Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What makes the difference, the drums or the drummer ?

What Makes the Difference: The Drums or The Drummer?

A great sounding drum set depends on the ability of the drummer, not the quality of the drum set.We have heard different drummers on the same kit,&they always sound different compared to each other, but each drummer sounds like themselves.They have a voice. We have even heard the same drummer on different drums, in different venues, with different bands and again, the drummer is identifiable.

Through years of playing, and listening back to my playing, I have discovered what I like and dislike about my drumming and am constantly striving to close the gap between what I want to sound like and what I actually sound like.A great joy in the art of music is hearing our voice among the layers of sounds created by our bands and instruments.Yet, many drummers seem to lose sight of that joy by distracting their art with concern over excessive comfort.Whether our snare head is perfectly tuned, our bass drum shell is just the right color, there are many small details that we as drummers can become fixated on,making a mountain out of a Molehill,so to speak. And,since the drum set is the most personal instrument in terms set up, sound sources,etc.,it is in our best interest to find our own balance,to be comfortable without losing sight of the music.

For me, I am glad to play on any kit in front of me, if that means I get to play music for a living.That said, striving to feel like myself at any kit has to start at the basics.
Provided the kit and hardware are in workable shape and relatively adjustable, here are my top three requirements:

Throne Height- comfort, fluidity, and balance start here.

Drum Sticks- they are the closest extension of myself and need to feel familiar to get me to my comfort zone quickly.

Drum Heads- on pretty much any class kit, a good, consistent drum head will get me the feel, response, attack, tone, durability and musical quality that can make a new kit feel like home. Drum heads are also the part of the sound I have the most control over. If the drums are out tune, I can fix it. Too loud, I can fix it. Need more thud or punch, I can fix it…with the right drum head. That is why I play Evans.They are part of my sound.

I encourage you drummers to find your sound,and find the confidence to see that your drumming voice is yours alone. Consider your audience, investigate all the possibilities your instrument provides and keep an open mind. Then, just relax, listen,and play.Make a great sound !

Felipe Torres

1 comment:

  1. Excellent advice. As a drum teacher, I encourage students to prioritize their timing and the tuning of their kit. Phil Rudd (AC/DC) exemplifies how great you can be with these two factors in place.
    Practice with a metronome/click helps the first, and adequate, tuneable drums with excellent heads enable the second. The quality and technology of Evans heads are at least a generation ahead of the rest, and you have a real sound advantage using them. As a music professional, I keep up with what's on offer and any new developments, and Evans are in a class of their own.