now (for the most part). I'm still not done, but who ever is? There are still certain tempos and feels that are just out of my comfort zone and if I want to sound good playing them, I have to do some hard shedding.

Fortunately, and probably not coincidentally, those aren't tempos and feels that I get called on to do much so it hasn't been a problem - yet!
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I can only use a pad at home for practice so it usually falls into rehearsal of various rudiments, so when not rehearsing with the band, how can I work on my groove?
Get another pad....or even a couple if you can. It's also worth buying a kick practice pad too. Rig them up like a makeshift kit. This will help with the feeling of being able to separate your hands and move them around, plus you're bringing the foot into play as well. I've only recently been able to set my kit up at home, so have worked out with this sort of set up for a few years. Not quite a drum kit, but a damned sight better than no practice at all.

Then, listen to some groove monsters for inspiration. Stanton Moore is a fine choice. Steve Jordan also has it in spades....and there's thousands more to nick ideas off too.
 

Algorithm

Senior Member

Drumolator

Platinum Member
The best thing that helped me was this: you must love the spaces between the notes as much as the notes you play. Once you can really do that, you will have groove. Peace and goodwill.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I think these things exist on a continuum, where beat deaf people and their effortlessly beat-infused counterparts exist at the extremes and are likely born that way.
This is very much at odds with what I've read about neurology and music. Many times an Altzheimer's patient or other "outer area" brain damage sufferer will have no loss of musical ability, indicating that brain deals with music primarily in the "inner" regions (trying not to get too scientific here!). The location of these regions supports the theory that musical abilities pre-date memory and other cognitive tasks in the course of human evolution.

If the people in the study had not developed those "inner" regions because of a genetic anomaly, then it would be all or nothing: either they possessed the genetic material to develop the necessary brain regions or they didn't. The existence of people all along a continuum is not supported here.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Any advice?
What helped me was "fading" between feels, but playing the same pattern of notes, while using a metronome. For example, play a plain old 8th note rock beat, then gradually move pairs of hi-hat notes closer together until you're playing a blues shuffle, and then "fade" your way back to straight 8ths. There is a lot of gray area between those two feels, and a lot of opportunity for "groove". Listen to Ramblin' Man by the Allman Brothers for a great example.

Do the same for a one-handed 16th note beat, and "fade" into a half-time shuffle beat, and back. Listen to Use Me by Bill Withers.

Repeat the process again, this time with a slow blues shuffle (triplet feel), then "fade" into a dotted-eighth and 16th-note feel ("ONE - e - & - AH - TWO - e - & - AH - THREE...."). And back. Try this one again with the jazz ride cymbal pattern.

I also got a drum machine with a "swing" knob, and I would adjust it until whatever beat felt seriously groovy, and then played along, trying to lock every last note in as best I could.

These exercises don't require a kit, btw. Hitting the drums is the easy part; it's a mental battle.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Neil we need more info. What kind of music do you do? Are your bandmates good musicians? You have to further define your issue. Is your backbeat wimpy? Is you bass drum confident and punchy?
 

MattA

Senior Member
When I play I always try and remember to pound the drummers into submission but to work with to get what I want...inevitably I get mentally tired my mind wandering off to think about what I'm going to eat when I get home.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this line?

In any case, the one biggest thing that I noticed you didn't mention in your post was the use of a metronome. Are you using one? If so, how are you using it? There really isn't any single thing IMO that can be used to help your groove more than a metronome. It's not just about using one, but really listening to your playing in comparison with the click. The better you get at varying different sub-divisions at different tempos with different dynamics with great accuracy, the better your groove will become.

On a side note, I practice grove at any opportunity I get. Even if I don't have drums, a practice pad or even sticks! If you can make inanimate objects groove well using your hands and feet alone, you're on your way to being able to make anything groove! (Apologies to family, friends and work colleagues that may not find my funky desk rhythms as awesome as I do)
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Groove: I think we have to differ between the question of "having" groove or not, and
being able to translate it to the drums!

I'm not sure about the first - whether some just have it and others don't - but I'm sure
about the second: Although you may have it already, you can (and have to) learn to
convey it through the instrument by training your ears and your technique.
 

Duracell

Senior Member
Being able to groove on the kit is something that takes time to learn and requires dedicated practice just as much as rudiments do. Problem is that there's so many elements that need to be in place that it's hard to focus on any particular element of " grooving ". Stuff like dynamics, tempo, note spacing, the ability to listen (very important). My advice would be to find a groovin teacher. I did and it's working wonders.
 

jonescrusher

Pioneer Member
The best thing that helped me was this: you must love the spaces between the notes as much as the notes you play. Once you can really do that, you will have groove. Peace and goodwill.

