THE BIG "MONEY BEAT" DEBATE! Love it or hate it?

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Polly, I warned you- I have no unexpressed thoughts.. actually, come to think of it, I've stopped thinking, I just babble, and I feel... : )
Babble is good! Love the stuff - as both a giver and receiver.

I think a lot of illness would be averted if more people just blurted everything out rather than holding it in. I suspect that's one reason why men don't live as long as women do. Better out than in, as they say :)

Thanks for the heads up on David. (Hi David!). I have thoughts on where David was coming from with his post but for once(!) I'll shut up and wait for the response ...
 

dcrigger

Senior Member
Thanks Aydee - not much to add really. But....

Basically I don't see the one way or the other part of the debate.

1. Simple groove beats have their place.

2. They are wickedly hard to play at world class recording level.

3. One should always play for the music.

Those parts most people agree with - except those not mature enough yet to see how something simple can still be difficult if you raise the bar high enough.

But if #3 is true - and one is going to play lots of different music - then more than simple beats are going to be required. Lots of stuff is going to be required. Lots and lots of stuff. So, one can really play what's best for the music.

For myself - of course, I hear players, particularly young guys, overplay. If their young enough, I don't see sweating it, as youth is something one does (for good and bad) grow out of. But yes, it is drag hearing someone overplay for no musical reason.

But honestly far more common in my experience are guys that are either underplaying because what they are capable of a mere handful of playing choices - or guys underplaying or overplaying with little coherence with the music they are playing to. Beats that don't really fit, inappropriate fills or the lack thereof, almost total disregard of the arrangement (as though the drums have no roll to play in framing, outlining, and clarifying the structure of the song's arrangement.)

So I hear more of that than simply overplaying for overplaying sake.

Sadly, much about these debates so often are more about the fact that some folks just really don't like complex music, while other folks have little interest in simpler music - and then they start arguing how the drummers from each extreme, who most often are performing quite well and appropriate for the music at hand, are either the best or the worst, or are egotistical or plain ol' boring, etc. etc. and on and on.

While for me, in most recorded cases, there is simply a lot of very good players playing a whole bunch of very different music...and playing it all really quite well.

David
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Great input so far guys;

Before this thread turns into a train wreck, the term money beat should be clearly defined.

Are you talking about the kick on 1 and 3 and the snare on 2 and 4. How about four on the floor?

Over...
Yes SF, can expand to 4 on the floor. Primarily aimed at 8's on ride or hats, kick on 1&5, snare on 3&7.

Why do you want to divide the forum? That's really interesting to me. Please explain. As you say, the beat is doing fine, and doesn't need your protection.
Casper
I don't want to divide the forum, but I do think there is a divide on this subject. I've noticed a number of posts that put the money beat down as something that accomplished drummers need not bother with. More than that, I pick up a similar vibe amongst some drummers I meet, especially those who feel this simple beat has no place within their genre therefore has no worth.

Never thought of it as a derogatory term, just a true reflection of the power this beat can have.
I'd like to agree jer, but many don't use the term in that context. The implication is that only drummers interested in earning money playing simple stuff will use the beat, almost like a drumming prostitution.

playing the money beat and sounding good is impossible for me and ive been practicing technique coordination and dynamics like 3 hours a day for the entire last year

here i admit it

playing 3/4 with the feet 7/8 on the floor tom and 4/4 on the snare is easier because no one cares if you sound good as long as you pull it off
same reason for why blasting on 230 or playing a skank with 16s double bass is also easier than playing the money beat
A super super honest post and a great example of how mastery of this important beat of value is passed by. Thanks Hedon, don't worry, you'll get there with some work. The main thing is that you recognize the skill in executing this beat and it's value to the rest of your playing.

I don't see a debate. It is one of many drum beats and has it's place along with those others.
There isn't a debate in my mind either but this beat's importance is diminishing, especially amongst the younger players coming into the game.

I think 2 and 4 in the hands of a drummer who's really feeling it is way more effective than any over the top chops-fest, and I see no need for any good drummer to disparage it.
Couldn't agree more!

This beat is the subject of a debate??
How silly.
100% agree WY but I've really been picking up a negative vibe on this for a while now & it bothers me.


Though I would caution those that would conclude that just because being competent (or better) in executing the "money beat" is very important thing (maybe even most important), it is the only thing that is important.

Because it is not.

David
Great quote David and places the discussion in context nicely.

...

