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Bad drummers


NikkiSixxfan

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Question. Are we as bassists in a unique position to assess drummers?

 

Reason I ask is, I play with a drummer I would say is not very good. He plays all the right notes but has no groove and his rhythm is inconsistent. Very hard to lock in with.

 

Weirdly, no one else who knows him or plays with him shares my opinion on his playing. But none of them are playing bass with him either.

 

It’s possible that I am the sucky one but I don’t have this problem with the other drummers I play with.

 

So I ask once more, are bassists in a unique position to assess drummers?

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This isn't a criticism (although it'll sound like one) but I wonder to what extent you work with him onstage? Might he feel there's little feedback from you?

 

Just giving something to think about. I know neither of you so can only speculate on reasons for it (which could be that's he's not very good, of course).

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1 hour ago, Steve Browning said:

This isn't a criticism (although it'll sound like one) but I wonder to what extent you work with him onstage? Might he feel there's little feedback from you?

 

Just giving something to think about. I know neither of you so can only speculate on reasons for it (which could be that's he's not very good, of course).

I appreciate that could be true, but I would add that he wears headphones as ear protection and honestly has never been much for making eye contact. My first gig with him, I was looking at him for guidance. Got none.

 

That all sounds very convenient to my argument but it’s a difficult situation.

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2 hours ago, NikkiSixxfan said:

So I ask once more, are bassists in a unique position to assess drummers?

 

No, not at all, but if the drummer's all over the place and you're trying to fit in with it - maybe it's harder for a third party to pick that apart?

 

Have you done any recording together? That might help you all to focus on getting a good solid rhythm going. 🙂

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4 hours ago, NikkiSixxfan said:

I appreciate that could be true, but I would add that he wears headphones as ear protection and honestly has never been much for making eye contact. My first gig with him, I was looking at him for guidance. Got none.

 

That all sounds very convenient to my argument but it’s a difficult situation.

That sounds very reasonable to me. Conclusion? Bad drummer, or bad member of a rhythm section at the very least.

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Reading threads like this reminds me of how lucky I am.  Our drummer makes mistakes with songs he hasn't learnt well enough or has forgotten but he is always in time.  When he does make a mistake, I turn my head towards him and he sees; he always has his eye on me.

 

I believe you are right @NikkiSixxfan as we need to lock in with them we are more aware of inconsistencies in drumming.

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I've played in numerous orchestras and ensembles. I would say it is more likely that an instrumentalist that plays the bass line is going to be more observant  with regard to timing and rhythm. I think it's for the very simple reason that the bass instrumental parts will have more focus on rhythm and harmony, and less on melody.

 

I also run a saxophone ensemble and whilst there are some good players there, some a lot better than me, I'm the only one with a lot of experience of playing in groups (and some have none). Whilst they are getting better, they tend to be unaware if their timing is off. It's another set of skills that takes time to develop.  

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9 hours ago, NikkiSixxfan said:

Question. Are we as bassists in a unique position to assess drummers?

 

Reason I ask is, I play with a drummer I would say is not very good. He plays all the right notes but has no groove and his rhythm is inconsistent. Very hard to lock in with.

 

Weirdly, no one else who knows him or plays with him shares my opinion on his playing. But none of them are playing bass with him either.

 

It’s possible that I am the sucky one but I don’t have this problem with the other drummers I play with.

 

So I ask once more, are bassists in a unique position to assess drummers?

Yes I had this problem with my last band 

 

it was highlighted when we had a dep  drummer and the band really swung and we had a capacity crowd 

 

next time we played the same venue with our usual drummer you could see the people get up and leave

 

the band leader asked me what the difference was and I said the only difference was the drummer

 

he didn’t take the hint and I said it more forcefully but the drummer remained so I left

 

pity

 

it could have been a great band 

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26 minutes ago, zbd1960 said:

It's another set of skills that takes time to develop.  

True. It's also the first skill you want your drummer to have mastered!

 

The adage goes ''It takes a very good drummer to be better than no drummer''.

 

I play with a Russian Dragon. He is completely reliant on me to keep things steady.

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I would say no, we are not automatically in a better position to judge just because we play bass. However it is true that we are more likely to notice a bad drummer, as guitarists (especially lead) are too busy thinking about what they are playing to notice what anyone else is playing... 

 

The one thing I would say is that different people feel the beat in a different way, some people naturally play behind the beat, some right on the beat, and some after the beat. If you and the drummer feel the beat in a different way, it's never gonna be much fun. 

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3 hours ago, BillyBass said:

Reading threads like this reminds me of how lucky I am.  Our drummer makes mistakes with songs he hasn't learnt well enough or has forgotten but he is always in time.  When he does make a mistake, I turn my head towards him and he sees; he always has his eye on me.

 

Same here, the drummer makes a mistake we look at each other and he does the oops! thing.

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8 hours ago, spongebob said:

Bad drummer, bad band.

 

In a nutshell. The following is a major red flag. You can wear specialised plugs that do mot completely isolate you from your surroundings if you want to protect your hearing. He is using headphones to hide in his own little world and avoid contact with the rest of the musicians.

 

9 hours ago, NikkiSixxfan said:

he wears headphones as ear protection and honestly has never been much for making eye contact

Edited by Dan Dare
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I played with a drummer for a while who complained incessantly about the members of his previous band. His timing was often off and he struggled with new rhythms, roles and fills.

 

He eventually left the project and went back to his old band (who probably tolerated him)

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Bands can't carry bad drummers. As the other half of a rhythm section, bass players will find working with a bad drummer a pretty soul destroying experience. I certainly couldn't play with a bad drummer on a regular basis. 

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Im picky about who I play with. I know folk who'll play with anyone just to be in a band, but that's not how I roll.  If they aren't  decent musicians, take it seriously, then I don't want to be involved otherwise it can be a frustrating mess.  A decent drummer and a decent rhyrhm guitarist make it all worthwhile, and allow me to play at my best.

 

I also think cafefully before becoming involved in a band where players can't read music.  I wouldn't say that I would never join such a band, but it makes discussions around various aspects of musicality a bit tiresome and as I get older I can't  be doing with wasting time and effort on explanations.

 

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