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Thread: what makes a good drummer

  1. #1

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    Default what makes a good drummer

    well besides practice i mean
    no seriously what do you think are the aspects of a good drummer?
    it started with an argument over weather travis barker was a good drummer in the middle of my english class, ware there are four drummers, two of us are jazz cats, ones into punk, and the other is a mettal head. and we found some common ground in what makes a good drummer. this is our mission statement.

    "exprsing yourself creatively and in a unique manner while adding to the musical mix rather than overtakeing it or working against it, allowing for other musicans to express themselves creatively as well and music to be served best."
    we were gonna get it tattoed on our butts but its too long

    then we made check lists of the ways we like to hear exprsion (mainly how we strive to play).
    mine was
    ride work
    musical use of toms
    hi hat work
    bass sincronisation and blend
    solid and interesting groves.

    what do you cats like in a drummer? whats your check list
    play till the day i die. it makes more sense that way.

    "You should set up your drums around the toilet. You know you must use it everyday and lets be realistic, nothing better is going on when your sitting on there. Why not take care of business and play the drums." silver dragon sound

  2. #2
    ThePloughman Guest

    Default Re: what makes a good drummer

    1. Feel. 2. Being part of the band. 3 Taking pride in your instrument. 4. Being able to adapt to the crapiest set in a heartbeat, even if it means only using the snare drum and nothing else.

  3. #3

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    Groove and feel! - no point being able to play lots of fancy chop if the drummer can't groove with the bass.

    Also knowing when to fill or not to fill. I've lost count of how many annoying fills I've heard from drummers both pro and amature that do not need to be there. Let the music breath. Work on getting the kick patterns locked with the bass rather than how many triplet double parradille flam drags you can squeeze into a 2 second fill!
    Last edited by Dustin; 05-14-2008 at 06:18 AM. Reason: spelling - i must upload that online spell checker!
    Dustin Lee Burgess
    Northfleet, England
    mapex mafia & paiste posse


  4. #4

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    Being at One with the band, in the pocket,listeniing to the whole piece of music you are playing and making sure you fit in it. Its hard to put in words but I instantly know when a drummer and band fit so to speak.

  5. #5

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    Most importantly; what conclusion did you come to with Travis? :D

    In my opinion; time keeping is number one. I can spot sloppy drummers a mile off now, even if they slip up for a nanosecond, I notice them going out of time.
    The next thing is creativity and at the minute I love Travis Barker for his really creative spin on punk.
    Third is groove. I've always loved Chad Smith and Bonham, so it comes across in my grooves.
    Fourth is ride and hi hat work. So much neglect for single handed rhythms on them nowadays, it's just fast 16th notes. Displaced hi hat diddles and 32nd notes on them sound awesome.
    Finally, tom beats. Hearing the basic rock beat over again is ok; hearing it when it's played musically on the toms is a lot better. And a good tom drummer stands out above the rest.
    Today, on Ethel The Frog...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by drummerdavie View Post
    we were gonna get it tattoed on our butts but its too long
    In this topic: drummerdavie's greatest quote ever.
    Today, on Ethel The Frog...

  7. #7

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    I think listening is a good attribute. When a band plays off each other, that makes the song really flow.

  8. #8

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    All excellent points! A simple and often overlooked thing to consider is time. The drummer is the keeper/controller of time. If the drummer decides to speed up, everyone else speeds up. My point is that in many ways the drums control the flow of the music. So I feel a good drummer must keep excellent time and be able to hear how the flow should go.
    Begin the day with a friendly voice, a companion unobtrusive. - Rush

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethel_The_Frog View Post
    Most importantly; what conclusion did you come to with Travis? :D
    hes not our favorite but hes not bad.
    play till the day i die. it makes more sense that way.

    "You should set up your drums around the toilet. You know you must use it everyday and lets be realistic, nothing better is going on when your sitting on there. Why not take care of business and play the drums." silver dragon sound

  10. #10

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    Default Re: what makes a good drummer

    All of these are excellent points and all very true. A good drummer knows "Time" and is an excellent Listener of the band. Because of this, the best of us will also know how to interject the right "Fill" and at the right time. What makes for a good drummer, of course, is a study of the instrument and it's history and development. all of which, when cuople with everything that has been said here leads to the most pertinent of characteristics... the very best drummers know how to make their bandmates shine and take center stage.

