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lowdowner

Are drums easy?

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OK, so it's a really badly phrased question, but does anyone on here play drums as well as bass, and do you think it's 'easy' to learn to play a simple/straight-forward groove on the drums in a band, and is it 'easier' than learning and playing a bass line in a band?

I had a heated conversation with a muso friend who claimed that some instruments are very much inherently easier to learn and play than others, and drums were particularly easy. I'm learning to play drums at the moment, and I'm not so sure...

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No they aren't easy.
Let's be honest about it,playing simple bass is far easier than learning simple drums.

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I play and teach both.

I would say that basic coordination for a basic groove is not too hard for some people, but then neither is pumping out some eight notes on the E string.

No, to do it well, and musically sensitively, more to the point, is difficult, and takes as much practice and dedication as any other instrument.

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Drums are haaaaaaaaaard! I started learning a while ago, fair enough I have extremely rare access (every six months ish for half an hour) to a kit and am only self taught for now, but after a two years I can only play a straight 4/4, 6/8, and a couple of songs (hard to handle and back in black :D)

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i think drums are stupidly hard to play but i do know of at least 2 people who picked it up so quickly its truly scary
some people have a natural ability with drums that can be clear on first try so they might think its easy, with bass you have to condition your hands and fingers regardless of any natural ability you may have to be able to stretch and hith the notes accuratley.

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I haven't done much on drums other than the basic 4/4 rock stuff but I found it much easier to sound half decent on the drums than I did playing bass.

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Like anything, some parts of playing drums is very easy, some of it hard.

ie, walking up stairs is easy. Walking up stairs trying not to wake the house after 10 pints is hard...

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I play both (well, I'm a drummer, really...), and I've 'taught' folks how to do a minimum on both. Basically, I'd use the old, crude, expression: 'You can't polish a turd'. There are those who, however one approaches the issue, never get a handle on either. If the person has a bit of a clue, and a decent motivation, both are 'easy' enough, at the level you suggestion (straight 4/4 rock steady/ straight eights over a 12 bar...). To go any further requires, for both instruments, a quantum leap. So, in a nutshell, some can never do either at all. Some can do either fairly easily. Any more requires work, lot's of it (but it's fun, too..!).

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[quote name='bigjohn' timestamp='1359141457' post='1950749']
Like anything, some parts of playing drums is very easy, some of it hard.

ie, walking up stairs is easy. Walking up stairs trying not to wake the house after 10 pints is hard...
[/quote]

depends on how much practice you get surely? ;)

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If you are interested in learning the drums, and want to see how well you might get on, and have the opportunity to practise, take a kick drum, snare and hi-hat (add or exchange a ride cymbal if you're feeling jazzy), and get rid of everything else. No toms, no cymbals, just kick, hat, snare. Forget the rest.

Take your sticks and start tapping out a 4/4 on the hat with your right hand, nice and steady, letting your own natural rhythm dictate the accents on the 1st and 3rd, or 2nd and 4th, as you prefer. Your left foot will have the pedal clamped shut.

Keep going for as long as you like, feeling groovy. Now start easing the pedal open to hear the difference in sound, and then start thinking about opening it at the end of every bar for a beat, or opening it slightly on your accented beat, or just letting it sit somewhere where you like the chick sound you're getting.

Keep grooving with just that simple 4/4 on the hats. How does it sound? Funkily in the pocket, or rigid and stiff? You don't need fancy fills to be a good drummer; you need feel.

Now add in the kick pedal on whatever beat you like that feels natural and comfortable, still knocking out that 4/4 on the hi hat with your right hand. If you got rhythm, this should begin to feel pretty groovy. Any musicians around you should be wanting to play a chord or two, or even just a note or three, infectiously.

Keep it simple. How does it feel? Feel good, feel tight? You're a drummer. Stiff, out of time, uncomfortable? You're still a drummer; you just need to relax.

When it feels right, add the snare beat, anywhere that feels natural. Keep on at it, keep being subtle on the hi hat pedal (timing and a fluid hi hat pedal add so much groove and feeling to the simplest of beats).



That's the way to test the waters on a drum kit, I would say. It's both easy and hard, at the same time.


(That might all have been blindingly obvious, sorry.)

Edited by Zenitram

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[quote name='Zenitram' timestamp='1359144167' post='1950815']
(That might all have been blindingly obvious, sorry.)
[/quote]

no - that's a very cool post.

I'm not sure about the 'if it feels tight you're a drummer, if it doesn't then you're a drummer but just need to relax'.

Something tells me that some people are drummers naturally and some are not.

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Once you get your coordination, the basics aren't too difficult. My last good (excellent jazz) drummer said "the good thing about drums is that you can practice them anywhere, even without a kit".
I thought it strange at the time, but he'd practice ideas whilst sitting on flights back to the UK & then play them in the studio as if he'd practiced on a kit (no, he didn't have a travel kit).
I dare say some of the passengers must've thought he was taking a hairy. :lol:

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[quote name='lowdowner' timestamp='1359148691' post='1950904']
I'm not sure about the 'if it feels tight you're a drummer, if it doesn't then you're a drummer but just need to relax'.
[/quote]

That was me trying to be encouraging to those who don't quite feel it at the first go, more than anything else.

