What do you think is more worthwhile: transcribing and learning entire drum solos OR stealing particular licks from solos and perfecting them?

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I’m a bit lost on the rudiments bit though. Rudiments is sort of like our scales...we learn those like a piano player learns scales or a writer learns grammar. It’s the basics, the foundation. We don’t inherently sound different from each other just by learning rudiments...they actually make us sound more like each other than anything else by giving us a standard language. Based on rudiments alone, we’d all sound incredibly similar.
Rudiments allow you to develop independence between your limbs so you can actually take that idea in your head and apply it to the kit without stumbling over yourself. They aren't like scales at all. Scales give you note paths to follow. Rudiments allow you to no longer have to follow anything but your inner drummer. Without them, you are just a Xerox of some other drummer. They give you freedom to create.

Ever notice how the untrained musician usually sounds like their idol? It's because they dont have the tools to be themselves. All they know is what they have learned by copying someone elses style. I have played with too many guitarists that were Pantera fans that had no identity of their own. The world is full of Dimebag Keith's, Dimebag Jimmy's, Dimebag Ron's, etc.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
I almost never transcribe anything. I listen a lot though to records and listen to and watch my local heroes. I do work rudiments and books. Maybe at some point I will do more transcribing probably, but for now my study is more generalized.

I'm gonna pick learning whole songs or solos for now though because learning context and flow are my priorities.
 

jazzin'

Silver Member
Rudiments allow you to develop independence between your limbs so you can actually take that idea in your head and apply it to the kit without stumbling over yourself. They aren't like scales at all. Scales give you note paths to follow. Rudiments allow you to no longer have to follow anything but your inner drummer. Without them, you are just a Xerox of some other drummer. They give you freedom to create.

Ever notice how the untrained musician usually sounds like their idol? It's because they dont have the tools to be themselves. All they know is what they have learned by copying someone elses style. I have played with too many guitarists that were Pantera fans that had no identity of their own. The world is full of Dimebag Keith's, Dimebag Jimmy's, Dimebag Ron's, etc.
Yes, that was exactly my point and why I clarified ‘sort of like’, not ‘they are’ our scales. The whole point was that they are simply building blocks to greater freedom, but they don’t inherently give us greater creativity by learning them. Rudiments themselves are building blocks that allow us to create by making it easier to play the things we hear and learn, but it’s what we do with them after learning them in their base form that separates the way we sound from each other. Just like scales, grammar...Just like any foundational exercise for anything. They are all just tools that help us play what we hear easier.

The way you describe rudiments is the same reason anyone practices scales or any similar things. It gives you greater freedom of ideas without stumbling over yourself.
 
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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
The way you describe rudiments is the same reason anyone practices scales or any similar things. It gives you greater freedom of ideas without stumbling over yourself.
It is, and I agree with this. But rudiments and scales arent the same. I differentiate the two because there are folks who think the rudiment tells you what to play, like gotta play a paradiddle here, a 5 stroke roll there. This is simply not the case. However, knowing what notes sound good together and what dont does kind of tell you what to play. It's not hard and fast, but some notes simply dont sound good together. This is why I dont like to compare the two.
 

jazzin'

Silver Member
It is, and I agree with this. But rudiments and scales arent the same. I differentiate the two because there are folks who think the rudiment tells you what to play, like gotta play a paradiddle here, a 5 stroke roll there. This is simply not the case. However, knowing what notes sound good together and what dont does kind of tell you what to play. It's not hard and fast, but some notes simply dont sound good together. This is why I dont like to compare the two.
Hmmm, I don’t know...I agree that rudiments don’t (well, except initially when learning) tell you what to play so maybe it’s just an opinion difference I guess, but I’d still disagree to an extent. They’re obviously not the same thing (I’m not suggesting they are) but I think when you get to a certain level regardless of instrument, neither scales or rudiments tell you what to play, as you said above. It just gives you choice regarding a sound colour palette you want and that’s only limited by the players skill. That was the context in which I used the comparison. A young drummer is probably just as constrained by rudiments as a young pianist is by scales...the better you get the more freedom they give you.

Each scale has its own distinct sound and colour and when you have the skill and freedom, you are certainly not constrained by scales or having to play only diatonically. Chord/scale theory, among others, and well practiced passing tones, chromaticism, voice leading etc give you nearly limitless sound options to choose from, just as rudiments give us. A great pianist, sax player, whatever, would never think in terms of scales and being locked in to what to play because of it. Freedom all comes down to the skill of the player and the extent of their learning, for both scales and rudiments.

They essentially become colour choices. A guide certainly, especially if it is a simple diatonic tune, but we drummers also have those same limitations and certain colours, sounds, feels etc will sound great and be suitable to the song and others will just sound awful. That’s why a backbeat will nearly always be awesome in a big pop/rock tune...just like a pentatonic scale (and it’s derivatives, blues scale, minor, modes etc etc) will nearly always suit a blues, folk or rock tune, yet the improvisational possibilities that go with it are absolutely endless and only limited by the players skill.

Anyway, interesting, but I think this is probably derailing this thread a bit sorry Joffry. My take is learn as much as you can from everyone and learn/copy/use everything you dig.
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
as a writer, especially for marching percussion groups, i definitely see rudiments and scales as being the same concept...when I write melodic passages, they are rooted in the scale determined by the key signature. They are patterns based on the scale. My keyboard players can successfully learn, and play these patterns because they see the foundation of the scales within them.

when I write percussion stuff, I combine rudiments together to create a line of "melodic intent" for the drummers hands. And same as above, when my drummers see the patterns, they can learn and play them quicker because they see what they are built out of.

I think it is harder to see this as applied to set though b/c on the top layer of set playing, it is harder to see direct rudimental application...

but I can definitely see why people think of the 2 concepts as the same
 

adamosmianski

Senior Member
I don't think one is any more valuable than the other. There is mileage in both.

Transcribing full solos is great for your ear and rhythmic dictation abilities.

I think perfecting someone else's "lick" is not a great idea. You can always hear when someone is trying to forcefully insert something into their playing. However, I am a fan of jotting down a "lick" and then using it as a jumping off point for your own creativity.
 

Old PIT Guy

Well-known member
If I had to do over again I'd definitely work harder at transcribing if for nothing else than to improve my ear-to-brain ability to ID what I'm hearing in real time.
 

Sonorfan

Well-known member
I love drum solos. I listen to them and try to transcribe them. I'm still recovering from hearing DeJohnette play for two hours.
His free-form solos are out of this world. My favorite Jazz drummer for many reasons.
He'll play stuff that you'll never hear him do again. Seemingly endless vocabulary.
Hey
I'm an old guy 80, but I still do some solos when our group plays BeBop. I use the Mel Lewis method "don't think ahead, just do what you feel" I have recorded a couple but for some reason I can't upload them to this form.. I can play drums but to operate a cell phone past saying "hello" is a real challenge. I have listened to DeJhonette and he's fab. I tried to steal from Morello and Philly Joe as both vary speeds and patterns. I'f your interested you could send me your e mail and I can fwd a couple of examples of my breaks. I'd very much appreciate your comments as well.
Cheers
Sonor Fan
 
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