Where do you keep your time?

DrumDoug

Senior Member
I was watching Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials DVD again and started thinking about his comments about the hi hat and ride being the connective tissue that holds the groove together. I started thinking about my own playing and where I keep the time. I have always heard the time on the back beat, on 2 and 4. When I hear a song, that's where I hear the time. I then play the bass drum, hi hat, ghost notes, whatever, around the back beat. This weekend, I tried to play using the hat and ride as my time and played everything else around that. It completely changed the way the songs felt. They seemed to be much more relaxed. So much so that I felt some of the songs seemed to drag. I really had to think about pushing them and giving them energy. It also made my fills feel much more in time than they usually do. I had a couple coordination issues playing things I have played a hundred times, just because I was thinking differently about it. So that made me wonder; where do other drummers keep their time?
 

Tyger

Senior Member
I've recently been re-learning most of my fills and grooves with keeping time on the hats with the left foot. It gives a different dynamic and benefits those you play with. It's not needed all the time but I find it enhances what I play and a great way to practice 4 way independence,

Anyway, I'm training my left foot to keep time regardless.
 

Duracell

Senior Member
I feel time with my right hand. I tend to move around a lot when playing as well especialy when I really get into it.
 
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Doctor Dirt

Guest
I sit on mine, if my butt ain't groovin then I lost it. I'm a feel player so if its just technique I'm using its not enough. My technique and method is ok to play music with but I made my money with my feel, I was a bad student!!! Sorry Jimmy Stravis (my teacher)! Rest n peace I drove him crazy. A nice man. Doc
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
In my head (pedantic answer)

Mostly with whatever my right hand is hitting, but sometimes with my right foot/left hand (especially if my right hand stick goes flying), and I like to keep my left foot moving too, even if it's not actually making the hats move
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Mmmmh...never tried to keep the time with the right hand, I should try that...

I keep the time with my left foot and/or my butt ( the so ugly drum throne dance)...
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Left foot, always making 1/4 or 1/8 notes or clave beats on the hats or foot percussion, heel-up or heel-down. Everything I play or don't play is in reference to what the left foot is providing. If my hands stopped, the left foot would be going still.

The left foot is the drum set of the drum set - it does for the drum set, what the drum set does for the rest of the band.
 
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Doctor Dirt

Guest
Mines in the way? ..............................................I guess I don't know. Doc
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Wow I really like this. Did you think that up? That is very deep.
Yeah, it just occurred to me the left foot is the anchor for everything else, it's under-appreciated, misunderstood, not given due respect and often left out. Just like the drums so often are!
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I kind of hate the sound of a constant high-hat chick in music of almost all kinds(save for jazzy-stuff). I tend to keep time "internally", that is, I feel the pulse almost in my stomach, I often hum along or sing the song and just "feel" the groove and let it flow out rather than try and create the groove and stick it to a limb. I'm hesitant to tie my time center to any one limb or idea because I feel it might limit me down the road. I suppose for most stuff, rock and what not, the snare is the most constant, as you always know you're going to hear it on 2 & 4. I think I'll zone out and focus on the snare or kick drum once in a while.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Left foot, always making 1/4 or 1/8 notes or clave beats on the hats or foot percussion, heel-up or heel-down. Everything I play or don't play is in reference to what the left foot is providing. If my hands stopped, the left foot would be going still.

The left foot is the drum set of the drum set - it does for the drum set, what the drum set does for the rest of the band.
What if you want to do some funky off-time stuff on the hats, or say close them on an "and" in the beat.... Do you change your time center to another limb, or imagine the chick of the hats where they "should" be?
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Right hand (hats or ride) is where I feel the pulse.....everything else stems from that.

+1

Although I am creating that pulse, I'm also kind of listening and playing to it. It's my metronome.

Bermuda
+2. More than anything else, when the going gets tricky or I need to anchor in a couple of wandering folks who can't internalize tempos, I do a little click on the hat or ping out some quarters on the ride and lock everything and everyone in - - myself included.
 

samthebeat

Silver Member
If im playing flowing notes i keep time with my riding hand mostly. If im playing broken time patterns, like paradiddle type stuff, linear feels, i keep time with left foot, either playing the hi hat or taping my heel. Sometimes i do feel this is a waste of energy, but its feels good and does help with my balance, and nevous energy to. I think motion in general is great time keeper.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Yeah, it just occurred to me the left foot is the anchor for everything else, it's under-appreciated, misunderstood, not given due respect and often left out. Just like the drums so often are!
Right on! Yeah, you definitely helped convince me of that when I was stubbornly refusing to accept it. That was a few years ago...now my left foot is always bouncing. Everything sounds and feels better.

However, as I grow and improve, I'm seeing that while that helps me meter the pulse of the music and helps keep me coordinated, it's not the only timekeeper for me. It's easy to have a rushed feel on the ride or hats, even if you're keeping time perfectly with the left foot, for example.

It's these subtle interplays between the limbs that can make or break the feel of the song!

I'm thinking specifically about how to make the music swing, when it's called for. I might be keeping basic internal time, with the help of my left foot, but I have to keep myself in check and pay attention to how my right hand is keeping time, also. I think it's every bit as important.
 

The Gedge

Member
It depends on the music; for rock and metal I use my right hand, for more complicated things I use the left foot, and for a lot of the stuff I'm learning in my lessons I have to use the right foot to keep time; otherwise I keep time with my head so I sometimes look like one of those bobblehead things you put in the car or an ungraceful cobra in a basket.
 
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