Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Those sub-pro cymbals

Let's talk about an aspect of that recent cheap cymbals post: mid-line cymbals— sub-pro, "intermediate", whatever, from the last 50-60 years. Real or almost-real cymbals, not complete dog food, where we may stand a chance of finding some bargains. Some of these could be playable for professionals, or would maybe good for a rehearsal set, or good for teachers to get to resell to students.  

Before getting too pumped up about it: Shop with caution,  hold out for bargains, hit them whenever you see them in person. Learn to recognize a cast, hammered cymbal, vs. a piece of dog food stamped out of sheet brass.

I'll say that again, hold out for bargains— if these cymbals are worthwhile, it's usually only because they're a good value— they're cheap and OK. When people get it in their heads that they're pretty good so they must be worth more money... the market goes to hell, prices go up, and they become a very bad value. See the Paiste 505s below. If you're not going to insist on bargain prices, you may as well just look for deals on Zildjians and Sabians. 

Alejian / Zilco / Kashian 
I talked about these recently— 50s-70s Alejian and Zilco cymbals were basically Zildjians that were judged to have the wrong sound for the company's regular product line, branded and sold by other companies. 

Alejian were manufactured in Massachusetts and sold by the Slingerland company. There are some older Alejians of unknown quality (to me), going back to the 1930s— those older ones appear to be mainly splash cymbals. 

Zilco were manufactured in Canada and sold by Ludwig. Some also carried a Rogers stamp— made at the Canadian plant, I assume it's the same basic thing. Some later Zilcos were made as a dedicated product line, eliminating the hammering step. I don't know what their quality is; I would be looking for Zilcos that clearly were hammered. 

Rogers SS is another another one, manufactured in Canada, sold by the Rogers drum company. Should be stamped Rogers by AZCO. 

Kashian cymbals were manufactured in Italy by Ufip, for Slingerland, and are apparently similarly decent cymbals— I've never seen or played one, and I don't know how they arrived at being Kashian products rather than the regular UFIP brands. I've never been thrilled by the few Italian cymbals I've played since the 80s, but they should be acceptable. They seem to sell a little cheaper than the Zildjian-sourced cymbals. 

Any of these could be decent cymbals, but I would want to play them or hear them before buying them— like any Zildjian, but more so. They're usually priced the same, or a little higher than ordinary used Zildjians of the same vintage. If the sound is there, these should be basically as good as normal pro quality Zildjians. If a cymbal has aged well, you may well get a more interesting, idiosyncratic cymbal than a normal Zildjian/Sabian. 

Zildjian seconds
You can also find Zildjian seconds, stamped with an S, that were sold at the Zildjian factory up to about 1981. I assume they were sold as seconds for having cosmetic flaws, or, again, for not having the right sound for Zildjian's regular product line. They're not real common, and have apparently acquired some caché, because the few I see online are priced higher than regular Zildjians the same age. 

These may also carry a stamp from Manny's Drum Shop in New York. A big capital MANNY'S. 

Ludwig Standard / Stambul 
Mid-line cymbals sold by Paiste with Ludwig's brand, and their own, in the 60s. Good enough that some people might consider them to be "poor man's 602s." They are not. I played a set of the hihats on some rehearsal drums, and they were fine for that. Sort of a weak, thin, tinny sound— I believe due to high nickel content in the alloy.

They're probably better than the Ajax brand cymbals here, but it's this kind of sound— don't get excited, this is the best this kind of cymbal will sound anywhere, ever: 

I might this kind of thing if I found them for $5-25 at a garage sale. Beyond that... just get some real cymbals. Every example I see on Reverb is overpriced by a factor of 100-300%— 22s going for $300-400. Forget it. Stambuls were produced for a longer time than Ludwig Standards, and manufacturing style and quality is said to vary over the years. 

These are not to be confused with Ludwig Paiste, which are substantially crappier, and are no good for any normal purpose. They're thin and crummy, so they would be good if you're looking for a toy cymbal effect— better than new cheap cymbals for that purpose. 

