‘gbond’, I’m w/ you all of the way!!! Freddie Gruber was THE drum teacher & educator of all drum teachers! I have some GREAT DVD footage of him on Dave Weckl’s “A Natural Evolution: How To Develop Technique” instructional/educational DVD. He is filmed teaching w/ Dave & teaching solo, in which he gives some great tips on practice regimins, demonstrating only on a practice pad!
My personal 1st experience of being ‘introduced’ to Freddie Gruber was w/ Neil Peart’s “A Work In Progress” instructional/educational video that was released in 1996 (co-inciding w/ Rush’s ‘Test For Echo’ release) & produced/directed by Paul Siegel & Rob Wallis (who would go on to found Hudson Music!). I remember 1st buying it on it’s 2 tape VHS BoxSet (it was released on DVD in 2002)!
All throughout the disc, Neil explains & demonstrates the new style that he developed by spending 1 full year under the tutelage of…Freddie Gruber! Gruber totally took Neil’s style & technique—the way that he had played from his start w/ Rush in 1974 (& much b/f that even) to 1994, after the ‘Counterparts’ Tour was over! It was then that he decided to go w/ a teacher. It was Steve Smith, who worked w/ Neil on the ‘Burning For Buddy’ project that made the introduction. Steve had just finished a long study w/ Freddie. Neil explains/demonstrates how Freddie got him back to basics, as Neil puts it. Traditional Grip, snare drum raised higher (to the naval-to be exact. Freddie told Neil that Budddists believe that the naval is the center point in the male body), & a completley re-vamped setup AND, more importantly, set re-configuration.
Right after the ‘Counterparts’ tour ended, Neil switched from Ludwig to DW. It took almost the entire year for Freddie & Neil to come up w/ a setup & config. that would suit his newfound style/technique. This is why his STM mounted rack toms are set in a “step-down” style as opposed to his previous standard “all-in-front & all even” setup(s)! Freddie is the man who also had Neil mount his 18"x16” floor tom in a gong bass drum suspended position above & behind his 16"x16” floor tom! Freddie also suggested that Neil switch his 5 cowbells to the direct left of him, as opposed to being on the right of his last rack tom.
Even if you aren’t a Peart fan persay, the amount of information & tips that he passes down from Freddie Gruber would make this DVD worth the $40-50 price tag (pending on where you buy it from—personally, I’d go to the Rush Backstage Club site (their official merch site) where you’ll get the lowest price & a speedy delivery.
The loss of Freddie Gruiber it a real hard hit to our drumming comminity! Another musical genius is gone this year, along w/ the legendary Joe Morello. He is a drummer that I’ve admired since about a year into my playing drums. After hearing the staple solo to “Take Five” w/ Brubeck I was hooked on Morello’s work!
Thanks for the post & be well!