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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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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 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

My Thoughts on Tuning your Drums. (Part 1)

Hello all, this will be the first issue in a multi-part blog about the ever-elusive subject of Drum Head Tuning.

I think there are two types of people that hit drums. The First been the person that plays drums, they are normally good at what they can do but lack the fundamental knowledge of differing techniques, and are missing a basic structural knowledge of music overall and a drummers relationship within a band. The other being a “Drummer”. This person not only has spent years honing different skill sets and abilities within his/her trade. But has also taken the time to understand music as a whole and how to play to compliment the piece of music being performed. Be it with different techniques like using brushes, or just being sensitive to the piece of music by not over playing or being too loud.

Ive never understood why some “drummers” shy away from this very important aspect of drumming. A nice sounding kit not only sounds great to people listening to you but you will find you will actually want to play and practice more. You will also find yourself being more creative around the kit. I find it has that affect on me anyway. Tuning is also a very good pass time. Hours just seem to fritter away. 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.

Hello all.

Seems like absolutely ages since my last blog. With the new year having just passed I would like to talk about the importance of setting yourself goals and finding a way to plot them and keep a track of the journey along the way. Im not just talking about personal goals as these come and go (I have also set myself a few of these this year. 1 being to lose some weight:-S) I am of course talking about setting yourself goals to improve as a musician.

I am a firm advocate of trying to learn as much as you can. As im sure you are all aware that you will never be able to learn all there is to know about your chosen instrument. And while it’s a good idea to learn the basics in lots of different styles. Its simply not possible to become amazing at everything there is out there. It’s also good to get an idea in your mind about the type of music you wish to try and master and become innovator in.

I had a sit down the other week and began looking into witch parts of my playing I would attempt to improve upon throughout this year. My main goal will be hand speed. I would love to be able to play comfortably at and around 230bpm, So this will be my main goal for improvement throughout this year.

I have also chosen sub goals to be played with around my main aim. The first of these will be to improve my double bass drum playing. Not only in speed but in technique, I already have a book that I brought a few years ago that I never got around to working though. This will be a aim of mine throughout this year.

Another sub goal of mine will be with my drum covers. I want to release at least 1 cover a month. Also putting out a proper mini series, which I have determined will be biased around the American Pie series of Films.

I have others but I won’t bore you with all of these right now. As some are personal and work related goals I wish to achieve throughout the year.

Right now I want to take a look at recording your progress and re defining goals as the year roles by.

The best way to do this is start a training log, or diary.  Begin by setting aside a certain amount of time to practice each day or every couple of days.

Plan what your going to practice. I can’t stress this enough. How many times have you picked up your instrument with the goal of practicing just to mess about playing what ever. Have a goal to achieve that day.

Above all write notes and record your progress. So you have a log of how far you have come since you started. Take notes and highlight important parts for quick reference in the future.

I keep my logs on my iPad so I always have them handy and accessible in what ever situation I find myself in.  It might be a bit of music knowledge you have taken down so you can recall it in a second. A rhythm or pattern you liked the sound of. Or just something you have invented. I don’t know about you but I often come up with a great sounding beat only to forget it the next week. This prevents that from happening.

Hope this little article helps.


Practice, Practice, Practice.

Right guys and girls. I’d like to start by stressing the importance of getting a good practice pad to use on a regular basis.

What is a practice pad?

What is a practice pad I hear you say! Well basically it’s a lump of rubber placed over wood designed to imitate the feel and response of a normal snare drum, but with out all the associated noise attached. They are usually small, light weight and easily transportable. Meaning we can practice anywhere and anytime we feel the need. One of the main problems with learning drums is the inability to do this due to noise level and the inconvenience of having a none easily transportable instrument.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to using a practice pad I will attempt to cover all these for you now. But I will add im a big pusher of the drum practice pad I think all drummers should own and use one. Not let it sit there as a coaster.

So the pro’s of using a Drum Pad is the obvious ability to sit down and practice your drum rudiments in front of the TV producing very little noise on something that will react like a real drum. This also brings us into the next advantage of easily been able to hear and play along to a metronome. Which incidentally is another must have piece of kit for a drummer. These days there is no excuse not to have one as most phones are now able to download free apps that contain these within them. This used in conjunction with a metronome allow us the ability to be able to track our progress and keep records of our improvements in that search for faster rolls and slicker drum licks. Record keeping should be done as a matter of course when having your practice sessions. Which incidentally should be set out to achieve a goal you have in mind, Be it faster double strokes or a more accurate flam. These things don’t happen over night and take ages to master.

Read the rest of this entry