Well, I do see the debate and the point KIS is trying to bring alive.

The evolution of a typical drummer mindset is to quickly move on from this rudimentary simple groove to more acrobatic & complex maneuvers because it is easily understood and executed, and the urge is to then move on to greater challenges.

...
Thank you aydee.
For me, solid is the number one thing for being a successful drummer,
Great post BD.

Hehehe, KIS, you're a troublemaker :)
You sometimes have to break a few sticks to build a fire!

Sadly, much about these debates so often are more about the fact that some folks just really don't like complex music, while other folks have little interest in simpler music - and then they start arguing how the drummers from each extreme, who most often are performing quite well and appropriate for the music at hand, are either the best or the worst, or are egotistical or plain ol' boring, etc. etc. and on and on.

While for me, in most recorded cases, there is simply a lot of very good players playing a whole bunch of very different music...and playing it all really quite well.

David
Great observation David. I really value simple musical forms but get an equal high from listening to & performing complexed stuff. I like the feeling of inadequacy I get when I feel pushed and the satisfaction I get when I eventually master the elusive groove or fill. In my younger years, I too passed the money beat by & headed straight for the jazz rock world. Only later on did I come to appreciate the finer nuances of the drumming craft and the super important place the money beat occupies in the mix. Just in case anyone looking at this thread doesn't know much about me, I'm a simple rock drummer with a somewhat limited repertoire who places great emphasis on performance, space, reserve, dynamic, interpretation & musicality. I'm a musician 1st and a drummer 2nd. I do have some chops ability but in no way do I bring that to the fore unless it brings something worthwhile to the party. For me, that's a very rare occurance.
 

JPW

Silver Member
I guess if you live in a world where money is the most important priority when it comes to playing maybe this "money beat" would be relevant to you. To me it's like painting the same fruit basket again. Not going to cut it. I love drumming and why would anybody think that me loving my instrument is less important than a guitarist loving his? If I had to play that beat every day I would just stop playing. It doesn't give me anything really. Maybe I'm a selfish person but this is the only life I have and I love drumming, I'm not going waste my time finding some nonexistant glory in a single beat while there are billions of beats there to be discovered and enjoyed.

I have kept my mouth shut on these "let's worship simple beats"-threads because I know I'm not going to get many fans. But the reality for me is, I just don't care how good that beat is executed. It just is boring to me. And most of the popular music is. I live in a complete different world than most of you who post in this thread.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I guess if you live in a world where money is the most important priority when it comes to playing maybe this "money beat" would be relevant to you. To me it's like painting the same fruit basket again. Not going to cut it. I love drumming and why would anybody think that me loving my instrument is less important than a guitarist loving his? If I had to play that beat every day I would just stop playing. It doesn't give me anything really. Maybe I'm a selfish person but this is the only life I have and I love drumming, I'm not going waste my time finding some nonexistant glory in a single beat while there are billions of beats there to be discovered and enjoyed.

I have kept my mouth shut on these "let's worship simple beats"-threads because I know I'm not going to get many fans. But the reality for me is, I just don't care how good that beat is executed. It just is boring to me. And most of the popular music is. I live in a complete different world than most of you who post in this thread.
JP, no doubt I'm included in this list of "simple beat worshippers" you refer to. It may surprise you to know I used to think exactly the same way - totally into prog and fusion. I was in a band in 1980/1 where my mission was to avoid playing the obvious beat at every opportunity. I played some pretty weird rhythms and it was a lot of fun.

These days I don't care what beats I play, only how I play them. I'd rather play a simple beat well than a more fancy beat less well.

What I do avoid is making every song sound the same. Sometimes I can't avoid similarities but I try to give each song its own distinctive feel and flavour. I doubt I'm Robinson Crusoe there, even amongst those who you may think just play the same thing over and over.

I am no longer afraid of being "too simple" because it's not all about me but the total band sound. But I'm not in a dance band and make many times more $$ in my day job than I could hope to make with music so I have the luxury of being able to try things out.
 

JPW

Silver Member
JP, no doubt I'm included in this list of "simple beat worshippers" you refer to. It may surprise you to know I used to think exactly the same way - totally into prog and fusion. I was in a band in 1980/1 where my mission was to avoid playing the obvious beat at every opportunity. I played some pretty weird rhythms and it was a lot of fun.

These days I don't care what beats I play, only how I play them. I'd rather play a simple beat well than a more fancy beat less well.

