Your default beat and how to stop playing it

eliRYO

Member
I think the perception of a "default" groove is unfounded. The music dictates the beat/groove, not the other way around. A perfect example is Billy Jean by Michael Jackson. Ndugu played the perfect part for the song. If he would have played any more than that the song would have fallen apart. From my own experience, I sometimes feel lazy and get bored with a certain groove but I realize that most of the time "being creative" and thinking outside the box is not required or even appropriate. Therefore I don't play anything than what is necessary to make the music move feel good. I have been in situations where I felt bored while playing a simple beat/groove but it was the best part for the song/music. When one listens the the music with all of their being, the specific "groove" is an after thought.

The ultimate question is... "Is what I'm playing befitting the music as a whole?"
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
I think the perception of a "default" groove is unfounded. The music dictates the beat/groove, not the other way around. A perfect example is Billy Jean by Michael Jackson. Ndugu played the perfect part for the song. If he would have played any more than that the song would have fallen apart. From my own experience, I sometimes feel lazy and get bored with a certain groove but I realize that most of the time "being creative" and thinking outside the box is not required or even appropriate. Therefore I don't play anything than what is necessary to make the music move feel good. I have been in situations where I felt bored while playing a simple beat/groove but it was the best part for the song/music. When one listens the the music with all of their being, the specific "groove" is an after thought.

The ultimate question is... "Is what I'm playing befitting the music as a whole?"
But then that's not playing a default groove. What these guys are talking about is having one beat that you fall back on, regardless of what the music is doing. You're right that the Billy Jean groove is perfect...but if Ndugu played that exact beat almost mindlessly during a bunch of different songs, without a doubt, Ndugu wouldn't be a working drummer!

But I love the line, "The ultimate question is... "Is what I'm playing befitting the music as a whole?" Because if you are doing this, you will never fall back on a default beat...because you are listening and reacting to the music, rather than ignoring it and playing the same thing again and again.
 

Toby_Jackson

Senior Member
Here's another me too, and it sounds like we have similar defaults (amen-style funk break). It gets nasty when I start grooving on it in between every song in a rehearsal, or worse yet, in between songs ON STAGE.

Actually, the worst is when it comes out during a band discussion in reherasal, WHILE I'M TALKING. Like, here I am describing my feelings about a song we're doing or something we're planning, and at the same time I'm unconsciously playing this friggin' break.

That doesn't happen to often anymore, meditation on awareness and focus over the past couple of years seems to keep me more awake during musical engagements. And I also support Boomka's assertion to not practice things you know - don't play any funk or d&b AT ALL for a couple months and you'll come up with some new defaults in other styles.
 
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