I Have Joined The Ranks Of YouTube Drum Coverers

As someone who lived before there was such a thing as the Internet, I still find the notion of being seen by anyone anywhere in the world somewhat creepy. I normally share videos with people via file sharing services. But as internet users are migrating away from their desktops and laptops towards tablets, I keep getting complaints about not being able to view the videos I send. So I end up using YouTube because it seems to work on any platform. And once you’ve opened the floodgates, that’s it, I guess.

This is my first drum cover. I’m sure Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams is popular with drum teachers everywhere. I teach this to all beginners using a chart I got from the amazing www.onlinedrummer.com.

The lighting could be better and I synced the track to the video after the fact but I think it works alright. I am planning to do more videos in the near future as I am going to be setting up a multitrack recording facility in Colindale so I can track myself with some decent mics to go with the videos.

The audio of the drums is captured via the built in mics on my Q3HD video gubbins and after a little compression and EQ, sounds remarkably good. I think I must have been in my early twenties when I first heard myself professionally recorded. It was a big deal back then.

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Clyde Stubblefield and John Jabo Starks, the Funkmasters Interview

Here is a great interview, produced by Meinl, with the incredibly funky and hugely influential duo – Stubblefield and Starks, the most famous of James Brown’s drummers. Clyde and Jabo talk about how they got started, how they came to play with JB and share stories about their life as touring musicians and some of the hazards of being in the music business. Very entertaining and highly recommended.

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Trash Can Endings – Another Cool Lesson from Rob Brown

I just came across this video by Rob Brown on a subject I’ve not seen covered much before – the big rock ending or Trash Can Ending (not a term I’ve heard before but will adopt, albeit as Dustbin Ending).

I tend to leave it to chance which is a bit risky because there’s the possibility of making a horrible mess. Rob’s ideas here are clean, sound great and can be combined to great effect. I am going to get to work on the quintuplets straight away.

Check it out.

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Hard To Handle Video Lesson

Blimey, making a video is not easy. Kudos to all those who do such a great job on Youtube. Anyway, here’s my demonstration of the main bits in Hard To Handle according to The Black Crowes. It’s intended for the students attending the band workshops I am putting on with my colleague Rodrigo but it might be useful for anyone wanting to learn the song.

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WipeoutDiddles Sticking Exercise

The VenturesA quickie for you: I was in the drum room the other day and was enjoying listening to a band playing some familiar covers one of which was the Ventures’ surf classic, Wipeout. Here’s a way of playing the pattern that happens in the solo drum break using paradiddles in a pattern that switches lead hands every two bars. Once you can play the pattern competently, do it with flams for the accents.

Scroll down the page to hear the Ventures doing it.

WipeoutDiddles Sticking Exercise

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More Tony Allen – Fela’s Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense

Fela Kuti - Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense Album ArtIn a recent post I linked to the Fela Kuti Bandcamp Account. I was immediately drawn to the album called Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense and was delighted to hear the album’s title track open with the same groove that my first Afrobeat related post about Ariya Astrobeat’s African Kings has in its intro. I like discovering these relationships between musical thingys and guess the Ariya groove was a tribute to this track. When the main instrumentation comes in, I had one of that strange experience where you realise that what you thought was the One is something else altogether, like Hendrix’s All Along The Watchtower or The Eagles’ Take It Easy.

I turns out that African Kings’ One is Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’s Two-&. The drums are mixed pretty low on the track once the other instruments come in so I’m not sure what Tony Allen is playing on the hats but I assume it’s 8ths like in the intro. I’ve charted out the main groove plus some additional hi-hat patterns – the “straight swing” I hear in a lot of Afrobeat; three sixteenths, which emulates the feeling of the woodblock at the beginning of the track, the quarters and the &’s.

Once you can play them all, practice moving between the different hi-hat patterns.

Here are some more variations you can try:
1. Play the groove on the ride with left-foot playing two & four; then all the quarters and finally, all the &’s.
2. Play open hi-hat sounds on the numbers and then on the &’s.
3. Play the African Kings version starting on the Two-&

Fela Kuti - Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense

Listen here:

You can download the PDF here.

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Got A Pair Of Vic Firth SD4′s

Vic Firth SD4 drum SticksI’ve been looking for some sticks to use for my weekly jazz set with the Gex trio. We have to play very very quietly most of the set. I am using brushes 80% of the time but need to swing some sticks on a couple of numbers. I tried the AJ2′s and the AJ6′s both pretty good. The 6′s feel really weird like playing with overgrown toothpicks but great for a really small sound. If I have to play anything in an R&B or pop style, they are horrid. The AJ2′s have a nice length and weight to them and feel fast and well balanced but I find it easy to get too loud when I get excited. During my lesson with Todd Bishop he recommended SD10′s or 11′s or maybe 9′s, forgot to write it down. Anyway, the point was they are made of maple and are very light. Much lighter than the hickory ones.

Anyway, I decided to try a pair of the SD4′s. I saw a video with Dave King of the Bad Plus wittering on about them. I might try the others too. I really liked the SD4′s and they helped me play even quieter than the AJ’s. They had a great cross-stick sound and the tip was pingy enough on the cymbals but meaty enough on the snare and toms. One thing, though, they are bloody hard, makes the hickory sticks feel supple by comparison.

I mean to write about the difficult relationship our art has to consumerism some time soon.

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Free MP3 Metronome For Your Downloading Pleasure

metronomeDespite living in a world where you can install apps on your toaster, some of my students don’t have access to such modern miracles. So I whipped up this batch of 5 minute long MP3s with tempos from 60 BPM to 300 BPM in increments of five BPM (except the last few which go up by ten). Go to this link to download individual files or the whole¬†the lot as a Zip file.

The clicks are unaccented so you can use them for any time signatures. What do you need accented clicks for, anyway? Just count, already.

Feel free to recommend to your non-drummer friends, they need it too.

Download MP3 Metronome.

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Skype Lesson With Todd Bishop Of The Cruise Ship Drummer Blog

Last night I had my first Skype lesson with Todd Bishop of the Cruise Ship Drummer blog. It was an experiment for both of us and I was pleased to be a guinea pig. Although I’ve been asking Todd for a lesson for some time, I realised once we’d established a Skype connection that I hadn’t thought about exactly what areas I wanted to work on with him. Nonetheless, I had a great lesson in which we discussed his approach to teaching new students, stick technique, his myriad uses of Reed’s Syncopation and so on.

Todd is offering to give a few free Skype lessons to some lucky readers – sign up for the raffle here: shipdrummer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/skype-lessons-coming-soon.html

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Ash Soan’s Reggae Delay Effect

Here’s a quickie – Ash Soan is releasing short videos with little ideas to try out, lots of fun and interesting things.

This one demonstrates his way of producing the effect of the delayed cross-stick or hihat sound that is very common on reggae recordings.

Ash has an app for Android and Apple gadgets called Drum Hub where you can access more material, it’s worth checking out.

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