The Pocket?

skytoucher

New member
I've searched the forums and looked through all the posts containing the word 'pocket' but no where have I found a good definition or post explaining it.

How would someone explain it? Someone told me the other night after a show that I had a good pocket going but still not sure exactly what they meant. I've always assumed it meant how much the song grooves. However I'm starting to think they aren't the same thing even though they are often found together.

Thanks in advance.
 

Pnkdrmmr

New member
To me the "pocket" is the ability to give a song a limitless groove.

I've thought a lot about beat and studied a lot of different drummers and styles.

Most drummers tend to play a little ahead of the beat, it's the natural thing to do for most.

After years of practice or just a lucky streak of natural talent, a drummer learns to stay on tempo but slightly behind the beat.

I'm not sure if i'm explaining that right, but it's the best i've been able to figure out on my own.
 

screamkevin

New member
Next time you play out, look at the crowd. When you see heads bobbing perfectly in time with you, you've hit the pocket. It's the ability to groove and keep the feel absolutely consistent for the song. I'm a pocket drummer, not much on chops, but I can groove for days.

Listen to some Funkadelic, older Stanley Clarke funk, KC & The Sunshine Band (no, I'm not joking), and especially Tower Of Power for great pocket playing. Also, get your hands on "Straight Cold Player" by Lenny Kravitz from the "5" album. That is PURE pocket playing. And it's not Cindy Blackman, it's Lenny playing drums.

The pocket is everywhere, and when you play with a killer bass player that locks into that pocket with you, it's almost better than sex. Seriously. Almost.
 

justin headley

New member
your pocket is basiclly how you groove and your feel within a tune. and how easy you make everyone else sound good, and how well you lock it with your bass player . EX. if you have a big greasy pocket your guitar player could break a string and it will still sound good.
 

justin headley

New member
Pnkdrmmr":2z2wwxmq said:
After years of practice or just a lucky streak of natural talent, a drummer learns to stay on tempo but slightly behind the beat.

I'm not sure if i'm explaining that right, but it's the best i've been able to figure out on my own.
this is very true, a feel that is slightly behing the beat tends to make a fat greasy pocket.

if you want an example of a big pocket, watch the video on my myspace page, that is all pocket
 

mortem

New member
justin headley":31b0wv6z said:
Pnkdrmmr":31b0wv6z said:
After years of practice or just a lucky streak of natural talent, a drummer learns to stay on tempo but slightly behind the beat.

I'm not sure if i'm explaining that right, but it's the best i've been able to figure out on my own.
this is very true, a feel that is slightly behing the beat tends to make a fat greasy pocket.

if you want an example of a big pocket, watch the video on my myspace page, that is all pocket
holy crap Justin, that video is reeeeaaaal good, man!! I'm really diggin' it!!
 

justin headley

New member
mortem":deskgs17 said:
holy crap Justin, that video is reeeeaaaal good, man!! I'm really diggin' it!!
Thanks Alot Man, That was just us jamming at a show, larry (the Singer/guitarist) just set in with us. All it is, is really listening to everyone else onstage! if you do that your pocket WILL happen and it will be big. LISTEN!!!!
 

Spydr2000

New member
To me pocket comes from the heart, are you feeling what your playing. Remember also in a song it's more than a beat and some drum fills, the song has changes verses, prechorus and chorus all these have feels which could change slightly by playing slightly behind or before the beat or on top of the beat.

Listen to John Bonham he has great pocket, felt everything he played. Even AC/DC songs have a nice pocket.
 

skytoucher

New member
I always thought the term 'pocket' dealt with a 'pocket of space' in the measure.

When you say play behind the beat, do you mean with the snare drum or everything?
 

CASCINAIDRUMS

New member
Yes playing in the pocket is being tight with the bass player and keeping a good beat going so people can bang there heads too,,,tap there feet ,,dance too.I agree if the bass player and the drums are tight then the guitarist can get away with more just as long as the heart beat of the music is in the pocket.Doing jam nights if your a pocket drummer you can jam to anything.
Night clubs have bands that are usually bands that have good pocket playing drummers for that solid easy going beat to dance too.
 

Pnkdrmmr

New member
Well, it is a pocket of space i guess.

Idk, pocket can be interpreted different ways.

Go listen to any old blues, reggae or funk band and even though it's all on beat it almost feels like it's lagging.

The Roots would be another good example. "?uestlove", yes that's spelled right, is the freakin shit. He's got rediculous pocket.

So everything the drummer does is ever so slightly behind the beat.[/i]
 

infiznitch

New member
skytoucher":rpi1f3i4 said:
I always thought the term 'pocket' dealt with a 'pocket of space' in the measure.

