As a drum teacher I’ve noticed that one of the most difficult things for beginner drummers is to switch rates, e.g., to go from triplets to 16th notes, and moving between different 16th note variations.
This short exercise is designed so you can play along with me (or the click only), get comfortable with counting, and develop confidence in switching beats while keeping the tempo.
Try to keep a steady quarter note pulse on the bass drum during the exercise.
If you’re wondering about the sticking of some of the variations, you can find them in my PDF Kick Start.
Ps.: I posted both play-alongs in the educational section on my website.
There’s a meditative, soothing quality to it. Playing brushes can assist you in developing better timing and flow (because of circular/elliptical stroke patterns) — which will also show when playing with sticks.
All time great brush players include Papa Jo Jones, Clayton Cameron, and Jeff Hamilton.
Clayton Cameron devotes a segment to the same relationship. The arguments are compelling and valid. However, Mr. Paton cites a deeper source: shoe shine boys who employed their individual rhythms in brushing down their customers with whisk brooms after they shined the shoes. He backs this up with copious citations within the article. He also traces the development and evolution of suitcase drumming in which brushes were used, as well as the importance of barbershops as musical centers of gravity and where some of the whisk broom rhythms were born and evolved. In the latter it appears that Louisiana was particularly important. The irony is the pioneering New Orleans drummers, such as Louis Cottrell, Sr and Baby Dodds eschewed brushes.
If you’ve never tried playing brushes, I encourage you to get a pair and start fooling around with them. You’ve been missing out 😉
Testing the rebound/stick response of three different drum pads:
Vic Firth 12″ Pad
Reflexx CP1 10″
I’ve been using all three of them, but if I had to pick one, it’d be the Reflexx Conditioning Pad. Simply because it gives you two rebound options (two sides) to play on, is super quiet, and smaller in diameter.
Here are two simple, yet cool triplet combos: ||:Left Right Kick:|| (Gadd is a master at this!) and then something I’ve heard Bonham do a lot: ||:Left Right Kick | Right Left Kick:||
In this songo improv I play open handed, aka left hand lead (I’m not crossing my sticks), which allows me to get around the kit more easily.
Here’s an Elvin Jones inspired afro-cuban pattern. It has a 6/4 kind of feel, and the hi-hat splashes and tom accents make it challenging to keep balance. I’ll try to follow up with a transcription, soon.
I recently came up with this cool beat:
8th note heel/toe hi-hat splashes over a polyrhythmic double stroke bass drum pattern. 1&A cymbal pattern + snare drum on 2&4.
Remember: Repetition is the key. If you’re new to this, practice a little bit every day, and soon the movements will become second nature as you develop muscle memory.
1.Your foot is flat on the footboard and you play from the ankle.
2. Your foot doesn’t leave the pedal when you wind up, but stays on the pedal throughout the sequence.
3. It’s a very light technique and mostly used at lower volumes. You only need to push down a little bit to set the beater in motion — it’s like tapping your feet on the floor.
There are 3 steps to this technique:
Wind Up (lift your leg)
Release (the transition to step 3)
The Actual Stroke (when you drop your leg)
Step two and three practically merge into one motion: you come down on the ball of your foot and immediately bounce back to release pressure. This is when the stroke happens. It sounds more complicated than it actually is.
Make sure you LIFT your leg, get your heel off the pedal, while your toes stay on the footboard. If you’re having trouble with this sequence, try practicing in socks, or shoes with leather soles.
With the first tap, kick your leg up from the ball of your toes and let your foot naturally roll down to generate the second stroke. (You are no longer actively generating two strokes from your ankle, but only the upbeat. The downbeat happens automatically as your leg drops down.)
To finetune this technique, you can pull your foot slightly back on the upstroke and push it forward on the downbeat. It happens automatically at faster tempos, given you are relaxed and allow your foot to slide on the footboard.