No way in h***, are you insane

Paiste 505

Paiste B8 line from the 70s-80s, the best sub-pro B8 bronze cymbals I am aware of, but that's not really good enough. I used one from about 1982-85, and I never felt like it sounded like a real ride cymbal, even to my young ears at the time. And they're wildly overpriced right now, selling(?) for at least 50-100% more than they deserve to cost. The cheapest used 2002s only cost ~$20 more, and are vastly better cymbals. 

That goes double for the crummy 404 line— that's one of those junk products people like to pretend are good. 

Sabian XS20
I hit one of these once and filed it away as “pretty good cheap cast cymbal.” They're often listed as XS, I'm unaware if that's a different line. Used, they're pretty well budget priced, and seem to be a good option for students. I would want to play more of them before giving them a full recommendation.   

Agop Xist
Almost real K-type cymbals at a budget price? I guess, maybe. They're cheaper than regular Agops, but not cheap enough to quite qualify as “budget.” And they don't quite make it as real “jazz” cymbals, in my opinion. I find the sound to be a little thin— as in weak, tinny. Good for schools, I suppose, or for people who need to own new things. 

The “dark dry” Xist line are priced like new A. Zildjians. I hit some once, and they were fun to play in the store. Not sure how I would use them in real life. 

Dream cymbals, made in China, were real exciting when they first appeared, because they were a dark, complex sound, and they were really cheap. A lot of them were also really weird and bad— hard to control, weirdly exotic, too trashy. But if you find a good one, they're fine. Buying them used now, they're not particularly cheaper than used A. Zildjians. I personally would never trust one I didn't play in person.  

I believe these are a Chinese brand, and they seem to produce a lot of different cymbals. The ones stamped "hand made" are the most intriguing— or the ones that are obviously traditionally cast cymbals; they're legit bargain-priced used, and sound enough like real cymbals for student drummers to use, and get a more or less real cymbal experience. Most cymbals kids ever get to play on are such junk that they're really a different instrument— I'm thinking of those cheap Sabians and Meinls. They can never make a real crash sound, for example— just this strident metallic clang. Even if the Staggs don't sound great, they are cymbals. 

Used prices are good, and Stagg may be the most attractive option here for school age students, taking care to get their better cast cymbals, and not their crappy sheet metal cymbals. 

Off-brand cast cymbals

I have seen other off-brands of decent, cheap, apparently cast cymbals, probably Chinese made, possibly Turkish made. Looking online right now, I see them with the names Groove Percussion, Agazarian, Pulse, Radian. Those should be very cheap used, and like the Staggs, they should be good for younger students to get the experience of playing real cymbals, even if they don't always sound great. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

Comments on some younger drummers

Since COVID especially I haven't been playing as much as I should be, so I've been getting my lazy butt out to some jam sessions to try to stir up some work. Playing really is a different thing from preoccupation with drum crap, and not doing it enough I start feeling debased as a writer— literally having no basis for writing. Drum nerdery with no basis in music is meaningless.   

At the sessions— these are jazz jam sessions— I get to hear some younger drummers who are just working their stuff out, and I want to share some general comments on what I'm hearing. These are pretty serious drummers in their 20s, who can basically play, who know the tunes, and are able to play correct stuff stylistically.

They do tend to get stuck with other young players, or part time players, often playing dumb tunes, which doesn't make it easy to play your best. It's easy to play with expert players, it's a lot harder with people who are just figuring stuff out too. 


•  A lot of people could focus more on the ride cymbal— with having that be the lead voice, and on getting a good sound and groove with just that. 

•  Many could balance within the parts better generally— the snare drum and bass drum will be competing for attention with the cymbal. You can make accents with the drums, but the general texture should be led by the cymbal. 

