Senior Member
Hey everyone!

So i come from the self-taught school of Brann Dailor, Thomas Pridgen, Jon Theodore, Chris Pennie, Thomas Lang,and Martin Lopez (Opeth oh yeah!!) and my style has evolved to combine, in all essence, a combo of Pridgen, Dailor, Lang, and Lopez. Ive heard my style called overplaying (even my solos. isnt that odd?), but my band doesnt mind. I dont even hit hard! Just want everyone opinion on "overplaying".



Platinum Member
It entirely depends on the music.
Play what fits.
If the song calls for a groove and simple fills than that is what you should play.


Platinum Member
Overplaying is relative to what you're accompanying. What is deemed to be overplaying in one instance could well be par for the course in another. Pridgen's work fits well with TMV, but it wouldn't work with The Rolling Stones....as always, context is everything.

I'd need to hear you playing with your band before I could offer any insight as to whether I thought you were overplaying.


Senior Member
There is nothing worse than a busy drummer who does not have great phrasing, time, musical sensibilities, hearing skills and technique, and this pitfall is a very common one for drummers.

But if these elements are in place, that can be fantastic. Just look at the drummers you mentioned. It comes down to a million factors and context. I don't know all of those drummers but Pennie and Lang have an inspiringly mindblowing control over their facilities. And Lang still played simple when needed (see all the pop acts he worked with).

I recently saw a drummer play along to a popular pop punk song with loads of double bass, and fills, polyrhythms that were unlikely to have been imposed with any sense of the music that was occuring, and playing all his most "out there" ideas as fast as possible (but with no great chops to speak of). It was not pretty. And then you see Chris Pennie doing four times as many notes with 1000 times the grace. Overplaying is what you make it!
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Gold Member
Pick your spots. Blowing your wad all the time can be just as tiresome and boring as a beat box type drummer. But pop out once in a while let her fly, then tuck back in will make people tend to listen more.


Silver Member
I don't think it's so much about overplaying or underplaying. I think it's about enhancing the music and making the best of the songwriting. Many people will have varying opinions on overplaying or whatever, but as long as you are being the bold force that enhances the meaning and the feeling behind that song, and creating space and suspension for those parts leading up to the climax, you're doing your job.

I've gotten more compliments on creating feelings and dynamics for songs than I ever have for my "awesome chops" (if they even are).

Besides, I hate the word "appropriate" when it comes to music. Just blech.


Platinum Member
If the band is happy with you then I don't see a problem. Generally you need to play in such a way that you can clearly hear everyone in the band.

Listening to playbacks is a huge help when deciding how to - and how much to -arrange your parts.

If someone think you overplay in a solo, chances are they think you need to provide more space, which helps to provide contrast and make the most of more lively parts.

As per Goon's comment below, nonstop flurries of notes become like wallpaper in a similar way to the "wallpaper" of unchanging beats.
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Too Many Songs

Senior Member
You might want to define what you think your job in the band is.

A. Is it to make everyone else sound as good as possible? OR

B. Is it to make yourself sound as good as possible?

If your answer is B you are probably overplaying. BTW you might want to ask the other band members the same question at some time (the lead guitarist in particular).


Junior Member
it solely depends on various factors......
1. place u play
2. wat u play
3.does dat particular songs require one
ur song shoudnt sound too dramatic wen its not...
drumming can change entire version of song depending upon u wat r u playing... so according to me overplaying does count.... mmost of drummers i personally knw like to have limelight by playing excessive roles and stuff but drumming is about melodious percussion not about rolls...so nxt time play do the tricks nd stuff but it should sound accordingly


Junior Member
I always like Peart's statement that "less is more only when it's better." Especially for the kind of music you like Nitemare (and I am very much on the same wavelength!), intense, flashy playing is needed to for the music to have the right vibe.

I guess I tend to think any good musician wears two hats: the player hat and the composer hat. Even if I didn't write the song, as a drummer (unless the songwriter wrote out a precise part for me -- which is rare), I am composing my own drum part. Even if I leave lots of room from improvising, the best way to avoid "overplaying," for me, at least, is to never lose sight of how my drum part works in the overall composition. So part of me is focused on the tangible, physical aspect of playing the drums, and part of me is trying to make my playing match the vibe the song has going.