When you say play behind the beat, do you mean with the snare drum or everything?
Exactly. If you're dealing with other musicians, and you are told to play "in the pocket" that means to play 'slightly' behind the beat. The thing to watch out for is not let it drag, or play soo late that is sounds off. it is a very tricky thing. The opposite is if someone tells you to stay ahead of the beat. Once again you have to be very careful not to play so far ahead that your rush. Drumming is just like driving. You can get away with driving a little bit of the speed limit, but go to fast, and you get pulled over. You can also drive a little under the speed limit... but you drive too slow and.... you get a ticket. It sucks i know but you're just going to have to practice at it.
 

Johnny Cat

New member
infiznitch":3stvelev said:
skytoucher":3stvelev said:
I always thought the term 'pocket' dealt with a 'pocket of space' in the measure.

When you say play behind the beat, do you mean with the snare drum or everything?
Exactly. If you're dealing with other musicians, and you are told to play "in the pocket" that means to play 'slightly' behind the beat. The thing to watch out for is not let it drag, or play soo late that is sounds off. it is a very tricky thing. The opposite is if someone tells you to stay ahead of the beat. Once again you have to be very careful not to play so far ahead that your rush. Drumming is just like driving. You can get away with driving a little bit of the speed limit, but go to fast, and you get pulled over. You can also drive a little under the speed limit... but you drive too slow and.... you get a ticket. It sucks i know but you're just going to have to practice at it.
Wow. This is retarded. So many interpretations of what the pocket is. Not one yet have I seen that's correct. Here is what it REALLY means:

In the pocket is not "slightly behind the beat", and it is not playing a good groove either. You can play all three of the following ways and still get a good groove.

In the pocket is dead on. Right on the beat. The term comes from playing pool. Shooting the ball straight dead on into the pocket, rather than touching the corners of the pocket.

Playing behind the beat is just that. Behind the beat. Pulling the time back a bit, letting it drag a little, so the feel is very laid back.

Playing on top of the beat is just ahead of everyone else, driving the band a bit, adding tension and anticipation to the songs feel.

In the pocket is dead on the money with everyone else in the band. Locked right in.

If anyone in a band has been telling you to play in the pocket to refer to playing slightly behind the beat, they are misusing the term.
 

screamkevin

New member
Wow, sorry, didn't know we were retarded.

But, like everything else, pocket is open to interperetation.

I'm going to stop typing now before I get pissed.
 

Johnny Cat

New member
screamkevin":t2w3yea1 said:
Wow, sorry, didn't know we were retarded.

But, like everything else, pocket is open to interperetation.

I'm going to stop typing now before I get pissed.
Sorry. Didn't mean to say that anyone here was retarded. It's just meant to be like "wow this is messed up" or "this is odd". I should have just said that I guess. There are many different ways to interpret a word or saying, right?

Believe me, if I wanted to say anyone on here was retarded, I would have just come out and said that. "you guys are all retarded." But I didn't, and wasn't implying it either.

And could you blame me? After all of the posts on here saying "you have to like this music" or "you have to play that or you're not cool" or "how come everyone only thinks rock is fun to play?" I was getting a little pissed off myself, and then to see something like this where people can't even explain that idea? Seems like a lot of people on here that really don't know what they're talking about, but are judging other people. Sorry if you're not one of those but got thrown into that group.

Sure, me doing it is no better, and generally I don't, but I just got really frustrated.
 

justin headley

New member
it's like Kevin said, i don't think were retarted. I've played with several national Acts that are all pocket and i have used "my" pocket and it has kept me working! I did a tour with the 80's group Ready For The World and terer all pocket, I did a tour with Larry McCray (allman brothers) and he's all pocket. I'm wrighting this reply from a hotel in MN. because i'm on tour now seens how i have a pocket. So your retarted comment gets thrown out the window.
 

Johnny Cat

New member
justin headley":3hlf5v4k said:
it's like Kevin said, i don't think were retarted. I've played with several national Acts that are all pocket and i have used "my" pocket and it has kept me working! I did a tour with the 80's group Ready For The World and terer all pocket, I did a tour with Larry McCray (allman brothers) and he's all pocket. I'm wrighting this reply from a hotel in MN. because i'm on tour now seens how i have a pocket. So your retarted comment gets thrown out the window.
Did you read my post? I wasn't calling you retarded. And the fact that you're all using that term the way you do still doesn't make you correct, so I really don't care what you say sitting in your hotel room. A huge number of people can be misusing a term for years and years and years. That doesn't suddenly make it a correct one.

Case in point:

The tremolo bar on a guitar. Almost everyone I've ever seen calls it a tremolo. Major manufacturers that have made guitars for the past 50 years call it that. It's not. Tremolo is an effect created by a change in volume. The bar on a guitar doesn't do that. It creates an effect through change in pitch, which is vibrato. It's a vibrato bar. Therefore, everyone calling it a tremolo bar for the past how many years in acts that are bigger than whomever you are have still been wrong to call it that. Look it up and see for yourself.

The term "playing in the pocket" is no different. I don't care who uses it the way you do and says it's correct. It's NOT.
 

Gaddabout

New member
I've been using this image lately to describe how to interpret time. While I think lots of people have different interpretations of "pocket," this one is the most commonly accepted term.

 
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