What I do avoid is making every song sound the same. Sometimes I can't avoid similarities but I try to give each song its own distinctive feel and flavour. I doubt I'm Robinson Crusoe there, even amongst those who you may think just play the same thing over and over.

I am no longer afraid of being "too simple" because it's not all about me but the total band sound. But I'm not in a dance band and make many times more $$ in my day job than I could hope to make with music so I have the luxury of being able to try things out.
Don't get me wrong Polly, I'm not all about complexity either, but even simplicity can be done so many other ways. And I have tried playing some doom metal (you know the reeeally slow stuff) and I have to admit it's freeking hard! But the topic was about this single variation of a simple rock beat. If I had to actually play that, I would ghost note it like crazy to keep my self busy and it wouldn't be the same anymore. I guess I have heard it so many times that the part of the brain that processes it's emotional content has gone numb.

And even you are talking about variations now. =P and that's against the "keep it simple" -rule. =P I have tried to avoid the "purpose of drumsolos" thread like plague cause I would just explode there. I have this consipracy theory that there's this guitarist's and lead singer's union that has made a deal with drummer's union that they are the one's that can do anything they want and get all the attention while we can keep our jobs if we just be invisible and not be replaced by drum machines. =P

(of course this all is half a joke, but there's a seed of truth in it _for me_. I love playing drums AND challenging my self.)
 
Last edited:

jer

Silver Member
To me it's like painting the same fruit basket again.
I understand your analogy, but I'd ask - are you painting it on the same canvas every time? Do you use the exact same colours? Do you shade them identically every time? That's where the challenge lies with me. We may all be painting the same subject, but everyone will have their own interpretation. Our canvas is the song, colours are dynamics, shading is the difference between playing the straightest 8th we can on the hats, or adding a pulse by slightly accenting 1, 2, 3 and 4. A fruit basket is always going to look the same until you are able to look at it from a different perspective.

JP, I'm a fan of your point of view. I was of this ilk for many years and prided myself on thinking outside the tool-box of beats that are so common in today's music. It's drummers such as yourself that attempt to push boundaries and provide great inspiration to many aspiring drummers and entertainment for other musicians.

Somewhere along my musical journey though, I found it much more satisfying to have an entire crowd dancing and singing along rather than see them standing there with arms crossed trying to comprehend what we were attempting musically, only to be told by other drummers in the crowd how much they enjoyed the set. In other words, I'd rather sell 20 albums to people who enjoyed the music as a whole, than 1 to a drummer who was impressed with my chops.

Since making this shift, I've played substantially more gigs, get asked back more often and played to much larger crowds than when I was playing for myself or other drummers in the audience. This brings me great satisfaction, in that my role as a musician and entertainer is "mission accomplished" - I'm sharing my love of music with others, ...and making more money.

I'd wager that 80% (ballpark) of people don't listen to music like you or I - they focus solely on the vocals. Having said that, I feel as though it's my job to ensure that people are focused on the vocals rather than the drums. The challenge for me is to play somewhat under the radar. The fighter jets get all the glory of being on the front line. I'll pick my spots wisely and drop bombs while the jets refuel.

I play "Billie Jean" with one of my bands, it's sooo hard sometimes not to throw ghosts in there or fill more than the recording - but for me, it's way more gratifying to see people dancing even before the bass line kicks in than it is to busy things up to the point where the average listener becomes lost in it's complexity.

I wonder if guitar forums have similar discussions about 12-bar blues or 3 chord songs?
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
...
question.

Why does Steve Jordan's 1-3 BD, 2-4SD sound so funky and mine so clunky?

Both might be metronomically correct.

'Tis is puzzlement.

...
It's the lope that the individual drummer applies to the groove. Quite simply his FEEL,

We've talked about this before on another thread. LOL
 

aydee

Platinum Member
It's the lope that the individual drummer applies to the groove. Quite simply his FEEL,
hmmm....but what about his technique?

I think Larry really nailed this one very nicely. I agree with his premise that it is beautifully controlled dynamic & volume levels of each moving part..

perhaps lope means the same thing..

...
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I have kept my mouth shut on these "let's worship simple beats"-threads because I know I'm not going to get many fans. But the reality for me is, I just don't care how good that beat is executed. It just is boring to me. And most of the popular music is. I live in a complete different world than most of you who post in this thread.
Great post JPW but I'd like the opportunity to clarify by return. I'm not advocating simple beat worship. In the same way, I'd never advocate complexed beat worship. Each has it's place. The point I'm making is that the good old money beat is regarded as close to worthless by a growing minority of players and I think they're missing a trick.

