How do you know if you're good?

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Qbs
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Post Thu Nov 09, 2006 7:23 am

Johnny Cat: sure, I meant recording yourself in general :) right now I'm using my Creative Zen to record myself just for listening to myself :)
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Post Thu Nov 09, 2006 7:32 am

bdadrummer wrote:your good if you get people coming up to you after shows and asking for your autograph and also if you have little kids following you around after the show xD

since that never happened to me I guess I still suck ;)
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Johnny Cat
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Post Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:02 am

Qbs wrote:Johnny Cat: sure, I meant recording yourself in general :) right now I'm using my Creative Zen to record myself just for listening to myself :)


Yeah sorry, I can't help but nitpick at times. I mentioned that in case it happened to other drummers and they couldn't figure out what was going on. I meant no harm. :)
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racefan33
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Post Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:45 am

I think that drummers are born not made. I have heard guys that can play the crap out of rudiments but they have no groove. For me drumming is about creating that heartbeat that gets through to people that makes them feel the pulse. When I see someone tapping a foot, bobbing a head or dancing I know I’m in the pocket and where I need to be.

It’s all about feel. You need to put in the work to get your facility to where you can put the groove down. It’s a never-ending journey to build your chops to where you play what you feel without thinking. I think Steve Smith, Bozzio and Couliuta are the best representations of people that are farthest on that path. How far you travel and how fast you travel on that road is your choice. Myself, I was lucky enough to have a mother that made me get drum lessons when I got a drumset at 11. I am also lucky that I was open to hearing all types of music and listening to the groove in all styles, which is real lucky for me because I’m a lazy MF'er and my study habits suck ass. I am not trying to become another Weckl and I know that that’s not my destiny but I do know that I can lay down a groove to pretty much any style of music, I have decent chops and I know that I will always have a lot to learn.

With all that in mind I think I knew I was a drummer when I started playing with other people and they were happy with my playing. When someone starts grooving away with your playing, you are a drummer. Then it’s your choice how far you want to go.

Good luck.
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SmellsLikeIan
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Post Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:00 pm

fas-tedz wrote:
you're good if the audience thinks you are. period.


I couldn't help but disagree with that. I've seen too many drummers, guitarists, bass players and entire bands sit back on their laurels and get really lazy or allow their egos to inflate because they thought they were so good. They were basing this on the fact that the audience loved them. That in itself is fine. But what if the audience doesn't have a clue what makes a good drummer in terms of skill, etc?

Are we going to stop learning and growing as a musician because the audience thinks we're the best on earth when we're probably not?

I think it's hard to know when you're "good". I'd rather gauge myself by knowing when I'm getting better, and that's when I am able to go back to something I was struggling with before and finally nail it. I think that's all that really matters. And of course, having fun!


SO true, dude. I played a double pedal for years, and thought I was pretty good. Then one day some jackass in a band I was in told me, "double bass is for butt-rock dumbasses." Unfortunately, I took him seriously, and started playing single. In a strange way, however, I noticed my foot rechnique changing to play faster patterns, as i had relied on the double for so long. Then recently, I decided that I was the dumbass for unhooking my double pedal for 5 years and decided to give it a whirl. I thought I couldn't do it anymore! Due to my change in pedal technique, I had to totally readjust my slave pedal (I had already adjusted it to be closer to the primary, which I had been tweaking over the years) and after 2 hours of adjusting and playing and adjusting, etc. I found that I could play faster than ever before! (BTW I play at an almost heel down position, and don't bury my beaters into the head much). Anyway, the moral of this is that sometimes you can even learn something by taking a piece of equipment away, especially if you soon find that you relied on it quite a bit.
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SmellsLikeIan
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Post Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:02 pm

my friend told me this: after about 5 years of playing you thing you're really good, after 10 years you start to discover more and more things that you have to learn, and after 15 years you just start from beginning


After 16 years, I fully agree.
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Post Sun Nov 12, 2006 5:28 pm

Trash wrote:Hopefully you never do know.

Because then it is time to quit and become a painter.


The idea is just to play and enjoy. If someone else wants to call you a genius, so be it.


