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Thread: Best way to feed back to drummer??

  1. #1

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    Red face Best way to feed back to drummer??

    Hi all

    We're an amatuer for-fun band playing together about 3 years. We're all grown ups - average age well over 40!

    None of us are pro musicians but all try our best to sound good and we've come on a lot since we started playing together. We now have regular spot in a local bar and though it's mostly friends that come out, we have a good time.

    Issue is that our drummer just isn't keeping up. Got worse since we've started on some original songs (bluesy) but he seems to not notice that what he chooses to play can be a little odd.

    Central issues are:

    - he plays things differently every time
    - changes pattern halfway through a verse or chorus - seemingly at random
    - he gets faster through the songs - to a crazy extent
    - any fills seem to trip him up, so he gets faster after each one
    - he can't do dynamics, at all, everything at one volume
    - he seems only to play the drums, he never plays the songs
    - these all get worse on original material but are the same for covers too

    The critical thing is that he simply seems to have absolutely no idea on these issues. Like none, at all. And they get worse when we gig. He says he's taken lessons but we're not so sure... He's also not improved - he's basically playing exactly how he played when we first met. The only improvement is his confidence, which was low but is now high... In spite of the above.

    We really don't want to ditch the guy, we like him(!) and as I say we're not professional, but how can we help him?? As we get into more original songs, it's starting to matter to us more and more so we need to address it before it blows up. We don't want to crush him, but how can we even mention the above without it sounding that way??

    So the questions for you guys:

    - can feedback from (non drummer) band mates ever be expressed helpfully??
    - what's been the most useful feedback you've ever had that
    - any ideas what's holding him back based on the above? What advice would you give him about improving?

    Appreciate any advice

    Carl

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Best way to feed back to drummer??

    First and foremost make sure you arent making the same mistakes or that the tempo issues arent you. Second start recording practices and gigs. Third dont turn it into a gang up or a lecture.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Best way to feed back to drummer??

    One suggestion that might help is to get a metronome that everyone can hear (through in-ears, or through the monitors). That way, it is not focused on any one member of the band, but if band members are not staying on tempo, it is readily noticeable to everyone. It can be explained that this is being done to tighten up the band - to help everyone stay together. That way, the drummer can hear for himself when he's off tempo, or off the beat. If he is able to accept his need to improve, then you guys can talk about ways to help him. Understand that this approach will expose anyone that is off tempo, or off the beat, This way, everyone can critique their own playing, and the band has a way to begin talking to each other about the issue.
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  4. #4

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    Pretty much whats been said so far, I like the idea of recording practices and then playing them back while everyone is in the same room. I learned alot from that as well as the rest of the band.

    Sounds like your all friends so you should be able to mention a few things easily enough, My band has no problem telling me when I am off but I usually recognize it as well so it's like yeah I know..LOL

    If he does not realize his mistakes after listening to some recordings than I don't know what to tell ya, you have to mention it to him in a nice way and see if he can fix it. If my band felt like that about me I would want to know about it as I am sure anyone would. Maybe you can post some video's of your band on youtube and let people outside of the band make some comments about the band as a whole. Of course have the delete button ready as some comments are not helpful to anyone but most are decent people who comment only to help. I know I do.
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  5. #5

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    Pastor Bob has a great idea with the metronome. If you all practice with a metronome then anyone who screws up will know it.

    Also the idea of recording practices is good, but once you get a recording that you like make everyone practice to THAT recording.
    -Steven

  6. #6

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    Thanks all for the comments, all useful

    I think the whole band metronome practice is a great idea - as well as recording (which we do) and listening back together (which we don't)

    Thanks again!

  7. #7

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    I suspect it is a practice issue.

    He may be distracted with work, wife, kids, house, health, or something else.

    Sometimes if the guitar or keyboard player practices with the drummer they can tighten the music up.

  8. #8

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    The bass player and drummer need to be like one in the same. If they can work with each other on tempo, they can help maintain a steady tempo. I've played with bass players before that rush the tempo terribly when we play slow blues or a shuffle. I think the main thing is to have the whole band agree that "WE as a band, have tempo issues" (the whole team concept approach). As far as playing odd beats that don't fit and not playing with dynamics, that's something that he can only develop on his own....usually best developed by listening to similar styles of music....A LOT. Try finding songs that have the same feel and style that you're looking for and play them at practice. Discuss things like dynamics and song feel as a group. Sadly, if he's not willing to recognize issues "as a group", then there's not much you can do.

    Wait a minute........your not in my band are you????
    -Brian

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    Play the SONG......not the DRUMS!!!

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  9. #9

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    Carl, any way you can video one of the songs and post it on here? I'd like to hear what you're referring to.
    - Tom

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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by drummer View Post
    Carl, any way you can video one of the songs and post it on here? I'd like to hear what you're referring to.
    Me too!

  11. #11

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    The guitar player that I first had, that taught me more than any drummer ever has, was great with body language and eye contact. I could read him quick and knew if I was doing good or not.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray on the Drums View Post
    The guitar player that I first had, that taught me more than any drummer ever has, was great with body language and eye contact. I could read him quick and knew if I was doing good or not.
    I have the same connection with my brother, who has played bass in almost every band Ive been in. We are very similar in musical personality to start with (being brothers), but playing with him is almost like playing with myself.....err...playing both bass and drums myself. We each know what the other is going to do before they do it. Dynamics, impromptu breaks, turn-arounds, accents...it's all pretty effortless. I'm guessing it would/should be the same with any drummer, bassist or musicians that have played together for any significant amount of time.
    -Brian

    "Too many crappy used drum stuff to list"

    Play the SONG......not the DRUMS!!!

