Herman Matthews: Too Loud Or Loud Enough?

Herman Matthews: Too Loud Or Loud Enough?

Let’s talk about dynamics. Some musicians I know tend to think that if it ain’t too loud, it ain’t loud enough. If this doesn’t apply to you, then you’re ahead of the game, and maybe you should turn the page.

Now, I was somewhat surprised to hear a well-known drummer whom I love and respect sit in with the band I was playing with. He basically obliterated the group. I would expect this from a guitarist (no offense), but drummers must use control, stand our ground and play music. We must learn to play the room and complement what’s going on around us. It’s our job to bring out the best in all the musicians onstage. We should all get along and shower the people with love ... yeah, right!

The bottom line is that you don’t want to be the loudest player on stage. As a standard rule, if you can’t hear the vocals or if you can’t hear the lead instrument, then you’re too loud. I know that a certain amount of air has to be pushed and certain motions need to be followed through, but let’s do it within reason.

The following example is a Dave Garibaldi kind of funk pattern grouped around sixteenth-notes. Play it at 120 bpm, and then mess around with the tempos. But the key is to play it as soft as you possibly can.

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