Tag Archives: 5 minute monday

the Nashville “hand drum”

This technique is used a lot in modern recording in Nashville. It’s a great one to have in your bag ‘o’ tricks. Eddie Bayers used this technique in Wynonna’s Only Love.  Check it out and let me know any other songs you hear this on.

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The Billy Cobham kit

This is a quick montage of the video from our recent rehearsals in Moline Ill. where we unpacked and assembled the new Yamaha kit.

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#25 Introduction to phrasing–the floor tom mute

This is a very deep subject, phrasing. But before we delve into that, let me just say, I added the acoustic guitar to this weeks’ 5mm, just so you could hear examples of phrasing cutoffs. It’s not necessarily the greatest acoustic playing you’ve ever heard, but I think it’s safe to say, it gets the point across.

I use this little technique all the time in recording, as well as live. It just puts a polish on your phrasing.

Check out the amazing Jack Ingram (what a voice!) in his song “Measure of a Man.”  At around 1:02 in the chorus there is an example of our floor tom mute/stop.  Then there is one a few bars later.  If you also check out the last measure of the verse going into the chorus, there is an example of the band stopping (actually simply not playing beat 4), creating a hole for the drums to fill, and basically since there was just one beat to fill, I did the snare/floor tom fill.  Seriously powerful fill when you don’t have much time to say something.

And when you play the stop phrasing, make sure your phrasing matches the rest of the players.  Also, wait for the downbeat, don’t rush it.  The stop and the ‘air’ makes the next downbeat uber powerful.

This is a basic introduction to drum phrasing.  We’ll go into depth down the road.  Check out anything big band if you want to dig deeper into drum phrasing.  Check out Buddy Rich, Butch Miles, Anything Count Basie, and I could go on and on.  Big Band is a study in drums matching a band’s phrasing.  In the future we’ll have to dissect a couple o these tunes!

By the time this comes out, I will have been on the road for a week and half, with a week left to go.  I’ve got one more in the can, before we go back in.  As always, I love your ideas for what you want to talk about.

Tomorrow is going to be exciting!  We are flying to Moline, Il. and are rehearsing for 4 days, and I’m getting Billy Cobham’s kit that he just turned back in for our new tour.  I’m going to video as much of it as I can and I’ll make a video blog out of it.  Gonna be fun!



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Steve Gadd hat/ride beat ala “Spain”

It’s hard to describe how influential Steve Gadd was to me in my up and coming years. When I make a list of drum heros, he’s definitely in the top 5. He radically changed drumming when he exploded onto the scene.

This particular beat can be heard in Al Jarreau’s (I can recall) Spain from the This Time record.  Also check out “Easy” from the Breakin’ Away record.  If you don’t have it, and I seriously mean this to any serious drummer, you must, must have Breakin’ Away, Jarreau, and This Time.  These 3 Al Jarreau records were recorded in the magical 80’s LA session “god” era, with legends such as Abe Laboriel, Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro, and many other of my heroes.  All 3 records are simply stunning examples of session playing back when you couldn’t “Pro tools” things and fix them.  You actually had to play them!!  What a concept!!

Ok, ADD boy, back to the subject.  This is one of Steve Gadd’s signature beats, and I’ve been recently been using it on a Reba song called “When Love gets a hold of you.”  It works great on this song, because the business of the feel doesn’t draw attention to itself, it supports the music.  When playing a groove like this, you really do have to examine whether or not it supports the song, or it draws attention away from the song.  It’s a really cool beat.  I’m sure there are many other Steve Gadd examples of this groove, let me know some others.

Also, send me examples of really cool, off the beaten path grooves like this that we can break down and talk about.  I would love your comments and feedback.  Thanks!!  t

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Warming up…finding your routine

I’ve been getting a lot of requests from folks about warming up.  I’m actually not going to give you a specific routine of paradiddles, flamadiddles, warmadiddles, etc., however, I’m gonna talk about the concept of the warm up.

In the 5 Minute Monday video, I’m using Power Wrist Builders.  They are heavy brass sticks in various weights that are the same principle as putting weights on the bat when you’re warming up.  When you get warmed up with the heavy sticks, then move to your normal sticks, they feel lighter and your hands move more effortlessly.  They are great!

Basically my philosophy is this.  You’re getting ready to play music.  Will you use a paradiddle in your grooves?   perhaps, but you are going to play music.  So I like to do 2 things.