I too would be bored stupid if I had to play the same beat time after time and nothing else. No one strives to be a one trick pony. As for caring how this beat is executed, I have to disagree with you on that. I do care, and it makes a huge difference to the delivery and triggering that primeval human response to rhythm that's so necessary to change the listener's mood. Nor am I advocating playing the money beat without variation, Jer put this across very well in his post. To me, the money beat is still the money beat with a double, rimshot, flam, etc thrown in to lift a passage. Further to this, the money beat need not necessarily be used in a simple playing context. It can be a small part of a highly complexed routine and used to great effect as a counter to / highlighter of challenging material. Very effective when used as a breathing space within such material. Moving from an odd time signature to the money beat in 4/4 then back again superbly emphasises the odd signature passages.

The money beat has huge worth in just about all genre's. Even if it doesn't apply to your chosen material, the ability to execute this beat with passion, restraint & performance is a most superb platform to building substance into other routines, no matter how complexed. The money beat is not the most important polular music beat in it's naked form, but it does have value beyond the comprehension of many players. Maybe a player's stance on this is an indication of whether they class themselves as a musician first, drummer second or drummer first, musician second. There's nothing wrong with either priority, but it does dictate how you approach the task of creating music.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Agreed. Every beat has its time and place.

I think some people want a chops vs. groove debate. You know that has never been done here before.
Yes DMC, I agree with you 100% as I did with WY earlier in the thread, but you'd be surprised how many players don't think that way. This is in no way an attempt to instigate a chops vs. groove debate. Now that would be silly!
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
I think Larry really nailed this one very nicely. I agree with his premise that it is beautifully controlled dynamic & volume levels of each moving part.
If that were true then a drum machine would fill the bill. There is an inter dynamic going on in grooves like this. It may be within the bar or within 4 or 8 bar phrases, but it is there, and it is that inter dynamic that breathes life to these grooves.

It maybe just a slight accent on a down beat or upbeat within the bar or phrase, or a series of accents, but it's those little things that let the groove sit down into the pocket. It's subtle. It doesn't stand out in the mix, but it's what seperates a drum machine from the soul of a musician.

YMMV
 
W

wy yung

Guest
This thread has become quite interesting. As I mentioned I find it strange that any rhythm is a subject for debate. Unless it's a bunch of Puerto Ricans arguing about who played the wrong clave! ;-) (joke. I've never met a Puerto Rican)

I think the real issue here is that there are some drummers who simply do not want to play what is required. This is something I've had to deal with when playing the role of percussionist. No matter how many times one tells a busy drummer to play simply, often they just don't get it.
"Stop playing so many fills please."
Okay.
Sorry mate, but could you just focus on the groove with this funk song?
Okay.
Look I'm sorry but I do not think you understand. What I want it No fills, No overly complex pattern, No constant triplets on the hats. Just play it simply because the band is having trouble locking in. Okay?"
Okay".
And so on.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I love the money beat. It usually means that the music is going so well, it only needs me to mark the time with a nice pulse and groove. Sometimes the music is going sooo good that I go from eighths on the HH to quarters on the HH (in unison w/ the BD). Lotsa space feels just soooo gooooood.....

I really liked Jers post alot, especially the part where he says that he'd rather see the people dancing and having a good time as opposed to them staring at the band trying to figure it all out. This touches on the role of the drummer.

Is it the role of the drummer to play so people are wowed with chops or is it to make people wanna dance and give them the opportunity to get next to the opposite sex? (If you can combine both, more power to ya) Usually it's one or the other.

I don't give a flying squirrel if they think I am a good drummer. I just want them to get out on the floor and move their hips. When that happens, I'm happy. There's nothing better than the money beat for accomplishing that.

To anyone who has said that this beat bores you.....all I can say is I'm glad I got past that stage. When I thought like that I didn't fully understand my job description. The audience is the main attraction, not the band, and especially not the drummer. Gotta get the prorities straight. Their entertainment (and almost everything else) comes before me needing to impress people with how well I can get around a drum set, or the ghost notes I have to play to keep myself from falling asleep.

