Jazz drumming - left hand problem

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Dale
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Post Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:06 am

FunkyDrummer wrote:I've recently begun to start getting into jazz... I've seen a few videos etc and I think I've got the hang of the basic swing pattern on the ride, 2 & 4 w/foot on the hi hat and a very gentle bass drum on all quater notes... what bothers me is my left hand - I can't get those nice off beat notes. Can you recomend some practice for that? Thanks


The books that people have mentioned in this thread are all good. I recomend a teacher if you can afford it. There are also some good DVD's out now. Try the Ed Soph DVD. It is excellent. Also the Peter Erskine DVDs, Everything is timekeeping parts 1 & 2.

I also highly recomend both the brush DVD and book by Ed Thigpen.

And I highly recomend you listen to Count Basie. Especially with Jo Jones on drums. Man, that band could swing!

It is great to work out on exercises, but there is no substitute to that + lots of listening. Try to immerse yourself in the style and feel what swinging is like.

Trio recordings are great for this because it is easier to hear the drummer. Bill Evans with Paul Motian, Oscar Peterson with Ed Thigpen, the Ray Brown Trio with Jeff Hamilton etc.
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Post Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:19 pm

It's all about the trips! Triplets with the left hand my friends. For starters, go with a quarter note ride pattern with a 2 / 4 with your hi-hat foot. Work 8th note triplets with your left hand against this pattern while counting 1 tuh tuh, 2 tuh tuh, 3 tuh tuh, 4 tuh tuh...(basic 8th trip counting method). When it's smooth and easy for you - get back into your swing ride - the trips of the ride will begin to lock with the trips (some of them specifically...1, 2, the tuh of 2, 3, 4 and the tuh of 4)
Now find a book with triplets in it! Read these passages with your left hand against your swing ride and your getting there. I (and many instructors) would recommend Jim Chapins books !!!
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TrunJun
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Post Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:29 pm

Another good book you could go through to develope your left hand (and not just for swing either, but for all types of music) is Podemski's drum method. Go through all the excersizes only using your left hand, slowly at first then picking up speed as you learn the excersize... I wouldnt be half the drummer I am today if it wasnt for my practice pad and good ol' Podemski
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Post Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:59 pm

get the Jim Chapin book "Advance Techniques for the Modern drummer...", I think its a much better book than syncopation for developing that swing style. Syncopation should be on had for every drummer, but Chapin set up the best book for learning swing and taking it to an advanced level.
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Post Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:46 pm

I disagree. Chapin's book is a wonderful utility. I don't personally own it, but I have read through it, and it is a great tool. However, with Syncopation, you have a MULTITUDE of patterns, covering EVERYTHING. And, with Syncopation, you are able to use all styles. Wand to work up Jazz? Fine! How about Samba? Go ahead! Funk? No problem! Syncopation is, in my opinion, higher, because of the diversity it offers. Chapins mainly centers around swing and Jazz. Syncopation can cover it all.

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Post Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:42 pm

true with all you said, but if you want that left hand to be crazy fast and able to fend for itself chapin's book is probably the better book to start with, one thing chapin's book is much better at is explaining and teaching you the importance of each section, and developing your sense of musical playing. Chapin's book is made to be played from cover to cover, even if the beggining is easy for you because its trying to get the swing pulse into your body. If you get it make sure you get a version with the cd and ACTUALLY listen to it. You'll be slack-jawed at how fast you are supposed to be playing what you're seeing. Reed's book is much better if used with a teacher since you won't get half the value out of it your first time through if you're doing it solo.

And I have to disagree with your statement about it syncopation being a better all purpose book. Take out the swing pattern and put in quater notes on the hi-hat, or eight-notes, or a shuffle and so on. Or as one section of the book sugests play two left hand parts putting one on the ride cymbal and the other in snare, now that will teach you the meaning of independance.

But I'll concede a little ground. Sycopation is a lot better if you want to develope your reading skills, chapin's book is much more etude in style.

besides all this, if you are using traditional grip, make sure you learned it properly and didn't just watch someone and try to figure it out, that difference is probably 20bpm or more at least.