1.  Physically warm up the hands with sticks and practice pad.  I use all different kind of rudiments, single strokes, double strokes, paradiddles, double paradiddles, anything to warm up the hands.  I also stretch my fingers and wrists.

Set a marker, in other words, when I’m really warmed up I can do a really fast single stroke roll smoothly, when I’m cold I totally can’t.  It’s my indication that my hands are ready to go.

2.  Musically warm up.  Oftentimes I practice with music, and it’s usually an emotional decision.  If I’m feeling angry or aggressive, I’ll warm up to Foo Fighters, Breaking Benjamin, Hoobastank, etc.  Basically play along with the song, and make your warm up feel good, don’t just bang about.  Oftentimes, I will play a hat/snare groove pocket on the practice pad, just to musically inject a groove into my brain.  The trick is to warm up both physically and in your “inner clock.”  I personally think this makes me play better.

I also personally play better when I’m relaxed going on stage.  The adrenalin is going to kick in when you get up there.  Our crowds are anywhere nightly from 5-15k people, so that will definitely ‘jack you up.’  I find that if I do some sort of cardio during the day, then go to the show maybe slightly tired, the adrenalin will pull me back up to normal and I’ll play more relaxed and in the pocket.

Again, this is my routine and what works for me, it may not necessarily work for you, but give it a try and see.  It will put you on the path of developing your own routine of warming up.  I would love to hear your thoughts on what helps you warm up.

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Four on the Floor

This is a groove that pops up on a weekly basis in the studio realm. It’s also a groove that you might think, “oh that one’s easy!” Well maybe on the surface, but it’s one that if it’s not pulled off in the correct way, you’ll hear it and you’ll hear it from the engineer. They will be the ones that will have to move the kick or the snare to get the ‘flams’ out. And with today’s digital audiophile cleanness in the sound, you hear everything. Drums are more out front now than ever, so the flams will stick out like a sore thumb.

Tunes to check out with this groove are ones such as “Who wouldn’t wanna be me” by Keith Urban.  Chris McHugh pulls this off beautifully.  His 4 on the floor groove is a textbook in how to play it.  Another really cool tune to check out is “Eye in the Sky” by Alan Parsons project, drums by Stuart Elliot.  Another favorite Ricky Skaggs tune that is a great 4 on the floor to practice to is “You’ve got a Lover” drums by the great Jerry Kroon.   Recently, “I need you Now” by Lady Antebellum was a huge hit, Chad Cromwell played an amazing track on this one.

This pocket is really fun, but it’s more challenging than you think.  Don’t take it for granted.   What are some of your fav 4 on the floor tunes?


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Studio Etiquette

Wow, this is the 20th video! Hope these are getting better. This is one that I thought I would take advantage of a quiet dinner break at Oceanway A in Nashville and put some thoughts down on the computer. Since I recorded it, I’ve thought of a few other things I probably should have covered. So here we go.

1. If a engineer or a 2nd engineer comes into the room to adjust a mike or tweek something, for God sake, don’t slam the drums at 110db when his head is near the kit. Have mercy people, you’ve got headphones on! A really good friend of mine was adjusting the under snare mic, when the drummer, actually a very busy “A” team Nashville session drummer hauled off and smacked the living crap out of the snare. Oooooooooooh, 4k ring in the ear, for the rest of the day, that’s all he heard, the eardrum just shut down. Don’t be a creep and do that! I even go as far as when one of the other players walks into the room if I’m getting sounds, I’ll go immediately to a really quiet bossa groove, for a couple of reasons, 1. to not kill them, and 2. to give them a hint that they’d better get out of the line of fire!

2. I’d like to put an adjunct idea on the “screwing around” rule that I put out. If you ever come to a session that I’m on, there’s gonna be funny stuff happening, I’m gonna crack jokes, or do impressions, or anything to make people have fun. But here’s something to think about. If you do something at the beginning or end of the take, keep in mind that the engineer and the producer are gonna hear that about 6000 times. Don’t let it be something that by the time they mix it, they are gonna be saying, “Holy crap, I don’t want to ever hear this again!!!” Make them dig your playing and ask you back because you slammed the crap out of the tune. Don’t give them an excuse to not want you back!

Would love to hear some of your thoughts about stuff that has happened to you in the studio or on a gig, that you would consider bad “etiquette.”

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