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[quote name='Zenitram' timestamp='1359150324' post='1950940']
That was me trying to be encouraging to those who don't quite feel it at the first go, more than anything else.
[/quote]

Well that's true - people should definitely try ... it's a scream :)

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[quote name='Zenitram' timestamp='1359151189' post='1950978']
Cool! She looks jazz.
[/quote]

My dad was more excited when they stumbled on my kit, but his playing was ok, *hers* was absolutely spot-on, really in the groove! She doesn't play any instrument but her 4/4 groove with bass on 1 and snare on 3 was really solid. And she grinned the whole way through. We had to leave her there to play whilst we went for some lunch. At 70 this year, you've got to give it to her - she rocks! :)

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[quote name='Zenitram' timestamp='1359144167' post='1950815']
If you are interested in learning the drums, and want to see how well you might get on, and have the opportunity to practise, take a kick drum, snare and hi-hat (add or exchange a ride cymbal if you're feeling jazzy), and get rid of everything else. No toms, no cymbals, just kick, hat, snare. Forget the rest.

Take your sticks and start tapping out a 4/4 on the hat with your right hand, nice and steady, letting your own natural rhythm dictate the accents on the 1st and 3rd, or 2nd and 4th, as you prefer. Your left foot will have the pedal clamped shut.

Keep going for as long as you like, feeling groovy. Now start easing the pedal open to hear the difference in sound, and then start thinking about opening it at the end of every bar for a beat, or opening it slightly on your accented beat, or just letting it sit somewhere where you like the chick sound you're getting.

Keep grooving with just that simple 4/4 on the hats. How does it sound? Funkily in the pocket, or rigid and stiff? You don't need fancy fills to be a good drummer; you need feel.

Now add in the kick pedal on whatever beat you like that feels natural and comfortable, still knocking out that 4/4 on the hi hat with your right hand. If you got rhythm, this should begin to feel pretty groovy. Any musicians around you should be wanting to play a chord or two, or even just a note or three, infectiously.

Keep it simple. How does it feel? Feel good, feel tight? You're a drummer. Stiff, out of time, uncomfortable? You're still a drummer; you just need to relax.

When it feels right, add the snare beat, anywhere that feels natural. Keep on at it, keep being subtle on the hi hat pedal (timing and a fluid hi hat pedal add so much groove and feeling to the simplest of beats).



That's the way to test the waters on a drum kit, I would say. It's both easy and hard, at the same time.


(That might all have been blindingly obvious, sorry.)
[/quote]


Good post :)

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[quote name='Zenitram' timestamp='1359144167' post='1950815']
If you are interested in learning the drums, and want to see how well you might get on, and have the opportunity to practise, take a kick drum, snare and hi-hat (add or exchange a ride cymbal if you're feeling jazzy), and get rid of everything else. No toms, no cymbals, just kick, hat, snare. Forget the rest.

Take your sticks and start tapping out a 4/4 on the hat with your right hand, nice and steady, letting your own natural rhythm dictate the accents on the 1st and 3rd, or 2nd and 4th, as you prefer. Your left foot will have the pedal clamped shut.

Keep going for as long as you like, feeling groovy. Now start easing the pedal open to hear the difference in sound, and then start thinking about opening it at the end of every bar for a beat, or opening it slightly on your accented beat, or just letting it sit somewhere where you like the chick sound you're getting...
[/quote]

This is all good stuff. To me, a lot of modern drumming is shown from the wrong perspective. Imho, the 'pulse' comes from the hi-hat. That's the one to get down 'pat'. With stick or not, just 'chip chip' the hi-hat. Any tempo (start slow..?), no particular time signature, just regular 'chip chip chip'. When brave enough, interject a bass drum, either as a single pulse, or on the beat, or backbeat; whatever. Keep the 'chip chip' going at all times. 'Stick' the hats, or ride, or toms in the same way, relaxed, rhythmic, modest, maintaining the 'chip chip'. Add snare to taste. Don't try all of this at the same time the first session. Do a bit at a time, differently each time, adding as and when confidence and 'feeling' inspire. Keep on with the 'chips', and you'll be set up in a couple of weeks. Try to avoid the 'rock' idiom when spacing out like this; the idea is to generate/encourage independence from any beat, genre, or style, and get the body used to playing these instruments (yes, there are several, really...) whenever the music demands it. This way, one plays rock when rock is required, swing when called for, jungle/hip hop on demand, and all points west.
Hope this helps; tell us how you get on, please..?

(note to admin: so when is drumchat.co.uk going live, then, eh..? Can't you see the crying need..? Pretty please..?)

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Easy answer to the question - No, they`re not easy to learn. I can keep a basic beat, but that`s it, and my timing on them is good. but anything fancy, including drum-rolls, that`s me out. In my punk covers band we sometimes swap instruments at rehearsals, and the first time this happened when I was in the band I got duped into playing Motorheads Ace of Spades. Half-way through the song I thought I was going to pass out!

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The other thing to learn is a light touch. Gently does it, on those hats, on the kick, on the snare. To play lightly but with confidence, knowing that you don't have to make a racket, that you have to suggest the beat rather than bash it out at full whack and 180 bpm.

Think of the jazz brushes drummer, sat at the back behind the kit, with a languid, long-haired sultry beauty draped over the microphone in some dark, smoky joint, the double bass player in the corner nodding as he hits the fewest notes possible, and the drummer lazily brushing the snare drum back and forth with that wonderful shuffley background rhythm, confident that the song needs no more, just a light, gentle touch, a mere suggestion of a beat.

Your hi-hats get hit more than anything else. Don't pound them; stroke them, vary your accent on them, try not hitting them, like a pulled punch, the faintest glance as your stick hits the off beat. Use your left foot in conjunction to vary what the hi hat does and says. It's the most common sound in modern music, after all. Be nice to it.

And other bollocks stuff as well.

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