Agreed on that. An understanding of note spacing will take you to another level. And you can work on it with pad only.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
The best thing that helped me was this: you must love the spaces between the notes as much as the notes you play. Once you can really do that, you will have groove. Peace and goodwill.
Add me to the approval list for this statement. You play the spaces as much as, if not more than, the notes themselves. As for note placement, microtiming is the augmentation tool, & dynamics is the delivery system. As suggested, get a few pads & set up a drum pedal on a pad. Try playing "the money beat" with as many feels, tempos, volumes, as you can think of. Accent different notes in the beat. Try experimenting with playing slightly ahead & slightly behind the beat. Use the backbeat to achieve this at first, then move onto other elements if that's working out. These exercises get you used to manipulating a beat by using small changes to make a big difference. Once you're comfortable with this, you'll find your playing responds to your expressive desires without getting hung up on the mechanics.
 

Neil

Senior Member
Hi All, to add to my original post, I've been the spending the beginning of 2010 getting my career sorted and getting my certifications sorted out (became a CCNP at the end of May..just incase there's any other Cisco network enginners here) This meant my drumming really suffered, minimal practice time.
I rarely post videos of my drumming, mainly due to worries over my ability but I'm very motified now in getting it sorted, now that my career is sorted. However, I'd really appreciate it if people could watch the videos and really give me a proper critque.
The music I'm playing is with a covers band

Originally Posted by Neil

When I play I always try and remember to pound the drummers into submission but to work with to get what I want...inevitably I get mentally tired my mind wandering off to think about what I'm going to eat when I get home.


I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this line?
Sorry, really should've proof read my post, this should 'When I play I always try and remember to not pound the drums into submission..

What drummers do you listen to most, Neil?
Hi Polly, well my musical tastes are more alternative, however I do listen to everything, more often that not classical fm in the mornings!
However, I guess drummers that I enjoy listening to and are people like Stanton Moore, Arron Spears, Jason Bowld, Chris Pennie to name but a few.

Neil we need more info. What kind of music do you do? Are your bandmates good musicians? You have to further define your issue. Is your backbeat wimpy? Is you bass drum confident and punchy?
Hi Larry, here's a video of a gig from last week, the most recent example of my playing. The other guys are good, we do get pretty sloppy sometimes and it does wind me up, it's not that we're not good at our instruments, there just a nature within the band of not rehearsing the songs enough.


Now I should point out I'd been on holiday for 2 weeks and the band hadn't rehearsed together for 3 weeks at least..so please bare that in mind when judging! :) This should also allow you see some other videos of my playing from earlier in the year/last year.

Gimme All your Lovin ZZ top, shortish clip

just incase there aren't any other videos that pop up here's:

hard to handle

These should illustrate my point that my beat is just 'there' in the background, along with me..I always seem to be looking down at my right foot. I think this is because that's where I usually put the set list and I'm reading it!

Please crtique, I'm very much looking forwards to getting back on track. Regarding a metronome, I do rehearse my rudiments to a 'nome but not with the band and there are timing issues, usually it's down to an issue with too many chefs..if you know what I mean.
 

rhydianjlewis

Senior Member
In my opinion, 'groove' can be learned, but not in the same way that technique and chops are learnt. For my first 6 years of playing, my practice was almost entirely playing with other musicians and playing along to music... Since coming back from a year away from drums, I decided to practice in a more structured way, rudiments and exercises mostly, and less with the band who have all but split up, and it seems the thing that has suffered most is my groove, even though I have been improving my technique a lot. I believe it comes down to a few factors:

Listening - if you listen to enough music, particularly in the style you're playing, your mind will be much more in sync with the 'feel' of that style.

Confidence - when I'm playing at the absolute edge of my technique, my groove suffers because I can't relax and be confident in my playing. This is why people who have groove in odd time signatures are particularly impressive.

Fun - when I'm playing confidently, I'm also having fun, inventing and creating as I go along, and just enjoying being part of the music.

Inspiration - the groove is a major part of the 'art' side of drumming, and if the music you're playing isn't inspiring you, your playing may be a little sterile. Like any art form you can get by without a whole lot of inspiration, but true greatness comes when it's there.


So my advice would be - Definately get a full kit to practice on, even if its just pads. Play along to music, watch videos of inspirational drumming, listen to the music that makes you tick, and play with as many different musicians as you can, remembering not to push yourself too hard, but relax back to where you're confident and enjoying it, and push on from there.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
Now I should point out I'd been on holiday for 2 weeks and the band hadn't rehearsed together for 3 weeks at least..so please bare that in mind when judging! :) This should also allow you see some other videos of my playing from earlier in the year/last year.

Gimme All your Lovin ZZ top, shortish clip


Please crtique, I'm very much looking forwards to getting back on track. Regarding a metronome, I do rehearse my rudiments to a 'nome but not with the band and there are timing issues, usually it's down to an issue with too many chefs..if you know what I mean.
well, for one thing, that's pretty fast. that's a lot faster than the original. it sounds like you might be charging the beat a little too. i notice you have the hats really sloshy and you're putting a lot of emphasis on the quarter notes. it almost sounds kind of punk rock-ish. if it were me i'd probably play slower, close the hats more, and play the eighth notes on the hats so you can hear every note. i think it's still good to accent on the quarter notes and not be choppy and machine like, but i think you need to hear all of the hi hat hits.
 
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