Check out this video of me using this lick live. You can “fast forward” to 2:51 into the video to hear just the lick…
A note for note transcription of the lick, which includes more details about the pattern and how to play it correctly can be found on the worksheet, “Nasty Lick 33,” which you can download by clicking on the following link: “Nasty Lick 33″
Hope you find this useful.
Steve has a number of great signature licks, seven of which are included here. Click on the link to the right to download the PDF:Seven Gadd Licks
Take ‘em to the practice room, then to the bandstand. Enjoy!
Welcome back to the BANG! The Drum School blog. Today, I’m posting a worksheet of 7 fills from none other than the grandaddy of rock drumming himself, John Bonham. If you’re new to drumming and you don’t know about Bonham, I urge you to check him out. Most, if not all, of today’s rock drummers will profess a love for the groove, chops and fills of the great Bonham. I myself am a disciple.
Even if you’re already a fan, perhaps you don’t know all of the fills included here. These 7 fills are just a few of my favorites. Not all of them are super difficult, but they are all super musical. Don’t forget to check out the recordings….these fills are best learned by looking at the transcriptions AND by listening to the recordings….and then by trying them out.
Certainly a few of these licks belong in your fill vocabulary if they are not already in your “tool box.”
You can download the PDF of this worksheet by clicking on the link to the right: Seven Bonham Fills
Have fun, check em out, and please, feel free to ask any questions or make any comments.
No doubt about it, Jim Chapin’s ground-breaking book, Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer, is an important tool for a beginning jazz drummer. I worked my way through a lot of it when I was first trying to learn jazz. However, I do think there are parts of the book that are confusing, and I would even go so far as to say that some of the book is a waste of time. Sorry if this sounds like blasphemy, but it is the truth.
That being said, I have updated what we used to be call “Lucky 13,” a worksheet that I had published on the previous edition of the BANG! website, to reflect my current thinking on what the beginning jazz drumming student should be working on when it comes to independence.
This sheet of 9 independence exercises, called “Essential Jazz Independence Part One,” gets right to the heart of the matter by focusing on learning to play triplet figures with one’s left hand vs the triplet jazz ride cymbal pattern that is played with the right hand (of course, reverse the hands if you are a lefty).
Here is the sheet for you to download. Just click this link to the right: Essential Jazz Independence Pt. 1
Have a look at the sheet….bring it into the practice room. Feel free to ask any questions. There are detailed instructions on the sheet itself that you can follow to help you along. Hope this is helpful.
The Tumbao bass drum pattern is a common figure, frequenty played by the drummer to match the rhythm of the bassist when playing Latin music. In this version of the pattern the bass drum plays on beat one, the “a” of beat one and on the “and” of beat two. The pattern repeats again on beat three (as you’ll see on the sheet). Another common way to play the rhythm is to omit beat one, as the bass player frequently does in this music. Having independence with your hands while your foot maintains this bass drum pattern is an important skill to have in your tool box if you are pursuing playing playing jazz in a modern setting. I was inspired to work on this after hearing Vinnie Colaiuta play this while playing with Chick Corea.
The method is completely logical, as you will see by looking at the worksheet that is attached. You can download the worksheet by clicking on the link here: Tumbao Independence Part One
The method is to maintain a common ride pattern with the right hand (here, the jazz ride cymbal pattern in a sixteenth note form), while systematically working through the common possibilities with your left hand.
Try it out….it’s hard work, but the pay off is big. A little further down the road, I’ll post some of the musical patterns you can play off the top of your head once you’ve locked down this independence concept.
Have fun, and please feel free to comment or ask questions.
Playing great fills is all about vocabulary. One of my favorite patterns, and I’ve written about it before (see “Milking Your Licks Dry”), is RLRF….or right hand, left hand, right hand, bass drum (right foot). Bonham and Gadd have both used this pattern (I believe that is where I first heard it), but it has been used by many others. For me, it’s a go-to fill and pattern, especially when playing rock, although it works great in jazz as well. The attached sheet details four specific ways to play the pattern as a one measure fill.
Here is the link to download the pdf file: Four Great Rock Fills
Please note that the rock groove that is notated in the exercises is there only to indicate one way to integrate the fills into your time playing. It does not matter what beat you play…make up a different one if you like. The point is to show how the fills work in the context of some time feel.
Check it out….take it into the practice room….I promise that you will be able to use these fills to sound great if you spend some time working on them. Please feel free to ask any questions. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love the drums and hope you do too.
Here’s a worksheet we’ve been using with students to get them started on the path of becoming a rock drummer. The sheet is available as a pdf file for download by clicking on this link:
It is easy to argue that the most important skill a rock drummer must have is to play grooves. It is also easy to argue that the most common grooves in rock are eighth note based. Therefore, if you want to be a rock drummer, and you’re just getting started, learn this sheet.
Here’s what the notation means. The top line, with the “X” noteheads represents the hi hat or ride cymbal, played with your right hand (we’re assuming you are right handed). The second space from the top represents the snare drum, played with your left hand. Finally, the bottom space on the staff represents the bass drum, played with your right foot on the bass drum pedal.
