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L.A. Beat

The Drum Beat

Drummers should focus on the basics first

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Hello, my name is Stanley Jackson and welcome to the bi-monthly column on drumming written exclusively for the LA Beat.

Every column will consist of three sections. The first section will be a discussion on basic fundamentals of drumming, i.e. tuning, musicianship, drum placement, etc. The second section will consist of thoughts as it relates to playing the drums with others along with ways to play conceptually instead of fundamentally. The third section will be a lesson covering many aspects from rudimentary skills from stick control to beats. I hope you enjoy the column and find it enjoyable and helpful.

altFundamentals— tone control and tuning
As I watch drummers these days there seems to be a complete disregard for the actual sound the drum makes or as it is technically called: Tone Quality.

 If I look at one more drum set at a show with dents in the heads, heads that are over two years old, or loose tuning keys I believe I am going to puke.

 How many guitar players could show up at a gig with old strings, not tune their instrument and then start to play? In other words tune the drums and get your intonation correct. Intonation: is defined as the degree to which a performer sings or plays in tune; accuracy of pitch in musical performance. This is something again you need to be very conscious of.

Your drums are instruments. If you call yourself a musician, then have a instrument that is in tune. You will find your gigs get better, the people you play with get better and your skill level increases. You can develop your own sound because now you have an instrument you can actually get a sound out of instead of a tone-dead plop when you strike the drum.

Concept of drumming #1 — Don’t show off, play with the music
The first conceptual drumming thought centres on playing the drums as part of the music instead of showing off how many chops you have or to prove whether or not you are the best drummer at a gig. You might not believe it but musicians actually have fragile egos and have been known to play strictly to show how cool they are instead of playing for the music. If this is you, then stop it. When playing in the context of a band, try to hear yourself or instrument with the band. Hear how you blend in. This takes times and patience and many rehearsals. Once you finally hear yourself in the context of a band you will know it. It is like a renaissance for your playing and worth the effort and practice to achieve it. First off, do not play so loud you overtake the band.

Once the drummer starts to play too loud then the guitar player turns up their volume and before long there is nothing but a loud mess of wattage coming from the stage instead of music. Do not overplay notes.
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