Category Archives: Drumming Bits and Bobs.

My Drum cover of “smooth criminal” by Michael Jackson.

Below is my drum cover of Michael Jackson’s song Smooth Criminal. This is the first cover I have attempted using 3 cams, this is also the first cover I have issued using my new Tascam 1800 midi interface.

As with all the MJ covers I have done I had great fun playing this, all the drumming is my original work. Played the way I would have played the song given the chance.

It was recorded on the first take and the video and after effects completed by James Grice.

This was also the first cover I have mixed using Adobe Audition CS6.

Please have a listen and let me know what you think in the comments below.

If anyone would like the recorded drum tracks to play around with please let me know.

 

 

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What’s in your Bag?

I’m finally back after an extended break due to a lot of personal things going on in my life. Which involved a lot of changes.

I am planning to get back to making drum covers as well as continuing to come up with new drumming ideas and writing more articles like this one which will include some reviews on new purchases I have made.

Please if anyone has any questions on anything I use or has any questions about drumming be it beginner or advanced please don’t be afraid to ask. If I don’t know the answer I will go away and learn it for you. Also with the same breath if you have any ideas for my future covers/ articles or my word press site please let me know.

Ok so this is a quick article to get me back into the swing of things, it has been a long time since I put pen to paper so to speak. To expand on the title if you haven’t guessed already is to let you know what I think every drummer should have with them for every gig, practice or audition they attend Read the rest of this entry

Drum Cymbals (hopefully everything you will ever need to know)

In this post I will be looking at lots of different aspect to do with Cymbals from playing them correctly to giving them the best possible chance of survival and set-up (but not placement)

Cymbal Anatomy

Ill start with a little pick detailing the anatomy of a cymbal.

I will predominately be referencing Zildjian as that’s the make I use and know the most about. But there are plenty of others out there for you to try.

Cymbals are the most delicate part of the drum kit. They can be easily damaged if not cared for or played properly. Im going to attempted to show you the correct mounting of your cymbals and the correct way to strike them. With the main goal of extending the life of the cymbal. Ive been playing drums for over 20 years and never once broke a cymbal (touch wood) these things will last you a few decades if you treat them right and play them how they were designed to be played. As we all know cymbals can be very expensive. With the top ranges from each manufacturer fetching between £100-£350. So better not to crack one. Read the rest of this entry

A little Challenge

Morning all.

This is a little challenge for all you budding drummers out there. I have recently challenged myself by learning some linier drum fill patterns. What is meant by linier I hear you say. Basically no two notes fall on the same count. So everything is played separately, and you can get some super crazy results from this. Below are two exercises that Ive put together for you. Please play close attention to the sticking as sometimes you will be using the left hand lead. The idea behind this is once it’s moved around the kit. You start to get some awesome patterns and combinations starting to form.

Exercise 1 is based around 16th notes. This is a simple pattern just to get you mind working.

Exercise 2 is all about 16th note triplets. With some awkward sticking and patterns, including a double stroke in the last bar. It might be a good idea to break it down and lean it bar by bar first.

The ideas behind these is to get you thinking outside the box and to give you an example of what you can do. Once you have it down on the snare and kick your next progression it to start moving the pattern around the kit. Believe me its a lot of fun  You can place rests in there as well to increase the challenge..

Drum Tuning +

In this article I would like to talk to you about different types of equipment you can get to aid drum tuning. Talk a little about External Dampeners and share a few little tips Ive picked up along the way.

Drum Keys.

Ill start with the topic of Drum Keys. There are lots of different types out there to help AID drum tuning. There are NONE out there that will do the job for you. You will always have to put in the hard work and time to actually learn how to tune your drums properly. That been said they can and will help speed up the process. The main 2 types im going to look at here are the “Drill Bit Drum Key” and the “Evans Torque Key”

Read the rest of this entry

My Thoughts on Tuning your Drums. (Part 5)

Things you may need: Guitar Tuner

In this issue of tuning your Drums I will finally get around to looking at the last drum on most peoples kit. It is of course the ever elusive subject of Snare Drum Tuning. The snare is by far the hardest drum to tune. What makes it hard I hear you say? “Snare Buzz” I will hopefully try to give you some tips Ive picked up through my years of drumming to help you eliminate this Problem and I will attempt to do this without the use of any dampening. As I believe this to be cheating and if a good kit is tuned properly this shouldn’t be needed anyway for a live sound. But saying that obviously there are instances when recording that you might need some external dampening but I will be looking at this in my Drum Tuning Extras addition. Read the rest of this entry

Replacing your Snare Wires

Things You’ll Need

  • New set of snares
  • Two pieces of snare “rope” or plastic “strips”
  • Drum key

How to Replace Snares:

  1. Remove the old snares by loosening the lugs (screws) on the snare clamps with the drum key. The clamps are situated at the bottom on both sides of the drum. When the snare clamps are fully loosened, lift the old snares off the resonant head.
  2. Place the new snares across the resonant head. Line them up with the clamps. The new snares will come with two pieces of thin “rope” or plastic strips. These are for securing the snares to the snare clamp
  3. If you are using the rope, thread one piece through the two holes that are pre-drilled into the end of the snares. Repeat this on the other end of the snares. Take the ends of the rope and insert them into the clamp on the side of the drum. Tighten the lugs and clamp the rope in place. Repeat this on the other side, pulling the snares tightly across the head. The clamp on this side of the drum is usually attached to a “throw-off” mechanism, also called a “strainer.” This allows the snares to be lifted away from the head when the lever is dropped down. When securing the ropes to the clamps, make sure that the throw-off lever is in the on position. And that the Knob is situated at just below the half way mark.
  4. If you are using plastic strips to secure the snares, insert one strip into the slit at the end of the snares. Fold this strip and insert it into the clamp. Then stretch the snares across the drum. Insert the folded strip at the other end of the drum into the clamps. Pull the snares tight across the head by the strips and tighten the lugs, securing the snares in place.
  5. The strainer also features a round knob at the top. This is used to further tighten (or loosen) the snares. To tighten the tension, turn this knob clockwise. To loosen, turn counter clockwise.

Do not over-tighten the snares. This results in a “choked” sound and can damage the snare wires.

Any questions please feel free to email me at info@ajbennett.co.uk

My Thoughts on Tuning your Drums. (Part 4)

In this issue of my tuning guide we will be looking at Bass Drum Tuning and dampening.

But first if you haven’t had a look at my other issues in this Drum Tuning Series please take a look at them first.

Topics we have covered so far are:

  • Drum Anatomy
  • Equipment needed
  • Drum Head Selection.
  • Drum Preparation
  • Drum Key Technique
  • Drum Head Seating and Tuning

There are 2 main types of Bass Drums. The first and optimal bass drum being the un drilled type. Basically it has no mountings for toms. As such no huge metal bars for the sound to escape through the downside being you have to purchase additional racking or boom arms to hold the toms. This can be costly but my preferred choice. The 2nd been the drilled type. Which has a huge hole to mount the toms on. Not great as the vibrations escape up this drying the drum out faster. But it is the cheaper option.

(pictured above is one of my kits and the kit i use for my drum covers. This has a none drilled bass drum) Read the rest of this entry

2nd cover of the year

Which brings me up to date with my plan of 1 per month for the year.

As I stated in a previously blog I wasn’t happy with my personal timing in my cover of LITs “my own worst enemy” so I have re-visited the song and this time round I’m much happier with the time keeping.

This was also the first video that we did recording with a duel cam placed in a over the shoulder position. I’m very happy with the outcome for our first attempt. I say our because the audio was mixed and edited by myself. The video part was edited by my photographer and best friend James Grice.

James isn’t a musician so there is a slight delay on the over the shoulder shots because he cant hear the see the slight delay between my hits and the music, But then again unless you were a trained musician could you tell? But as you can see by the video James has an enormous amount of creative talent and his head is full of amazing ideas (to tell the truth he’s the one that pushes me to do all this, I’m quite lazy so this is a thank you to him), He added in the original LIT music vid and chose the transitions between cameras. He also made the ending sequence for the video not to mention his time he spent on a Saturday doing this for me 🙂 .

All in all I’m happy with our first attempted dual cam cover, and I will be attempting to educate him on when the a actual drum hits occur. I should mention though that we are both using a piece of software in adobe premiere that we don’t know how to use and is a very complicated piece of kit. So it’s a huge learning curve.

you will also notice me check the height of the ride cymbal(the big 1) at around 2:35. It had slipped down and was catching on the 3rd rack tom. I put this down to the heavy 5AB Vic Firth sticks i was using 🙂

First cover of the year

Finally managed to finish the first Drum Cover of this Year. I’ve also recorded another but just waiting on the Video Edit for that 1. This is the 2nd instalment in my Michael Jackson mini-series and its titled “thriller”

FACTS:

  • “Thriller,” the biggest-selling album ever, wasn’t the only Michael Jackson work released in November 1982. A few weeks before it was set to hit stores, MCA Records released an album of Jackson reading the story of “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and performing the original song “Someone in the Dark.” The album promotion, which featured posters of Jackson and E.T. looking very friendly, angered CBS Records, which felt it was stealing the thunder from “Thriller.” Lawsuits ensued. Both albums ended up winning Grammys the following year.
  • “Thriller’s” phenomenal success led to a breaking down of traditional racial barriers on FM radio at the time. New York’s WPLJ, a “white” station, played Jackson’s “Beat It” because of Eddie Van Halen’s appearance on it. The song caused a wave of protests from some listeners who didn’t want “black” music on their station. MTV also had a reputation for flavoring white performers at the time, and its heavy rotation of Jackson videos helped alleviate the criticism.
  • The music video of “Thriller” played in a Westwood theater for one week in 1983 to qualify for an Oscar nomination. It opened for Disney’s “Fantasia,” much to the dismay of unsuspecting parents.

I hope you enjoy it. It was a lot of fun to play. Only part I’m not happy with is the timing issues at the start.