15 paradiddle diddle grooves image for blogThe Paradiddle Diddle is without a doubt one of my favorite of all the rudiments. Why? It’s useful. Perhaps the most useful rudiment. These grooves are a good example of what I mean. The general idea here is to spice up simple funk grooves by using the paradiddle diddle to add 32nd notes on the hi-hat. As you can see, there are a lot of possibilities. Play these at 90 bpm and above for the tastiest sounding grooves using these licks.

Here’s the PDF: 15 Paradiddle Diddle Funk Grooves PDF

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Advice from Paul Jackson Jr

On April 12, 2014, in Uncategorized, by feldiefeld

I’ve been reading the great drummer Zoro’s book “The Big Gig.” So far, it’s been an inspiring read. Very motivatingimage.

Zoro tells a story about asking the legendary studio guitarist Paul Jackson Jr advice on how to become a better drummer.

The guitarist advised Zoro to practice simple grooves and play them without any variations until they were perfect.

He said: “Don’t change the groove–don’t alter it, don’t do one fill, don’t change anything— just play that same groove with a metronome for 10 minutes straight and just sit on that groove until it is smooth as silk, until it’s flawless.”

REALLY good advice.


Nasty Lick 55

On April 2, 2014, in Drum Exercise Worksheets, Nasty Licks, by feldiefeld

Nasty Lick 55This latest addition is based on an eight note pattern with the hands moving around the toms with one little snare note thrown in. The pattern begins with the right hand and alternates hand to hand the entire way through. It comes from a great Max Roach idea that I love, but it has its own little twist.

Example #1 is just the lick repeated three times to get through the measure as sixteenth note triplets.

The rest of the examples are all variations of differing lengths.

Here’s the PDF: Nasty Lick 55

Let me know what you think.


more shuffle independenceI’ve written about this before, but I decided that my original entry on this topic was somewhat lacking. Hence, a more complete look at this idea. The original is here, “7 Steps To Shuffle Independence,” just for reference, but you actually needn’t go there–everything that is there is also in this updated version (with more added).

The idea is to have more freedom with the ride cymbal while playing shuffles. The relationship between shuffles and jazz time keeping is evident, but I never had a way to comfortably overlap the two in my playing. This worksheet, with a dozen exercises, seeks to remedy that.

I chose the shuffle idea I like the most: playing “2″ and “4″ on the snare with my left hand, with the “let” of “1″ and the “let” of “2″ surrounding the first back beat and the “let” of “3″ and “let” of “4″ surrounding the second back beat.

The pattern described above is what appears throughout the worksheet on the snare line. The “lets” on the snare are all ghosted, and the back beats are all accented.

The rest of the worksheet is just cymbal variations that are typical of jazz time playing.

For clarity, I left the bass drum and hi-hat lines out of these exercises, but I would play quarters with your bass drum and two and four with your hi-hat foot through out.

It bears mentioning that once you develop the ability to do this seamlessly you use the ideas sparingly and with good taste.

Here is the PDF: more shuffle independence


Vinnie Colaiuta Playing Heuer Drums

On March 11, 2014, in Vinnie Colaiuta, by feldiefeld

VinnieThere’s been much speculation about Mr. Colaiuta’s gear since his short-lived association with Ludwig Drums. The drum geeks of the world were looking to see what Vinnie would be playing when he went on the road with Sting this year. The wait is over. The answer is Heuer.

You can read about Chris Heuer’s drums at his website: www.heuersdrumlab.com

Although this may come as a bit of a surprise to many, Chris has gained a reputation for doing top-notch restoration, customization and repair work for many of Los Angeles’ top drummers for a while now. Apparently, he builds custom drums too. Good ones. Really good ones.

A quick look at Vinnie’s website shows that the empty grey space next to the Paiste logo on the “links” page has been replaced with the Heuer logo. Check it: www.vinniecolaiuta.com/home/links

In addition, check out the photo, above, of VC playing Heuers on the Sting tour.

It looks like Heuer’s business is about to take off.

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Clave Funk Comping 1

On March 6, 2014, in Clave, by feldiefeld

clave funk comping 1I recently posted some exercises called “Funk Comping 1″ on my personal drumming website. For a different twist on those ideas, I substituted the clave rhythm with the cymbal hand for the more traditional eighth note pulse.

Playing clave with your cymbal hand is a bit of a brain twister at first, but as with any independence idea in drumming, muscle memory will allow it to happen easily with enough practice. There are many exercises on this site that explore clave independence with your cymbal hand (just check out the “Clave” category), but this exercise is one that explores what it would be like if you could play VERY freely and improvise while maintaining Clave with your right hand.

Difficult. Challenging. Rewarding? If you wish to have this capability, then, the answer is “yes.”

Here’s the PDF: clave funk comping 1


Nasty Lick 54

On February 24, 2014, in Drum Exercise Worksheets, Nasty Licks, Soloing Vocabulary, by feldiefeld

Nasty Lick 54I’ve been trying to come up with some new thirty-second note ideas that rely heavily on double stroke rolls on the snare, but mix in toms and bass drum notes.

Here’s one that I like. And because it is a 7 note idea, it moves around the bar in an interesting way.

The worksheet has two examples. Number one is the half measure version and number two is the whole measure version. Both examples have grooves included just for fun, but the grooves are just window dressing.

Here’s the PDF: Nasty Lick 54


The Trouble With Traditional Grip

On February 16, 2014, in Technique, The Thinking Drummer, by feldiefeld

20140216-233359.jpgHave you noticed that a lot of prominent players are moving away from traditional grip? Recently I’ve read interviews where Dave Weckl and Steve Smith each mention they are using matched grip more than they used to. Thomas Lang has gone so far as to say that Traditional Grip is “a curse.”