•  The busier players are often a little raggedy— things are not completely lined up. Which is not the kind of advice I want to give, that you have to polish everything. That's the contemporary disease, in fact, being afraid to play anything that's not perfectly worked out. General fearfulness. But that will be a long term project for those drummers, getting things a little more polished. I think the effect would be minimized by playing less and listening more, which is good advice anyway. 

•  People sounding distanced from the tunes and from the other musicians. It sounds like people are thinking of what to play, thinking about the drums too much. There's sometimes a sense that people are playing things because they think they're supposed to play it. Back off and listen and wait for a musical impulse to play something based on what you're hearing. Or play the structure. Mainly listen. 

•  Heel up technique on the bass drum seems to be messing with some people a bit. It seems uncentered. There's a lot of extra physical activity going into each stroke, so accuracy is often not real good. There's a little bit of a dance to playing that way, and if the tempo doesn't support that, or the dynamics, or style, the technique falls apart.  

•  Feathering the bass drum in a way that doesn't add anything. It seems like more of an obligation than a purposeful thing— they're playing it because they were told it's supposed to be there. It sounds affected if there's not a real deep groove happening otherwise. Do it on purpose, to take the groove where you want it. The goal is to sound like someone who has done a ton of R&B gigs, even if you haven't.

•  In fact I sensed a little crisis of people not quite knowing why they're doing this— the whole thing, why are we here, playing. Maybe someone liked playing the drums, or they were looking for an identity, or looking to put forward a playing identity. In fact the thing is, we're playing in a night club band, maybe backing a singer, or another lead instrument; there's a club rhythm section craft that we're engaging in. Maybe we're playing for a listening and socializing audience tonight, but another night it could be for dancers. Even if there are barely any gigs, that's our arena. 

It may be thing of people being overschooled and underemployed that they seem to be unaware of the club/show aspect of it. At these sessions there's a great example of it in the host, drummer Ron Steen, who has been running these sessions for decades, and still probably plays 400 gigs a year just in town. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

The Wizard

More music in that 90s zone, from my personal archives. This really captures the spirit of my whole attitude towards playing the drums for that decade. Recorded in 2000, I think, when my group Flatland was recording our record Origin of Species. We played this tune twice in a studio in skinhead territory in southeast Portland. Using my 12/14/20 Gretsch set that was my only instrument for about 15 years. I like the performance, but the melody didn't come off the way I wanted, and it didn't really fit with the rest of the record, so we didn't release it.  

The tune is The Wizard by Albert Ayler. Here's the chart I transcribed for it:

And the recording. It's short. If it sounds like noise to you, listen to it a few times, there is direction, and order:  

That's a type of playing we don't talk about much on the site, because what can you really say about it? I think people need to do it some, whether or not they want to play that kind of music, because you can get to some things that you can't get from normal deliberate practicing and playing.   

Free playing now has gotten really preoccupied with sound— playing around with unusual timbres— but what this is about is pure energy, and listening. People hear this kind of thing as “emotional” or angry/angsty, or expressionistic, but it's really not. There is probably some kind of will to kick ass happening, but we're just playing music.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Daily best music in the world: early 90s zeitgeist

Here's a record I almost forgot about, that had a big impact on the way I play the drums. From 1988-90, David Sanborn was the leading guy getting new and eclectic music to a (reasonably) mass audience, through his syndicated TV show Night Music. His record Another Hand came out on the heels of that in 1991, doing some different stuff than his usual New York R&B thing, and featuring some people who were on the show, like Bill Frisell, Joey Baron, Mark Ribot, Charlie Haden, the group NRBQ. 

Here's Monica Jane, a Bill Frisell tune. Now it sounds like “Americana”, at the time it had a distinctly Pacific Northwest vibe. Frisell had moved to Seattle a couple of years earlier, and Nirvana was just hitting, and the northwest was having a big cultural moment in music. I had just moved to Portland from Los Angeles, and I was really feeling it, anyway.

Joey Baron is on drums here, doing something very fresh then, with a new sound, making a big statement with single notes.   

