Mistakes that drummers make

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joe_cader
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Post Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:14 pm

Probably underplaying. I think back and say I could have done this here and that there. i don't want to be too much of a show-off. lol
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Dale
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Post Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:11 am

Mistakes drummers make? Well there are a few.

Not listening to the music.

Overplaying.

Thinking that the drums are the only important thing in the band.

Not learning how to read. (These guys are in for a shock if they ever get into a studio to play sessions and are given twenty pages!)

Disregarding rudiments. How many times have I heard some kid saying "I don't want to learn rudiments! I want to play like me!"??
It's as if learning to spell made their speech unoriginal. It's just a really dumb idea. And it's lazy.

Practicing what they enjoy. Not what they need.

Thinking that buying more toms will make them a better or more creative drummer . Creativity is in the mind and one's ability to play should be at a level to bring this out. A new tom does not a better drummer make.

Learning just one style. How many heavy metal drummers that sound like every other heavy metal drummer do I have to hear???

The assumption that the style they enjoy at 16 will be relevent 10 years from now.

Throwing sticks into the audience. That's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Not practicing with a metronome.

Buying equipment, such as really thick cymbals to practice in a bedroom, that is inappropriate.

Wearing spandex on stage when one's over forty years old. It's just embarrassing.

Not practicing at all dynamic levels.

Being proud of the fact that they are a "Heavy Hitter" without the ability to play soft. (morons)

Thinking that one fill will suit every occassion.
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zen_drummer
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Post Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:08 am

Wow, there are so many mistakes I've made in the past, it's hard to create a list that would even make sense, but I'll give it a shot:

Overplaying/underplaying: Both have their own liabilities. If you overplay you take up all the space that's left, and a little "air" in the music helps to create the groove. If you underplay, then the music is missing something; either drive or texture that is important to the song and its presentation. It's hard to decide what's appropriate at times, and sometimes the best thing to do is record what you've done in practice and listen to it. Give yourself an honest critique and ask others as well.

This brings us to the fine art of listening: Listening to what you play, listening to what others are playing, listening to a variety of music... it all goes hand in hand. Many drumers just play without regard for what's going on around them. Actually, many musicians in general suffer from this same problem, so this isn't really the exclusive domain of drummers. The obvious next step is that you not only have to listen, you have to interact with what you're hearing.

And then we have Dynamics. There's more to Dynamics than volume. Dynamics can be about the feel, the pulse you setup as you play so the other musicians can settle into the "pocket" is as important as the volume at which you play it. When a drummer plays with wide dynamics, they can use subtle variations in level to shift the feel of a song.

And TIME... I have often said that many drummers that are accused of having bad time actually have GREAT meter, unfortunately, they lack the strength, confidence and skills to push the band where they need to go. In this sense, many drummers that have been accused of having bad time really don't have bad time, but the BANDS they are in occasionally do. OK, Here's a good subject for a poll... How many of us have played with guitar players that try to run away with the song only to turn to you and say "you're rushing"? These idiots are the first to point the finger and break the drummers confidence, and the bands confidence in the drummer. It's a death spiral. It's like being towed down the hiway by a truck that's going 95 miles an hour and the cop gives YOU the ticket instead of the tow truck driver! This is why it is ABSOLUTELY important to be able to play with a click or a metronome. When your runaway guitar player points the finger, make him play with the metronome and show him the problem is about him... Remember, being the timekeeper means YOU are in charge. When they try to bust on you for being "off" you need to be able to show them WHY it's going off, and you need to direct the band on how to make these corrections so it no longer happens. This requires the confidence that you are actually right and can prove it. This ONLY comes from practicing YOUR parts with a metronome so you know you are right. When it comes down to it, you need to have the confidence to actually lead your band, instead of following them everyplace they pull you.

The rest of the stuff like too many cymbals, too many drums, setting up "wrong", it's all part of the big picture, but not an absolute deal breaker. I used to say "A drummer should never need more tom-toms than he has testicles" because if you "need" more that one rack tom and a floor tom to express yourself musically, you might be missing the boat. However, there are certainly times when a wider range of sounds is certainly appropriate. But, if you can't groove on just a kick, hi-hat and snare, then a huge pile of choices isn't going to fix the basic problems.

