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Well… there’s a slight situation in the Risen Drums Video Lesson Series. So far, the latest episode has always been hosted at, the RD online home-base. However, due to the heavy video lesson traffic, the site is bogging down and they’re needing to rearrange the bandwidth situation. I think that’s probably a good thing, so thanks to everybody who’s been checking out the video lessons! However, for the time being, ALL the lessons will be hosted on youtube. This includes the new lesson for this week, Episode 5: Linear Drumming.

So, without further delay…

The forthcoming episodes will continue to be released on youtube for now. Watch for Episode 6 in a few weeks.

Episode 4 of the Risen Drums Video Lesson Series is up and running…

Also, there’s a FREE Bill Mike Band show tonight at Stevens Square Park in Minneapolis. It’s part of the “Music & Movies In The Park” summer festival, and the Coen Brothers’ film “Hudsucker Proxy” will be showing on the big outdoor screen after the show. We play at 7:30pm or something.

The third episode in the Risen Drums Video Lesson Series is up and running. Go watch it and check back here if you have any questions. The lesson has some specific grooves in it… here they are…




Alright.  Lesson 2 in the Risen Drums Video Lesson Series is up and running.  Check it out, and then post any questions that you might have here – I will do my best to answer them.

Meanwhile… here’s a little follow up on the lesson.  While the heel/toe adds a cool sound to your grooves, I should stress that the technique is not supposed to be your default way of playing the hats.  Any technique, no matter how cool it is, will be ruined if you use it too often.  Everything in moderation.  I probably use the heel/toe about 30% of the time… and that of course means I’m doing something else on the hats for the other 70% – maybe toe/heel (the reverse of heel/toe, which I explained on the video), or maybe heel hits only, or perhaps some sort of hybrid pattern.

In a pop/rock studio environment, the tone of your snare is the biggest factor in establishing a particular vibe or feel for a song (as far as the drummer is concerned). The entire sonic landscape of your groove will change as your snare tone changes. A rimshot is a great way to capture a vibrant and energetic sound… but that’s not always what you want. For example, the current “new face” on the female pop scene is Sara Bareilles, with her single “Love Song.” Matt Chamberlain played on that track (a player I greatly admire), and his snare is a big, fat rimshot with tons of life. However, track 7 on that disc (“Between the Lines”) is a totally different snare tone. Chamberlain used a dark, papery sound on track 7, with a lot less “crack” and a lot more “push.” It’s most likely a different drum entirely, but odds are it’s also heavily doctored.

A drummer will do a lot of weird things to a drum in the studio in order to capture the right sound. Here’s a few of the “weird things” I do from time to time…

1) Newspaper. Throw a couple sheets of newspaper on your drum and just let them sit loosely on the head while you play. It’s a cool vintage sound that muffles some of the ring (depending on how many sheets you put on there). Notebook paper works too… but newspaper has a slightly different sound to it that I like better.

2) A towel. Or maybe a T-shirt… or a pillow case. They all have different thickness so try each one – my favorite is the pillowcase. Cut it up so it’s only 1-ply (but large enough to cover the whole drum) and then just drape it over the drumhead. This is another “muffled” sound but it’s characteristics are totally different than the newspaper.

3) A block of wood. More muffling with a different sound quality. I totally stole this from Steve Jordan when I saw him doing it on his DVD, “The Groove Is Here.” I’ve tried it a few times and it works great. Grab a somewhat thin piece of wood (like a 2×4 or something… maybe 6 inches long) and set if up on the top portion of the head (close to your rack tom). Tape it down a little so it doesn’t bounce. Guys will often use their wallet for a similar sound, but the wood block has it’s own vibe.

4) Your keys. Seriously… your car keys or something. This is another idea I picked up from my former teacher Dave King. Just set your keys on the head off to the side. It’s a really cool “synthetic” sound, like a drum machine or something. This same idea can work with a small tambourine.

5) Splash cymbal. This is one that I discovered on my own and it totally rules. Get a small splash (6-8″) and set it on the head off to the right. Then play the drum off to the other side, a little left of center. A really cool techno sound happens here, and you can mess around with hitting the splash itself from time to time as an accent.

Try each of these out for yourself… they all have different results and you should get a feel for the personality of each one.


The video drum lesson series that I taped for Risen Drums launches today with the first episode. Check it out…

The main reason I started this blog was to field questions on these videos. The first episode is just an introduction and a basic lesson on rimshots, so I don’t anticipate many questions. But, if there’s anything anybody needs clarification on, just put your question in the comments section of this post. I’ll post an announcement like this each time a new video is uploaded. I think Lesson 2 will be up next week sometime.

Update: We filmed these vids in the Fall of ’07… so, five years ago now. I definitely would do them differently if we taped them now, but I stand by the content. All 12 episodes can be found on the Risen Drums youtube channel.

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