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 Back to the Tempo Dispatch Archives  

Issue #5___\__\__\__\__\__________/__/__/__/__/ MAY 97

                   TABLE OF CONTENTS
                What is in this issue?
          1. Feature Article: SOLO TIPS II
          2. Bass Player Joke of the month


              *** FEATURE ARTICLE ***
                    For May 97

       The March 97 issue of the Tempo Dispatch
contained some of my best tricks and tips for developing
professional sounding solos. If you haven't seen it, you
may see it at:

 Drum Solo Tips #1 

       But, just reading about solos won't do you much good.
  Follow those tips to the letter.  I promise results!
Soloing is an art form and it must come from within.
Input (listening) is the first secret to playing great solos!
      This month we will get a bit more specific with our drum
  solos . . .

                      *** SOLO TIPS II ***

      Start a collection of solo recordings then begin a
routine of listen then play.  Do it on a daily basis!
Don't be afraid to inject your own ideas . . . play what
you feel and hear in your head.  It is your solo, so you
may do anything you choose!  There are virtually no mistakes
to worry about!  Get it going and don't stop until you decide
it is finished.  If something you do sounds good by accident,
do it again. If it is bad, avoid doing it a second time.

                   ***A STARTING PLACE ***

      An analytical study of the average solo will show
that two roll types tend to emerge about 80% of the time.
What are those roll types?  16th Singles and 8th triplets.
     It might help to study these two rolls, in every form
they may take.
     What follows are a few suggestions that should help
to get your own solo engines primed and running . . .

      The fonts in your E-mail program may be different
than mine.  In the example below, the second 'B' should
be directly under the fourth snare (or second 'L').  If
it is not, the best solution is to Select & Copy this
entire note then paste it into your favorite word processor.
Set your word processor font to Courier New .9 font size.


         R  L  R  L  R  L     SNARE (Could be any drum)
         B          B            BASS

      Strive to play the above roll pattern blazing fast!
Watch TV and work with the above triplets on a pillow for
long periods (like . . . Several eventual hours).  Watch
the foot!  The hard part is playing the bass along with
that fourth note.  Don't give up until you can do it at
warp speed with no mistakes.  The most common thing that
students will do wrong here is slip into 16th  singles
as they try to increase speed with 8th triplets. Avoid
doing that by accident! It is a good Maneuver, if you
intend to do it but be alert that it isn't happening
by accident.

       This is 16th Singles.  Know the difference
between 16th Singles and 8th triplets.  Eventually,
they will both dominate your bag of solo tricks . . .

        R L R L R L R L  SNARE (Could be any drum)
        B          B           BASS

      Practice switching between 8th triplets and 16th
Singles while maintaining a steady bass flow (or tempo).

                    *** SOLO SUGGESTIONS ***
      Once you can keep a steady bass tempo and switch
from one roll to the other, it will be time to climb
behind the kit and begin to do your own thing. The sky
is the limit! There are no mistakes!  If you accidently
get your arms and legs tied in a square knot . . . no
problem! It isn't a mistake until you lose or stop the
beat flow. Really!!  It is easy to overcome this entangled
dilemma!  As your hands become confused . . . stop them
but maintain the bass tempo . . . gather your thoughts
for a few  beats, then jump back in with a vengeance . . .
continue on with another roll pattern.
      What follows are *ONLY* suggestions. You may do
these ideas in any order!   Also, I should say . . .
these are routines that may be manipulated with *ANY*
roll type, including 8th triplets, 16th Singles, 16th
Doubles, 16th Paradiddles, 16th triplets, Rogers Ruffs
and on and on:

       1. INJECTING ACCENTS: Play a steady stream of
the chosen roll.  Play as softly as you can.  Occasionally
inject random accented notes into the stream, using your
best hand.  Just drop these accents anywhere it feels natural,
they do not need to be close together.  The more you do this
the more control you will enjoy.
       After awhile, go to work on your lame hand . . . do
the same type of routines but do them with your weakest hand.
It's good practice!  Keep it simple at first then grow slowly
into more complex patterns.  It takes time!

