View Poll Results: How precise do you learn a song?

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  • Precisely, note for note, fill for fill

    4 13.79%
  • As close as I can, rhythms and fills

    15 51.72%
  • Rhythms and beat close my own fills

    10 34.48%
  • Just try to play it beginning to end good enough

    0 0%
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Thread: How Precise Do You Learn a Song?

  1. #1

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    Default How Precise Do You Learn a Song?

    So I had a big debate with a student last night and it got me thinking.

    I have one student who wants to learn songs note for note, fill for fill and I have others who learn the main beat and rhythms but like to add lib their own fills but get it to the point where they can fully play along with the song, it's just not note for note.

    So how Precisely do you guys learn a song?

    A) Do you like to learn it note for note, fill for fill? Transcribe it perfectly?
    B) Do you get the rhythms and fills close but not perfect?
    C) Get the main rhythms and use your own fills?
    D) Just play whatever you want and keep the beat beginning to end?
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  2. #2

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    Default Re: How Precise Do You Learn a Song?

    I voted "C". Actually, sometimes I even tweak the rhythm and/or beat a little, depending on how my brother interprets the bass line....as well as the rest of the band. At the risk of sounding "cheesy", it's about personal expression. I don't feel like I'm expressing myself if I'm trying to copy someone note-for-note. At the same time, I think it's good to study and attempt to play the original note-for-note. That's how you develop your skills and expand your vocabulary on drums.
    Last edited by N2Bluz; 11-03-2016 at 07:57 AM.
    -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

  3. #3

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    Default Re: How Precise Do You Learn a Song?

    Most of the stuff I play is 25+ years old and the people watching have been listening to that song since day 1 so I try to get as close as I can but most of the time they really appreciate when you change it up a bit and they hear something new as long as you maintain the same feel as the original.

    Of course some songs you really cannot change all that much IMO. AC/DC comes to mind, they have so much room for added fills, crashes, 16th note little fills but none of it works in about 90% of their songs and it really kills those songs IMO.
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  4. #4

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    Default Re: How Precise Do You Learn a Song?

    Quote Originally Posted by N2Bluz View Post
    I voted "C". Actually, sometimes I even tweak the rhythm and/or beat a little, depending on how my brother interprets the bass line....as well as the rest of the band. At the risk of sounding "cheesy", it's about personal expression. I don't feel like I'm expressing myself if I'm trying to copy someone note-for-note. At the same time, I think it's good to study and attempt to play the original note-for-note. That's how you develop your skills and expand your vocabulary on drums.
    Sometimes I think Brian and I were separated at birth. My response would almost mimick his.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: How Precise Do You Learn a Song?

    I learn many songs note for note and fill for fill when I think the original drummer does a great job; but like many cokky drummers do, I think I make some songs sound/run a bit better.

    Then there are situations like stringing songs together into medleys where it is mandatory to change up a few things.

    So my choice in the poll was option "B" even though I confess to all but "D"..
    Last edited by Ricardo; 11-03-2016 at 02:22 PM.
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  6. #6

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    Default Re: How Precise Do You Learn a Song?

    Depends on the song. If it's something that everyone has heard a thousand times, they probably want the fills in there just like they know them so in that case, I will play what's on the record. But for everything else, I play what I want.
    - Tom

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  7. #7

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    Default Re: How Precise Do You Learn a Song?

    Quote Originally Posted by Texdrumr View Post
    Sometimes I think Brian and I were separated at birth. My response would almost mimick his.
    Hmm....
    Reminds me of that news article I saw on FB; about a 97yr old retired mailman that claimed to have 1300 illegitimate children. He credited his accomplishment to "a real good Johnny Cash impression that the ladies loved"
    -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

  8. #8

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    Default Re: How Precise Do You Learn a Song?

    If a song has a signature pattern, you pretty much have to follow that, but anything outside of that, I played what I wanted to play.

    I have posted this many times before, but, here it is again:

    For decades, I would tell people that came up to me and said that I didn't play a fill or whatever the way that ___________ played it on the record/CD, that they should buy the record/CD and stay home and listen to it and save themselves a lot of money.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by drummer View Post
    Depends on the song. If it's something that everyone has heard a thousand times, they probably want the fills in there just like they know them so in that case, I will play what's on the record. But for everything else, I play what I want.
    So I voted C. Gotta go with some signature fills and patterns:
    ACDC "Riff Raff," Petty "Running' Down a Dream," LZ "Houses of the Holy," for example. Pretty much more of my own fills for ZZ Top, LS, & other southern rock and Hendrix blues.
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  10. #10

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    I chose - As close as I can. Sometimes I can't always here exactly what is being played and other times I just may not have the talent to play it correctly. But I try.
    Signature here

