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ISSUE #68 \__\__\___THE____/__/__/ Aug 5, 2002
_______________TEMPO DISPATCH ___________
Newsletter For Drummers and Drumming Enthusiasts
Copyright Bill Powelson 2002 all rights reserved.
____________'IT'S ALL ABOUT DRUMS'_______
Tips * Tricks * Hints * Ads * Freebies * Lessons *
_________NOW more than 13,000+ SUBSCRIBERS!__________
IN THIS ISSUE . . .
1. RANDOM DRUMMING TIPS: Coordination / Age / Tuning, etc.
2. Humor: Worst Air Disaster in Rock n' Roll!
This months feature article is based
on some of the MOST COMMON questions that
students tend to ask via e-mail.
TIP #1. Coordination . . .
Why do we all tend to think we are much
too uncoordinated to ever play drums?
The following thoughts may hopefully offer the
encouragement some of you are needing . . .
* After ENOUGH repetition, ALL the moves will become
second-nature . . . just like driving, dancing,
dribbling a basketball, swimming and all the other
things we do . . .
Determination and persistence are the key issues
when it comes to developing coordination.
I had a little 9-year old polio victim prove
this point to me back in the 1960s. Though the kid could
barely walk . . . he became a PRO-drummer much
to my own amazement! I had serious doubts about
accepting him as a student back then, because of his very
serious coordination problems. I felt like we might just
be wasting his parents money.
His mom convinced me to give it a try anyway . . .
That little guy was DETERMINED to become a drummer!
It was very wise and dual-reasoning, on his part.
He knew it would be the therapy he needed, and
he really did WANT to become a working drummer!
It took us nearly 4 years to get him to the same
level that MOST students will reach in a year or two . . .
but HE did it! He was playing in a professional band by
the end of his 4th year.
That little guy may have taught ME the most
valuable lesson of my own career . . .
* Persistence and determination are the governing
factors when it comes to developing coordination.
He proved that to me without a doubt!
TIP #2. AGE:
Many older folks often write in, asking if
they are wasting time because of their age. (One youngster,
aged 16 was even concerned about it.) It's very common for
EVERYONE to think it's too late to begin playing an
Here's my reply to all . . .
WE'RE NEVER TOO OLD! My oldest student to date
was a guy who picked-up his first drumsticks at
age 72. Within 6 months he was playing
Big Band music from the 1940s for money, on week-ends.
That band was HAPPY to have him too! He was exactly
the drummer THEY were looking for, though his
experience was limited. He was the RIGHT AGE
AND MIND-SET FOR 'THAT' PARTICULAR BAND.
There's a market out there for nearly every
age group and every music style.
JUST LIKE WATER . . . we should seek our own level.
Search out your friends. Find people within your
own age group who want to make THE SAME KIND OF MUSIC
YOU WANT TO MAKE. They're sitting and waiting right now,
wishing SOMEONE would ask them to be in a band.
It's all a matter of making the right
contacts and friends . . .
Don't try to get into situations you aren't
capable of handling. In the beginning, don't try to
play music that doesn't suit your 'ear' and musical
taste. Search for 'like minds and talent'. Then
get them all together under one roof. Everything else
will just follow naturally.
MEANWHILE . . . jam with your favorite
recordings every day, but keep both eyes
open, and one ear to the ground for other people
who would be thrilled to get together and play
that same (or similar) music style, just for FUN.
Right after the FUN . . . comes the money.
It happens in that same order almost every
time, no matter what age we begin . . .
Find the fun . . . and the rest will just
You can do it! Go for it!
TIP #3. TUNING TIPS. I sometimes feel
as if I should add another 10 pages to my tuning lesson.
As you begin tuning your drum set, aim for a uniform
pitch AROUND THE WHOLE DRUM SET . . .
In other words, flip the snare-strainer lever to the off
position so that the wires beneath the snare drum are no longer
making contact with the bottom snare head.
TUNE THE SNARE AS A TOM, THEN
TUNE ALL THE TOMS TO MATCH:
Tune the snare to be the highest pitched drum
in the set and tune all the other toms so that they are
progressively lower pitched.
Try to 'hear' all the tones (all toms)
in your head . . . then aim for those tones . . . starting
with the snare. (Example; bip, bop, bong, boom . . .)
IMAGINE the tones, IN YOUR HEAD, 'first . . .'
then tune the whole set to the tones you are 'thinking'.
This is really the only way YOU'LL ever be satisfied
with the tone of YOUR drums. We're all a little different
when it comes to tone. The price of the drumset won't
make much difference, and having someone else tune your drums
for you, probably won't work very well either.
Once the proper pitches are attained . . . then go about
adjusting just the right amount of muffle on each drum.
By doing it this way, you'll probably be happier with
the final, OVERALL sound of your set.
REMEMBER . . . the actual snare sounds are largely
controlled by the strainer and the amount of 'contact' the
wires or 'snares' are making underneath the drum. If the
snare is tuned to adequate tension . . . the rest of the tuning
job for the snare is largely dependent on the amount of
muffle, and the tension on the snares (or wires) underneath
A snare is really a tom tom until the wires (snares)
make contact. If we don't like our snare tone . . . we should
blame the wires BEFORE we blame the tension of the lug-screws.
Excessive ringing and overtones can also be a problem.
MUFFLING, may be the secret to finding the exact tones
you are wanting to hear.
Go around the drums, experimenting for the
tones you want . . . the following way . . .
TESTING FOR TONE.
TRY THIS TRICK!
Place your left-hand (fingertips and/or palm)
in different places on each drum as you STRIKE the
drum with your right stick. Experiment! Move the left
hand to different positions . . . and vary the resulting
muffling pressure in each place . . .
SEARCH for the tone you want that drum to produce.
Once you find the tone you like . . . find a way
to MUFFLE the drum permanently in that same way, and with about
that same amount of pressure as when your left-hand was
doing the muffling.
That's what I mean when I talk about PULLING the
wanted sounds from a drum.
In the studios, they use duct-tape . . . to localize
the muffling. I don't know if I like that . . .
The commercial '0-rings' will help a lot.
There's also a new putty-substance that is sold in
music stores . . . It works ok too, but sometimes it comes
unstuck from the head and begins bouncing around in mid-song.
It's like play-dough. Ask about it at your
local music store.
Be sure to study the online TD#8 about muffling . . .
It'll offer some additional tips too . . .
This was originally an ETHNIC
joke . . . (but I don't like to use ethnic
jokes here.) So, my friend Doug Biernacki
helped me reword it. We've turned it into
a bass player joke.
It's ok to pick on bass players. They
pick on us all the time! It's all in good fun.
WORST AIR DISASTER IN ROCK n' ROLL HISTORY
The world of Rock n' Roll's worst air
disaster occurred today when a SMALL
"2" SEATER PLANE crashed into a CEMETERY
A Pair of Local Bass Players conducted a
search and rescue. They've recovered
826 bodies so far, and expect that the
number will climb as the digging continues
into the night.
Badip, boom, crash!
(Cemetery! Get it?)
Doug also asked some of the great tuning questions
that led to this months tips too. Thanks for
the help Doug.
NEXT: PURE GOLD! THE WINNING SECRETS ARE BURIED HERE.
END OF TEMPO DISPATCH #68 AUG 5, 2002
Copyright Bill Powelson 1994 all rights reserved.