Steve Gadd is one of the world’s most revered drummers. If you don’t know him, just do a google search and you’ll likely be impressed with what you find. He’s one of my all-time favorite drummers because of his groove, creativity and soloing ability.
In this segment from an interview with Dom Famularo from the fantastic Sessions series, Steve talks about a method of coming up with new ideas from things you already know how to play. It’s a simple idea and extremely effective. I’ll elaborate a bit on the method below, but first, watch the clip.
Steve is describing a process that a lot of professional drummers use to come up with new ideas: take something you already know and then displace it. The idea that Steve describes in the video is based on taking a 16th note pattern and starting it on each possible note of that group of four. With 16th notes, that means starting it on the downbeat (quarter note), the “e”, the “and” and the “ah.”
That’s the crux of what he’s talking about. If you simply try that with all of your best fills or soloing ideas, you’ll have a lot of new material to use. Some of it may be amazing. Some of it might not sound that good. That’s OK. You’ll reject what doesn’t sound good and keep the new stuff that does. But I can promise you that the method will bear some fruit.
One thing that Steve mentions in the video that is a real advantage of this method is that you don’t have to physically or technically learn anything new. That is a big time-saver and it makes this process particularly efficient. All you’ll have to do is get used to the way the new placement of your pattern sounds and feels. The technical aspect will already be taken care of.
Simple, but effective. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.