Getting the girls dancing is the main #1 reason I play the drums. It's what makes the world go around. Plus they look sooooo good doing it
 

theindian

Senior Member
Part of it goes back to the recognition factor for some drummers.
I notice at live shows, no really notices whether I play fills, or any kind of flashy drumming. I always see people move or dance on any song with a solid beat though. I guess that is recognition enough. The only people who really look for anything beyond and beat might be the other drummers in the audience. I doubt any non-drumming person in the audience notices fills & the like.
I really enjoy complex beats, double kick, stick twirls and playing fast in general. About a quarter of the material requires those things. The rest of the time, in the pocket.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
And even you are talking about variations now. =P and that's against the "keep it simple" -rule. =P
Lordy lordy. Is that where people think I'm coming from? That I think one should play without variations not only within songs but between them? Or that there's a hard and fast rule about how one should play?

Oh boy, I need to work on my comms skills. Have I at any point said ANYTHING like that, JP? I saw on another thread that Average created this amazing straw man (or woman) accusing some of us of being postmodern, as though we can't tell a Weckl from a White. Alas, I'm afflicted with the curse of enjoying music that musicians aren't supposed to like :)

But I'm always keen to hear differentiation in a band's set. I get bored if all the songs a band plays sound similar. I want different tempos, dynamics, feels and arrangements. All of my favourite bands are eclectic. As David said, the $$ beat isn't something you do all the time, just one of the tools we use to scupt songs.

First thing for me is that the music does or says something that appeals to me. If the drummer is just playing a support role with a $$ beat or whatever, that doesn't make me like it less if it works. For an ageing has-been like me whose heyday was in the 80s, I find it better to play a good $$ beat than a bad version of the more complex things I played in the days when I had much more facility.
 
D

DSCRAPRE

Guest
The thing that makes a beat good is whether or not sounds good. Thats it. Nobody can argue that the Money Beat doesn't sound good. Just listen to "Slow Ride" or "Billie Jean" or any other song that features this beat by itself. I love the Money Beat but I also love my Rush CDs.
 

dcrigger

Senior Member
I love the money beat. It usually means that the music is going so well, it only needs me to mark the time with a nice pulse and groove. Sometimes the music is going sooo good that I go from eighths on the HH to quarters on the HH (in unison w/ the BD). Lotsa space feels just soooo gooooood.....

I really liked Jers post alot, especially the part where he says that he'd rather see the people dancing and having a good time as opposed to them staring at the band trying to figure it all out. This touches on the role of the drummer.

Is it the role of the drummer to play so people are wowed with chops or is it to make people wanna dance and give them the opportunity to get next to the opposite sex? (If you can combine both, more power to ya) Usually it's one or the other.

I don't give a flying squirrel if they think I am a good drummer. I just want them to get out on the floor and move their hips. When that happens, I'm happy. There's nothing better than the money beat for accomplishing that.

To anyone who has said that this beat bores you.....all I can say is I'm glad I got past that stage. When I thought like that I didn't fully understand my job description. The audience is the main attraction, not the band, and especially not the drummer. Gotta get the prorities straight. Their entertainment (and almost everything else) comes before me needing to impress people with how well I can get around a drum set, or the ghost notes I have to play to keep myself from falling asleep.

Getting the girls dancing is the main #1 reason I play the drums. It's what makes the world go around. Plus they look sooooo good doing it

Your comment on ghost notes had my heading nodding in agreement... then I think back to those early Tower of Power records with David Garibaldi - hands down the funkiest, greasiest, shake your butt and grab your woman music I've ever heard... or remember see Gadd playing with James Taylor - the ultimate, simple, tasty gig. In both cases... snare ghost notes all over the place... and a pocket so deep you'd need a submarine to check it all out.

Both examples of ghost notes being applied for far greater reasons than boredom.

In fact, seeing Gadd live this summer has had me really re-examing this in my own playing. How he used ghost notes to not really make the overall patterns busier, but fatter. Often making the snare part a complete groove by itself - as opposed to just the backbeat. Quite old school actually - but really cool to hear in a modern setting live.

David
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
then I think back to those early Tower of Power records with David Garibaldi - hands down the funkiest, greasiest, shake your butt and grab your woman music I've ever heard... or remember see Gadd playing with James Taylor - the ultimate, simple, tasty gig. In both cases... snare ghost notes all over the place... and a pocket so deep you'd need a submarine to check it all out.
Great point. There seems to be a mindset that the grooviest grooves are the simplest. Not so, as you examples pointed out. Some of the classic grooves of all time, Rosanna, Fool In the Rain, et al. are complex grooves.

It's either in the pocket or it's not.
 
Top