Monday, August 22, 2022

BIG Joe Zawinul interview

“If you have too much respect, it can get in the way…”

Oh my God, you have to go Dave Aldridge's blog right now and read his 1993 Modern Drummer interview with Joe Zawinul. He talks about drummers generally and Frankie Dunlop, Roy McCurdy, Louis Hayes, Eric Gravatt, Alphonse Mouzon, Alex Acuna, Peter Erskine, Omar Hakim, in particular, and many others. 

A couple of choice items— go read it, it's essential, and very long: 

Louis Hayes: “I felt a feeling, really good. It had such a groove, really, really easy to play. It was in a way, uncomplicated. When [Louis] went to the cymbal, whatever he did on the side, never took away that cymbal consciousness. This is that forward driving. He played 16th notes in such a short way, that not only didn’t it interrupt the pulse, it was the pulse.”

            “It was the most incredible cymbal beat. He always put those little hiccups in, and it never left the flow. Later on I will tell you about some drummers, they were very great, but whenever they played a transition, the groove, not the GROOVE, but the FEELING [and the] the SOUND of the groove stopped. When you have that simmering and the band is cooking in a simple way, you are accompanying a soloist, it’s very important to be uninterruptive yet very creative, and that takes a hell of an amount of concentration and invention.”

“I was never worried about who I was playing with, as long as the bass player and the drummer know how to play together, I’m alright, and the basic concept is some urgency. The urgency for me is, it means, the cymbal beat, which is way on top, and the distance to the beginning of the beat, to the BAP!  that backbeat is at the very last moment. That’s very difficult to describe in words – that distance has gotta be like a slingshot effect, between when he hits the cymbal, or any other instrument on the drums, that Boom! that beat, has gotta BAM! it cannot be Bot, it’d gotta be Boom!, have a little anticipation, not even early, it’s just the way you [smacks his hand on the table] slide into it, you know?”

Eric Gravatt: “[T]his was a master musician. He was a writer. But sometimes you get somebody so good he will do anything. He wanted to shape the music. In many ways it was good, and in some ways it was not. At times, where there was supposed to be a crescendo, just for the love of it he would decrescendo, and it kind of drove shit around. So after a while, we said, ‘Maybe, we know this man is great, maybe we try somebody else.’ It’s better sometimes you got somebody who is not that good, but he is totally in the flow of the music.” 

Busy drummers:
 “So when you asked me who took the music the furthest, it was always the guys who played the least. ’cause Wayne and me are highly rhythmic, and the we play off each other, it was always very rhythmic. So we were already percussion players, but then when you go into a transition, and I want to play some harmonic stuff, often I have to lift my hands up, because Omar [Hakim] was there all the time.”

End of interview quotes. I'll add a story Peter Erksine told me, about being in the studio listening to the live recording that would be released as the Weather Report album 8:30. Listening to the tune Black Market, where Wayne Shorter and Erskine play duo, Zawinul said “You're playing pretty good...”, when at 6:47 Erskine jumps on a dotted-quarter note rhythm Shorter is playing, “...until you did that.”

Go to Dave Aldridge's site now, read the whole interview. 

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Reed tweak: more paradiddle fill-ins

Adding to a similar thing we did early this year, here are some more possibilities for filling in an ordinary right hand lead Reed method— that's the one where you play the book rhythm on the cymbal, with bass drum in unison, and fill any gaps in the rhythm with the left hand, to make a combined rhythm of running 8th notes. 

Here we're filling in the longer gaps, where you play two or more 8th notes with the left hand, with 16th notes in a paradiddle inversion. This gives you a dense Dejohnette-like texture like you hear on Miles Davis's Live Evil, or on the CTI records Jack played on in the early 70s, and elsewhere. 

Here's how you would fill spaces with two, three, and four 8th notes worth of space: 

Notice the longer ones end with alternating singles— you could extend that as long as you need to for longer spaces you might find in another reading library— the Bellson book, or Chuck Kerrigan's excellent out of print book. Practicing out of Syncopation, most of the spaces are two or three eighths  long. 

