Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Drumming is Easy...


Not.

While laid up in ordinary* I have continued, on a somewhat sporadic basis, my quest to learn how to play the drums. In the month or so since I acquired the electronic drum kit (the 31st of August to be precise) I have discovered the following:
  • I have two left hands,
  • I have two left feet,
  • The above are continually at cross purposes, and
  • I can maintain a simple beat as long as I don't think about what I'm doing.
I should note, I'm not a southpaw, having two left hands and two left feet is not an asset.

Much like learning anything, if you have to think about it, you'll probably hose it up somehow. They** say when learning a new language that you know you're getting somewhere when you can say something in the new language without doing a translation in your head first.

There are many things which I can just rattle on about auf Deutsch, usually without thinking about it. Grammatically correct and proper German? Nein, natürlich nicht. But I prattle on anyway, Germans understand what I'm saying. (When you start to dream in a language, then you've just about nailed it.)

But drumming is much harder. Remember the old joke of the tourist asking the New Yorker how you get to Carnegie Hall? Yup, practice, lots and lots of practice. A certain amount of patience is also required. Not exactly my strong suit, but I want this, so I strive. Will I play like this guy someday?



While that would be awesome, it's also not very likely. I can get good, I'm not sure I can get fantastic, and Gene Krupa was fantastic, though he said that Buddy Rich was better. Buddy didn't agree.

Who's Buddy Rich you ask?



Yeah, pretty damned good drummer right there!

Over at Drummer World they list who they consider to be the top 500 drummers, both Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa are listed, as is this guy (one of my favorite musicians) -

Dave Grohl
(Source)



Dang, that Animal guy ain't bad either!

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go practice.




* In naval matters, vessels "in ordinary" (from the 17th century) are those out of service for repair or maintenance, a meaning coming over time to cover a reserve fleet or "mothballed" ships. (Source)
** No, I don't know precisely who "they" are. I assume that "they" are some international body of experts who know everything. Yup, pretty much a chimera...

32 comments:

  1. Not much time left for outdoor practice there Sarge, just watch the head shaking. Anything Muppet related is a good thing..... :)

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    1. The opening photo is not my kit, I think it's awesome though. I assume that it's outside as it's too large to fit in a house.

      Practicing outside with an electric kit could be dicey in the fall though, I get that.

      Yeah, that Animal, who knew?

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  2. If there’s one thing youtube has more of than cat videos, it’s drum videos :) You shouldn’t lack for inspiration!

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    1. Yup, I discovered that while researching this post. It's how I found Drummer World as well.

      Gotta love the more benign aspects of the internet.

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  3. I'm an 'air drumer' I never miss a beat.

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    1. My air guitar solos are epic, truly epic.

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  4. I found that with guitar, just take it real slow, work on little steps over and over again and any little improvement is satisfying. Also I learned "Frig you and your down down down up down down down up up down" strum patterns, thinking and playing doesn't work, just go with a rhythm that works for you and feels right, after all, no one is listening but you for now at least. After five years of practice at least one to three hours a day I think that in two more years I will be a step or two above "Not very good" and that is good enough for me.

    Go get'em Sarge! The thing about drums is you cant join them, so beat them!

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    1. For some reason playing the bass came pretty naturally to me, and it's fun though I haven't done it in a while. As to the little steps, over and over, that's the right way to do it. Gotta learn the fundamentals. I did note that once I had gotten my first "rock" beat down pat (it's really, really simple) it was very satisfying. When I get frustrated on learning a new beat, I just go back and play the one I know. Or I just make a lot of noise with the snare, kick drum, and cymbals. Until The Missus Herself gives me a "knock it off!"

      Roger that on your last.

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  5. I love Animal!! And the other guy isn't bad either.

    At least, unless you are trying to get to Carnegie Hall, you can enjoy just beating the drums...and you are obviously getting better if you can keep a simple rock and roll beat. Just keep adding one drill at a time until you get good at it. Only you the The Missus Herself will be able to tell what "good" is. After all, you haven't been at this very long this time around, so it sounds like you're doing pretty well.

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    1. Thanks Suz.

      While practice may not necessarily make perfect, I'm okay with, "Hey, I don't suck at this!"

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  6. “They” are the people my dad used to back up every generalization he ever made.
    Whenever I went looking for them, they would disappear like Bigfoot.

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  7. Well, are you using some form of metronome to set the beat?

    Are you using a decent drum tutorial that is teaching you the basics first, you know, the boring stuff?

    Have you considered telling your wife you want to take up bagpipes? Might get her to back off the harassment. No, maybe not, but worth a try. Even get a horse. And then you could be a Chanter using a chanter while at a canter accompanying a Cantor, well, if there are any Jewish Scotsmen where you are riding, that is.

    Hope you get good enough to do "Little Drummer Boy" at Christmas...

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    1. Kit has a built-in metronome, being electronic and all that. Which I sometimes use, sometimes not. I have a pretty good ear for music and I actually have a good sense of rhythm, so that helps too. And yes, good drum tutorials abound, I'm using a couple to learn some basic techniques.

      I once took up the bagpipes, then my chanter split (damned humid New England summers). I wasn't bad. Of course, I wasn't really good either. They say (I know Skip, I know) that it takes seven years to make a decent piper.

      The lady of the house doesn't really harass me about the kit. Now if I bought them and never played them? That's when I'd get an earful!

      As to tunes to learn by Christmas...

      Who knows?

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  8. If you like those guys, check out Travis Barker from Blink 182 on drums in this song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lic0oCDMfwk Fastest drummer I've every seen/heard. They came aboard the Vinson after 9-11 and it was epic. And you don't need to be a good drummer to be famous. Just look at Ringo!

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    1. Wow, Mr. Barker is damned good. He's also on Drummer World's top 500 list. As is Ringo Starr, who was a very underrated drummer back in the day. He still is apparently. ;)

      Blink 182, seems I need to listen to more of their stuff, I like 'em.

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    2. My fave for some reason: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnNPRgjnUOM

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    3. Belay my last, Blink came aboard the Nimitz during my DH tour during OIF in 03. Those deployments all run together.

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    4. Nice! I see those guys are from Poway. Hometown band so to speak.

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    5. Vinson, Nimitz, Ike, Lincoln - they might all run together. I can't tell the difference unless I look at the hull number.

      Of course, the longest I've been at sea on "the boat" is like eight hours. Not six (plus) months.

      Delete
  9. Of the drummers I’ve seen in concert, Mike Portnoy ranks pretty high on the “freak of nature” scale.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PfydR1CQ76k

    (Progressive rock: the only genre of music where “23:17” can be either the track length OR the time signature)

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    1. Oh yeah, he's good. (Also in the top 500.)

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  10. And " they " said that your blog couldn't be beat.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. Hahaha!

      Yeah, but you need a pair of sticks! ;)

      Delete
  11. And as a fan of Scandinavian melo-death (with the requisite tolerance for the “blasty” style) I’ve seen this guy at work a couple times:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=08_PduSKNWU

    As a non-drummer, I don’t even know what I’m looking at.

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    1. Wow, dude has a LOT of cymbals!

      Very nice work.

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  12. Who was that lady that was singing at the 3:28 second time and beyond with Gene Krupa drumming?
    Heltau

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    1. Barbara Stanwyck lip-syncing to Martha Tilton.

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