Thought I Knew Comfort

I have been doing micro adjustments on my drums since the day I got them and to be completely honest I was really happy with them and had basically left them alone for a few weeks with and when I got the two new toms I basically just added them in and again I was really happy and comfortable. That is until a good friend of mine who has been drumming for I believe around 30 years asked to see a pic of my drums as he hasn’t been able to come over yet. The first thing he called out after telling me how awesome the drums look and how happy he is that I am finally playing was that the drums looked a little stretched out. Again I was very comfortable with my drums and just thought it was because I am mostly upper-body with shorter legs. Then came Wednesday night, when I went to his house and he asked me to sit behind his kit and get some ideas about placement for myself. WOW! What a difference and I was way more comfortable. It was like being laid out on a couch vs being in an airplane seat. Since sitting behind his drum set and taking some pictures for reference I overhauled my kit yesterday and I can’t believe the difference it has already made. Not only am I more comfortable but it is already noticeable that I am faster and cleaner.

I know many of you have been drumming for a long time and know exactly how you like things but for me this was almost mind blowing. I basically set up my kit on four criteria when I started – What kits are set up like in store, basics for setting kit properly found online and in drum books, advice from my teacher based on what we did on the lesson kit, and finally just little things that made me comfortable. Again I will say that I was happy with my set up and thought I was comfortable.

Since Wednesday I raised by seat and my snare quite a bit, drum_mainpic2lowered all of my tack toms and even moved them off the bass drum (all of my toms can mount to bass or to stands including the 14″) which was because I was able to move them closer together as well as lower them and allowed me to but the ride exactly where I wanted it, lowered and tightened my ride cymbal and bring my double bass pedal and high hat in close to three inches . The final result allowed me to move around the kit more freely even though from an overall floor print I had actually brought the drums in a lot closer.  The convenient coincidence is that with the drums lower and everything closer together my girlfriend can enjoy them a lot more without having to make as many adjustments.

One of the final pieces of advice my friend had for me which I would like to share with you is to video yourself playing.  If you film yourself from a couple of angles just playing anything you will have the opportunity to see where you might be able to improve your set up. He suggested having someone who is knowledgeable observe you play and help out but some of us are stubborn or they may have biases to how they set up so it may be better to just observe yourself.  My teacher was already doing this with the practice kit and while it felt good it is no where near my home set up now.

It has now been just over three months since I bought my kit and just over two months since I started lessons and I have to say that I am really happy and proud of my progress.  I am starting to be able to play what I want to hear out of the drums and I am confident playing basic rock beats and quite a few songs.

Stay Tuned!

Drumming Education #48 Steve Jordan

Well I am on to number 48 of Modern Drummer “The 50 Greatest Drummers steve jordanOf All Time” and I have to say Steve Jordan has a ridiculously amazing resume.  Some of the highlights include: As a teenager he played with Stevie Wonder’s band and later played for the Saturday Night Live band. While drumming for SNL band he joined with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd and went on tour with The Blues Brothers in the 80’s – (did not appear in the movie). He returned to late night in 1982 alongside Paul Shaffer’s World’s Most Dangerous Band on Late Night with David Letterman… Wow! Born in the Bronx, New York on January 14, 1957 and he later graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. As soon as the snare drum was bestowed upon him, Steve Jordan was issued a challenge by his father: learn to play Art Blakey‘s “Blues March.” To further motivate him to accept the challenge, Steve Jordan’s father told him that learning that song would enable him to play anything on the drums. Steve Jordan took on the challenge, and the “Blues March” became the first song he ever learned to play. Steve’s next big influence was jazz drummer Freddie Waits. They met at an after-school music program, when Steve was 16 years old. Steve Jordan was so eager to learn, that he and Freddie Waits struck up a relationship and began working together. Freddie Waits taught Steve Jordan privately for a while, showing him what he needed to do to become a professional musician. Soon enough the lessons turned into counseling: Steve Jordan played while Freddie listened and watched carefully so he could guide him.

His most recent work includes being a part of the John Mayer Trio, stevejordanchriskuhlGrammy Award Winner for his Producing efforts, touring with Eric Clapton’s band in 2007, and starting The Verbs with his wife.  He has worked with countless artists over the years and I suggest you take a look at his videos online. He also released an instructional video and book called The Groove is Here.

Simplicity is not stupidity. Just because something sounds simple or is easy to play, in your mind, doesn’t mean it is dumb.” – Steve Jordan in the DVD The Groove Is Here, 2002.

Stay Tuned!