To illustrate, here's how you would play a few excerpts from the famous p. 38 (formerly p. 37) exercise in Syncopation. The first two measures of line 3: 

The last two measures of line 7— I would play the first six beats of this as a stand-alone exercise, in fact: 

And the last two measures of line 6: 

There aren't any places where you use four 8th notes worth of filler in the full page exercises in Reed, but here's line 40 on p. 37 (current edition):

See also this Dejohnette-like method from last year, and the filler options from a couple of weeks ago. They use different basic methods, but they all serve the same basic musical end.  

Friday, August 19, 2022


Nothing serious here, just a serendipitous thing that came up in my listening today. In about 15 minutes of digging around my files, two tunes came up that sound a lot like the familiar John Coltrane tune, Mr. P.C.— a 12-bar blues, from the album Giant Steps: 

On Grant Green's record Gooden's Corner, from 1961, he plays a jazz arrangement of Shadrack, a pseudo-spiritual pop tune from the 1930s, previously recorded by Louis Armstrong and others. It has a 32 bar AABA form. 

Sonny Rollins recorded more or less the same arrangement of the tune in 1952. It seems pretty clear that Mr. P.C., written in 1959, was based on this, adding a blues turnaround to the A section melody.

Here's Louis Armstrong singing the tune with Benny Goodman in 1939— a kind of spiritual-like set piece. Louis Prima did something similar with it. Most the vocal arrangements of it feature these kind of vaudeville elements; the jazz version is pretty stripped down in comparison.  

I then happened upon Separation Blues by Hadley Caliman, from his 1977 record Celebration, with Elvin Jones on drums. This is a blues, and is clearly an homage, following the same basic rhythm format as Mr. P.C., with a more abstract melody. 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Sidebar: mind what you say

Teachers, speaking to students: I know everyone thinks we're not being heard, but a lot of them are more engaged than we think they are, and a lot of things we say to them, particularly the one-liners, are instantly converted into doctrine in their minds. They believe it and follow it, even if they're not showing you any outward signs of it. 

A few from my own life: 

“NEVER turn down paying work.”

“The difference between amateurs and pros is that pros play louder.”

“F*kin' learn the music yourself.”

“Each note is a little pearl.”

“Take your stick in your hand, and hit the drum.”

“You have to be a maniac!”

Everybody has those, and none of us ever told our teacher they meant anything to us. They stick with you and completely form your concept of being a drummer and musician, for years, sometimes forever. 

The people who said them probably don't even remember it. It's like the movie Talladega Nights, where the derelict father says to his kid, a future race car driver, “If you're not first, you're last.” The kid proceeds to live his whole life by that nonsense, only to find out: 

The attitude created some problems for the character. It motivated him, but it also turned him into a selfish egomaniac. In a way there's nothing you can do about it— young people latch onto those kinds of categorical lines specifically. It's a powerful thing when the teacher's priorities are in the right place. 

Most of my very occasional quotes of the day are examples of it— things said in an interview, that weren't necessarily thought out, but contain a lot of truth and guide your whole way of thinking about what you do. 

It's a problem when people do it defensively, in a reactionary way, trying to appear clever, and just create prejudices. 

Everybody used to have their clever line about Country music— “I buy a country record every few years to see if anything's changed” is one I remember from a good drummer in a clinic about 40 years ago. So everybody gets a superior attitude about Country... which they have to instantly unlearn when they find themselves doing some Country gigs. You can't be working with people playing their music and treat it like it's a joke.   

We saw it on mass media scale in my Stewart Copeland is an idiot post some weeks ago. Copeland has his jazz-is-all-bulls*t schtick he worked up for his media appearances, including a nonsensical line he stole from the movie 24 Hour Party People: “jazz is the last refuge of the untalented.” So now a lot of people who think he's cool will have their own stock line of BS they'll use the next time anybody puts on a jazz record, and they won't even listen to the music. 