All these thoughts come down to one master idea and concept. The biggest mistake many drummers make is to not apply the basic and fundamental concept of being a good musician. A good musican practices his instrument and has the drive to try to be as good as they possible can be. It doesn't matter if you play the drum kit, or the flute, you still need to learn about musical concepts and why they are important. Flute players learn scales as the fundamental building blocks of their craft, as do guitar players. Drummers need to realize EVERYTHING THEY PLAY, whether they understand it or not, has its basis in rudiments. Learning rudiments will expand your abilities in ways you cannot imagine if you haven't learned them. You can talk until you're blue in the face about not wanting to limit your expression by learing the core concepts, you're still going to play rudiments... you just don't know what you're playing and how they relate to the basics. The reality is, you're already playing rudiments... you just don't know what they're called!

So, when I make a mistake, it's because I'm being a lazy musician. I try not to do that, but it is the number one mistake most of us make and the root cause of most problems.
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The Alien Drummer
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Post Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:31 am

Wearing spandex on stage when one's over forty years old. It's just embarrassing.


ROFLMAO!!!!! Just made me think of seeing David Lee Roth a couple of years ago.
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phee
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Post Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:49 am

Drummers are stupid people. They make many many many mistakes. Way too many to list. I will list one that no one else has.

BE ON TIME!!! I struggled with this one for years and I know many other drummers do. You just look stupid when you arrive to band functions 15 minutes late every time. Time managment, people, time managment!

Also, it freakin' pisses me off when a drum kit doesn't look good. If you suck, atleast look good while you suck so you might fool someone. It's so easy to do. Just set it up in a way that's pleasing to the eye.

Sorry, I have to mention this one too. USE BOTTUM HEADS!!!!! Taking them off makes the drums sound terrible and makes them look like turds. We are no longer in the 70s. It was stupid then too anyway. Ofcourse, with bottum heads, you have to learn to tune them (no, not to specific notes, you tard!), that goes without saying.

I better stop.
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Post Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:26 am

My biggest concern for other drummers out there is technique. Drummers that try to play extremely fast tend to tense up and take their pinkie finger [or multiple fingers] off of the drumstick, using nothing but their arm and fulcrum to play. This creates poor sound quality and uneven sound from each hand. A drummer that uses their whole arm to play will never be able to play as fast or as accurate as someone with the proper technique using a combination of the fulcrum and back fingers and wrist to control the stick before and after the attack. Remember, we're drumming, not drinking tea.
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Waylon
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Post Mon Dec 11, 2006 12:16 pm

I agree with all those who have wisely stated that not developing deep and wide listening (developing what they call BIG EARS in the industry lingo) is the worst mistake any musician can make. Listening and playing as a musician who plays drums, rather than just a drummer. Playing too many fills in the wrong places is the number one unmusical thing some drummers do. Also, not having good tempo, letting fills speed up and not having internalized the metronome by having played the rudiments to it. Drummers should also listen to the vocal phrasing as well as locking in w/ the Bassist, as the vocal phrasing is intimately intertwined with the drumbeat, sometimes even playing the same exact phrasings. All drummers should also learn a melodic instrument and learn at least basic music theory so you know what your bandmates mean when they ask you to sing the third or play quarter notes ot whatever. So, the biggest mistake is not becoming a well rounded musicians, taking responsibility to really learn your craft. Ego gets in the way because learning music requires some humility. It's hard to do correctly and it's never ending. Learn all styles not just your favorite. People sometimes have a weird attitude about drummers, judging them as if they were ignorant about music. Don't prove them right, learn it all. I think of myself as a musician who plays drums, not just a drummer.
I started out on alto sax so that helped a lot. I also learned guitar and since that is who you will mostly be playing with is guitarists and bassists it's good to know what they are talking about.
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Waylon
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Post Mon Dec 11, 2006 12:29 pm

Oh I left out a real important one that has always bugged me: Drummers who don't hit the backbeat snare 2 & 4 hard enough in a rock song. In Rock music the snare is not just another drum it is THE drum. Nothing worse than a wimpy backbeat whether it's metal, hard rock, blues or anything that rocks. I have gotten gigs because the other drummers just couldn't get that all important snare sound.
Hit it in the sweet spot or use a rim shot but get that sound! It is so important in backbeat songs. right on the beat or just a hair behind. Listen to Ringo, Bonzo, etc.
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quikstang2
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Post Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:16 pm

Everyone seems to be posting great stuff.

