Official Drum Dial thread. . . .

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Post by =^-..-^= »

A question for you Jazz players:

I was listening to a new drum student play the standard Swing beat, and while it was technically right, but it just didn't 'swing.'

I know I can play an in-the-pocket Swing groove that does swing, but I am not sure why I have it right, and a new player wouldn't.
Is it an emphasis on the backbeat hi-hat 'chick?' MAx Roach talked about the 'sock.' He said if you don't have the 'sock,' you can't play Jazz.
Is it playing slightly ahead of the beat?
Is it playing the 'da-ding' part of 'ding-da-ding' a little ahead of the beat?

Just what makes a Jazz beat Swing?
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Post by zenmandan »

It depends on the tempo for the 'ding-da-ding' part. When playing at a slow tempo, it should be more of a dotted eight, sixteenth feel. A medium to fast tempo would be more of an eighth note triplet feel, and a very fast bebop type feel would be closer to straight eighths (think quarter, two eighths in cut time). I've found that when teaching younger students, they are 'locked' into the dotted eighth sixteenth feel, and use that regardless of tempo. This is where the 'swing feel' can be achieved or lost. Figure out what tempo your student is trying to play at and see which of the above styles is closest to what your pocket groove would feel like, than describe it in those terms. It's always best if they can associate the correct feel with it's notation (provided they're reading notation in the lessons).

I also think if you try to teach a student about playing ahead or behind the beat, they'll end up rushing or dragging. Playing in the pocket for jazz involves as much feel as it does time. The wrong feel on the ride will hurt the groove as much as incorrect time will.

Don't know if that will help or not, but I've found in my 17 years of teaching that the above variations of the ride pattern can make or break a students ability to 'swing'. Best of luck.

Dan
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Post by =^-..-^= »

Yeah, I suspected it was in the ride pattern. Also. is it in accenting the back beat part of the ride?

I have heard drummers say you can always tell when a Jazz drummer is trying to play Rock, or when a Rock guy is trying to play Jazz.
What are some ways to sound less like a rock drummer trying to play Jazz? I know one way is to lay off the kick drum and use like an accent.
"Yesterday Mr. Hall wrote that the printer's proof-reader was improving my punctuation for me, & I telegraphed orders to have him shot without giving him time to pray." -Mark Twain

"There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist."
Ayn Rand

". . .and the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw."
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Post by Brandon »

I find that when a lot of my students are learning a swing beat, they are so focused on the eighth note that they lost the whole concept of where the quarters lay.They also commonly play the + of 2 and 3 too close together. It's a fine line, but that is where the swing lies. I find it helpful to have them start by playing quarters in time then while really feeling the beat begin adding the swung notes. Also, most students have never really heard much jazz. It can help a lot if you guide them to some recordings to listen to.
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Post by zenmandan »

I agree Brandon. Also, very good point about finding some good recordings. I find some old Big Band style music to be great for beginners. Not to flashy, great melodies to follow, and always a great jazz feel.

As for rock drummers playing jazz and jazz drummers playing rock...it is pretty easy to tell at times. With rock, the emphasis is on the 'drums', where jazz the emphasis should be a bit more toward the cymbals (ride and hi hat). If the student is smackin' out 2 and 4 on the snare, it's never gonna feel right. Same thing if they're beating the hell out of every beat on the kick.
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Post by Brandon »

Yeah, a lot of rock drumming is more beat oriented, but jazz drumming can be thought of more melodically. I was at a good jazz clinic at PASIC this week and one thing the clinician said was (referring to snare and bass drum): "Make sure every note you play means something. Try to develop musical phrases between these drums to accompany whatever is happening in the ensemble. Try to be as articulate as you can be." He played one tune only using 2 cymbals, it sounded real good. After he discussed the role of the snare and bass, he demonstrated this in another tune. From what I have seen, "rock" drummers playing jazz typically aren't really listening to the other musicians and they are just playing too many notes on everything and it doesn't serve a musical purpose.
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Post by =^-..-^= »

Anybody ever tempted to build your own Octobans? I have seen a couple sites on the web by people that have, and they look cool. I always wanted a set, but not $1500 worth new Tama wanted to. The stuff I am playing with CatBox is eclectic enough to include them now. . .
"Yesterday Mr. Hall wrote that the printer's proof-reader was improving my punctuation for me, & I telegraphed orders to have him shot without giving him time to pray." -Mark Twain

"There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist."
Ayn Rand

". . .and the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw."
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Post by =^-..-^= »

"Socrates -'The only true wisdom is to admit that you know nothing.' That's US, dude!"
Ted Theodore Logan - Bill & Ted

Okay, I thought I knew a lot about tuning after 25 years of playing; but, well, see above quote. . . .

