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ot: drumming


comacoda

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I have horrible rhythem. Really bad! I'd like to work on it on a different instrument. I'm halfway interested in a cheap electronic drum kit... I'm curious if this will be good/bad for my wrists since they are being a bit flakey.
Live long and prosper unless it is a good day to die.
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It most likely would be good for your wrists IF and that's a BIG IF..you make sure you are holding the sticks the proper way! If you don't it can cause permanent damage to you and can put you in CarpoTunnel problems. Ok and what do you mean your wrists are FLAKEY...do you have some kind of medical problems with them now? If you do you should run this by a physician first.
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Well, I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on TV, but here are my 2 cents. Drumming, like any action involving repetitive motion and pounding, can cause or worsen carpal tunnel syndrome (but this is relatively rare). Also, many electronic kits, since they have hard rubber pads rather than pliant plastic or animal skin heads, transfer a lot of shock waves to the hand when they are struck.

 

However, if you have an acoustic kit and a good drum teacher who can teach you the proper way to hold the sticks and strike the drum using your fingers rather than your wrist and forearm to snap the stick, the negative effects can be mitigated.

 

Lastly, if you take up the drums (which I highly recommend), please remember to not only protect your wrists, but your hearing as well - ALWAYS WEAR EAR PLUGS OR SOME OTHER TYPE OF HEARING PROTECTION.

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If you want to play drums.. that's cool.. play drums.

 

If you're doing it just to get better rhythm, I think that's a bit too extreme. It's much cheaper to jam to records (er... CDs) and buy a metronome. Heck, you don't even have to buy one.

 

Here: http://www.metronomeonline.com/

 

And remember this... drummers aren't really musicians. :-)

 

If you want to strengthen the wrists, hit the gym.

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Maybe it is a bit extreme. But hey, I guess I fit the profile. :) I seem to remember conversations with drummers about the potential for damaging wrists... I'm not so shure that would be a good idea after all. I've got a metronome, I haven't a clue how to practice with it. Every now and then I practice over a loop of my guitar playing which helps.... My biggest problem rythmicaly is coming in on beat. I play guitar like a jesus lizard, if I stop midstream I'm sunk :)
Live long and prosper unless it is a good day to die.
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You may become the best drummer in the world, and still not be able to play guitar along with one.

 

wouldn't it make more sense to play with a drum machine? PLay with some records? Do something to advance your ability to play guitar, rather than jump to another instrument? (Unless what you really want to do is to play drums... and if you can't keep time now.....)

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Originally posted by Bill@Welcome Home Studios:

You may become the best drummer in the world, and still not be able to play guitar along with one.

 

wouldn't it make more sense to play with a drum machine? PLay with some records? Do something to advance your ability to play guitar, rather than jump to another instrument? (Unless what you really want to do is to play drums... and if you can't keep time now.....)

 

Bill

Bill, you give great advice. :) That makes sense to me. I've got a drum machine. I have no idea what to do with it either!
Live long and prosper unless it is a good day to die.
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I agree with many of the respondents. Switching instruments will not necessarily improve your rhythm/timing. If you have bad timing, you have bad timing and need to work on it. I suggest playing guitar along with a rhythm track, such as a drum machine, metronome, records if you're trying to learn a particular song. You have to face the demon head on and conquer it, and not run off to another instrument. When you practice without one, I recommend that you tap your foot in beat to help. Many great guitarists do this today while performing live.

 

I had a guitar teaching video and I remember the instructor saying something like, "practicing guitar with a rhythm track of some type is 1000% more effective then practicing without one."

 

After you improve your timing, by all means try another instrument if you are interested in learning it.

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Well, there R benfits 2 trying 2 learn any instrument, even if U don't get proficient & things like carpel tunnel, etc., can affect U on any instrument, even one Ur used 2 playing because while their amplified if Ur unprepared 4 the techniques of manipulation, U can easily develop (or even B taught) bad habits 4 that which U usually play.

 

As already pointed out, though just Bcause it's primarily a rhythm instrument doesn't mean itconveys rhythm to U. Bad timing would come with U.

 

Playing with metronones & rhythm machines are not bad things but it's always important to play with actual people. The subtlties of musical feel R often more fluid & varied than any regular device, even the most discreet, like a quarter note click or the most elaborate, like a programmable box, can convey fully & sometimes people get a starnge, awkward rhythmic nature if they move only in area too much.

 

Playing with people who have good rhythm & R patient enough 2 just let U sit N, may B better.

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How to improve rhythm and timing? These things come to mind.

 

The easiest thing to do is to start by listening. You don't even need an instrument! Listen to recordings of musicians with good timing. (Well, there are some questionable ones out there. :freak: ) Listen to the beat and count along; 99% of the time it's going to be 4/4 and you can count 1-2-3-4. If you're just sitting there, feel free to tap a foot, clap your hands, snap your fingers, etc. to the beat. Piece of cake, right?

 

Now, once you've gotten into the groove of whatever song you're listening to, mute the player (but let the CD or whatever continue to play). Don't stop or pause the music! If you don't have a mute button, you can just turn the volume all the way down. Keep counting, clapping, whatever. After a few measures, turn the volume back up and see if you're still in time. Are you still in time with the recording? Repeat.

 

As your timing improves, you can have longer periods of silence without losing the beat. This sounds simple, but can really be challenging if you're not used to it.

 

You can do it in your car along with the radio; it's easy to just turn it off to mute it. I don't recommend doing anything other than counting aloud, though, in the car. :eek:

 

(The preceding exercise taught to me by my h.s. band teacher, fwiw.)