  11. #11

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    Cool Re: what makes a good drummer

    Quote Originally Posted by drummerdavie View Post
    ...this is our mission statement.

    "expressing yourself creatively and in a unique manner while adding to the musical mix rather than overtaking it or working against it, allowing for other musicans to express themselves creatively as well and music to be served best."

    we were gonna get it tattoed on our butts but its too long...

    what do you cats like in a drummer? whats your check list
    DD, I did the spell check on your mission statement , because I think it should be tattooed on the chest of every dude who calls himself a drummer (ladies can keep it in a locket on a necklace...I'm not much for tats on a lady!)...

    Am I safe in assuming you're one of the jazz cats? If you are, you're definitely a bro' with me!

    Now here's my take on what I like in a drummer:

    I crystallize it into my sig, "keep the beat goin'," but dude, it's not just counting the right time signature.

    It means being able to handle any musical situation with taste and skill. Anyone can crash, bash and thrash. The drummers I admire most can play a gentle ballad one minute and a drivin' big-band dance tune the next. Or for a hand drummer, I dig the ones who know when to tear it up on the congas when the band rocks out, and who also know when to be almost inaudible but still a part of the music on a ballad...

    It means being ready to play a small kit or a large one without going into shock. It means being ready to adapt when someone wants "more cowbell" even though you may not. It means listening to what your band buddies are doing in terms of the feel of the song, the dynamics (when it should crescendo and when it should decrescendo), when a solo is right and when it it isn't.

    In my case, it means that disco-style riff that works so well on one tune cannot be hammered to fit a slower tune on which a modified cha-cha beat works better. It may mean playing bongos when I think congas would be appropriate (or vice versa). In some cases, particularly with the music I do at church, it means dropping out for a verse or maybe even a whole song. (Think of Santana playing "Silent Night" the way they play "Oye Como Va" and you'll get the idea! )

    It means not only knowing your chops--and practicing them--but also listening and practicing with your bandmates so you find that magical pocket...to come in when you need to come in and to drop out when you need to drop out. Okay, Dustin! You said it a lot better with three short words: Groove and feel.

    And it means checking your ego in that bucket Frank mentioned in another thread. I've seen too many musicians who do dazzling solos...and who just can't work in the framework of a band. Self-control is another form of discipline here, dudes and ladies...

    and no matter how wild and crazy we get on our kits or on our congas, discipline is the framework on which everything else is hung. And without the framework, it's just a bunch of disorganized thumps, bangs, and crashes!

    (Do NOT try tattooing this!)
    keep the beat goin' ... Don't keep it to yourself!

    Charlie

    "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." --Henry David Thoreau, "Walden," 1854

    "There's a lot to be said for Time Honored tradition and value." --In memory of Frank "fiacovaz" Iacovazzi

    "Maybe your drums can be beat, but you can't."--Jack Keck

  12. #12

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    Default Re: what makes a good drummer

    Quote Originally Posted by bongobro View Post
    DD, I did the spell check on your mission statement , because I think it should be tattooed on the chest of every dude who calls himself a drummer (ladies can keep it in a locket on a necklace...I'm not much for tats on a lady!)...

    Am I safe in assuming you're one of the jazz cats? If you are, you're definitely a bro' with me!

    Now here's my take on what I like in a drummer:

    I crystallize it into my sig, "keep the beat goin'," but dude, it's not just counting the right time signature.

    It means being able to handle any musical situation with taste and skill. Anyone can crash, bash and thrash. The drummers I admire most can play a gentle ballad one minute and a drivin' big-band dance tune the next. Or for a hand drummer, I dig the ones who know when to tear it up on the congas when the band rocks out, and who also know when to be almost inaudible but still a part of the music on a ballad...

    It means being ready to play a small kit or a large one without going into shock. It means being ready to adapt when someone wants "more cowbell" even though you may not. It means listening to what your band buddies are doing in terms of the feel of the song, the dynamics (when it should crescendo and when it should decrescendo), when a solo is right and when it it isn't.

