Monthly Archives: July 2016

Nashville Sampling Goodwin Black Kit

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The Nashville Sampling Company has just released their latest sampling package featuring our friend Garrett Goodwin, drummer for Carrie Underwood. You may recall the feature I wrote on Garrett for Drumhead Magazine (Read: “One of a Kind”). Garrett is one of the best in the business. He has a great sense of groove and a totally original style (especially his set-up). Garrett lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He has played for over 1 million people for each tour he’s been on and was named the #1 “Up and Coming Drummer” in Modern Drummer Magazine. Garrett also offers one-on-one lessons in person and via Skype. Here’s an outline of Garrett’s new sampling package:

  • DW Maple drum set tracked by Garrett Goodwin in a 60,000 square-foot warehouse.
  • Deep sampled kicks (with and without tambourines), snares (on and off), toms (sticks, mallets), 5 hi-hat levels of openness (5 RR x 5 dynamics), and cymbals.
  • All instruments recorded through 3 microphone positions with the option of “warehouse” samples and “studio” samples to fit all production needs. Microphone positions phase-checked to ensure no loss of low end.
  • Pre-mixed channel contains samples all run through high-end outboard compressors, including API 2500, Urei-1176, and Teletronix LA2A.
  • All drums in our demos were mixed entirely in Goodwin Black Kit, and no reverbs were ever added.

About the recording room: The warehouse has an extremely unique timbre: shimmery and unearthly, a true acoustic replication of a Lexicon or Bricasti hardware unit. With a natural reverb decay of -4-5 seconds, this drum kit finds its place somewhere in between the huge tracks Garrett plays on the road with Carrie Underwood to the epic drums required in film and trailer cues. Developed for Native Instruments Kontakt 5 (Out Now). *Kontakt Player 5 version coming this August.

If you want that monster sound you’ve  been looking for check out this amazing package. Visit: http://nashvillesamplingco.com/goodwinblackkit

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Jim Chapin and the Moeller Method

Rudiments are by far the most important tool in any drummer’s toolbox. Dexterity and strength play a major part in reciting rudiments and the technique, whether traditional or matched grip, must be executed properly in order to complete the desired patterns. One of the oldest styles of playing rudiments is the Moeller Technique. According to its definition: “The Moeller Method, (or Moeller Technique) is a percussive stroke method that combines a variety of techniques with the goal of improving hand speed, power and control while offering the flexibility to add accented notes at will. The technique uses a specific ‘whipping motion’ that allows gravity to do most of the work, allowing the drummer to play faster, by staying relaxed.”

Sanford A. Moeller was an American rudimental drummer, educator and drum builder. In 1925, he compiled and wrote “The Moeller Book: The Art of Snare Drumming.” Moeller’s unique point of view was that he considered drum students, who were learning to drum properly, to be students of eurhythmics. Moeller based his lessons and instruction around a playing style used by field drummers who had served in the American Civil War.

Jim Chapin was a former student of Moeller and is an expert on this classic style. In his video lesson “Speed, Power, Control, Endurance” he provides a series of excellent demonstrations using the Moeller Method. Basing his examples off of triplets Chapin challenges viewers to use the mechanics of the whipping motion. One cannot help but admire Chapin’s amazing speed and smoothness. It appears that he is not struggling at all. (I on the other hand am still struggling to pull off most of these exercises. I remain inspired to keep trying.) Here are three of Chapin’s videos taken from his one-hour lesson showcasing the Moeller Method:

PART 1:

PART 2:

PART 3:

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U.S. Marshals Pipe and Drum

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My day-job is an administrator in the U.S. Marshals Gang Enforcement Unit of the Investigative Operations Division. I am stationed at U.S. Marshals Headquarters just outside of Washington D.C. As with many law-enforcement organizations, the USMS boasts its own Pipe and Drum Band. According to their webpage: “In addition to helping the children and families of our fallen heroes, the U.S. Marshals Survivors Benefit Fund provides support to programs that honor and commemorate those who have died in the line of duty. One such program is the U.S. Marshals Survivors Benefit Fund Pipes and Drums. The Pipes and Drums Band is comprised of active Deputy U.S. Marshals who volunteer their time and talents to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The Pipes and Drums serve as the staple of memorial and fundraising events across the country.”