Or buy both books its not like either is expensive. If I haven't sold you on Jim Chapin get the syncopation book, these two will do more for your left hand than anything else I've seen. But since you said you wanted to get better at jazz I'd say get the Chapin book.
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Post Sat Nov 18, 2006 11:53 pm

Flatliner wrote:get the Jim Chapin book "Advance Techniques for the Modern drummer...", I think its a much better book than syncopation for developing that swing style. Syncopation should be on had for every drummer, but Chapin set up the best book for learning swing and taking it to an advanced level.


Lots of good books mentioned but the ones that helped me the most in "jazz" (thread topic) are Jim Chapin's Advanced Techniques book, New Breed 1 & 2, Syncopation and oddly enough, the Jazz Drum Cook Book which is a simple but effective starting point.. With both the Jim Chapin book and the Jazz Drum Cookbook, I learned the notation as written then once done, I redid the books switching Left hand parts for right and visa versa. Great for developing a weak left or right hand. One thing about the Cookbook series is that it's very easy to read the notation if you're a beginner or intermediate player learning jazz.
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Homki890
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Post Sun Nov 19, 2006 5:18 pm

Flatliner, I have to disagree with your "musical" statement. It really is not possible to learn to play musically from a book or video. That aspect is learned from experience and practice. You can be told what to do, but it is something that you yourself has to find.

I still hold that Syncopation is better. Its is much more versitile in what it can be used for. Chapin is mainly focused on Swing. Great, but what about Samba, of how about Funk? Chapin really isn't that great for it. Syncopation can be used equally for all styles.

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Post Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:40 am

Your left hand sholud be able to function as an independent (or dependant) rhythmic voice. All the books mentioned here, ie: Syncopation, Art of Bop Drumming, Chapin, etc., are ALL wonderful MEANS to an end. The end is your own expression of music. It relates to having the coordination first, then making your statement with it.

Music making is a process. At first we are recreative. It helps to know where we've come from to know where we're going. Creativity comes from utilizing fundamentals in a personal fashion to make your own statement. Don't be afraid to fail. Just play. Left hand?? Okay...

Play the ride cymbal and play counterpoint w/the LH like Max Roach. Or, play the ride cymbal and the LH in a linear fashion like Roy Haynes. Or play the ride cymbal and apply all of the above, yet stress polyrhythmic or 3:2 phrases like Elvin Jones...

Exercises are cool, but are you playing jazz in a band w/other people? In real time? This is where it all comes together. Practice the concept playing time on the ride cymbal & then the rhythm of a melody in your left hand. The more you play songs with other people in real time, the more your question makes sense. Expand from there.
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RogersDrummer
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Post Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:01 pm

I've never been a big fan of those types of books. Drum videos, and audio samples usually help alot more. With audio, you can get a greater understanding, as opposed to just reading it on paper.

I've been playing jazz for over 10 years now. The way I first learned to play jazz, I listened to "Take 5" by Dave Brubeck Quartet. This is a very popular jazz song. It is in 5/4 as well, so not only will it show you how to play jazz, but it will show you how to play it in an odd time signature.

Jazz is not hard to play. You have to think differently. Instead of the foundation of the beat being with the bass drum and/or snare, the foundation is (most of the time) with the cymbals. Start off by playing the standard swing tripplet pattern on the ride. Don't play anything else untill you have this down. Then bring in the hihat on 2 and 4.

The snare and bass drum are mostly improv, unless you have certain accented notes you need to hit that follow along with the song you are playing.

First try and come up with a pattern for the bass and snare. When you have that down, come up with another. Invent several patterns. Then, when you have them all down, mix them all together at "spurr of the moment" times. Doing this is a step in the direction of improvising what you are playing on the bass and snare. Once you are comfortable with this, make up more patterns and so on.

Remember dynamics are an essential role in this, make sure the velocity levels range from soft too moderatly loud. You can practice this by hitting the snare harder on 4 and the bass drum harder on 1

Do this very slow. Only speed up when you are comfortable with what you are doing.

Remember dynamics on the ride are also important when you are playing that swinging pattern.
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Post Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:55 pm

Practice on a pillow
I think that any young drummer starting out today should get himself a great teacher and learn all there is to know about the instrument that he wants to play.

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ultrastu
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Post Sun Apr 01, 2007 10:19 am

madchops wrote:Practice on a pillow

with a name like mad chops you comment is hardly surprising!
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ultrastu
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Post Sun Apr 01, 2007 10:19 am

madchops wrote:Practice on a pillow

with a name like mad chops you comment is hardly surprising!
also? how does that help your jazz?