I think, too often, busy, intense, flashy drumming gets tagged as "overplaying." One ill-timed and awkwardly phrased fill that steps all over a guitarist's heartfelt solo line could be egregious overplaying, even if the drummer is otherwise playing dirt simple grooves throughout the rest of the song. By the same token, Dailor's monster fills in "Capillarian Crest" are essential for that song's manic vibe. Underplaying can be just as un-musical. Imagine a Phil Rudd grove under the ending riff to Deliverance by Opeth!

Finding the right vibe for a song is something any good musician is constantly striving for, but I would suggest that overplaying is no worse than underplaying. To me, it doesn't matter if a player has played too much or too little -- if it ain't right, it ain't right.


Senior Member
What is "overplaying"?

I keep hearing about playing for the song,not to overplay...what does that mean? too vague, a bit like the mysterious "playing in the pocket",nobody seems to be able to explain how that really works...


Senior Member
Re: What is "overplaying"?

I keep hearing about playing for the song,not to overplay...what does that mean? too vague, a bit like the mysterious "playing in the pocket",nobody seems to be able to explain how that really works...
Sad as it may seem, mate, when considering bands most folks do not take much account of the drummer. They are looking at the singer or the lead instrument. Argue all you want, the lead is where the action is as far as most people, (and they're mostly non-musician folk), are concerned. Imagine you had no musical interest, or desire/ability to play a musical instrument. The most easily accessible thing to this person is the singer.

Now, to "play for the music" is to prop the lead player up. That is to make them look good. We can argue all night and day about this but there are several styles of music that are geared towards this thought process....blues is probably the foremost example.

Which leads us to the 'pocket'. When someone is in the 'pocket', they are laying down a groove that everyone understands, (even these non-musician-types), and you'd have to be dead or in a coma to miss. This groove never wavers until the end of the song. This groove you can feel in your bones. If you are not nodding your head you are not present.
Are bass notes fish ?
I'm going to listen to them.
Sh*t me , if this is what it takes; I'm going there.

"The Secret Life of Fish"

[ sorry Polly, just 'taking a lend' ]
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"Uncle Larry"
Re: What is "overplaying"?

I keep hearing about playing for the song,not to overplay...what does that mean? too vague, a bit like the mysterious "playing in the pocket",nobody seems to be able to explain how that really works...
I think this applies mostly to lyric based music. Pocket equates to groove. Not all music has pocket and groove. Of course that is a massive generalization. Music is just not defined that easily


Staff member
Irrespective of context, I think you can define overplaying as playing for the purpose of personal chops promotion to others.


Senior Member
If you want to work, play 2&4,don't drink too much and be on time.

It's self-gratification if you are the only one getting off.

On the other hand, if you have worked out some slick ideas and can execute them without running over the vocalist, I say let's hear them!
If you are shitting all over the music with your 'chops' then you are overplaying. If you are listening to yourself only, you are probably overplaying.

I get it, there is music out there that lends to overplaying.....yep.

Most of my observations listening to drummers do a fill every bar, playing over barlines with these fills, ghost notes that are as loud as the back beats, cymbal crash-galore - most of these players sound like shit. There is no concept of phrasing or taste. It's the worst. They actually think they sound great, but they really sound really bad. These guys always say "it's my expression man...." Your expression has no musical value.

But hey, Im a drummer myself, I should love it, right? Wrong.

The lament listens to the drummers mentioned, Pridgen, Pennie, Lang etc etc..and hear busy - but what they don't hear is their sense of time, phrases that are clean with total control of their internal dynamics. They aren't guessing....they aren't 5 out of 10 or 6 out of 10...they are 10 out of 10. There is a purpose to what they are doing...it's not willy-nilly. It's very set -out.

Somebody said it already....pick your spots...and in the context of whats going on around you. It's about being a pro. Be a pro...not a hack.