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Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
#3054526 07/16/20 09:25 PM
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Sometimes it's good to go out of your comfort zone. I was working on a song and there was an 8-bar section that clearly wanted to be filled with a solo. Something possessed me to try doing it with drums. It was an interplay with keyboards, not just a drum set by itself, which made the process much easier.

I gotta admit it was fun, and I think it sounds pretty good. And then I started thinking about what else I haven't done just because I hadn't done it before. It reminded me of when I picked up a ukulele and added it to a track, and I was so happy with the resulting sound after messing with it (sort of classical guitar meets ethnic instrument) that I started using it more and more.

I wonder what else I haven't done but should be doing...

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Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3054548 07/16/20 09:58 PM
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Trying to sing like a girl?

Playing slide bass?

Improvising a guitar solo with reverse delay, no practice just cut the track.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3054550 07/16/20 10:00 PM
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<<Trying to sing like a girl?>>\

I've actually done "female" background parts with vocoders and varispeed-based formant changes. It actually works quite well.

<<Playing slide bass?>>

I like that idea A LOT!! Will have to try.

Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3054554 07/16/20 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
<<Trying to sing like a girl?>>\

I've actually done "female" background parts with vocoders and varispeed-based formant changes. It actually works quite well.

<<Playing slide bass?>>

I like that idea A LOT!! Will have to try.

It's fun, you need a heavy slide. I set it in my lap and use a Shubb, it's a chunk of metal but really easy to control.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3054580 07/17/20 01:32 AM
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Valve trombone.

Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3055082 07/21/20 07:31 AM
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I believe I read somewhere a long time ago that Jeff Lynne played many of the string parts on an early ELO album....without knowing how to play the instruments. He would play one note, then stop, then play another. I have no idea if this is true or whether it is urban legend. I throw it out there just as a fun idea because, after all, I'm here to help.

Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
harmonizer #3055083 07/21/20 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by harmonizer
Valve trombone.
Slide trumpet. (I know it's really a soprano trombone...)

Cheers, Mike.


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One or two keyboards.
Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3055113 07/21/20 03:14 PM
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Fretless banjo is fun, I love mine...


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Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3055114 07/21/20 03:18 PM
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Sing an entire song on inhalation, not just on exhalation as we usually do.

Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3055240 07/22/20 02:39 PM
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I had this weird little Yamaha electronic drum for a while. It was pretty cheesy overall but I created a beat once that was so cool I built a whole song around it.

Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3055760 07/26/20 12:58 AM
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Saxophone. It probably will not mean as much to you as a guitarist, but I can honestly say, as a drummer/pianist, learning to play sax was very liberating. The same with my short stint (at the time) with electric guitar. Growls and bends and squeals and other weird sounds. I could do so much with a saxophone that I could not do with a keyboard. It really pushed me to explore ways to make my synth solos more expressive and emotional. It started me on the belief that every instrument you learn, even to a minor level, affects your musical inner voice. The voice that struggles to come out through your playing.


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Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3055765 07/26/20 02:31 AM
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Wind instruments are fantstically expressive, but there are only so many hours in a day...on the other hand, I play a mean blues harp. smile

Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
RABid #3055791 07/26/20 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by RABid
Saxophone. It probably will not mean as much to you as a guitarist, but I can honestly say, as a drummer/pianist, learning to play sax was very liberating. The same with my short stint (at the time) with electric guitar. Growls and bends and squeals and other weird sounds. I could do so much with a saxophone that I could not do with a keyboard. It really pushed me to explore ways to make my synth solos more expressive and emotional. It started me on the belief that every instrument you learn, even to a minor level, affects your musical inner voice. The voice that struggles to come out through your playing.
My primary instrument is sax. Learning some keyboards (synth/organ), guitar, and vocals expanded my expressive capabilities on the sax.

And learning emulative synthesis is another opportunity to open your ears and mind.

To emulate another instrument on a synth, most people mistakenly believe tone is the most important thing. It's not. Learning to duplicate the nuances of the instrument you are 'doing' is much more important. You can have the best sax tone in the world but if you play it like an organ, it won't sound saxy.

On the other hand if you have poor tone and cop the nuances that a sax player uses, you will sound more like a sax.

It's like a comedian 'doing' a famous person like the president or other public person. The comedian doesn't have the same tone as the famous person, but by copping their nuances of speech, the comedian can make you hear the famous person doing the comedy skit.

