Drum Solo Strategies

Posted: November 22, 2010 02:16 PM

Andy Doerschuk_1

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For the past couple years I have played with a guitarist named Daniel Castro, who leads one of the more popular blues bands in the San Francisco area. Unlike most other bandleaders I’ve played with, Daniel gives me lots of drum solos throughout the night — usually at least one per set, but very often two or three. Needless to say, this is a bit of a double-edged sword, in that I love the challenge of trying to define each solo as a separate and unique statement, but often feel like I’m relying on motifs and patterns I’ve played before rather than truly improvising.

But I tried something the other night that shook things up a bit. After playing about 32 bars of a solo, I stood up, grabbed by hi-hat (while playing a ride pattern on the top cymbal), and walked to the front of the stage where I soloed on just the hat. It was fun to try to keep things interesting by trying different rhythmic patterns and open and closed textures — I even played on the stand itself to expand my sound pallette.

Does anyone else have any soloing strategies to share?

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Andy Doerschuk
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Posted: November 22, 2010 02:55 PM

gbond

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Very cool idea Andy!- I’m none too original but like to do quads on the splashes and basses to interject some fun- that and cowbells (Peart) and BIG floor tom patterns (Brewer in Grand Funk) and at then end of my big Bonham tribute I pick up the giant Promark sticks (3 footers) to finish…. nothing new I guess!!!

Posted: November 27, 2010 04:53 PM

bnsfnut

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Whenever I’m in band class my fellow students seem to love it when I wail on the base tom and snare. I find it very funny when the jelous ones tell me to stop and I go even louder.

Posted: January 08, 2011 11:37 AM

Baloo

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I like solos that tell a short and sweet story like this.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsKq3HD0EFc

Posted: January 08, 2011 11:50 AM

Andy Doerschuk_1

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Incredible clip of Morello’s solo on “Take 5.” Thanks for sharing it.

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Andy Doerschuk
Editorial director, drummagazine.com

Posted: January 12, 2011 04:26 PM

Rev.D.

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That’s a pretty cool idea Andy, I have to try that sometime.
I think that a drum solo should have a begging, a middle and an end, just like a story. It should have dynamics, depth and emotion, but also be fun and energetic. Always remember that the drums are an extension of yourself and as you play while soloing or for a song, you are expressing yourself and revealing who you are as an individual, to the audience. Pretty personal. Also remember that people will remember a great drum solo or performance.  But they usually remember a bad one for even longer.

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A good drummer will sound good on anything. A Bad drummer will sound bad on anything.

Posted: January 30, 2012 12:40 PM

pauldcjennings

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It took me a long time to get even close to be comfortable with soloing.

For me, where your heads at is a huge factor. When I think of all the solos where I felt like I may have nailed it, my head was not worrying about it. Generally when ever I would make a mistake it was always because I was thinking too hard about what I was playing or what I was about to play.

Obviously a lot comes from being confidant and knowing your chops will make you a more confidant player. The other part of it is knowing that the audience are not against you and want you to be great. I think back to shows where I would foolishly get it into my head that everyone in the crowed were thinking I was rubbish. That only made me play worse as a consequence.

So I would say, know your chops but above all go into your solo confidant and knowing that you are on your game.

I truly believe this will help you.

Paul.

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Paul Jennings
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