    In my case, it means that disco-style riff that works so well on one tune cannot be hammered to fit a slower tune on which a modified cha-cha beat works better. It may mean playing bongos when I think congas would be appropriate (or vice versa). In some cases, particularly with the music I do at church, it means dropping out for a verse or maybe even a whole song. (Think of Santana playing "Silent Night" the way they play "Oye Como Va" and you'll get the idea! )

    It means not only knowing your chops--and practicing them--but also listening and practicing with your bandmates so you find that magical pocket...to come in when you need to come in and to drop out when you need to drop out. Okay, Dustin! You said it a lot better with three short words: Groove and feel.

    And it means checking your ego in that bucket Frank mentioned in another thread. I've seen too many musicians who do dazzling solos...and who just can't work in the framework of a band. Self-control is another form of discipline here, dudes and ladies...

    and no matter how wild and crazy we get on our kits or on our congas, discipline is the framework on which everything else is hung. And without the framework, it's just a bunch of disorganized thumps, bangs, and crashes!

    (Do NOT try tattooing this!)
    BB that was very well written. You not only hit the nail on the head, you put it flush into the wall!!

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverdragonsound View Post
    All excellent points! A simple and often overlooked thing to consider is time. The drummer is the keeper/controller of time. If the drummer decides to speed up, everyone else speeds up. My point is that in many ways the drums control the flow of the music. So I feel a good drummer must keep excellent time and be able to hear how the flow should go.
    All very good replys , I also believe in keeping in time , and not wandering off . Probably one of the most basic things .

    Thanks for starting the thread Davie , it really gets you thinking .

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by gonefishin View Post
    All very good replys , I also believe in keeping in time , and not wandering off . Probably one of the most basic things .

    Thanks for starting the thread Davie , it really gets you thinking .
    wandering off!! That reminds me of a gig I did way back , i stood in for a country gig and the nutjob steel player, took his picks off mid way thru the set and went to the back wall of the stage and actually mimicked painting the wall, when the set was over I asked him what was up and he said he was soo bored on the song that he would actually prefer painting than playing on it!!! he was an absolute nutter, and a good player i might add.

  15. #15

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    Default Re: what makes a good drummer

    This is a good thread because it gives me things to think about, from the smallest ideas to the bigger picture like in Bro's post.

    My two cents is, being able to play with a metronome.
    I play, Gretsch Catalina Birch, 7 piece in the vintage sunburst finish.


    RIP, Frank. You will not be forgotten. Missing you, mate

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by bongobro View Post
    DD, I did the spell check on your mission statement , because I think it should be tattooed on the chest of every dude who calls himself a drummer (ladies can keep it in a locket on a necklace...I'm not much for tats on a lady!)...

    Am I safe in assuming you're one of the jazz cats? If you are, you're definitely a bro' with me!

    Now here's my take on what I like in a drummer:

    I crystallize it into my sig, "keep the beat goin'," but dude, it's not just counting the right time signature.

    It means being able to handle any musical situation with taste and skill. Anyone can crash, bash and thrash. The drummers I admire most can play a gentle ballad one minute and a drivin' big-band dance tune the next. Or for a hand drummer, I dig the ones who know when to tear it up on the congas when the band rocks out, and who also know when to be almost inaudible but still a part of the music on a ballad...

    It means being ready to play a small kit or a large one without going into shock. It means being ready to adapt when someone wants "more cowbell" even though you may not. It means listening to what your band buddies are doing in terms of the feel of the song, the dynamics (when it should crescendo and when it should decrescendo), when a solo is right and when it it isn't.

    In my case, it means that disco-style riff that works so well on one tune cannot be hammered to fit a slower tune on which a modified cha-cha beat works better. It may mean playing bongos when I think congas would be appropriate (or vice versa). In some cases, particularly with the music I do at church, it means dropping out for a verse or maybe even a whole song. (Think of Santana playing "Silent Night" the way they play "Oye Como Va" and you'll get the idea! )

    It means not only knowing your chops--and practicing them--but also listening and practicing with your bandmates so you find that magical pocket...to come in when you need to come in and to drop out when you need to drop out. Okay, Dustin! You said it a lot better with three short words: Groove and feel.

