play ahead or behind the beat

coopa

Junior Member
Hi,

Just wondering how does everyone here practice to play ahead or behind of the beat? I try it but not sure if my playing is ahead/behind enough or not.

If there was a thread about this, please let me know. And could anyone suggest any specific song in which drums is ahead or behind?

Thanks alot!
 

FunkyJazzer

Senior Member
I guess there's no easy way to really tell if you're TOO far ahead or behind the beat.

When you're ahead of the beat, it shouldn't feel rushed, you should just be driving the song. Behind the beat should have a add a lilt to the song, but not sound out of time. They should both feel natural.

A good way to measure is to either record yourself with a click, or just play with other musicians (decent ones). Most other musicians are good at hearing feels. Ask them whether they feel you are driving them and pushing them along enough. All you've really got to do is focus. Most contemporary mainstream music uses "ahead-of-the-beat" rhythm sections. Just make sure, when you are playing in a band, you are playing with the same feel as everyone else! If you are playing in front of the beat and the bassist is playing ON the beat, then it ain't gonna cook!

IF YOU THINK "DRIVE", YOU WILL PROBABLY FIND YOURSELF PLAYING AHEAD OF THE BEAT. JUST FOCUS. It can be so subtle, you might find it just comes down to attitude and your approach to the song.

Lloyd.
 

oops

Silver Member
I think it was Jeff Porcaro who talked about making the whole groove sit dead on the beat, and then pulling the snare drum back a little bit to make it groove or layback a bit better?

Unfortunately, I have no clue how to do it.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
There is a common misconception that if you are playing a fast song, you have to play ahead of the beat, or if you are playing a slow song, you have to play behind it. This is not always the case. Off the top of my head (I don't have my iPod here, so these might not be the best examples), "Dance, Dance" by Fallout Boy and "Paralyzer" by Finger Eleven are two examples of songs that are faster, dancable tunes, where the playing is behind the beat. I'm also thinking that "Wonderful Tonight", by Eric Clapton, is an example of a slower song that is played ahead of the beat, though I'm not certain.

When I described it to my band, I did so in a theory sense. Basically, I said, "You can divide a beat into 2 eighth notes, 4 sixteenth notes, 8 thirtysecond notes, 16 sixtyfourth notes, etc. Technically, you can keep going forever, so you can have 32 onehundredandtwentyeighth notes, 64 twohundredandfiftysixth notes, etc, all in one beat. The basic idea is that if you break a beat down like that, you can picture yourself hitting right on the first of those twohundredandfiftysixth notes, or on the fourth, or the tenth, etc. Visualizing that really helped me learn to understand those feels, and now I can switch at will between ahead of, behind, or dead on the beat. I hope this helps, even though it's one of the oddest things I've ever written on here.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I think it was Jeff Porcaro who talked about making the whole groove sit dead on the beat, and then pulling the snare drum back a little bit to make it groove or layback a bit better?

Unfortunately, I have no clue how to do it.
This is an easy trick to do. Play the high hats or ride on the beat and play a flam between that hand (for the grace note) to the snare or bass drum (as the main note of the flam). It also works for playing ahead of the beat...just place the grace note on the beat.

I practiced playing ahead of and behind the beat a lot a few years back. Play with a recording (it's easier than a metronome for this). Practice playing on the beat, and shift to playing just ahead or just behind. Try pushing this a little further and further until you're obviously not playing "in time" with them anymore. You'll find the limits soon enough. Listen to how what you're playing makes the whole ensemble sound--that's the important thing here.

If you play too far ahead or behind the beat, it has the opposite effect of what you are intending. If you play behind the beat a little, it sounds laid back. If you play more behind the beat, it will sound as if the rest of the band is pushing ahead and driving. Playing too far ahead of the beat will make the band sound like they're laying back.
 

maddrummr

Platinum Member
For me it depends on the song really.
In a Jazz or Rock setting I'm usually staying right on top of the beat.
In a funkier setting I'm a bit behind the beat
And it really depends heavily on the song if i'm going to play ahead of the beat or not. Usually I will if the band is dragging or we are playing polka for our jazz dinner dance.
 

samthebeat

Silver Member
The more you practise with a click and the better your time keeping becomes, the more aware you will be of where you sit. Generally most drummers sit behind the bit, some on top, bot few infront.

The best way to become aware is to keep practising playing on the click. You want it at volume tha where you are on it, you wont really hear it. Do this for a couple of years. After you know where it is, then begin to experiment.
 

Vipercussionist

Silver Member
Hi,

Just wondering how does everyone here practice to play ahead or behind of the beat? I try it but not sure if my playing is ahead/behind enough or not.