And it's a big part of YouTube. Apart from the larger problem of an algorithm telling us what our priorities in drumming should be, we have a lot of not-entertaining people trying to be entertaining, and quipping a lot on drumming related topics. Leading to a lot of bad lines of this type reaching a lot of people. 

Like, from one well-known guy: “you could play your whole life and never play a flam.” That inspired a lot of online conversation. Which, hooray for him, he wins, he got some attention. But he also engraved a really stupid idea in a lot of minds. Previously it would have been a stupid thing he said once to one student, now there are ten thousand guys out there fully indoctrinated with the idea. 

One of the few people who does this in a mostly positive way, who is actually entertaining, is Dave King of the Rational Funk series— one of the least-watched YT drumming channels, natch. 

Anyhow, think about it, it happens every time you speak to your students, it's a powerful tool to wield carefully. As teachers we're the some of the very few artists these kids are ever in contact with. Our job is a little bit subversive, helping them be serious about art in some capacity, when all of society is giving them easy, ego-satisfying reasons not to be. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Reed interpretations: triplet feel R&B

This is a triplet-feel R&B groove practice method we did in a lesson with a student recently. It has a snare drum backbeat on 2 and 4, quarter notes on the cymbal, and some triplet filler on the snare drum. You can do this with pp. 10-11, 30-31, and 34-45 of Syncopation by Ted Reed. 

To make this kind of groove it would be simple enough to just play a swing version of our regular rock beat method, but where's the fun in that? This way has more notes.  

To illustrate it clearly we'll go through a few steps, but once it's learned it's easy to do the finished method on the fly while reading out of Syncopation.

To begin, let's use the humble line 1 from p. 4: 

Play the top line rhythm (coincidentally the same as the bottom line rhythm) on the bass drum, fill in with the left hand on the snare drum to make triplets, add quarter notes on the hihat (coincidentally the same as the pattern rhythm), like so: 

We want to have a snare drum backbeat, so let's move the notes on the 2 and 4 to the snare drum— accent them, and play the rest of the triplets softly: 

Now see p.11, line 11: 

Again, play the top line rhythm with a swing interpretation on the bass drum, fill in the middle of the swing 8th notes on the snare drum, to make triplets; add quarter notes on the hihat: 

Move the 2 and 4 to the snare drum, accented: 

Now do this rhythm  from page 30: 

Again: play top line rhythm on bass drum, swing interpretation; fill in with snare drum to make triplets, add quarter notes on the hihat: 

When there's bass drum sounding on the & only of beat 1 or 3, like that, you can drop out the first snare drum note on those beats, making a RLB pattern: 

So— open your book now— here is how you would play the second line of the famous p. 38 (née 37) exercise: 

And the same thing again with the RLB thing where appropriate: 

You could also do this method while playing a shuffle rhythm on the cymbal, or a jazz-type rhythm, if you choose. This type of thing is more useful in a jazz setting than you might expect. In that case, I might drop out more of the snare drum filler like so:  

In the end, there are no more variations for this than there are for standard rock beats— this is way easier than the large amount of materials in the book suggests. 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

It's suspect: nothing but singles, doubles, and flams

New recurring (maybe) feature, inspired by Modern Drummer's It's Questionable column. I'll call it It's Suspect, and say a few words about an annoyingly wrong but persistent drumming myth. 

This question was asked on a forum: 

There is a common sentiment I have heard when it comes to rudiments: "Everything you play is either a single stroke, double stroke, flam, or a combination of the three". What does it mean though? Does it literally mean that I should spend hours simply drilling each of these rudiments?


It's true-ish— I guess— all single strokes are not created equal. And they left out multiple bounce strokes. And I guess rim shots, stick shots, rim clicks, dead strokes, and brush technique generally don't merit inclusion in this equation. Why? I couldn't say. I also cannot say why we've limited our purview to hand technique only; we also have feet, and use them. 

