Improve Your Drumming With Less Ismore
|By Tim KamakGeorges Music|
In this Drum Club issue, I would like to introduce all of you to my good friendLess Ismore (get it? Less Is More :-)).Ok, enough with the bad jokes.
Defining the Concept
For years, successful musicians, songwriters, producers, and record companies have clearly understood the concept of Less Is More. Playing fewer drum fills, fewer notes or chords on your guitar, fewer notes in your guitar solo, or simplifying your core drum groove for the song.Believe it or not, even some of your more progressive bands and metal bands use this concept. As chaotic or incredibly full a metal band may sound, they still understand how to leave room for one another. Each musician respects the elements of the songs structure in order to achieve the end result, which is to allow every aspect of the song to breathe. This often calls for another skill which is more listening to one another in order to fully understand what your
part will be.
What Can "Over Playing" Affect?
A Solid Foundation
As drummers we tend to think our job is to play a complex groove, with the most intricate parts, and the biggest drum fills ever! So what happens when we think this way?Well, first and foremost, we are forgetting our main objective: Keeping time and/or giving the song or band a solid foundation. Thats our job. Providing a solid foundation. Without us, without a solid foundation, the song never gets off the ground, and even more, it frustrates and upsets everything else around us.
The next issue with overplaying is that it muddies up the water and can mask other cool possibilities. Lets say your guitarist came up with the coolest rhythm ever. I mean it's COOL! So cool thats it's got you all pumped up that you have now challenged yourself
to come up with a drum part just as cool
.Most of the time this ends up in overplaying. Instead, explore the concept of Less Is More. Play an incredibly simple groove that is creative, but doesnt walk all over the rhythm guitar. You might choose to displace a beat, add accents, or quite simply play 2&4 on the snare and 1&3 on the kick. Now, lock it in with your bass player, BUT make sure he understands the concept too. What you have just done is you have allowed your guitarist's cool rhythm to stand out, and even more, have begun to allow the song to reach its fullest potential.
The last issue that needs to be mentioned is sound quality. Have you ever noticed how great, full, and clear your favorite songs are? Next time you listen, really dig in and pay attention to what they are playing. Chances are they are allowing room for each other, which in turn, allows all the frequencies and intricacies to come through. You see, if everyone is chugging along, meaning the kick drum, the bass guitar, and the electric guitar are all following the same pattern, each part will not breathe and they will muddy up all the frequencies.Break it up, simplify, and listen
to one another in order to stay out of each others way. This will allow your song to breathe, sound clearer, and
when you do something cool, such as an accent, displace a beat, or put in a cool fill, it will really stand out.
My first drum teacher made it very clear to me that part of my weekly drum lesson would be to listen. Listen
to other people play, listen
to CDs (records in my time!), and go to concerts.Here are some classic and great songs from the past that I personally think are great examples of this topic. Even if the type of music listed isnt up your alley, take the time to learn from it. I guarantee that at some point in time your drumming will require you to apply the skill of Less Is More!AC/DC- Back in Black
Right from the very beginning, the drummer begins with simple hi-hat hits (notice the guitar player chose to accent them as well). SIMPLE! Check out the groove. Simple 2&4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fSEjlLQcRYLed Zepplin- When the Levee Breaks
What more can you say thanBIGFATSIMPLEBACKBEAT!!!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9cpziwfV90 Led Zepplin- Dyer Maker"
The groove is simple and the drum fills both at the breaks, and at the end are spacious, simple, and absolutely fun to play.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5s9illHQlc Aerosmith- Walk this Way
I had to list this classic drum intro. This is a great example of a rhythmically driven guitar riff. Joey (the drummer) compliments and accents Joe Perrys guitar by keeping it simple and staying out of his way.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKttENbsoykU2- Pride- (In the name of love)
Its been rumored that the simple snare fill in this song is actually paradiddles (RLRR LRLL), with accents. Notice the guitar throughout the whole song as well. The beginning, verse and 1st
chorus are basically identical, but then, the 2nd
verse he totally simplifies it. Sounds great.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHcP4MWABGYU2- Beautiful Day
This song is really interesting. If you listen closely, there is a very basic drum loop that plays from the beginning to the end. The drummer, Larry Mullen, actually plays (simple) over the loop while it continues to play through the chorus.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8w7f0ShtIMThe Beatles- ANYTHING!
Ringo Starr is quite simply one of the most underrated drummers ever.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoJGDC10lZwMotown- Anything!
Check out Marvin Gaye Lets Get It On.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEtx2YTcD94
Tim Kamak is the General Manager of George's Music's West Palm Beach location and has been playing the drums since age 10. He was fortunate enough to survive the 80s with only a minor case of dandruff due to all the Aqua Net hairspray he used.