       2.  POWER RIMSHOTS:  A 'Power Rimshot' is a rimshot
that is done by connecting the rim and head simultaneously,
producing a 'ping' sound (usually done on the snare).
       You are playing your roll in a stream of notes and
popping accents as you go.  Now add a few super accented
'Power Rimshots'.  Experiment with the tonal changes that
can occur between accents and 'Power Rimshots'.  The rhythmic
possibilities are immense.  Try to avoid repeating the same
routines.  Always seek to create new sounds and rhythms.
Drop 'Power Rimshots' with either hand.  Let it flow and
try to be creative!

       3. CROSSOVER VARIATIONS:  With the chosen roll
flying on any drum, reach to any other drum with your
best hand, smack it once then return.  Try to maintain
the flow of the roll but reach out, occasionally picking
up random notes on any of the toms.  Again, get your
best hand working first then focus on the other.
Eventually, both hands will be flying all around the kit.
Play with the tones and experiment constantly.

       4. BROKEN ROLLS:  A broken roll is when some
of the notes are omitted in the stream.  In other
words, we are talking about adding occasional
random rests within the chosen roll.  This will
probably happen by accident in the beginning
anyway.  You will think they are mistakes.  A
million fascinating rhythms may be fashioned
by simply stopping at irregular intervals,
sometimes by accident and sometimes intentionally.
Let them happen, listen for neat ideas as they occur
and try to repeat them on demand.
       Try to get the drums talking to each other as
in a real conversation.  This will include long and
short pauses within the roll stream.  Add dynamics
as in a real conversation.  There will be times when
it sounds good to scream and times when you want to
speak in a whisper.  This injects feeling into the
solo and it is fun.

cymbals when you feel like it!  Use crashes as you
might use punctuation in a sentence.  Try to
add these crashes within the flowing stream of
the roll, sometimes.  At other times You may decide
to move to the cymbals entirely . . . maintaining
your chosen roll but searching for tonal extremes
on the individual cymbals.  You will be amazed at
the variety of tones that may be produced from a
cymbal.  Every cymbal will have its own personality
and range of tonal values.  Strive to find them all
and use them advantageously in your solos.

     6. JINGLES & RHYMES:  This gets back to accents
and 'Power Rimshots' but we will add a twist.  As you
gain control with accents, try to play a melodic jingle
or singsong accent pattern over the top of your roll stream.
Think the melody of 'Jingle Bells' (Christmas Carol) and
bring it out as accents within a roll stream.  Next, try,
'Three Blind Mice', 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' or anything
else you can come up with.  The listening audience may never
realize the tune you are thinking.  That isn't the point!  Your
solos will become more melodic as you do this.  It adds
continuity and substance to an otherwise boring ration of


       If you are the studious type, you might look for
books that focus on topics like triplet accents and crossovers.
Also, look for books that focus on single, double and paradiddle
roll development.
       I could write tons of practice routines in each category.
You would see endless lines of a particular roll with added
accents and complicated crossover examples.  You would see
them . . . but would you study them?  Most of us bore with that
stuff real quick.  I know I do!
       I hold to the original formula . . . 'listen then play'.
In that order!  You will achieve your goals much faster this way.
       Good luck!  Burn 'em!
                                                   Bill Powelson



  Q- What's the difference between a bass guitarist and God?
  A- God doesn't think he's a bass guitarist.

  Q- How do you get a bass player to stop playing?
  A- Put a sheet of music in front of him.

  Q- What do a vacuum cleaner and an bass guitar have in
  A- Both suck when you plug them in.

  Q- How many bass players does it take to change a light
  A- None--they just steal somebody else's light.


This topic could save you YEARS and give you renewed ambition.


Copyright Bill Powelson 1994 all rights reserved.