 

If you read music, trying to play rhythmic exercises from books can be helpful. (If you don't read, this may be a good excuse to learn.) They force you to subdivide (i.e., 1e&a2e&a...) the beat in order to count out the rhythms properly. (At least they should; don't be lazy! ;) ) If you're just worried about rhythm, put down the guitar again and just clap the rhythm. (Clapping is a more basic interface than guitar, so you can concentrate more on the rhythm than the interface.) When you're satisfied with the clapping, pick up the guitar.

 

This is one place you can put your metronome to use, because it will help you keep your counting honest. The metronome is always going to give you a solid beat; if you're supposed to be on the beat and you're not with the metronome, guess who's wrong? :D To help you subdivide, set the metronome to click on beats 2 and 4 only, like a snare drum, or maybe only on the down beat of each measure.

 

As far as coming in on time, that's a matter of listening, knowing exactly where you are in a measure at a given time, subdiving the beat, and knowing how the line you want to play fits into the measures. If your fill is 4 16th notes and you want the next note you play to land on a down beat, where do you have to start? On beat 4 (4e&a) and then whatever comes next on the down beat. So you need to know where beat 4 is, and you have to be able to figure that out by listening to the other players and counting to yourself.

 

Now, somewhere else there's an example of counting in an odd time signature that is instructional. I'll modify it slightly, 'cause I don't remember the original. :P One guy in the band tells the others to come in after a silent break on some beat ... let's say it is beat 4. They run through it a few times, and they're not together. So the first guy does one of those "it goes like this" demos and the other guys get it. It turns out that the first guy was counting differently from the others. At the end of his lick, he started counting 1-2-3-4. It turns out he ended his lick on beat 3 or something, so he should have started counting with 4, not 1. (That's what the other guys were doing.) The thing here is, you can't just be in your own world and not listen to what's going on around you. It's fine if you know you want to lay out for 4 beats, but within the context of the song, you should know which beats those are.

 

On a slightly different angle, I used to play in a band with some friends. The drummer had a slight problem executing fills: they were sometimes a little long or something, and he would pick up the beat in the wrong place. Being friends and just having a good time, me and our other friend would just add whatever fraction of a beat was necessary so it wouldn't become a train wreck. :freak: I think in the end we figured out he just didn't know when to start his fills so they would end in the right place.

 

In the end, like anything else, it's practice, practice, practice!

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Originally posted by RicBassGuy:

How to improve rhythm and timing? These things come to mind.

 

The easiest thing to do is to start by listening. You don't even need an instrument! Listen to recordings of musicians with good timing. (Well, there are some questionable ones out there. :freak: ) Listen to the beat and count along; 99% of the time it's going to be 4/4 and you can count 1-2-3-4. If you're just sitting there, feel free to tap a foot, clap your hands, snap your fingers, etc. to the beat. Piece of cake, right?

 

Now, once you've gotten into the groove of whatever song you're listening to, mute the player (but let the CD or whatever continue to play). Don't stop or pause the music! If you don't have a mute button, you can just turn the volume all the way down. Keep counting, clapping, whatever. After a few measures, turn the volume back up and see if you're still in time. Are you still in time with the recording? Repeat.

 

...you can't just be in your own world and not listen to what's going on around you. It's fine if you know you want to lay out for 4 beats, but within the context of the song, you should know which beats those are.

 

Excellent suggestion with the listening exorcise, thank you very much! Oh, and to the Ramones suggestion, thank you as well, I've decided to do something a lot like that.

It's funny, the friends I played with from highschool until I moved to the midwest this summer were all jazz drummers. They have always been better musicians than I am but enjoyed playing with me because I like odd times. Playing with them was a lot like the example you gave with your friend on drums, they constantly added an extra beat or subtracted a beat here or there. My listening has improved some but not much, I was always the songwriter and just playing my material was no big help. I'm still relatively new to chicago and don't have any friends here yet, but I play an open mike every week and I'm sure I'll find some musicians I can play with. I'm hoping to play some simple music that will help me listen. I can play in time by myself, or with other guitars, but when I hear drums (most every beat not just fills) I hear melodies, I don't hear a rythem at all... I'm sure I can get over this with some focus, it's too bad I haven't yet, I think these suggestions will be a big help. :) Thanks!

Live long and prosper unless it is a good day to die.
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Originally posted by miroslav:

Hey...besides the 4/4 R&R stuff...

 

...spin up some Indian or Mid-Eastern music...

...or listen to some African beats...

...maybe try a little South Amercian stuff...

 

...and THEN come back to 4/4 Rock & Roll! :thu:

I'll get some from the library, burn'em and return'em :)
Live long and prosper unless it is a good day to die.
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I've gotten a hell of a lot of mileage out of my local libraries since I moved to NYC! The main problem is to remember to return stuff on time!

 

The main library in Queens also has a great deal of sheet music and instructional material available; I don't know about your local communities.

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I'd suggest investing in a good library of drum loops, some of them are done by actual drummers. One source of practice and inspiration for me is to fire up Garageband on my Mac, call up a loop and jam to that. Sometimes I wind up writing something out of left field with that method. Nice thing about Garageband is that the Appleloops can be speeded up or slowed down without a change in pitch

 

If you've got a PC, you can check into Sony's ACID program - they have a free version available on their web site that should be just enough to do with it what you want.

"I used to be "with it", but then they changed what "it" was! Now what I'm with isn't "it", and what is "it" is weird and scary to me. IT'LL HAPPEN TO YOU!" - Grampa Simpson
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