If there was a thread about this, please let me know. And could anyone suggest any specific song in which drums is ahead or behind?

Thanks alot!
Correct me if I'm wrong, but my assessment of this behind the beat stuff is you can't do it alone. You have to be playing with someone, or something in order to be "behind" it.

When playing with a metronome or drum machine you try to relax as much as possible and place your notes just a "feel" behind the machine's notes. NOT an easy task and I could use some real shed time in pursuing this. Some drummers just HAVE it when it comes to this concept, others have to work on it, and some others still will NEVER get it. I just hope I'm not the latter . . .
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__________________
Most respect the badge, but all fear the drum.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Another way to look at it as well is not to think of playing the notes, but playing the "space" between the notes...
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Does the snare play behind the beat in relation to the bass drum or does the bass drum play behind the beat too? I don't get it

This concept of playing behind or in front of the beat always confused me, if I played behind the beat I think I'd be dragging and if I played in front I'd think I'd be rushing, either way I'm not with the rest of the guys...I look at it more like establishing the exact perfect tempo for the song, (an art in itself) and show everyone where the 1 the 2 the 3 and the 4 is. I get what you're say about laying back for sure, but to me I think of it as a laid back tempo played right on the beat, not laid back tempo played behind the beat. Am I the only one who thinks this?
 

TheGroceryman

Silver Member
Does the snare play behind the beat in relation to the bass drum or does the bass drum play behind the beat too? I don't get it

This concept of playing behind or in front of the beat always confused me, if I played behind the beat I think I'd be dragging and if I played in front I'd think I'd be rushing, either way I'm not with the rest of the guys...I look at it more like establishing the exact perfect tempo for the song, (an art in itself) and show everyone where the 1 the 2 the 3 and the 4 is. I get what you're say about laying back for sure, but to me I think of it as a laid back tempo played right on the beat, not laid back tempo played behind the beat. Am I the only one who thinks this?
Nah your definitely not along, larryace. I also think the same way...like whenever i listen to recordings it always seems to be in perfect time played to a click...every song, every band. maybe its just my ears not being too experienced, but i dont know, i listen to quite a lot of music, over quite a lot of styles. Who knows. I'll try some of these ideas on this thread though...
 

Vipercussionist

Silver Member
Does the snare play behind the beat in relation to the bass drum or does the bass drum play behind the beat too? I don't get it

This concept of playing behind or in front of the beat always confused me, if I played behind the beat I think I'd be dragging and if I played in front I'd think I'd be rushing, either way I'm not with the rest of the guys...I look at it more like establishing the exact perfect tempo for the song, (an art in itself) and show everyone where the 1 the 2 the 3 and the 4 is. I get what you're say about laying back for sure, but to me I think of it as a laid back tempo played right on the beat, not laid back tempo played behind the beat. Am I the only one who thinks this?
I've been told by better drummers than me that usually the whole kit is played "behind". Again, I'm no master of this by any means, but I THINK I understand the concept.

Jamie Oldaker was great at it, J.R. Robinson was great at it . . .

Dig the song Cocaine by Clapton with Jamie Oldaker, it's not a slow tune but he lays back quite nicely. It's got enough "pocket" for all MY spare change!!!

J.R. Robinson's rendition of the Beach Boy classic California Girls with David Lee Roth shows what a master of "behind the beat" can do under the most adverse of conditions!1 L0L!!.
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__________________
Most respect the badge, but all fear the drum.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
There are two ways to do it. The most common way is to leave the entire kit slightly behind the beat. That's what most people go for, and it works. There is also a technique where you just leave the snare behind the beat, but it's rare, I've only seen it done a few times, and it just doesn't sound "right" to me.
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
Playing behind the beat fattens the groove and lets in sit further down in the pocket. Playing ahead drives the groove.

You can play behind for verses and then on top of a little in front on the chorus or bridge.
Adds a different flavor and lifts the over all section of the song.

This aspect of drumming is all about feel. Listen to "Stop Dragging my Heart Around", Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks. The verses are laid way back, while the chorus is stood up and driven with the rides bell. Good stuff.
 

Vipercussionist

Silver Member
Playing behind the beat fattens the groove and lets in sit further down in the pocket. Playing ahead drives the groove.

You can play behind for verses and then on top of a little in front on the chorus or bridge.
Adds a different flavor and lifts the over all section of the song.

This aspect of drumming is all about feel. Listen to "Stop Dragging my Heart Around", Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks. The verses are laid way back, while the chorus is stood up and driven with the rides bell. Good stuff.
Yeah man, Stan Lynch, another guy with deep pockets!! I was sad when he and Petty split.
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