    And it means checking your ego in that bucket Frank mentioned in another thread. I've seen too many musicians who do dazzling solos...and who just can't work in the framework of a band. Self-control is another form of discipline here, dudes and ladies...

    and no matter how wild and crazy we get on our kits or on our congas, discipline is the framework on which everything else is hung. And without the framework, it's just a bunch of disorganized thumps, bangs, and crashes!

    (Do NOT try tattooing this!)
    yah im one of the jazz cats but i can play anything if need be. i just like jazz best.
    and i think that would make a great back tattoo. bbro. its vary well writen.
    play till the day i die. it makes more sense that way.

    "You should set up your drums around the toilet. You know you must use it everyday and lets be realistic, nothing better is going on when your sitting on there. Why not take care of business and play the drums." silver dragon sound

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by bongobro View Post
    DD, I did the spell check on your mission statement , because I think it should be tattooed on the chest of every dude who calls himself a drummer (ladies can keep it in a locket on a necklace...I'm not much for tats on a lady!)...

    Am I safe in assuming you're one of the jazz cats? If you are, you're definitely a bro' with me!

    Now here's my take on what I like in a drummer:

    I crystallize it into my sig, "keep the beat goin'," but dude, it's not just counting the right time signature.

    It means being able to handle any musical situation with taste and skill. Anyone can crash, bash and thrash. The drummers I admire most can play a gentle ballad one minute and a drivin' big-band dance tune the next. Or for a hand drummer, I dig the ones who know when to tear it up on the congas when the band rocks out, and who also know when to be almost inaudible but still a part of the music on a ballad...

    It means being ready to play a small kit or a large one without going into shock. It means being ready to adapt when someone wants "more cowbell" even though you may not. It means listening to what your band buddies are doing in terms of the feel of the song, the dynamics (when it should crescendo and when it should decrescendo), when a solo is right and when it it isn't.

    In my case, it means that disco-style riff that works so well on one tune cannot be hammered to fit a slower tune on which a modified cha-cha beat works better. It may mean playing bongos when I think congas would be appropriate (or vice versa). In some cases, particularly with the music I do at church, it means dropping out for a verse or maybe even a whole song. (Think of Santana playing "Silent Night" the way they play "Oye Como Va" and you'll get the idea! )

    It means not only knowing your chops--and practicing them--but also listening and practicing with your bandmates so you find that magical pocket...to come in when you need to come in and to drop out when you need to drop out. Okay, Dustin! You said it a lot better with three short words: Groove and feel.

    And it means checking your ego in that bucket Frank mentioned in another thread. I've seen too many musicians who do dazzling solos...and who just can't work in the framework of a band. Self-control is another form of discipline here, dudes and ladies...

    and no matter how wild and crazy we get on our kits or on our congas, discipline is the framework on which everything else is hung. And without the framework, it's just a bunch of disorganized thumps, bangs, and crashes!

    (Do NOT try tattooing this!)
    HOLA COMO ESTAS BONGOBRO *DRAGON *CREATIVE aRTISTIC DRUMMER ARTIST(GAT) EXCELLENT LOVED HOW you EXPRESSED YOUR CREATIVE FLOW DRAGON& MI AMIGO **GRACIAS

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ratmycue View Post
    wandering off!! That reminds me of a gig I did way back , i stood in for a country gig and the nutjob steel player, took his picks off mid way thru the set and went to the back wall of the stage and actually mimicked painting the wall, when the set was over I asked him what was up and he said he was soo bored on the song that he would actually prefer painting than playing on it!!! he was an absolute nutter, and a good player i might add.

    LOL..........now thats funny , I bet the audiance got a kick out of that . all-though not too funny for the rest of the band that was counting on him playing the set .