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drummer619
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Post Sat Nov 18, 2006 1:00 pm

like alot of others people said before me, good is just a word, you could play for 6 months and be a good drummer, or you can play for 30+years and be a good drummer. it's just like being cool, only you can answer that question :)
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Homki890
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Post Sat Nov 18, 2006 6:13 pm

When you can play anything that your mind wants to play, and play it well, with time, fills, and a beat that flows and makes you smile, you could probably call yourself good. I'll bet some say that they could do this, but they can't. Muscle Memory and Training is the name of the game. Once you can tell your arm what to do with anything and anytime, anywhere, with what you can tell your feet anywhere at anytime, then you have it. Also, if you can equally impress people on an 11-piece kit with a dozen cymbals and two kick drums, and a 4 piece hit with Hats, Crash and Ride, then you are a musical drummer.

There is also a difference between being good, great, and legendary. All of us will achieve the "good" level. It's not hard. what most of us shoot for, and call "good" is the great and Legendary. So many try to be like Buddy Rich, or Steve Gadd, or Chris Alder, etc. I think that most drummers listen to them, and forget that they themselves are good, and try to be like them, imitating a style.

If you want to be good, then be yourself on the kit. If someone can listen, and tell that it's you without question, you have made it.

That's my humble opinion.

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Dale
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Post Sun Nov 19, 2006 11:55 am

I've been thinking about this question. I didn't really answer this directly earlier. I think a good indication one is 'good' is when one is working. When people are recomending you and you are being called for professional work. That is a pretty good indication that you are 'good'.

Here is a short list of what I believe to be the tools of a good drummer. A drummer I, as a percussionist, would hire. (I've been a band leader)

1. Reading ability. (Buddy couldn't read, so it isn't always a must. But I would be more comfortable with a drummer who could read.)

2. Someone who is sensitive to the music and who thinks like a musician. NOT a drummer!!!

3. Good time.

4. Consistent groove!!!

5. Wide dynamic range.

6. BIG EARS! In other words; a musician who listens.

7. Sober.

8. Easy going personality.

9. Versatility. (I expect a drummer to play many styles. And who can play well with brushes AND sticks.)

10. Somebody who arrives ON TIME!!!!!

11. Positive attitude.

12. Click friendly. (This goes back to the good time advice, but good time and click friendly can be quite different.)

Basically I don't care about whether the drummer has flashy chops or not. I simply want the music to be well supported. A drummer with great chops who is insensitive to the music and who cannot groove will not be called again. Chops need to be placed in context. They are tools. Nothing more.

An example of this is what a friend of mine told me - this guy is a famous producer - after a session with a famous drummer. He said "*name drummer* is a very popular drummer with drummers. And he's a great educator. But he can't groove!"
I don't know what I'm talking about!

"Don't play FOR people. Play WITH people."
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soliddrummer
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Post Sun Nov 19, 2006 6:34 pm

Good stuff, Dale!

Wow, I have so much to learn...

...seriously, how good is playing drums? I reckon we're some of the luckiest people alive!
Skill tempered with relevance and simplicity.
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screamkevin
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Post Sun Nov 19, 2006 7:39 pm

There are many answers to the question, but after 33 years of playing (and I'm by no means a spectacular drummer), I've discovered 2 criteria that work for me on if a drummer is good or not:

1. The respect (or lack thereof) from other musicians. Believe me, you'll find out when you network with other musicians exactly how you are thought of in your music community.

2. What my dad told me: "Son, when you can walk into any gig with a snare drum, brushes, and a pair of sticks and groove all night long and keep the crowd entertained, you're a good drummer."
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Dale
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Post Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:35 am

screamkevin wrote:.

2. What my dad told me: "Son, when you can walk into any gig with a snare drum, brushes, and a pair of sticks and groove all night long and keep the crowd entertained, you're a good drummer."


True, but not much use on a heavy metal gig.
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Post Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:01 am

When you get all the chicks!
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Post Thu Nov 23, 2006 1:13 am

When you can play anything on the radio with ease and when poeple who know nothing about drumming think you're amazing you can consider yourself a proficient drummer. Your a good drummer when you have the confidence (not the ego or bravado or a "punk" attitude) to play something original and feel you can defend every beat you played saying it was the right thing to play.