Not sure what the money beat is?

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that some drummers don’t know what this is, and at the same time, hearing disparaging comments about the money beat, shouldn’t surprise me either.

But consider this; in music history, no other musicians get to stray from the parts they have to play. Drummers, seemed to have grown up with the idea that they get options in how they execute the music people want to hear. I wonder why that is?

If you’ve done any time in a concert band, orchestra, or actually, any group of musicians, have you ever noticed that people engage in playing parts? What if that guitar player didn’t play the correct part on the intro to “My Girl” because he didn’t want to play the “money” part? Or how weird would it be if the drummer took a different path for “50 ways to leave your lover”? (These are just two examples). Can you imagine an audience reaction to that? Yet, drummers feel like they have a say in whether or not they play the money beat or not.

I agree, there is music where things are improvised and that’s ok - listening to Ravi Shankar playing Indian music comes to mind, as well as listening to Charlie Parker. But for the most part, rock n roll cover bands (a blanket title for “everybody else”, so forgive me if I didn’t include you specifically), all the members are doing the “money beat”. If they have drummers who stray too far from that, you can bet they won’t for long.

So come on drummers, perhaps you need to re-assess your feelings on the money beat. Sometimes it blows my mind when I meet youngsters with a lot less experience declare “I could never just play the money beat, that’s so boring”. To which I’ve always said “then it must be nice you can get gigs where you get to play whatever you want”. Is the rude awakening when you get with a band that insists you play the right part (because, after all, they have to play the right parts), or does it become clearer when you get fired and then wonder why your phone isn't ringing (because you know, musicians talk to each other)?

I think band mates are sorta jealous of drummers because while the drummer can do all kinds of different things within a song, they have to play the parts that exist, or else no one would know what they were playing - hence the term, “cover band”. So drummers should be at least sensitive to that on the bandstand, and not complain too openly that they don’t get to do what they want all night. The other guys are playing their “money” parts. Be a team player and stop whining.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
I agree with this. And even tunes that involve a great deal of improvisation, like jazz, contain sections that are "wrote" where you need to play "the tune". Then the solos come and you can improvise all you want. I've heard way too many drummers who think they can improvise throughout an entire tune. And it rarely comes off sounding good. Unless the drummer's name is Vinnie or Narada or Terry.:cool:
 

ottog1979

Senior Member
It's funny, when I was young... I also used to get "bored" with simple beats. They weren't very hard to understand and play (lets qualify "play" as play almost adequately). But with time, age and more experience, playing money beats super-well with great feel, integration and coordination with the rest of the band is a real trick. In reality, money beats played in such a manner is not a given and not necessarily very easy. But, it's a real joy when you do it and you and the band sound fantastic. That's the part that I really didn't understand when I was younger.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I agree, though I also feel that it is strange to repetitively overstate the importance of a small fraction of humanities' musical lexicon.

In order to preempt the same ole micro-vs-macro debate, here's a better use of everyone's time (includes the beat in question)

 

Al Strange

Well-known member
Is this really an issue? Do we have anyone on here who, for example, plays AC/DC covers but insists on incorporating 32nd note beat displacements and 4 bars of 7?! I’d love to hear from them if they exist, not to mention hear the car crash that would be such a cover! :unsure:
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Is this really an issue? Do we have anyone on here who, for example, plays AC/DC covers but insists on incorporating 32nd note beat displacements and 4 bars of 7?! I’d love to hear from them if they exist, not to mention hear the car crash that would be such a cover! :unsure:
I think it is (and I'm with Bo on this one).

I'm surprised at the number of players who take pride in the fact that they don't play the original parts as written. They say that "covering" a song gives them license to do what they please with it and that sticking to the original is boring yada yada yada.

To each their own, I guess.

I go out of my way to learn parts as close to note-for-note as possible. I think my bandmates appreciate it because it gives them a structure and framework to work with that doesn't deviate too far from the original. It helps me as a player because I am following in the footsteps of (sometimes) giants who are much more advanced than me. Learning their parts has made me a better player.

The downside to this is that I'm hard on myself when I don't nail my parts. I never give up though. A little perspective goes a long way.

EDIT: I'm not slavish about playing note for note. It's just a goal. I wouldn't learn 95% of a song and tell my bandmates that it isn't ready to go because I don't know it fully.

As long as I have the starts and the stops and the main groove down, I'm good to go. I'm least picky about fills.
 
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Al Strange

Well-known member
I think it is (and I'm with Bo on this one).

I'm surprised at the number of players who take pride in the fact that they don't play the original parts as written. They say that "covering" a song gives them license to do what they please with it and that sticking to the original is boring yada yada yada.

To each their own, I guess.

I go out of my way to learn parts as close to note-for-note as possible. I think my bandmates appreciate it because it gives them a structure and framework to work with that doesn't deviate too far from the original. It helps me as a player because I am following in the footsteps of (sometimes) giants who are much more advanced than me. Learning their parts has made me a better player.

