Straight or shuffle?

davor

Senior Member
Hi folks, so I'm a few years into my drumming journey now, been playing with cover bands mainly and something I've noticed is... of the dozens of covers that I've learned and even just get discussed as suggestions, I'd say 90% of these are straight (as opposed to shuffle grooves,)

The annoying thing about this is I feel like I want to play shuffles more..maybe it's just a phase in my playing, but I just like that 1 uh 2 uh 3 thing!

Does anyone have this going on? Know what I'm talking about?

I don't think band mates/guitar and singers really care if something straight or shuffle, so I'm sharing with you guys!
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
I try to focus on the songs, the music, and not get too hung up on the drum parts. Having said that, if you 'feel' the shuffle more, maybe find a band that plays a genre with more shuffle grooves.
 
I don't think band mates/guitar and singers really care if something straight or shuffle, so I'm sharing with you guys!
Have you asked them or is this just your gut feeling? If they have ears, they should hear a difference. Why not try to swing the 8ths/16ths on one of your current songs? Maybe they like it, maybe they don't. :)
 
I think it depends what kind of cover band we're talking about. Unless it's a very serious band that gets paid to recreate every song faithfully, there might be some leeway to add a lilt to a straight 16ths Funk song (for example). Of course, it should make sense - I'm not proposing to do it on every song. But just trying it in rehearsals might lead to some new ideas - either for new songs or to slightly change the feel of a current song.
This discussion on whether a cover band must always cover every song 100% accurately is a recurring one and I think it's ultimately up to the band to decide.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
I always thought the 'jazz' swing version of Layla was lame.
The groove should serve the melody and vocals. Sure, some songs can switch to a different feel, but why not just embrace the songwriter's original vision.
Anyway yes, there are no rules. Maybe just suggest more shuffle songs for the set, rather than changing the songs already in the set.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Play whatever the song requires.

Oh yeah, don't bother suggesting songs because you are "just the drummer." I've been playing in bands for over 25 years, and I don't think that a single band has ever learned a song that I suggested. I don't even bother anymore.

Never try to change a band; however, you can always switch to a different band.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
If you join a blues band you’ll play nothing but shuffles all the time, but that gets boring too.
As Larry suggested, find some shuffle songs that come from the same era as your other songs and suggest some to the band.

They can be as simple as Roadhouse Blues or as complex as Rosanna.
 
Maybe just suggest more shuffle songs for the set, rather than changing the songs already in the set.
I admit that this is probably the better way. Since I don't know the level of the other musicians and their prefered genres, I just thought that it might be easier to try it once with a song everybody knows already. Anyway, I would try to discuss all of this with the other band members before looking for a new band. Lots of problems are easier solved offline with the involved parties. :)
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Play whatever the song requires

Yep. In 99.999% of cover bands, the goal is play the songs the way the listeners (and especially the dancers) are used to hearing them.

Now, if it's the band's shtick to change-up the vibe - metal versions of pop songs, swing versions of alt-rock songs, etc - that's another matter. But unless you're in one of those half a dozen bands, play the parts. Do not attempt to change the feel... don't even suggest it. Well, assuming you want to work. You know what happens with drummers who have bright ideas? Nothing.

But I'm not knocking shuffles. If that's what's in your heart and your hands, find a band that plays the genres where shuffles and swing are predominant. If/when that phase passes for you, it will be simple enough to go back to straighter styles. Being willing and able to do both is always a plus.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
I often find myself moving from swinging to shuffling and back to swing on same piece quite naturally and without thinking about it...just listening to bandmates. But I never really go from straight time (which I assume is 8ths) to a shuffle.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Go into your jam room and start laying down a fat shuffle. See what happens after about a minute.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Hi folks, so I'm a few years into my drumming journey now, been playing with cover bands mainly and something I've noticed is... of the dozens of covers that I've learned and even just get discussed as suggestions, I'd say 90% of these are straight (as opposed to shuffle grooves,)

The annoying thing about this is I feel like I want to play shuffles more..maybe it's just a phase in my playing, but I just like that 1 uh 2 uh 3 thing!

Does anyone have this going on? Know what I'm talking about?

I don't think band mates/guitar and singers really care if something straight or shuffle, so I'm sharing with you guys!

Shuffles are fun to play, for sure!

What type of tunes do your cover bands play? We can suggest tunes that would fit in terms of genre and/or decade, that have shuffle grooves.
 

drummingbulldog

Well-known member
I always thought the 'jazz' swing version of Layla was lame.
The groove should serve the melody and vocals. Sure, some songs can switch to a different feel, but why not just embrace the songwriter's original vision.
Anyway yes, there are no rules. Maybe just suggest more shuffle songs for the set, rather than changing the songs already in the set.
It doesn't swing. The whole dotted 8th feel of a shuffle is supposed to swing at any tempo. I think that was Steve Ferrone on drums. He can swing too so I'm not sure why Layla is so bad.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It was bad because it took one of the most impassioned songs in the entire history of rock ‘n’ roll and rendered it lite EZ listening. It was utterly facile, something which people who had heard the song dozens or hundreds of times would never have imagined possible.
And then we put the Eat It lyrics to that and took it to another level! 😮
 

pocket player

Junior Member
Play whatever the song requires.

Oh yeah, don't bother suggesting songs because you are "just the drummer." I've been playing in bands for over 25 years, and I don't think that a single band has ever learned a song that I suggested. I don't even bother anymore.

Never try to change a band; however, you can always switch to a different band.
AMEN,they dont realize the drummer is the one listening to everyone in the band and has great insight to suggest good songs for the band to play
 
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