Blog Archives

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.

 

 

Update (tascam 1800)

So I recently purchased a Tascam 1800, “What’s that?” I hear you say. The Tascam 1800 is a 16 channel midi interface that uses USB 2.0 to record straight into whatever program you work with. For me its Adobe Audition CS6. The benefit of this kind of interface is the ability to produce split track recordings. Which in drumming terms is a god send.

 The comparison

I will use my old set-up as my comparison . I used to use my beringer 2442fx mixing desk to record straight into Audition. While this serves the purpose of been able to record and listen back to the drums there wasn’t a lot I could do in terms of processing the music I recorded. The main reason for this is how the 2442 records to any program you decide to work with. It is only capable of passing through a single stereo track. Meaning that everything has to be mixed down before been sent to the computer. This in itself poses a problem because what you may hear in the monitor is not nessaseraly how the computer will interpret the sound. Also typically any musician will vary there playing from the sound check to the time when you will actually start recording. Not to mention slight variations in the way they play each subsequent recording, Be it a louder kick or quieter ghost notes on the snare. Because of this you’re not always garneted to get that perfect mix your after.

Read the rest of this entry

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

Working with Paradiddles

Skill Level
Beginner – Intermediate

Hello all. Sorry I’ve been away for a few weeks. Life’s been a bit hectic lately.

Today I thought id bring you another little exercise. This involves one of the best drum rudiments the Paradiddle. This is by far my favourite of the standard 26. There is so much you can do with it, plus it’s great for improving double stroke speed and overall co-ordination

The idea of these exercises is to show you how to move the Paradiddle around the kit and how to incorporate them into beats.

Exercise 1 is the standard paradiddle played on the snare only you can add in the bass drum on the first note of each set of semi-quavers if you like. I would spend around 10 mins a night practicing this until your happy with your speed. (It will improve your left had no end.) This is a regular feature in my practice sessions.

Exercise 2. This is the first Example of how to begin to move the paradiddle around the kit. I have now moved all the right hand notes onto the Floor Tom or Tom 3. But keeping the left hand on the snare. This gives a good contrast and can easily be used as a fill. Especially if you accent the left hand hits.

Exercise 3. This is basically how to start structuring beats out of paradiddles. The paradiddle is made up of the bass drum and the left hand on the snare. While the right hand keeps time on the hi-hat.

Remember it’s up to you to take this further. This is only a guide to get the creative juices flowing. Take it to your kit and get creative. There is no right or wrong when this kind of thing is concerned.

 

Food for thought.

  • Try not using any drums at all. You have the hi-hat and ride to play with also.
  • Try resting some notes. Its still a paradiddle even if you don’t play all the notes.

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

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.

My Thoughts on Tuning your Drums. (Part 3)

Welcome to part 3. In this issue we will be looking at the toms. Finally we get down to fitting that first drum head.

(All pics are of my Drum Kit and me 🙂 courtesey of James Grice.)

But first a list of the topics covered in the last edition, and if you haven’t read it please take a look before reading this:

  • Drum Preparation
  • Drum Key Technique

I tend to start with the smallest tom as it’s the highest pitched and then work my way down to the floor tom or biggest rack tom.

Right then down to it. First things first check you haven’t got a dead drum head before you start. Grab the new head and tap it in the middle you should get a very dull but slight tone out of the new head, If you don’t and instead get a duff sound the head is dead and not worth using. (the chance of this is very, very small but still worth mentioning)

Now place the head over your drum it should go straight on without any struggle. (I normally line the logo up with the support arm, Just my preference. And I start with the batter head.) Then were going to place the hoop on over the top this is normally a tighter fit and can require a slight push to get it on properly.

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My Thoughts on Tuning your Drums. (Part 2)

Just a little recap on what I covered in the last article:

•    Drum Anatomy
•    Equipment needed
•    Drum Head Selection.

In this part we will be looking at preparing your drums to be tuned, and drum key technique.

Once you have your new drum heads just re tuning your kit it’s a good idea to get the hoops and heads of and just start from scratch. There is a way of removing the heads so you don’t warp or damage the drum. This can occur when there is too much pressure placed on a particular side of the drum, which can pull and distort the wood out of place. Below is a diagram of the correct technique for releasing the pressure created by the tight drum head.

The idea is that you work in opposites around the drum using your drum key (pictured below) to slowly loosen the head at each point. (turning to the left)

Read the rest of this entry

Good morning to you all on this cold and snowy day

 

Just wanted to share a few little things with you. A mini update on things going on if you will.

First thing id like to share with you is how amazed I was with a Snow Patrol gig I went to at the weekend. It was based at the LG arena in Birmingham, England. Which is a fairly major venue within the UK.

The Band was awesome. Ive never really been a Snow Patrol fan as such, I can get on with a few of there bigger tunes. But I have to say what a great band they are to watch live. I was knocked off my feet with how good and rounded there live sound is, and was very impressed with the way he got the crowd to participate in the gig. They now have a new fan.

But it’s the support act that caught my attention. “Everything Everything” are an electro sounding band with a very unique feel and sound. I especially liked the lead singers voice. Its very original. I went out and downloaded there album “man alive” Ive had a few listens to it. And really like it. I will say though I think the base line is a tad over done. But I think they have a very Indy sound with a hint of the 80’s electro influence mixed in. Very tight sounding, And a nice refreshing change to what’s out there at the moment.

Link to there site: http://www.myspace.com/everythingeverythinguk

I would also like to take this time to share another band I have recently discovered “EVAROSE”. They are an all girl unsigned band with a very nice rock sound (love the drum beats).They have 2 singles up on itunes which at the moment are on SALE Not really much I can say here other than to ask you to check them out and let me know what you think.

Link to there site: http://www.facebook.com/evaroseband

And lastly im planning on getting another drum cover up this weekend so please keep and eye out and let me know your thoughts.