The nuances are mostly controlled by the physics of the instrument. You can't sustain a note very long and crescendo it while sustaining on a grand piano. You can't slide between notes on a trumpet like you can on a trombone or cello. But then you cant do glissandos on a slide trombone lie you can on a trumpet or sax. Sax players like to scoop up to pitch for expression and when using vibrato it is never constant but slows and speeds up as well as varies in intensity, the pitch is more under than over pitch zero, and the tone darkens when it gets lower and brightens when it gets higher (an LFO doesn't ever do sax vibrato). Unless bending up from a half step below, guitar finger vibrato never goes below the pitch. Whammy bar vibrato sounds different because the tone doesn't change with the pitch. This list goes on and on.

By critically listening to the instrument you are trying to emulate, and understanding the physical assets and limitations of that instrument, you can end up with a more realistic interpretation. But that doesn't mean you can't intentionally play something that doesn't have the characteristics if you want.

Back to your drum solo Craig.

I think doing electronic percussion solos are fine as long as you don't play "Wipe out" grin

Notes


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Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Notes_Norton #3055798 07/26/20 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
To emulate another instrument on a synth, most people mistakenly believe tone is the most important thing. It's not. Learning to duplicate the nuances of the instrument you are 'doing' is much more important. You can have the best sax tone in the world but if you play it like an organ, it won't sound saxy.

On the other hand if you have poor tone and cop the nuances that a sax player uses, you will sound more like a sax.

It's like a comedian 'doing' a famous person like the president or other public person. The comedian doesn't have the same tone as the famous person, but by copping their nuances of speech, the comedian can make you hear the famous person doing the comedy skit.

The nuances are mostly controlled by the physics of the instrument. You can't sustain a note very long and crescendo it while sustaining on a grand piano. You can't slide between notes on a trumpet like you can on a trombone or cello. But then you cant do glissandos on a slide trombone lie you can on a trumpet or sax. Sax players like to scoop up to pitch for expression and when using vibrato it is never constant but slows and speeds up as well as varies in intensity, the pitch is more under than over pitch zero, and the tone darkens when it gets lower and brightens when it gets higher (an LFO doesn't ever do sax vibrato). Unless bending up from a half step below, guitar finger vibrato never goes below the pitch. Whammy bar vibrato sounds different because the tone doesn't change with the pitch. This list goes on and on.

By critically listening to the instrument you are trying to emulate, and understanding the physical assets and limitations of that instrument, you can end up with a more realistic interpretation. But that doesn't mean you can't intentionally play something that doesn't have the characteristics if you want.
Notes

This is an all-time great post, spot on!!!! Kudos, Kuru


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Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Notes_Norton #3055817 07/26/20 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
To emulate another instrument on a synth, most people mistakenly believe tone is the most important thing. It's not. Learning to duplicate the nuances of the instrument you are 'doing' is much more important. You can have the best sax tone in the world but if you play it like an organ, it won't sound saxy.

Which is why I'll never do a sax solo with a synth, you can always tell it's fake. Maybe getting better at the LinnStrument will change that, though smile

Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3055843 07/26/20 08:45 PM
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Which is why when covering a sax solo on a synth, I never worry about choosing a "sax" sound. I worry more about the ability to vary the tone, bend smoothly, and setting up an LFO for a growl effect. Over the years I have covered a LOT of sax solos on a MiniMoog and the base of the sound for me was setting the LFO to audio rate and faking a growl.


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Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3055977 07/27/20 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
To emulate another instrument on a synth, most people mistakenly believe tone is the most important thing. It's not. Learning to duplicate the nuances of the instrument you are 'doing' is much more important. You can have the best sax tone in the world but if you play it like an organ, it won't sound saxy.

Which is why I'll never do a sax solo with a synth, you can always tell it's fake. Maybe getting better at the LinnStrument will change that, though smile
OK here are a couple I've done. They were done live on the gig in 2004 with an old pre iPod Archos Juke Box hanging near the speakers. The internal mic of the Archos was used, and they were ripped at 56k so the tone is thin and tinny. I used a Yamaha VL70m Physical Modeling synth for the voice. I think they have "true sax nature" and display why nuance is more important than tone (BTW, everything but the voices are MIDI synths).


Link #1

Link #2

My primary instrument is sax, but as a pianist might reach for a Rhodes for the things it can do but a grand cannot, I reach for the synth to do the same thing. My tenor is set up with a wide open mouthpiece which helps me give it the edgier and more aggressive rock/blues sound. To play the jazzier and sweeter sounds would require a different mouthpiece, re-wetting the reed, and re-tuning the sax or putting up with the edgier tone. The wind synth with a more mellow sax sound, even though it isn't quite as full as a 'real' sax fits the bill without taking time between songs.

