Boom wacka boom! After this damn pandemic is done, I'm looking forward to playing again in concert band. In anticipation, I'm getting ready.
Some tips from a music teacher with decades of experience. Here they are in no particular order.
Is there any cure for snare drum lust? Nope.
Once you've been playing for awhile, have a few means, and reach a certain age it starts.
The collecting and hoarding of snare drums. Like a former colleague and teacher Paul DeLong, I've got enough drum sets. But you can always squeeze another snare in.
My latest acquisition: Tama SLP Vintage Poplar Maple Snare 14x5.5
We'll be playing trad jazz on it come the spring and jamming starts up again.
"I lit our kit with little lasers mounted underneath each drum with mic clamps. Looks amazing. And the lights bounce around when you play."
You will need a set of high hats, a ride, and a crash. And then it starts. Like the teenager with a late model Honda civic we accessorize. Then upgrade. Then purchase different cymbal sets for our moods, musical style of the month, and romantic musical fantasies.
“Didn’t Tony play Paiste?”
Drum magazine and adverts are written for middle aged drummers of comfortable means. It works. Over the last 11 years I’ve bought, sold, and traded numerous cymbals. It is embarrassing.
They are endlessly fascinating. The colour, nuance, attitude, lathing, size, weight, product line name, and metallurgic composition.
Then they invent new types of FX cymbals, and remote high hats. It never ends. My wife, a professional linguist, says my normally mono-syllabic vocabulary bursts forth when describing cymbals. Apparently, it rivals a master French sommelier or Cuban cigar collector.
• "Tah” ?
• It goes on and on
So, we end up with things like this: "Complex hammering contributes to the cymbals' unique sonic identity and dark tones that can be at once cutting and smooth. Made in small batches using a 14-step hammering process" I'll drink to that.
For the younger set this: "Dry and unrefined, the Raw Crash is explosive but shuts down quickly, and also works as an alternate ride that is dry and cutting."
And finally this: "The cymbal has a bright and cutting sound that makes it ideal for experimenting with new fills and rhythmic accents. It offers a high pitched tone with a short sustain, and this cymbal cuts through music with ease. It has a remarkably strong bite! " That sounds more like more fun than practicing.
("Cutting through" is a frequent anxiety--Those damn guitarists!")
There is no cure for cymbal collecting. Or snare collecting. Or as Paul DeLong recently publicly declared, drum set collecting.
My first go to stick for jazz trio are HeadHunters Maple C or the smaller Bop B with rubber grips. Light, subtle, and fast. The best pair have worn out tips for mellow ride cymbals tone.
For louder situations, say in a classic rock band where I need speed and endurance HeadHunters Maple CCC give me that speed with more oomph. Once again, I love the rubber grip.
Occasionally in louder jazz situations the Vic Firth Peter Erskine Big band sticks are just the thing: power and speed.
How do you find yours? Purchase 5 different pairs: a maple 5A, hickory 5A, front weighted, back weighted, and at least one pair that have rubber grips. Try them out in different situations and see what happens.
If you'd like some help putting those sticks to some good use, call me, I can help.
David Story, drummer, pianist, qualified online music teacher