    "I think that feeling is a lot more important than technique. It's all very well doing a triple paradiddle - but who's going to know you've done it? If you play technically you sound like everybody else. It's being original that counts." ~ John Bonham

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by N2Bluz View Post
    I have the same connection with my brother, who has played bass in almost every band Ive been in. We are very similar in musical personality to start with (being brothers), but playing with him is almost like playing with myself.....err...playing both bass and drums myself. We each know what the other is going to do before they do it. Dynamics, impromptu breaks, turn-arounds, accents...it's all pretty effortless. I'm guessing it would/should be the same with any drummer, bassist or musicians that have played together for any significant amount of time.
    That's awesome Brian! My wife is giving the bass hell (3 years now) and I hope we make that full connection soon.
    We do have our moments and we both just smile...Good times!

  14. #14

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    Seems that that drummer really is learning, just not good enough yet to play consistently: if he varies his tempo, he's playing with tempo ideas/approaches for the original songs; he's trying fill ideas and he needs more practice, again, but he is trying new ideas. These are things best done at home, unfortunate that he practices his drumming ideas with the band.
    Recording and metronomes sound like good ideas.
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  15. #15

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    It's the bass players fault.

  16. #16

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    Love the idea of recording practices and listening to them together.

    I'd ask leading questions too:

    "Wow, are we all speeding up that much?"

    "I like the pattern that you began with on that song. Can you keep playing it throughout? It sounds good!"

    "Wow, we all need to get quiet at the second verse. Let's try it."

    "I've got a metronome on my smartphone/ipad." Let's plug it in through the PA and see what happens. Even if we have to simplify what we do, let's see how well we can stay with it." (Maybe even start with a simply chord progression before moving on into songs.)

    Best of luck. Let us know how it goes!

  17. #17

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    Is your drummer named Lars?
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by porkpieguy View Post
    Love the idea of recording practices and listening to them together.

    I'd ask leading questions too:

    "Wow, are we all speeding up that much?"

    "I like the pattern that you began with on that song. Can you keep playing it throughout? It sounds good!"

    "Wow, we all need to get quiet at the second verse. Let's try it."

    "I've got a metronome on my smartphone/ipad." Let's plug it in through the PA and see what happens. Even if we have to simplify what we do, let's see how well we can stay with it." (Maybe even start with a simply chord progression before moving on into songs.)

    Best of luck. Let us know how it goes!
    Great post! This approach shows diplomacy.

  19. #19

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    Hi,

    I know this type of drummer and they rarely change even after you try to help them.

    Is he a guy that seems oblivious to the other band members when you play this gig you picked up?

    I think the dynamics of your band changed when you started to play out. He might not be cut out for gigging.

    If things don't change you could give up the gig a go back to a strictly for fun basement band or replace him with a better fit.

    blue

  20. #20

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    My entire career has been based on a principle that was told to me when I first started and Ive adhered to it since then - "If You cant Play - You Cant Stay". Personally, I feel no sympathy for the guy - and the groups I played with from high school to right now wouldnt hesitate to call a halt to rehearsal - tell the drummer what I just penned - and help him load out. And as soon as his taillights were no longer in view, someone would be on the phone calling another drummer.

    I got fired a few times because I had my head up my - in the clouds - and it made me a lot better drummer in a quick hurry.

    Just my thoughts on it all - and its ok to disagree with me - Im "Old School" and I have my Doctorate from the School of Hard Knocks" - I also took a course in "Hard Reality" - which is to say - I will never ever be near as good a drummer or vocalist as what I know I should be or aspire to be - and frankly, I dont work hard enough at it. But I will never quit trying to be "all I can be".
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  21. #21

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    you cant build Rome in a day or in this case 3 years

    some people just never get good (sad face)...i know it sucks but some people just never practice and never get better cause they don't want to, or don't have the drive to make better use of practice time

  22. #22

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    Bottom line------------------------new drummer.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by itchie View Post
    you cant build Rome in a day or in this case 3 years

    some people just never get good (sad face)...i know it sucks but some people just never practice and never get better cause they don't want to, or don't have the drive to make better use of practice time
    On re-reading the original post: agreed!
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  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by itchie View Post
    you cant build Rome in a day or in this case 3 years

    some people just never get good (sad face)...i know it sucks but some people just never practice and never get better cause they don't want to, or don't have the drive to make better use of practice time
    Sad but true, it's why I never get excited when someone says; "I have been playing for 10, 30, or 40 years." It doesn't automatically make you great.

    There are guys that have progressed more in 2 years than another guy that has been playing for 20 years.

    blue

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluewine View Post
    Sad but true, it's why I never get excited when someone says; "I have been playing for 10, 30, or 40 years." It doesn't automatically make you great.

    There are guys that have progressed more in 2 years than another guy that has been playing for 20 years.

    blue

    This is why I tell people that I've been playing for 20 years, but I sound like I've been playing for 5.

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