The bashing impulse

dmacc_2

Well-known member
I used to have the bashing impulse when I first started, no doubt.

Now I practice everything at such low volumes that my wife can sometimes be found in the room just above my practice room watching TV or playing records with our daughter (yes, I said records). I'm using sticks and am playing the full set. Heck, I'm not sure my neighbors even know I play the things.

When the band plays the entire spectrum of dynamics are constantly being used so playing at all volumes is something I've had to become extremely used to over the years.

I think it all boils down to the context of the music we're playing. Though I do think much of today's music would benefit from the use of more dynamics, regardless of style. I tend to think it makes music much more interesting.
 
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Chunky

Silver Member
I used to have the bashing impulse when I first started, no doubt.

Now I practice everything at such low volumes that my wife can sometime be found in the room just above my practice room watching TV or playing records with our daughter (yes, I said records). I'm using sticks and am playing the full set. Heck, I'm not sure my neighbors even know I play the things.

When the band plays the entire spectrum of dynamics is constantly being used so playing at all volumes is something I've had to become extremely used to over the years.

I think it all boils down to the context of the music we're playing. Though I do think much of today's music would benefit from the use of more dynamics, regardless of style. I tend to think it makes music much more interesting.
I agree, pop and rnb have none and they really should. Even my band has quiet sections, not as many as we'd like but it doesn't half make the big parts come in big. It's never going to be dinner jazz dynamics but like you said, it's got to be in context to what your playing.

I learnt to play quietly with my own unique method which you probably shouldn't ever try, but it worked for me: I'd sit down on the floor, not quite cross-legged, I'd have the bottoms of my feet touching each other, I'd take my shoes and socks off and go through the rudiments on my ankle bones. Believe me you learn to play quietly fast!

I'd often get a little bit too into it and do one big accent and decimate my poor bone!

Must have looked pretty strange as I used to do it in the corridoors at music college...
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I learnt to play quietly with my own unique method which you probably shouldn't ever try, but it worked for me: I'd sit down on the floor, not quite cross-legged, I'd have the bottoms of my feet touching each other, I'd take my shoes and socks off and go through the rudiments on my ankle bones. Believe me you learn to play quietly fast!

I'd often get a little bit too into it and do one big accent and decimate my poor bone!

Must have looked pretty strange as I used to do it in the corridoors at music college...
lol - it's like learning the piano with self-administered ruler on the knuckles. I've heard it said that you should play as though on a sheet of glass - but your method includes punishment to ensure no cheating.

Hopefully those accents won't come back to bite you when you're a codger!
 

evolving_machine

Silver Member
I just played a gig with two acoustic guitar players who were using pickups in their amplifiers and I played conga, a snare and cymbal as hand percussion. The original plan was to be a lower volume gig.

In practice, I was using the multitude of subtle sounds that one can get from a calf skin conga drum. When I showed up at the gig there was only one microphone available and that had to be used for the vocals.

How many times do you have to ask a guitar player to lower the volume? The gig went ok, but my hands were all cut up and bloody from competing with the pickups in the acoustic guitars. I had to scrap the subtle sounds and just bash as hard as I could.
 

Chunky

Silver Member
I hear you man! That's how I learned to play loud in the first place. Not because I wanted to but because I had to 'cos the guitarists won't turn down. I try using one, just one mic to capture some drum ambiencr and give me a boost and they just turn up, not appreciating the effort and wasted energy (not to mention halving my vocabulary).

Fortunately I don't have that problem now, me and the guitarist produce our bands cd's and it's normally me saying 'more guitar' and hin saying 'more drums'.

The volume of the guitars at practise are as loud as they are because I am loud and like I said earlier it's not the volume but the sound why I hit them hard for that stuff.
So happy all round now, you might want to consider shedding lesser musicians and leaving them for better, more experienced musicians if they can't understand a basic mix.
Too much guitar kareoke going on in bands.

And yeah Pollyana, I don't use that method anymore thankfully! Lol. It served it's purpose at a time where I probably did need a but of punishment!

As for my body holding up... not sure, I've got arthritus everywhere already!

Not through that though. Lol!
 

_Leviathan_

Senior Member
I think there is a certain element of excitement that comes with hitting hard and from watching someone hit hard. Just a primal reaction to it, like others have stated in this thread. It can be difficult to really bash, yet remain 100% in control of what you are doing with regard to articulation, tempo, etc. It fits styles of music like rock and metal, and some people ask for it. Most of the rock bands I've been in have asked me to hit hard when I wasn't already doing that.

That said, I agree that dynamics and shading are important with regard to contrast. Backing off and playing quiet makes that fff passage really jump out when it comes.
 

tard

Gold Member
I used to bash them when I couldn't play quite as well.
I agree, me too plus I also notice I play quieter and with more dynamics since changing to single ply heads many years ago because the head responds easier with more tone using less force from lighter sticks.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I used to bash them when I couldn't play quite as well.
Boy if that isn't me also!
I think about how much techniques is needed to play softly with musical intensity and it never ceases to be a challenge for me. Brushes will forever be a lifetime pursuit to play well it seems. Then there's concert snare drumming....I may need another lifetime just for that alone.
 