Whatever. It's totally misleading. Let's listen to this record: 

Now, if you say well, Jack Dejohnette is simply playing single strokes, double strokes, and flams, that would be a totally useless analysis. What we want to know is: what is he doing to make it be that, and what do we practice?  

Like, OK, they're singles, doubles, and flams, but they're used in a playing framework. The frameworks are the whole point, that's what you practice. Which are all the normal things you were just about to practice when the guy showed up wasting your time with did you know all of drumming is simply single strokes, double strokes, and flams? 

Maybe this is the product of a snare drummer mentality? You'd have to be a single surface, single instrument, single literature player to think that way. And I don't know what constructive purpose it serves, since it begs the question:

So if I spend hours simply drilling each of these rudiments I'll be fine then?

The answer to which is obviously:

No, it's actually about the ways you practice them, which are specific and myriad and are really the whole point of all this, and do not even particularly rely on your ability to play quality singles/doubles/flams in the abstract. So it could be said that the singles/doubles/flams are really incidental to the framework in which you play them, and focusing on them this way has been a diversion and a waste of all of our time, sorry.


Monday, August 08, 2022

Transcription: Jack Dejohnette - Gentle Rain

This tune shows you one way of opening up a Bossa Nova groove, in a modern jazz setting. It's Jack Dejohnette playing on Gentle Rain, from George Benson's album Beyond The Blue Horizon. I'm listening to a lot of CTI records lately. I like the cymbals sounds, and the music. 

This is the first part of George Benson's solo, starting at 1:38. He mostly stays in the original 8th note bossa groove, taking it in a rather funky direction at times. This is largely about cymbal and bass drum. Early on he plays some isolated 16th, later he gets denser— on this part he doesn't fully double time it, on the next part he goes into a more double time post-bop feel. The organ keeps the bass line in the original groove. 

The bass drum here is a rather high and dry sound, so it's nimble enough to do all the stuff he's doing by just touching it. Note that he plays a tresillo-type rhythm on the bass drum sometimes— to my ear that's suggested by what the organ is doing. The written accents are subtle— just a suggestion that the groove has some dynamic shape within itself you might not expect. He's using a narrow range of sounds here— one cymbal, rim clicks on the snare drum (sparsely), and bass drum. If he's playing the hihat, it's mostly inaudible. 

Things get busy in part two, I'll post that whenever I get around to doing it. 

Get the pdf

Friday, August 05, 2022

Cymbalistic: new Reverb store!

CYMBALISTIC: I finally got around to setting up a Reverb store for Cymbalistic, my cymbal site, for those who wish to buy that way. 

It's functional now; I'll be adding the remaining cymbals I have in stock, and upgrading the photos in coming days.

If you've visited the Cymbalistic site, you'll notice the prices on Reverb are higher— to cover the “free” shipping. It just simplifies things; your final cost will be close to the same buying either way. 

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Reed tweak: filler options

Some filler options for a basic, very common right hand lead method used with the book Syncopation— the top line book rhythm is played with the RH/RF on a cymbal and bass drum in unison, left hand fills in remaining 8th notes. So this rhythm in the book: 

Would be played like this: 

You've seen elsewhere recently that there are some other things we can do with those filled in notes. Here are some other possibilities for how to play any single 8th note worth of filler: 

Other than the single left hand 8th note, these all follow a similar basic motion— they have a RL sticking, maybe with one or both notes doubled, sometimes with bass drum added at the end. The only other exception to that is the 32nd notes played RLRL. They all involve a lot of right hand movement, so the tempo range for any of these ideas will be kind of limited. 

Here's how the above example would be played with each of those filler rhythms: 

Many of the rhythms in Syncopation have more than one 8th note of filler in a row— which opens up some possibilities for combining filler ideas, but we'll deal with that another time. 

Oh, I left one out, but I'm not opening up Finale to revise the post. Do this one: 

—but put that second 16th note on the bass drum. You can do it with or without the flam.