Playing with brushes unmiked

Piebe

Senior Member
I have joined this jazz/bluess group with on and off about 10-15 people, but when i play the brushes i can't get the groove on, whilst i do not have this problem when playing solo. Is this a common issue?
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Just keep at it and you will wake up one day and the brushes will be your best friend.
They tend to play themselves when you get used to them.
The bounce of the bristles on the head becomes your friend.
You will look down and not believe that it is you that is playing them.
Remember, keep them moving and swirling in a pattern that fits the groove.
Don't just hit with them like you do with sticks.
 

Piebe

Senior Member
I can hardly hear myself playing when everybody joins in, i was starting to wonder if perhaps brushes are only meant for acoustic duo's or trio's. Is it not so?
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Put a recorder in the room next time and I think that you will be surprised how much the brushes are heard.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I have joined this jazz/bluess group with on and off about 10-15 people, but when i play the brushes i can't get the groove on, whilst i do not have this problem when playing solo. Is this a common issue?
My first thoughts, for what they're worth ...

I'm thinking you may need to lay back more to get that groove. Fifteen people ... that's a lot of musos to hold together and who knows what the mix is like from where they're standing? They will be hoping for clarity.

If you simplify your rhythm and let the bass, piano and guitar to do some of the lifting in carrying the groove, things might work better. My 2¢

Like Bob, I'm a fan of brushes. It wasn't always the case, but they grow on you after a while. You can make a fair noise with them if need be.too. I use them on Sunshine of Your Love!
 

Piebe

Senior Member
I am a fan of brushes too, don't get it twisted!
Thanks for the money, at least i know now that i will try it another time.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I can hardly hear myself playing when everybody joins in, i was starting to wonder if perhaps brushes are only meant for acoustic duo's or trio's. Is it not so?
Are you using a coated batter head on your snare? You will have a very difficult time getting adequate volume from your sweeping motion using a smooth head.
 

Pete Stoltman

Silver Member
On a good number of jazz tunes with a large ensemble I'll play the head of the tune with brushes. This is usually quieter as the melody is stated. On subsequent choruses if the full ensemble is playing switch to sticks. Sometimes (but not always) switch back to brushes for the out chorus.
 

Zickos

Gold Member
I play in a 17 piece Glenn Miller style big band and, on some of our tunes, I use brushes. I am very fond of the Regal Tip Jeff Hamilton model on a coated head. They are very heavy and I can cut through with them but can play softer too. It can't be all swish, however. You have to hit the head once in a while.
 

double_G

Silver Member
I am very fond of the Regal Tip Jeff Hamilton model on a coated head. They are very heavy and I can cut through with them but can play softer too. It can't be all swish, however. You have to hit the head once in a while.

another vote for the Jeff Hamilton model brushes. the first time i used them it was a small jazz combo, brunch gig w/ new coated heads. they were so "loud" i was like holy CRAP and had to really play a bit down and wear down the head coating at a break. i think i even went back to my "quiet" purple Vic Firths to finish the gig. the next gig was big band & it was like i opened up the holy grail of brushes ! fat, loud, articulate & cut thru muted trumpets perfect. reminds me i need a fresh pair for those gigs where louder brush tone sound good.

NOTE that you will adjust your touch over time to the full tone the JHs give off & later be able to play quiet for those small group gigs. well at least i sucked w/ them out of the gate & took some time to get used to them...your mileage may vary. :)
 

Piebe

Senior Member
Are you using a coated batter head on your snare? You will have a very difficult time getting adequate volume from your sweeping motion using a smooth head.
Yes i am using a coated head, i am having the most issues when everybody steps in.
 

Piebe

Senior Member
I guess the Regal Tip Jeff Hamilton is what i need since i have the purple Vic Firth brushes, thanks for the great tips!
 

Piebe

Senior Member
Today i should be getting my Jeff Hamilton brushes and i am curious about the noise they make when swirling. It is namely the swirl i can't hear when the rest of the band joins in, but it won't be until next Tuesday before i rehearse with them again.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Should be a lot louder. I can't use my Regal Tips with my band ... well, I could but it would take some effort to keep the volume of my sweeping down (expat rock drummer).

I like my sweeping volume to be at a point where you can hear it if you listen for it but it otherwise seems blended into the band sound.
 

Piebe

Senior Member
I just received them and they are indeed a lot louder, i am positive they will do the job. Now i am almost worried they will tear of the coating. :S
 

Piebe

Senior Member
Seriously though, after playing a couple of hours with them i got the hang of it, i wonder if i will touch my Vic Firth brushes again.
 
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