The original Pipe and Drum Bands began life in the military. Descended from Scottish traditions, the group usually consists of several pipers playing the Great Highland Bagpipe. A section of snare drummers, tenor drummers and bass drummers collectively make up the drum corps. Sometimes a drum major directs the group. The standard instrumentation for a marching pipe band involves anywhere from six to twenty-five pipers, three to ten snare drummers, one to six tenor drummers and one bass drummer. Occasionally this instrumentation is augmented to include additional instruments but this is typically done only in concert settings.

Conventional Pipe Band music comprises a unique composition. Pipers deliver the top-end melodic and harmonic music, while the snare drummers provide a rhythmically interactive accompaniment part. The tenor drummers contribute the bottom-end rhythmic pulse and the bass drummer anchors the rhythms, providing a strong and steady beat. These instruments all combine to make up a powerful structured cadence. Players are often able to execute extremely complicated and technically demanding rudimentary patterns.

One standout in Pipe and Drum Bands is the distinctive snare sound. The tension on a Pipe and Drum snare is extremely tightened with maximum tension and often uses a Kevlar head. This creates a crack and is more suited to the buzz roles and accents most attributed to the music. The tenor and bass drums are tuned with the usual set-ups used by marching bands.

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I am proud to say that my extended version on Civil War Drummer Boys has been accepted for online publication by the historians at Emerging Civil War. ECW is one of the most insightful blogs on the internet today and to be accepted by them is a privilege indeed. Visit them online at: https://emergingcivilwar.com.

UPDATE: Here are links to my published article:

Part 1: History of the Drummer Boy
Part 2: History of the Drummer Boy

Note: If you do a search for “Civil War” you can access previous posts on Civil War Drums and Drumming

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Healthy Drumming

I recently started a health kick that has turned into a life-changing experience. I go to the gym 5-6 days a week (for real) and work out at home on my days off. My diet has significantly changed as well and my goal is to lose 40 pounds in 6 months. I have made the commitment to see it through. My obsessive behavior is actually paying off as it forces me to exercise even on the days that I don’t feel like it. This got me thinking about working out in relation to the drums whether it’s practicing sticking exercises or drum set patterns. According to drummerhealth.com the key factors for improving or maintaining health on the drums are: Exercise, Warm-up, Equipment, Technique, Posture, Water, Nutrition and Hearing. Here’s my take based upon their recommendations:

Exercise: Drumming requires a certain level of physicality much like playing sports. Athletes maintain their fitness with preparation, exercise and stretching. These exercises can help maintain your overall comfort and health when practicing or performing. It also can lengthen the period that you can play.

Warm-up: Most professional drummers have developed their own backstage warm-up regiments prior to performing. Warming-up affects the muscles, tendons, joints and blood flow. A warm muscle performs much more efficiently than a cold muscle. This translates into tissues which can better withstand stress. It can also mean fewer injuries from repetitive strain.

Equipment: This includes drums, cymbals, drumsticks and thrones. Use equipment that is comfortable to you. The higher quality of equipment the less likely you are of sustaining an injury. Get in the habit of checking your drums prior to rehearsals and shows. This helps to keep your gear in good condition and can alert you of potentially dangerous components.

Technique: While there are as many different stroke techniques as there are drummers, remember that a combined stroke which uses arm/forearm/wrist and fingers, spreads the work load and can increase power and speed. There should be very little tension in your grip. Relaxation is key to speed and endurance. Rebound should be used to help reset the stick for the next stroke. Don’t forget to breathe.

