Jump to content

Drummers and Songs


Willett

Recommended Posts

  • Members

Our drummer is having difficulty learning new songs and memorizing his parts and when they come in and sometimes with overplaying.

any tips to help conquer this?

since this has come up we're going to try writing all the songs out and going over with him part by part to help him along, it's not greatly effecting the songs it's just occasion problems that keep popping up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

An overplaying drummer? Isn't that redundant? :o

 

He probably hasn't heard the songs enough. Keep playing them over and over till he gets them. If he still can't get the little things, and those little things don't wreck the song (though it sounds like you're having a problem with the little things that he can't right) then don't sweat it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

One thing that can really help is to carefully document the actual structure of the songs. And put it in a form your drummer can understand. Drummers don't, by and large, think in terms of lyrical lines or melodic bits but, rather, rhythmic grids.

 

And when I say actual structure, I mean just that... I'm probably a worst case scenario, but I've written down the chord changes for a given song one day and then two days later written down an entirely different rhythmic arrangement that uses the same chords if more or less the same order -- and then tried to insist to horrified bandmates that they were the same right up until they were held up, side by side...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

One thing that can really help is to carefully document the actual structure of the songs. And put it in a form your drummer can understand. Drummers don't, by and large, think in terms of lyrical lines or melodic bits but, rather, rhythmic grids.

 

 

I agree. The best (most-organized) drummers out there are the ones with a songwriting ability. Otherwise, they'd get bored playing whatever pattern they are playing for the next few bars and will put in fills and inappropriate measures and play too busy/show off in order to keep themselves amused.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Doesn't he read drum notation? The drum books (and software) that I have all use readable notation for drum parts, and there might well room to hide a cheat sheet on a drum kit for quick reference. You wouldn't really want a full drum score, but a compressed or informal version of the tricky bits should be possible shouldn't it? As blue2blue suggested, he should be able to work off some kind of written reference, even if you have to work out your own mutual shorthand for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

And if your drummer is someone like spooked's drummer who uses the words to cue off of, writing the lyrics down for him against a bar grid (possibly along with the chord changes, which can be handy for everybody). Basically something like a fakebook (without the melody -- but even that may be helpful as long as it doesn't make the sheet so busy as to be hard to read quickly).

 

Such a document can also be good to give an engineer in a studio, so that he can jot down his notes (and perhaps time cues) on the lyrics sheet/bar grid. It's often a lot easier to communicate when your engineer is identifying a sections as the second chorus instead of 'that part that begins at 1 minute 22 seconds'...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

 

I agree. The best (most-organized) drummers out there are the ones with a songwriting ability. Otherwise, they'd get bored playing whatever pattern they are playing for the next few bars and will put in fills and inappropriate measures and play too busy/show off in order to keep themselves amused.

 

 

I agree with Blue and with El's point as well.

 

2 different scenarios. The guy I work with the most. He knows songs. He's a fan of great songwriters. He's as likely to gush over Steve Gadd's or Pete Thomas' drumming as he is about Tom Wait's latest lyrical output. I don't worry about him when I'm arranging a tune. He hears the right thing. Actually he hears 4 right things and asks what you like best.

 

Then there's my old buddy. He's a good solid rock drummer. Max Weinberg meets Rockpile. But... he can only think in terms of blocks-of-bars. "So that prechorus thing is 4 bars and we're robbing a bar form the previous verse, is that it?" He's good, but you gotta watch him. He tends to miss the subtleties cause he's too busy thinking. Counting.

 

Whatever works. If you've got to grid it out for him, do so. Maybe if he spends time with that chart he can later loosen up his mind to actually feel the tune.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

I agree with Blue and with El's point as well.


2 different scenarios. The guy I work with the most. He knows songs. He's a fan of great songwriters. He's as likely to gush over Steve Gadd's or Pete Thomas' drumming as he is about Tom Wait's latest lyrical output. I don't worry about him when I'm arranging a tune. He hears the right thing. Actually he hears 4 right things and asks what you like best.


Then there's my old buddy. He's a good solid rock drummer. Max Weinberg meets Rockpile. But... he can only think in terms of blocks-of-bars. "So that prechorus thing is 4 bars and we're robbing a bar form the previous verse, is that it?" He's good, but you gotta watch him. He tends to miss the subtleties cause he's too busy thinking. Counting.


Whatever works. If you've got to grid it out for him, do so. Maybe if he spends time with that chart he can later loosen up his mind to actually feel the tune.

 

 

The first guy sounds like a gem, although I have never met one in real life. I have met the second guy, although far too rarely. Much more common is "I'm the drummer, you follow me" after which he continues playing the same damn beat he's been playing all night long, punctuated by random and unnecessary tom rolls and unpredictable intervals of cymbal bashing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I agree with Blue and with El's point as well.


2 different scenarios. The guy I work with the most. He knows songs. He's a fan of great songwriters. He's as likely to gush over Steve Gadd's or Pete Thomas' drumming as he is about Tom Wait's latest lyrical output. I don't worry about him when I'm arranging a tune. He hears the right thing. Actually he hears 4 right things and asks what you like best.


Then there's my old buddy. He's a good solid rock drummer. Max Weinberg meets Rockpile. But... he can only think in terms of blocks-of-bars. "So that prechorus thing is 4 bars and we're robbing a bar form the previous verse, is that it?" He's good, but you gotta watch him. He tends to miss the subtleties cause he's too busy thinking. Counting.


Whatever works. If you've got to grid it out for him, do so. Maybe if he spends time with that chart he can later loosen up his mind to actually feel the tune.

I think the point is that certainty about structure actually frees the drummer to be more responsive to the musical content and put less effort into extracting structure from what musicians are playing. And when structure is laid out for everyone to see, there's less uncertainty and guessing all the way around. Lee's probably never played in an outfit with someone like me (who has enormous difficulty playing the same thing twice the same way)... if he had, he'd probably see the beauty of having at least one person in the outfit who insists on a certain amount of basic structural certainty. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Oh... I agree about structural certainty. What I'm going on about is how you get it. Some folks don't need much to grasp it. They analyze and immediately intuit. They are very certain as to the structure. But they immediately get past it and play the song. That's a good thing and a great musician.

 

Then there is the guy who has to struggle. Maybe he'll get past it to open up and be himself. Or maybe he won't and he'll just have to count bars. Then he'll have to count bars.

 

Either way, you need to know that structure. We all agree. "I'll feel it" only goes so far when your playing the wrong beat in the bridge cause you didn't realize it was the bridge just yet.

 

Put a chart in front of him and have him learn it. We agree. To what extent he learns it is the measure of his musicianship

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...