The downside to this is that I'm hard on myself when I don't nail my parts. I never give up though. A little perspective goes a long way.
So is the issue here that drummers don’t play the parts exactly as the recorded version they’re supposed to be covering as opposed to an aversion to playIng the appropriate groove? :unsure:
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I think people would be disappointed if I played the money beat in my Yes cover band.


I take it you play proper Yes though ;)

When you're young you don't know any better and until you realise why it's called the money beat all is forgiven! Been there, seen it, done it, got the t-shirt. I was studying and everyone else is pushing themselves ability wise, sadly not taste wise!

It's the guys who can't put the ego to one side and play for the song I struggle with and it's not just drummers. If you have to play covers at a decent level for a decent payday, you soon start to love the money beat.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
I think one of the best lessons in this was that whole Dream Theater auditions drummers video series.

There was some drummers (and these are all top level players, Lang, Donati, Minnemann, etc.) and some of them came in and played the songs part for part...some came in and put their own flare on it.

Guess who got the gig...despite them liking those changes - Mangini came in and played everything note for NOTE and did it powerfully and he got the gig. I'm sure there was other factors too - personality, etc.: but I know when Thomas Lang came in and changed some stuff - about half the band was in and the other half was saying "Ehhh" on the interviews.


So there is a LOT to be said for playing the parts as they exist.

However - I always thought in terms of "The Money Beat" - that referred to the most basic 4/4 2 and 4 backbeat 1 and 3 & on the kick kind of beat: not slang for playing existing parts.

Am I wrong?
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
Well, there's two ways to approach covers. There's the 'cover band' approach where you try and replicate the song as accurately as possible...and then there's the 'artistic band' approach, where you play the cover however you like....could be similar, could be different.

There's some famous covers out there that deviate quite a bit from the original...the most notable probably being Cocker's With a Little Help From My Friends. But even other famous covers that also deviate....Cash's Hurt, Buckley's Hallejulah, Cake's I Will Survive, etc. But there's also 'artistic' bands that do pretty accurate covers as well....like a lot of The Beatles' covers are fairly close to the originals, for example.

I don't go out of my way to see cover bands for the most part. But from the ones I've seen, they do strive to be pretty accurate. I don't see the whole "deviation" thing described in this thread as being an issue. People join these bands specifically because they are a cover band, because they want to play the song as they are. Musicians who naturally want to do their own thing likely wouldn't join these groups in the first place.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
However - I always thought in terms of "The Money Beat" - that referred to the most basic 4/4 2 and 4 backbeat 1 and 3 & on the kick kind of beat: not slang for playing existing parts.

Am I wrong?

Yes, though it is important to know that there is a distinction between "The Money Beat" and a money beat, the latter being anything based on and approximating The Money Beat.

It's like a small L libertarian versus a big L Libertarian... It's all about whether you capitalize the L apparently. (Someone please get this joke).
 

Thin Shell

Well-known member
I wrote this in a thread about tribute bands on another forum but it fits with this discussion.

"I find drummers to be a pretty undisciplined lot. With most bands, be it commercial acts, cover bands or whatever, the guitar players and bass players are playing the correct notes and playing the correct melodies. The singers are singing the same words. Obviously there is some variation for improvisation, changing the words for the locale or a joke but they tend to play the song pretty close. Then you have the drummers. More times and not they are not even trying to play it the way it was recorded. Personally I don't get that. It always makes me think of some of the old drummer jokes. "Our band has three musicians and a drummer". "

I am very much a "learn it and play it the way it was recorded" kind of drummer. Unless we are doing our own interpretation of a song, in which case all bets are off because it is our interpretation, playing things the way I want to play them is irrelevant. I need to be professional and play the part correctly.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
Yes, though it is important to know that there is a distinction between "The Money Beat" and a money beat, the latter being anything based on and approximating The Money Beat.

It's like a small L libertarian versus a big L Libertarian... It's all about whether you capitalize the L apparently. (Someone please get this joke).
What’s a Librarian then? :unsure:
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I think it is admirable to reach out for something new...something that breaks out of the rut that has become redundant and boring.

Now, if you are playing covers...you deserve what you get.

Make your own music and allow what has been to be has been.(money beat or no money beat)

If you are out to make money, I suggest making more for your 40 hrs a week by being in another career and playing the music you want to play with the rest of your time...not what survival forces you to.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
If the drummer who recorded a given song doesn't play it the exact same way in every live performance, why should I aspire to a standard he ignores? It's like joining a cult that not even the leader takes seriously.

This note-for-note-replication-of-fills business is an issue that means a lot more to drummers than it does to anyone else. What's important is maintaining the groove and timing of a song. Your doing a fill on your snare that the original drummer did on a tom is a trivial deviation that has little meaning in the practical world. I have never been told, "Dude, that fill should have been on your 12" tom, not on your snare." C'mon, people. Let's all get real.
 
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