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverdragonsound View Post
    All excellent points! A simple and often overlooked thing to consider is time. The drummer is the keeper/controller of time. If the drummer decides to speed up, everyone else speeds up. My point is that in many ways the drums control the flow of the music. So I feel a good drummer must keep excellent time and be able to hear how the flow should go.
    HOLA COMO ESTAS SILVERDRAGONSOUND *CRETIVE ARTISTIC ARTIST DRUMMER(CAT)THAT IS FORSURE ONE(1) EXCELLENT POINT *GRACIAS

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by fiacovaz View Post
    All of these are excellent points and all very true. A good drummer knows "Time" and is an excellent Listener of the band. Because of this, the best of us will also know how to interject the right "Fill" and at the right time. What makes for a good drummer, of course, is a study of the instrument and it's history and development. all of which, when cuople with everything that has been said here leads to the most pertinent of characteristics... the very best drummers know how to make their bandmates shine and take center stage.
    HOLA COMO ESTAS FIACOVAZ*FRANK*CREATIVE ARTISTIC DRUMMER ARTIST (CAT) THATS A EXCELLENT FACT** GRACIAS

  21. #21

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    Default Re: what makes a good drummer

    [QUOTE=bongobro;84619](ladies can keep it in a locket on a necklace...I'm not much for tats on a lady!)...


    QUOTE]

    agreed....lol.....yeah....first of all lets remember our job(timing), once you can nail the tic-toc of a metronome, build off that, create a pocket, groove it --if you can. (if you can, thank the Creator because there`s lots of drummers out there who cant...lol...sat through lots of it....)

    after the groove, learn to play `tight`...every accent the rest of the guys hit, nail it..then add some emotion..dont start out the gig with the fastest fill you know how to rip, build off each other and bring it all to a crescendo, then learn dynamics...set a metronome and play the beat with brushes, then take the SD1 vic firths and hammer the life out of your drums, keeping the same rhythm...

    finally....dont forget to practice...the best of the best practice, and obviously we aren`t because we have time to be on this forum...so keep the practice going, and dont stop drumming till arthritis keeps you from picking up the sticks....
    My Kit - Mapex Saturn 6 Pc., Iron Cobra Double Pedal, 14 Sabian HHX Evolution HH, 20 Avedis Ping Ride, Zildjian 16 Vintage Crash, Zildjian K 17 Thin Dry Crash, Sabian HHX Evolution 16 Crash, Evans Heads, Sennheiser Mikes

  22. #22

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    Time first! My son is not a flashy drummer, but his time is rock solid, and he holds the rest of the band together. When there is something wrong with a band and you can't quite nail what it is, listen to the drummer's time; if they are off, the foundation of the building is cracked, and everything on top is off kilter.

    Groove! Lock that bass drum in to the feel of the song and drive everybody else.

    Musicality! Two of my fave drummers are Bonham, and Stu Copeland, and everybody knows they had chops. If you listen to their recordings, though, -not many chops. They threw them in when they were called for, and everybody knows their genius. (Or you can be like me, and Carter Beauford everything up. I'm getting over this. ;-) - but even he is appropriate to DMB). A lot of guitarists HATE Carter, because he now has drummers trying to do that with everything, when the music doesn't always call for it. Now if the music calls for it, and it's NOT there, well, that's another story. . .
    And the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw. . .

  23. #23

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    From another musicians (learning drummer) point of view, a drummer is not great for how well they keep the time, as usually this just goes unnoticed when they are rock solid. It is what is expected anyway. Thats one of the job selection criteria!

    im sure a good drummer is adaptabe, and has good technique and all, but this does not make them memorable and great to the masses as only other drummers will notice this.

    What i consider makes a great drummer is the notes they don't hit. the spaces they allow to pass between the beats.

    phill collins hit a fill 00x00x00x00x00x0.. across the toms - fed thru a gated reverb. its simple as anything, and he will be remembered for that fill alone! a percussion fill is the best crescendo !

    it is the INDIVIDUAL STYLE in fills that make a drummer great! listeners and lovers of music remember the drummers fills... not the beats.

  24. #24

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    A good drummer to me is anyone with a heart for music and the desire to play the drums or any instrument for that matter. You don't have to be a technical player to be considered good, in fact the most in demand drummers are drummers that can keep time, stay in the pocket, and have passion for what they are doing, if you are passionate about playing the drums, it will show, people will feel it, and love what you are doing, because you love what you are doing, to me thats what makes a GREAT drummer.

  25. #25

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    Default Re: what makes a good drummer

    your a good drummer if you can listen to what the song is telling you to play, and then try to get as close to that as you can.

    and of course practice so you can get close to what you want.

    period.

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