I recently got a Gretsch Jazz kit as a practice kit, and there are some things I like about them better than my faithful old Tama Superstars.

The Tamas are a awesome-sounding rock kit, but seem to lack subtlety at lower volumes, compared to the Gretsches. The Gretsch snare and toms seem to have great responsiveness and sound at low volumes, and great sound at high volumes, though I have to really hit them HARD to get volume. The little 18 kick sounds great, but has a limit on how loud it can get, of course.

My question:
Does this sound like a characteristic of the drum brands themselves; or is more likely my head choices and/or tuning ? (Tamas -G2 clears, Gretsch - coated whites) If I can get the same versatlity at low volumes out of my Tamas, I'd be a happy man.
"Yesterday Mr. Hall wrote that the printer's proof-reader was improving my punctuation for me, & I telegraphed orders to have him shot without giving him time to pray." -Mark Twain

"There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist."
Ayn Rand

". . .and the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw."
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Post by Brandon »

What are the sizes?
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Post by =^-..-^= »

Tama: 6" -10" Toms - 18" FT 22" kick

Gretsch: 12" Tom 14" FT 18" kick
"Yesterday Mr. Hall wrote that the printer's proof-reader was improving my punctuation for me, & I telegraphed orders to have him shot without giving him time to pray." -Mark Twain

"There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist."
Ayn Rand

". . .and the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw."
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Post by Brandon »

I don't have much personal experience with either of those brands, just curious what kind of setup each one is.
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Post by =^-..-^= »

Yeah, I'm probably just thinking out loud, and answering my own questions.

It's just funny how I got my Tamas of 20+ years sounding what I thought was perfect, and the Gretsches sound perfect, too; but in a different way. I guess I'll count my blessings that I have a high-volume kit and a low-volume kit as well.
"Yesterday Mr. Hall wrote that the printer's proof-reader was improving my punctuation for me, & I telegraphed orders to have him shot without giving him time to pray." -Mark Twain

"There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist."
Ayn Rand

". . .and the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw."
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Post by Lou B do B dooo »

I also recently purchased a Gretsch kit to use for practice and I noticed they are not quite as loud. I don't mind since I use them for practice they don't need to be. I gig with my dw kit and it has great tone and volume,great for me since I am not a heavy hitter. Something I will say about the Gretsch kits they make a good sounding drum for the money. If you are just starting to gig out and don't want to drop a bunch of money on a drum kit but want a good sound. Check out a Gretsch.
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Post by =^-..-^= »

Agreed; if I were a salesman in a music store, I would steer a serious drum student toward the Gretsch Catalina Club kit as a first kit over the $250 'Generico Special' kit. The quality and sound are going to make it a kit a new drummer will be content with for a long time. They won't have to replace the heads to get a good sound, either. The little 18" kick drum will keep parents and neighbors happy as well.
"Yesterday Mr. Hall wrote that the printer's proof-reader was improving my punctuation for me, & I telegraphed orders to have him shot without giving him time to pray." -Mark Twain

"There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist."
Ayn Rand

". . .and the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw."
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Post by =^-..-^= »

Proof that you don't need a big kit to sound awesome. Neil Peart on a 4 piece doing a solo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bIchqJoxFQ&NR=1


Notice how the heart of the solo is rudiments on the snare –well, 10 times faster than you or I can do them!
"Yesterday Mr. Hall wrote that the printer's proof-reader was improving my punctuation for me, & I telegraphed orders to have him shot without giving him time to pray." -Mark Twain

"There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist."
Ayn Rand

". . .and the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw."
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