When I decided to learn how to play lead guitar, I bought an Epiphone Casino and on the Gibson forum I asked the forum members what they thought about this solo. I've played rhythm for years just doubling in bands with barre chords when the songwriter didn't have the ultimate wisdom to include a sax part. In 2008 I bought a 'real' guitar and decided to apply myself at playing lead guitar. I'm OK at it, and can do the limited things I do well, the audience loves it ("how many instruments do you play?"), I enjoy doing things on the guitar that I cannot do on the wind synth, but I am a better synth player than guitarist. But every day I get a little better.

Link #3

It was recorded in 2008 with the same Archos Juke Box, hung in front of the speakers on a different gig, and ripped at 56k. It was also played on the VL70m

BTW I used a WX5 wind MIDI controller on all 3 clips.

I got a couple of dozen very nice comments, one even said it was Jeff Beck-like (IMO the ultimate rock guitarist), and then I came clean and told them it was a synth solo. One person replied that he though it sounded a little funny in the vibrato department, and I agree. Most were pretty amazed they were fooled.

It's now 2020 and I'm much better at emulating many other instruments, but the Archos is long dead, and I'm not ambitious enough to record on the gig. Perhaps if I ever gig again ($(@)#!@* COVID) I'll make the effort to get a decent recorder, tap a line out of the PA (I have a better mixer now) and do it right.

I really enjoy the challenge of trying to emulate other instruments.

Notes


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Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3055982 07/27/20 02:14 PM
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OK Craig (I'd love a LinnStrument but haven't been able to justify the expense for another toy when I still need so much more practice on the guitar).


A few things about emulating saxes and sax players
  • Get brighter with increasing volume
  • Get brighter as the pitch gets higher
  • Often scoop up to the note, and when scooping up the tone changes from darker to brighter
  • Same bright/dark for vibrato, and the nature of the reed/mouthpiece makes more of the vibrato under 'pitch zero' than above
  • Often the vibrato starts slower and gets faster, but the vibrato speed, intensity, and variances should not only fit the song, but the individual note in context
  • Sax players change the shape of their oral cavity to change the vowel sound from ooh to aah (Stanley Turrentine on his Blue Note Recordings are a good place to listen for that)
  • Sax players have two kinds of growl (a) an action similar to clearing your throat (b) flutter tongue. (A) is done more often
  • Changing dynamics during passages and also during individual notes are desired
  • Articulation can be like a Ta, Da, or Fwa and can be accented or not or anything in between
  • Slurs do not re articulate the note, and there is no portamento in slurs
  • Variations in breath support (abdominal muscles) can change the intensity of the tone
  • Sax players often play with pitch, a little flat while eventually pulling up to pitch adds tension - a little sharp on the high notes adds excitement, and so on
  • Ending a held note with a tongue on the reed or simply stopping the air flow has a very different effect.

I'll think of a lot more after I hit "Post" but that's enough to get started.

Emulating other instruments is both a science and an art. I find it a lot of work, a lot of fun, and very rewarding.

Like a comedian impersonator, your synth will have things it can do, things it cannot do, and things it shouldn't do to make that emulation. Lean on the things you can do, and avoid both the things you cannot do and the things you shouldn't do.

Things you shouldn't do would be things the instrument you are emulating cannot do.

Insights and incites by Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
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Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
Anderton #3055987 07/27/20 03:13 PM
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1) There are 2 ways to make a "drum solo" with electronic drums. Have a set of Roland or Pintech mesh heads and play like a real drummer ...or.......
2) Write a score and have the computer play it.

The first may be convincing. The second won't.

What you did Craig, was sort of halfway in the middle, playing in real time but without complete use of your 4 limbs.

Do you have a recording to share Craig ?

Dan

Last edited by techristian; 07/27/20 03:17 PM.
Re: Forgive Me, I Did a Drum Solo with Electronic Drums
techristian #3056038 07/27/20 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by techristian
1) There are 2 ways to make a "drum solo" with electronic drums. Have a set of Roland or Pintech mesh heads and play like a real drummer ...or.......
2) Write a score and have the computer play it.

The first may be convincing. The second won't.

I did option #3 - play on a keyboard, and edit it to sound like a real part. My model was the kind of drum fill Kassav does on some of their material.

Quote
Do you have a recording to share Craig ?

Not yet...it's from my 2020 album project, which will be finished "soon." All it needs is mastering, and then the obligatory music video smile

The album title is "Take Me Back to Tomorrow," and it's super-influenced by Caribbean music so it's pretty lively. My 2019 album was done during a difficult time, the 2020 one is the reverse, it's definitely the most "up" collection of music I've ever done.

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