lessons

Analysis Of The Bill Ward Legacy

“Supernaut”

Black Sabbath Vol. 4
Sabbath recorded several songs that began with Ward playing for a couple of measures before the band enters, perhaps to lock the tempo. “Supernaut” begins with a two-handed sixteenth note hi-hat pattern that curiously omits the & of 1 in the first bar. The second part has two characteristics of Ward’s drumming: lots of bass drum notes while crashing the ride. In case you thought Dave Grohl was the first drummer to routinely pummel his ride like a crash — think again. Here we see Ward bashing his ride while Grohl was still wearing diapers. For these transcriptions, I’ve notated Ward either crashing his ride or riding his crash, since it’s impossible to tell the two apart and it’s the best indication of the resulting sound.

bill ward

“Snowblind”

Black Sabbath Vol. 4
Many Black Sabbath songs made allusions to Osbourne’s drug use, and “Snowblind” is no exception. This track shows Ward’s inventive way of working a lot of bass drum notes into his parts, but rather than coming across as overly bottom heavy, his use of drags shapes the phrases in interesting ways.

bill ward

“Sweet Leaf”

Master Of Reality
Ward could be funky when he wanted to. On “Sweet Leaf,” we hear him play a heavy yet very funky groove with lots of bass drum notes landing on the e’s and ah’s. The bridge makes great use of Ward’s big, thudding toms.

bill ward

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