Ideas for Drumming Bluegrass?

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Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 3:37 pm
Location: Colorado

Post Thu Dec 07, 2006 3:50 pm

I had a talented musician ask me if I would accomany him and his music. He's very good and I'd love to jam. He plays/writes bluegrass music however, and traditional bluegrass has no drums. So i'm trying to figure out how I should play with out making it too country/or the exact opposite too punk. It really has a two beat feel and he wants to especially stay away from country music. Any Ideas?
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Post Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:41 am

Brushes and a snare drum. That's it. That's all you need. For examples, check out my friends, Rusty Gun Revival. They are a classic roots/Americana 3-piece band, and my bud T. Orris Hipps uses a snare and brushes, that's all.

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Post Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:43 pm

I have played just about every style there is and when I was approached by a friend about playing with him for a bluegrass/folk singer I was a little hesitant. I thought it would be boring as hell! Like you I am always looking to jam, so I thought I would check it out. I have been playing with them now for over a year and it has been quite fun. We have played many venues that I would not have been exposed to otherwise. I have found there are a ton of Bluegrass/folk fests all over the country. As far as the set up, well like the other guy said a snare and brushes (and rods) is pretty much all you need, but I do think a kick adds a lot to it as well. Over the past year we have kind of transformed in to more of bluegrass/rock/alt country sound and I have found that if you show up to a bluegrass gig with anything more than a snare drum, people will kind of freak on you. It is almost like the automatically think this guy is going to bang the crap out of the drums. Is all about playing tastefully. I have shown up with a full kit, gotten some comments and looks, but after the show it is nothing but compliments. I think it is ok to experiment. I have used nothing but a snare, a snare/kick/cymbal, snare/tom/cymbal, full 4 piece kit all with sucess. It depends on the venue as well. Go for it man. Who knows what will come out of it. It has made me focus on things I hadn't thought about in years. Good luck! :)
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Post Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:39 am

I play drums for a "bluegrass" band. I use quotes because we aren't really a true bluegrass band because of: 1. drums in the mix and 2: we venture off into rock and funk territory all the while using bluegrass instruments. Sometimes we pick up electric bass and guitar too.

I use everything from a djembe played with brushes (which is great for being portable) to a 4 piece kit with a side snare. Often a kick, snare, hats and rideable crash, maybe a splash is all that is needed. It's really fun to have a small set up and focus purely on the groove.

The most important thing to remember is to be very tasty, don't overplay (there are already a bunch of overplayers :lol: in a string band, they are used to having to carry the huge energy gap when drums are not present) and serve the song. Get your boom chik and train beat shuffles tidy, you will use them ad nauseum. :!:

Really, don't have any hesitation, it's really fun to play the music. Great practice too, play fast!!
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Post Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:10 am

All you need is a bass, a snare and one of those XXX jugs of booze. You'll do fine :lol:
Falling down the stairs at the age of five was my first drum solo.

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groove master
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Post Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:22 am

drumbeast420 wrote: I have found that if you show up to a bluegrass gig with anything more than a snare drum, people will kind of freak on you. It is almost like the automatically think this guy is going to bang the crap out of the drums.

How true. Generally all I ever used when jamming with bluegrass folks was a snare and brushes, or a washboard (why hasn't this been mentioned yet?) and brushes. A kick, hat and ride can come in handy, as well as some "rods" or whatever you want to call them. But if you show up to a "bluegrass jam" sort of situation with all that gear, be prepared for some dirty looks at first.......Oh one more thing I should mention...Sometimes I use brushes and a cardboard box. Play it just like you would a snare drum, but you sometimes have to hit it a little harder. People seem to get a kick out of it, and you can draw all kinds of sounds/textures out of one. I like a box about 10"x12"x8". To make a uniform playing surface, just glue another piece of cardboard over the entire playing area (to cover up the seam and tape on the box). This also adds to the durability. poke some holes in the sides and run a string through and you have a strap, or sit and play it between your knees.
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