Much of what I’ve read indicates that the main issue these players have is one of power.

More specifically, the awkwardness of the grip when powerful backbeats are needed can cause injury.

And I agree. This is my complaint with the grip. You simply can not gracefully get the same power on the drum kit with Traditional Grip.

But I still continue to use Traditional Grip in a significant amount of my playing because I’ve developed so much facility that way. But I understand why Lang feels the way he does. The reason the grip has continued to be used is part and parcel in the name itself. Tradition has created a lineage that gets followed despite the needs of modern playing.

And the history, which is the primary reason that Traditional Grip persists, does not account for the change in style of music and the greater need for power that the prevalence of rock and pop drumming requires.

To explain this, let me tell you about how and why I made decisions on hand grips up until now. When I first started playing drums, my primary drumming role models were John Bonham, Neil Peart and Peter Criss.

They all played Matched Grip and so I learned by imitating. For many years I played only Matched Grip.

Later, I discovered the virtuosic playing of Gadd, Colaiuta, Weckl, Williams and Rich. I became obsessed with acquiring more technique. I asked myself, “If all of the greatest drummer technicians play Traditional Grip, shouldn’t I?”

The answer was a resounding “yes.” In fact, it was a no brainer. I did not need to know anything other than the fact that Steve Gadd, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Tony Williams and Buddy Rich all primarily used that grip. No knowledgeable drummer would argue about these being among the greatest hand technicians in the history of the instrument.

Now, let’s explore some more drumming history. In all likelihood, the drummers named above chose their grip preferences for the very same reasons that I did! Their drumming idols used Traditional Grip and they were just mimicking them. But most of their idols were jazz drummers. That has been documented in many interviews with these giants.

What makes all of this somewhat ludicrous is that the only reason Traditional Grip even exists—and now we’re going back even earlier in history—has to do with drummers marching in the military.

When the earliest marching snare drummers played, they created Traditional Grip. Like many new ideas, necessity became the mother of invention. The way the snare drum hung off of the marching drummer’s body resulted in a downward slanting playing surface. Matched Grip would simply not be practical in this situation. Hence, the birth of Traditional Grip.

And that invention had been passed down through a long lineage of drummers, including myself and many of you, simply because a significant number of prominent drummers became incredibly good at using that grip.

That doesn’t mean that the grip always makes sense in today’s musical environment.

In the new millennium, a versatile drummer will sometimes require power to play appropriately for a particular genre.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a long love affair with Traditional Grip, and some of my chops are superior using that method. But it makes sense to me to have one method that can do it all, and I believe that Matched Grip may ultimately be that way.

The journey is never ending.

Food for thought.


7 Matt Cameron Inspired Fills

On February 10, 2014, in Rock Fills, by feldiefeld


I’ve been digging into Matt Cameron’s playing with Soundgarden recently, and the result is this sheet of great sounding fills. There is something very Bonham-ish about some of Matt’s playing. In fact, of these fills, #4 is something I’ve definitely heard Bonham play. The phrasing of fills is often the key to making them sound interesting; in the case of these examples, I particularly like the phrasing of fills #’s 1 through 3.

Check these out. Very modern sounding and very useful.

Here’s the PDF: 7 Matt Cameron Inspired Fills

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The Icarus Deception

On January 30, 2014, in Book Reviews, by feldiefeld

I’ve become obsessed with “The Icarus Deception,” by Seth Godin.

Let me tell you why.

UnknownLike “The War of Art” or “Effortless Mastery,” Godin’s book is inspirational and it addresses the creation of art. There is often a battle inside us that prevents us from creating. You know that little voice that tells us we’re a fraud or that we’re not good enough? Godin calls that voice the “Lizard Brain.” We all have it.

But we should all be making art. Creating something unique in any context is art. You don’t have to paint, write, play music or sculpt to be an artist. Entrepreneurs can be artists too. Being an artist means taking the risk of doing something different, regardless of the venue. It also means putting your art out into the world.

“The Icarus Deception” may inspire you to do something different, to create art of some sort, to live up to your potential.

Godin points out that we have been trained by the world, our parents, our friends, and the old industrial economy to settle for less. We’ve been told to be “good,” go to college, and look for a steady job that will allow us to retire and be safe. But guess what?

In the new world that we live in, the post-internet landscape, which Godin aptly refers to as the “connected economy,” what was once safe is actually risky. Staying in a job for twenty years in the hope of the pension and safety is no longer safe. The connection economy creates an environment where great ideas can spread more easily, thus creating great opportunity.

Is it easy? Nope. But is it possible? Yes.

“The Icarus Deception” refers to Greek mythology. The story follows Icarus, the son of famed Athenian craftsman Daedalus. The two were imprisoned on the island of Crete. Daedalus makes wings out of feathers and wax, so that they can fly off of the island and escape.

However, before sending his son on his test flight, Daedalus warns Icarus not to fly too high. If he does, he’ll get too close to the sun and the wax will melt, causing the wings to fall apart.

Of course, Icarus, full of hubris, flies too close to the sun, melting the wax, and winds up plummeting into the ocean to his death.

“The Icarus Deception” is the fallacy that you should heed this tale. Why settle? Why shouldn’t you go after your dreams? The mistake many are making now is to heed this myth and fly too low, settling for a life of corporate drudgery in the hope of being safe. In the connected economy, Godin points out, avoiding the heights of great ambition is a mistake.

In this new world, doing what your parents told you was safe IS NO LONGER SAFE. The safety zone has moved.

This is big news, but many of us have been trained during the entire course of our lives to believe the safety myth. Don’t be fooled. Visualize the life you want and make art if you wish. There is no better time than now.

Very inspiring stuff. There is much more to the book that what I’ve described. Read it.

Don’t fly too low. Big mistake.

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