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Showing posts from February, 2017

A Conversation About 'Pitch Pairing' Drum Sticks

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Drum sticks. Not a lot has changed over the years. They are still basically a lathed piece of wood with a taper and a tip on one end. Not really controversial in any way. But sticks are very essential to drummers, as they are direct extensions of our hands. The right stick can make all the difference in a performance.

This leads me up to a recent Facebook question and discussion about pairing and pitch matching sticks. I remember as a youth buying a new pair of sticks in a sealed plastic bag. Basically, what you bought was what you got. There was nothing done at the factory other than taking 2 sticks of the same size/designation, and putting them in the bag. I noticed back then that sometimes one stick would be heavier than the other. Or that one would be slightly warped. That was just the way things were, so you learned to live with it and got on to drumming.


Today's drumsticks: nice and neat
Today, sticks are usually in a cardboard sleeve, so you can take them out, inspect them, an…

A Bit of a History Lesson

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OK, I'm going to show my age here, but for those of you who always seem to complain about finding the right gear (I read a lot of drum forums), I just say, “Shut up already!” Really. If you are in your 20s or 30s (even 40s), you probably have no idea about how good you have it today when it comes to the availability and quality of new instruments. 
Looking Back In TimeBack when I 1st started playing drums 50(!) years ago, your drum & percussion selection was limited. Unless you lived in NYC, LA, or Chicago (where the major TV, radio, and recording studios were), there was no such thing as a drum store with a big selection of gear to look at and buy. It was mostly mom & pop music stores, with maybe 5 drum sets, a few snare kits, a few cymbals, and some accessories (like wood blocks, tambourines,  & cow bells) in stock. If they did a lot of school business, they might also have a xylophone, timpani, and other related small percussion. That was it! 

And the selection was us…

It's Still Always About The Groove

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In my life/career, I've played so many different types of music: pop. rock, hard rock, prog rock, country, latin, fusion, dixieland, swing, jazz, classical, and on and on. One thing they all have had in common is the groove. 


It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)(Composition by Duke Ellington, lyrics by Irving Mills)
Yeah, jazz (and related musics) have swing - ding-ding-a-ding-ding-a-ding on the ride cymbal. But swing is just another name for groove. Other styles might call it something else. The music changes, the label changes, the swing/groove goes on. Even classical music has it. Mozart and Beethoven knew, they made their music groove in its own way.

Nowadays, I work mostly in improvised music. I hesitate to call it jazz, although many people do, because it lacks that distinguishing swing rhythm. Sometimes it's played along to some sort of rhythm, other times it's what people call free improvisation. The thing is, when I'm playing, I'm always…