Personally, I think you should work out a song, put all your normal effort into it and when you have a final version then you make a decent recording of it with the entire band.
Listen to the recording as if it's not you or your band and take notes of where you'd change stuff and how you'd change it, then go back and make the changes.
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reefer
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Post Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:03 am

phee wrote:BE ON TIME!!! I struggled with this one for years and I know many other drummers do. You just look stupid when you arrive to band functions 15 minutes late every time. Time managment, people, time managment!



I agree with being on time... as a drummer you probably have the most gear of anyone in your band (even when sharing a kit and only bringing breakables) so why wouldn't you always plan on being early?

Also, here's something i've noticed in a lot of todays rock drumming which was greatly summed up in the Nov. issue of MD, the article entitled "who took the roll out of rock?" by Mike DeSimone. He makes a great point in stating that a lot of modern rock is missing that swing element because too many players are too verticle. Here's a brief quote from the article:

"Drummers who've been raised on the almighty 8th note have a tendency to play in a straight up-and-down manner that makes the groove overly heavy and tight. This is becoming more prevalent as younger players who are far removed from the early rock'n'roll generation begin teaching. ...The beauty of swing is that it teaches space and breadth. When that concept is incorporated into your rock playing, straight 8ths and 16ths will have a looser feel which is essential to a good groove."

I totally agree with this perspective... and this ties in with many of the other problems/mistakes already mentioned in this thread, such as overplaying, sounding the same as everyone else, and most importantly not listening to what's going on around you.
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Post Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:54 am

One of the things my students sometimes do is not practice whatever they are working enough. They tend to play until they get it, thinking they have it down only to come back the next day to find they don't have a handle on it. Practice until you can do it in your sleep is what I tell them. Until it's like riding a bike....you can't forget it because it's in your body memory. Some difficult songs can take mnonths to really get all the details.
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Post Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:26 pm

I agree with what alot of you are saying....

listening - mucho importante....

overplaying- a drummer should know his role. he has his moments as much as the rest of 'em, but he's the backbone.

comfort- as billy ward would put it 'everything @ arms' length'. what's the deal with some drummers with really high reaching cymbal setups? not a bad thing, just weird....

styles- playing different kinds help your sound, your techniques, and your knowledge.

but i think you all forgot something.....

HAVE FUN!!!
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Post Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:28 pm

oooops. i forgot something. TIME!!!!
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Post Wed Dec 13, 2006 11:26 am

I pretty much agree with everyone's post so far....except the "tuning your drums to a specific note" post. Most of the interviews I've read in MD or DRUM! with the greats advise tuning the drum to itself- take the heads off, suspend the drum, and hit it with a soft mallet. On a good drum, you should be able to hear the tone it produces, and with heads back on, try to approximate that tone (btw I'm talking mainly about toms). Also I can't stand overplaying.....I saw a country cover band a couple weeks ago. They were playing Steve Earl's "Copperhead Road", and it was obvious to me that the drummer (a skinny 17 year old with his shirt off in an upscale German bar) had never bothered to listen to the song. Anyone of you that's heard it knows that it's not 120 bpm and full of 32nd note fills the whole way thru, but this kid did just that. My singer looked at me and said, "this kid's awful!" I wanted to tie one of his fucking hands behind his back. Then some drunken buddy of mine comes up to me and says,"this kid's pretty fast"..I say "but can you even tell that this song is supposed to be Copperhead Road?"
"Holy shit" was his reply. All you could hear was drums. It was ridiculous. That song is really all about the words, anyway.
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Post Thu Dec 14, 2006 9:09 am

By far the biggest mistake a drummer can make is overplaying or understreching ... overplaying can cause neurological problems that can end up with you losing all muscle control in you hands and understreaching can cause tendinitus which hurts like a bitch...

also playing with a shattered can prolong healing and cause perminate damage (i know from personal experiance... but hey you try playing bass 2 in the best drumline in northern ohio with a cast) :roll:
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