Any of the examples on the sheet can be counted correctly by saying “one and two and three and four and” sequentially while you play each of the eight notes in each example. In other words, when you play the first note in example #1, say “one,” and then say “and” when you play the second note and then say “two” when you play the third note and so on and so forth.
“Muscle through” these patterns very slowly at first by just literally doing what the notation says to do. For example, with beat #1, which is the beat in the upper most left hand corner of the sheet as pictured, if you simply do the following, you will be playing the beat:
1) play the hi hat with your right hand and the bass drum with your right foot simultaneously. (say “one” out loud while you do this)
2) play the hi hat with your right hand. (say “and”)
3) play the hi hat with your right hand and the snare drum with your left hand simultaneously. (say “two”)
4) play the hi hat with your right hand. (say “and”)
5) repeat the previous steps but substitute the words “three” “and” “four” “and” for each step in sequence. (“one” becomes “three”; “and” remains “and”; “two” becomes “four”; and “and” remains “and”)
6) repeat the above over and over, and space the notes evenly, and you’ll be playing the beat. start very slowly and practice the pattern until it becomes easy to play. then you can gradually speed up.
7) use this same process for all the beats on the page.
You will need to go deeper than this, but for a complete beginner, this is a really good way to get started. Have a go at this and if you have any questions about how to work through it, feel free to to ask.
Have fun with it.
This is the story of one of BANG’s students, Jeff L. It is also the first of a series on this blog about BANG students. I have found that my students often inspire me and that I learn from them just as much as they learn from me. For example, I recently gave a drum lesson to Daniel, a recent graduate from a music college in the midwest with a degree in jazz studies. I showed him a lick that I like to play and he tried it out on the drum set. He played it back to me with a new twist that I had never thought of. Awesome. I learned something from him that day.
So, back to Jeff L. and Operation Neil Peart. Jeff came to BANG about five months before his wedding, with a great drumming challenge ahead of him. Jeff has always been a huge RUSH fan, and he wanted to play the drums on a RUSH song at his own wedding. His plan was to have the wedding band learn the RUSH song in question, as would he, and then he would perform it with them during the party. Jeff is a very ambitious guy. When he came to BANG for drum lessons, he was essentially a self-taught drummer, without a whole lot of technique. He had done a bunch of practicing on his own and had a good deal of rock drumming independence. He had gained this skill primarily from listening to and playing along with a lot of records. One difficulty was that he did not know how to read music at all. As you, my dear reader, probably know, RUSH’s music is generally very complex–full of many rhythmic twists and turns and rarely without at least one odd time signature thrown in. I was pretty sure that reading was a skill Jeff and I would have to deal with in order for him to meet his challenge. Jeff and I eventually agreed that he would learn the song “The Trees,” from RUSH’s seminal album, “Hemispheres.” Jeff was pretty adamant that he wanted to play the song note for note.
Needless to say, this was a big drumming challenge. I thought the most efficient way to handle this was to work from a transcription of the drum part. The book “Drum Techniques of RUSH” has a note for note transcription of the drum part Neil played on the track. Since Jeff did not read music, the beginning of our drumming mission was to teach Jeff enough drum notation to work from the transcription and to give him the basics of technique.
Jeff is an extremely hard worker and he had assured me from the beginning that he would study hard and practice. This was a necessary element of success here. Nothing else would have mattered had this not been the case. In fact, it would have been impossible for him to have succeeded had he not practiced like a maniac…which is exactly what he did.
For a few weeks (our lessons were once weekly), Jeff and I focused on technique and reading. Once we got to the point where he understood enough music notation, we starting diving into the details of the transcription. We worked on the piece in chunks. We would sit in the BANG studio, and look at the notation together. I would play him what was written and he would video me. He already knew the song really well, so he could recognize that the drum parts from the transcription were correct. Then, he would play the chunk of the transcription that we were working on by going home and practicing….a lot. Using the written transcription and the video of me playing that section (I played the sections significantly slower than on the recording), he would learn the drum part to the section of the song we were working on.
We proceeded this way until Jeff could play the entire song. Then, we focused on Jeff playing along with the track, until he could do so pretty much every time. This process took the entire five months or so. Jeff practiced so hard that he had the entire drum part for the entire song memorized! Pretty amazing. He also would drill down into the little pieces of the song, working on particular fills until he could nail them. A lot of the fills are pretty complex, so you could imagine how much hard work was involved here.
Jeff arranged to rehearse with the wedding band before the “big day” of his wedding arrived, and they were very impressed with his ability to play this very difficult music. The day of his wedding, Jeff sat in with the band and came very very close to playing the song perfectly during their one and only performance. He told me that he messed up one fill, but kept going (of course) and nailed the rest of the song.
I love this story because it is proof that with hard work and proper guidance, anyone can learn to do almost anything–not just in the world of music and drumming– but in general.
So, practice hard, get yourself help if you need it, and you can play anything on the drums that you want.
Jeff L. is definitely an inspirational character in my book.
I love the drums and hope you do too,