Numberless

Platinum Member
It always makes me laufh when I hear people refer to loud or metal drumming as 'bashing' as if it's less skilled than playing normal to quiet. It anything it's harder.
Rattle through my rudiments and grooves down to really low levels but it's not quite as easy to blast rudiments at full belt and that's what does hold alot of metal parts back.
I constantly complain that my bands volume resteicts what I can play but, the drums just don't sound good at normal level. The timbre is all wrong and this isn't just because the music is loud and aggressive but because modern production.
Drums are compressed to the hilt on these records if they are not triggered and that sound is full of attack, it got a slap to it that simpley tip-tapping away just won't do.

You have to live with the pros and cons of the style of music you play because no good music has it all. I get as much tasty licks in that I can but at the end of the day it has to sound like brutal metal assault.
Sure I can play other styles and I do so at the relevant volume. When I'm playing metal for a few hours then burst into a latin groove I have to remind myself to play quietly, it sounds awful loud, it's about hearing the voice of my snare, not the attack.

I'll never understand the snobbery towards metal when tech/prog/djent metal and new breed reverse engineered drummers are probably the ones pushng our art forward the most these days.

You have to play for your situation. Ever heard a steictly metal only drummer try and blag jazz? It's awful.
Likewise have you heard some of the fusion guys attempt double pedal? Yeah technically they are doing it but, it sounds like a bag of flumps it's embarrassing!
Even Thomas Lang who I love sound awful doing double pedal, especially double strokes, it's very nearly a completely unusable technique as I've NEVER heard anyone sound good using it.
We coule ask 'why can't you play fast AND loud where's the fff rudiments? why can't you hit the bass drum properly?
and that would be just as justified as saying metal lacks dynamics.

No-one is a worse player because of it, you're just playing the way that style needs to be played.
John Longstreth can pull off the double stroke on bass drum pretty well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_rNFwf-fOY
 

haredrums

Silver Member
It always makes me laufh when I hear people refer to loud or metal drumming as 'bashing' as if it's less skilled than playing normal to quiet. It anything it's harder.
Rattle through my rudiments and grooves down to really low levels but it's not quite as easy to blast rudiments at full belt and that's what does hold alot of metal parts back.
I constantly complain that my bands volume resteicts what I can play but, the drums just don't sound good at normal level. The timbre is all wrong and this isn't just because the music is loud and aggressive but because modern production.
Drums are compressed to the hilt on these records if they are not triggered and that sound is full of attack, it got a slap to it that simpley tip-tapping away just won't do.

You have to live with the pros and cons of the style of music you play because no good music has it all. I get as much tasty licks in that I can but at the end of the day it has to sound like brutal metal assault.
Sure I can play other styles and I do so at the relevant volume. When I'm playing metal for a few hours then burst into a latin groove I have to remind myself to play quietly, it sounds awful loud, it's about hearing the voice of my snare, not the attack.

I'll never understand the snobbery towards metal when tech/prog/djent metal and new breed reverse engineered drummers are probably the ones pushng our art forward the most these days.

You have to play for your situation. Ever heard a steictly metal only drummer try and blag jazz? It's awful.
Likewise have you heard some of the fusion guys attempt double pedal? Yeah technically they are doing it but, it sounds like a bag of flumps it's embarrassing!
Even Thomas Lang who I love sound awful doing double pedal, especially double strokes, it's very nearly a completely unusable technique as I've NEVER heard anyone sound good using it.
We coule ask 'why can't you play fast AND loud where's the fff rudiments? why can't you hit the bass drum properly?
and that would be just as justified as saying metal lacks dynamics.

No-one is a worse player because of it, you're just playing the way that style needs to be played.
Hey Chunkyhellraiser,

I think you bring up some great points. I would be the first to admit that playing really loud is incredibly difficult, I am terrible at it! I like that you pointed out how even in the really loud music you play you still have to use some dynamic contrast. I also agree about your point about the sound of the drums having to be right for the music you are playing.

Also, to Pollyanna's point about the physical joy of hitting the drums, one of my favorite people to watch for this is definitely Brian Blade:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkewiFES7vI&feature=related

So much of the pleasure of watching and listening to Brian play is how he engages the drums physically. He goes all the way from barely tapping, to jumping off his seat, all with incredibly musical intuition and sensitivity.
 

Chunky

Silver Member
Hey Chunkyhellraiser,

I think you bring up some great points. I would be the first to admit that playing really loud is incredibly difficult, I am terrible at it! I like that you pointed out how even in the really loud music you play you still have to use some dynamic contrast. I also agree about your point about the sound of the drums having to be right for the music you are playing.

