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L.A. Beat

Drum Beat #9 — What kind of drums to play

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Hello and welcome to column nine.
This column’s fundamental is on what kind of drums to play. There are many different types of drums on the market to choose from. There are drums made of wood, plastic, aluminum, and metals. There are probably many more that I am not aware of but this is a broad overview. In my opinion the best drums are made of wood. Wood drums additionally can be made from almost any type of wood. I prefer to play a rosewood drum with a medium "PLY' or thickness.

To me, these create the best tone, (when tuned properly), do not weigh an excessive amount, (remember you have to move them), and provide a great look. The next best wood is birch.
Every drummer has a preference according to the style and sound they are looking for. The best way to determine what is best for you is go to your local music store and ask if you can play some of the sets.

Ideally go to a large store like my favorite store, Explorers Percussion in Kansas City. Look for a store with a huge selection so you can play and experiment with all of the different types. A good drum store will have the drums tuned so you do not have to do it yourself in order to actually hear the difference in the drums they are selling. Of course do not be obnoxious and play a drum solo.
 Hit each drum with one or two strokes so you can hear what they sound like. Be patient and listen to how it sounds and reverberates.

Pay attention to the  thickness of the drum and how it makes a difference. Many drummers I have seen like a certain brand so they just buy that brand and hope for the best. Ordering a drum from an online store or from a catalog is not a great idea. Some drum sets can sound different even if they are made at the same factory using the same material.

I do not believe that drums vary in sound as much as cymbals but they certainly have a difference from set to set. Take your time and have patience buying your set. If you are a serious drummer do not buy something cheap.

If you do not have the money initially to invest in a great set, then buy one at a pawn shop and save up to buy your what I would call your "real set". You will be glad you did in the long run. By the way my personal preference is Gretsch. If you can find an old Gretsch set for sale, buy it.

Concept #9— The rhythm of life

This column’s concept is the rhythm of life as it applies to your drums. If you are ever looking for some unique rhythms or beats to play it is simple to find. Go outside and walk around and listen to the sounds. These sounds are a drum beat happening constantly. I believe this is why drums  are so accessible to people. It is why people relate to drums so easily.

There is a rhythm to life so to say that is  made by the cars, the weather, the construction, the birds etc. that can be heard if listened for. Some of these sounds are bad and some are good. Some of them are happy and some are sad. It is like music. Together all of these  sounds make a beat or rhythm. Some call the noise of the world noise pollution but I like to think of it as  musical harmony. The drums can interpret these sounds very effectively.

Most of the time these sounds are polyrhythmic, meaning they flow together even though many of the sounds are overlapping. Interpret the sounds as being different drums on your set and then put them together to a beat. This is a great way to fight stagnation in your playing. This concept can open many creative doors for your drumming if you are open to letting it. Additionally when you are tired of being inside practicing go outside and open your ears and mind to your surroundings. The benefits are great.

Lesson #9 - Listen to your surroundings

This column’s lesson centers around applying the concept discussed above. There is not really much to say except go outside and
listen to your surroundings. Try and piece together five different beats as you hear them from the world's noise.

As discussed previously apply the sounds of what you hear to the different drums on your set. Make sure and use different implements to mimic the sounds
such as brushes, blassticks, sticks, mallets and anything else you can imagine. Make sure to not limit this concept to your set.
Try a tambourine, cowbell or anything else you can hit that might interest you. Have fun with this.
Thanks for reading and until next time keep enjoying the Spring.

— By Stanley Jackson Special To L.A. Beat
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