  11. #11

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    Default Re: How Precise Do You Learn a Song?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bish View Post
    I chose - As close as I can. Sometimes I can't always here exactly what is being played and other times I just may not have the talent to play it correctly. But I try.
    I'm with you on the talent part, buddy. Sometimes, like 3-1/2hrs into the gig, it's just that I'm too tired to attempt anything but the basic groove.
    -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

  12. #12

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    If it's a very technically complex song and I'm learning it for the challenge, then I'll try to get it exactly the same. For most other songs, I largely play the same beat but I'll change the fills to something different but similar
    - Zack

  13. #13

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    I usually try to keep it like the original if possible but it also depends on how well the rest of the band can do it too. Sometimes we have more fun doing the tune and then at the end, add a little solo action from each member. We sometimes change it up during practice even with our own lyrics...lol
    Last edited by Olimpass; 11-04-2016 at 04:46 PM.

  14. #14

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    Default Re: How Precise Do You Learn a Song?

    Maybe I'm reading the question differently than everyone else. I LEARN the song (which is what I think this question is asking) note for note (to the best of my feeble ability, I sometimes just can't do it right). I PLAY songs pretty much the way I want. The basic groove needs to be there as do the signature fills, but, adlibbing fills and hitting drums/pies of choice kind of makes the songs "my own" to a degree.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickthedrummer View Post
    If a song has a signature pattern, you pretty much have to follow that, but anything outside of that, I played what I wanted to play.

    I have posted this many times before, but, here it is again:

    For decades, I would tell people that came up to me and said that I didn't play a fill or whatever the way that ___________ played it on the record/CD, that they should buy the record/CD and stay home and listen to it and save themselves a lot of money.
    I like this, pretty much my standard too. If time allows I might examine a song more technically, but after that and for live playing, not overplaying, keeping my ears open, not step on anyone, and allow the song to show its mood to me and the audience.

  16. #16

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    except for "we will rock you" and "wipe out", i don;t think there are songs that are immune from changes. Personally, I wouldn't have the patience to learn any song note for note. And if someone complains about it not being like the original, well why bother going out to listen to music if you can sit at home and listen to it?

    That being said, I've been learning and practicing 'use me" by bill withers, with the intent to not only learn the song, but also get the hh choke down...there are songs that deviating much would just be musically stupid (like use me), but even still, note for note is just extreme!

    but if I could play Jimi and LZ note for note...

  17. #17

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    Depends ,if I'm doing a Frank Zappa chart,you really don't have much choice.
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bish View Post
    I chose - As close as I can. Sometimes I can't always here exactly what is being played and other times I just may not have the talent to play it correctly. But I try.
    My thoughts exactly. The bands that I play for, are both sticklers for it to be right. They do understand that I am no Buddy or Neil, though. But, I must say, they have made me a better musician.
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  19. #19

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    It would do me much good to learn it note for note...at least not from a band standpoint. The rest of the guys don't, so I'm along for the ride. Song structure always changes, depending on who's singing, what instruments the guys decided to play that night, if people are dancing, etc..
    -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

  20. #20

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    Sometimes the guys that recorded the song dont even play it like the recording. Danny Seraphin on Chicago's iconic drum track on 25 or 6 to 4 cant play it like they recorded. He had to double track the drums to get that sound. Can't be played by one drummer exactly like the recording.
    Last edited by G-man; 11-05-2016 at 07:13 PM.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by jgziegler View Post
    except for "we will rock you" and "wipe out", i don;t think there are songs that are immune from changes. Personally, I wouldn't have the patience to learn any song note for note. And if someone complains about it not being like the original, well why bother going out to listen to music if you can sit at home and listen to it?

    That being said, I've been learning and practicing 'use me" by bill withers, with the intent to not only learn the song, but also get the hh choke down...there are songs that deviating much would just be musically stupid (like use me), but even still, note for note is just extreme!

    but if I could play Jimi and LZ note for note...
    LZ couldn't even play LZ note for note...LOL

    at least what I've seen of their live videos

    all the best...

  22. #22

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    Just another thought,how could you possibly play 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover and not do it note for note?
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  23. #23

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    I once had a debate with my old guitarist in a band in college...

    He argued about some of my fills as we were learning some Dream Theater songs together. He said if a guitarist, bassist and pianist all have to learn the song note for note for the song to sound correctly why shouldn't the drummer?!

    I just responded with, ok transcribe Mike Portnoy's drumming for me and I'll learn it note for note lol
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  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpazApproved View Post
    I once had a debate with my old guitarist in a band in college...

    He argued about some of my fills as we were learning some Dream Theater songs together. He said if a guitarist, bassist and pianist all have to learn the song note for note for the song to sound correctly why shouldn't the drummer?!

    I just responded with, ok transcribe Mike Portnoy's drumming for me and I'll learn it note for note lol
    Wow. Sure glad I've always played in bands that played public appeal music. If I can't catch a song in 2 or 3 tries, I don't want to play it!!

    all the best...

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