Posture: Many drummers develop poor posture habits early on. Slouching over the kit or reaching for your cymbals can injure your back. When you slouch dramatically you increase the gravitational load on your lumbar spine. This will prove very problematic over time. When you lessen your lower back curvature, you increase the forward weight-bearing of your head. By sitting tall on the throne you put less pressure on the back, neck and arms.

Water: This one is self-explanatory. Stay hydrated. Playing drums causes perspiration. During a gig or rehearsal your body’s demand for water increases whether you are sweating or not. Do not wait until you are thirsty before drinking water. Whenever possible, drink water during your set. Staying well hydrated will lessen fatigue, and enhance your performance.

Nutrition: Another given. Eating well prior to a show or while on a road trip can be difficult, as uncertain time schedules and poor sources of quality foods prevail. Try keeping a healthy snack or two in your bag. Eating several smaller meals, reducing your intake of simple carbohydrates while increasing your fruit and vegetable intake can be a great aid to reducing unhealthy weight gain.

Hearing: Ears are perhaps the most important tool that a musician has. While it may not always be needed, noise reduction ear plugs may be required if volume levels are high. If possible have your monitor mix as low as possible while still enabling adequate sound levels to hear everything well. Experiencing unhealthy levels of noise can create painful and long-term issues. Many of the greatest musicians of the day now suffer the challenges of hearing loss.

Here are some daily exercises posted on OnlineDrummer.com. Some things to consider when playing these warm-ups: Try following the sticking, leading with your right or your left hand. Use the exercises as short warm-ups (10 or less repetitions) or technique building exercises (more than 10 times). Consider using a metronome. (click image for full size)

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Courage and Distinction

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One of my most recent cross-over projects was compiling over 100 period photographs of drummer boys from the Civil War (see http://www.pinstripepress.net/CWDrummerBoys.pdf). During this process I was constantly taken aback by their youthful appearance. Some of these boys looked to be so young they couldn’t have been near their teens. Many of them ran away from home with romantic dreams stuck in their heads of the glorious life of a drummer. No doubt as they witnessed the horrors of war their starry-eyed inclinations were stripped away. As I examined some of these photos I felt at times that I was looking into the eyes of my youngest son (I have four children) imagining the hardships that he would have endured.

There were age-limits to who could enlist but they were often ignored. The youngest enlistees served the roll as “mascot” until they were old enough to serve as a drummer. My son would have been too young at the beginning of the war but closer to serving near the end. The stark reality is that most of these boys suffered and endured the same hardships along with the adults. They too marched for miles, fought boredom in camp and performed under fire. Some believe that the youngest soldier killed during the entire Civil War was a thirteen year-old drummer boy named Charles King. Twelve-year-old Union drummer boy William Black is said to be the youngest person on record to be wounded in battle.

Far too often the efforts of those who don’t fit under the title of a “traditional” soldier to include drummers, cooks, teamsters and even horses go unnoticed. The truth of the matter is that none of the soldiers who dominate our memories would have been able to fight without the dedication and efforts of the aforementioned. Drummer boys were responsible for the communication between officers and enlisted men. They projected orders in camp and on the field. Without them, mustering and maneuvering would have been in chaos. Therefore it is important to recognize their contributions for their importance and necessity. Drummer boys served their respective causes with courage and distinction.

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Second Printing

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This week I received my first royalty check from Modern Drummer with the news that FUNdamentals of Drumming For Kids is now in its second printing. I must admit that I did not foresee this kind of reaction when I first pitched the idea (along with my co-author Rich Redmond). It’s also hard to believe that the pathway to our success started out with a single email. Here’s how it went… 1. I see Rich playing on a YouTube video. 2. I visit his website and email him to ask about drum books for kids. 3. We chat on the phone and realize there is nothing out there for youngsters. 4. We decide to write a book. 5. We write the book. 6. Modern Drummer publishes the book. Along the way Rich and I have become close friends and successful writing partners. It just goes to show that positive energy and persistence can lead to success. If you’re interested in getting your copy of our book/DVD visit us online at: http://www.moderndrummer.com/fundamentalsofdrumming/

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