Also, to Pollyanna's point about the physical joy of hitting the drums, one of my favorite people to watch for this is definitely Brian Blade:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkewiFES7vI&feature=related
Y
So much of the pleasure of watching and listening to Brian play is how he engages the drums physically. He goes all the way from barely tapping, to jumping off his seat, all with incredibly musical intuition and sensitivity.
Thanks. I think it's unfair to say either are better or worse aslong as it's right for the situation. I'm certainly not going to lose sleep over being able to play my rudiments and chops as good at high volume as I can quietly. I think when people bash loud playing it's pure fear because they know they can't play their favourite chops as loud as the backbeat they are playing and can't pull it off.
Why else would anyone having a greater range. I can say hand on heart I've found it much easier playing and learning chops quietly than I have agonising over getting them as loud as the big backbeat and THAT timbre.

Sorry, couldn't check the vid on doublesnon bass on my phone, I will though. I don't have my hopes up though, if you can hear it's doubles then it's crap and one name out of all the many drummers doesn't bode well for it I don't think.

You brought a great point up, the joy of watching someone play. This kills me because although I sound loud I don't look loud. My girlfriend pointed out to me the other week when I was practising at home she said 'you don't play like that live do you'? 'it doesn't look like your trying, you barely even move'.
This crushed me. I've spent so long learning to play relaxed that I can't NOT do it. When my band has shit music videos it's been a real problem, I tense my arms up, lift them above my head but it's unconvincing. Plus I was knackered after the first run through, cramping up terribley.
Any tips on how to 'look' loud or atleast look good while playing would be great because I know I look boring and crap!
 

sbowman128675

Senior Member
Daniel Glass talks about the early evolution of the shuffle beat. The first beat ever was done in a country song and it was just brushes playing the beat on the snare with no bass, next the bass was added in syncopation with the snare. Because by this point, since there were no amps, the drummer had to keep up with the bass sound. Then when amps were intoduced, the beat was changed again so that the bass hit on 1 and 3, and so on and so on.

But past that, it was a natural evolution of amps and teenage agnst. And Metal......If it wasent for British metal, that scene would have never made it to the US............

Bands just kept playing louder and louder. :p

Forigve me if Im wrong with the Daniel Glass stuff...think I hit it pretty acuratley.


But I think every drummer plays what they want. I play fairly loud at church, but when Im with my dad on blues gigs I quiet it down. When I was in my Metal band back in the early 2000s, I was........well......I think I told ya'll about the constant distortion in my right ear...lol.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
There's a video I like a great deal about Charlie Watts. In it, he says the challenge of jazz is playing with great intensity at low volume and the challenge of rock n roll is power.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1_6z9oqet8

But, as DMC said, it's only logical that we play as loudly as required. However, when the requirement is fff most of the time I switch off unless the music has a particular appeal - pure noise fatigue.
 

Chunky

Silver Member
Think hit the nail on the head Pollyanna.
I must admit I even get fatigued from the sheer audio assault if metal after a while. I tend to get a bit fatigued by any one style too much.
You can only take so much at once!

I spend most of my easy listening time listening to Michael Jackson (and studying it).
Infact he probably influences my bands mixes more than any metal band. Thicking snare with an on top handclap, dead on snare and and slightly behind finger click WHAP!
Amazing!
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Chunky, that raw power can rock my world in small doses - love a song or two of RATM and ACDC at a time. But a whole show ... too much for me.

Reminds me of when I saw The Cure with a friend - we were both into their cool weird poppy stuff like The Caterpillar, Love Cats, Why Can't I Be You etc and instead it was almost non stop ear-splitting sonic assault ...we were 2/3rds of the way back and I still had to put bits of tissue in my ears to cope, and I had to hand her some tissue too. Last time my ears were that hammered was sitting in the front row to see Rainbow.

Speaking of Rainbow, Cozy sure got stuck in, and - crucially, in your case - he always looked like he was hitting even harder than he was. All somewhat incorrect and inefficient ... and fun to watch :) Large toned biceps and shoulders straining, glistening with sweat in the lights ... better stop before I need a cold shower ...
 

Chunky

Silver Member
Hahaha stop, your making me jealous!

I hate ringing ears. I get called allsorts for wearing ear protection! I can't take it. Never have liked super loud music. Hate nightclubs for the very same reason!
I'm not a very cool metaller!
 

Chunky

Silver Member
I get what you's are saying, but I just can't do it! not without ruining my technique and cramping up.
To be fair I haven't ever practised trying to look good apart from this last week after my girlfriend told me I look crap.
Been trying to let myself go, old habbits die hard but I have enjoyed practise even more this week.
It's unrealistic of me to expect to change instantly. I can't believe how naturally crap I look though, it's verging on unfair!

I'll keep at it and let you's know how I get on. I might even video myself and post it, maybe you's will pick up something I'm missing?
 
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