Teaching Studio Refurbishment

Dye House Drum Works: New Drum Kits, Cymbals and Technical Stations Installed in our Leicester Teaching Studios!

Mapex Mars kits have been all the talk here at Dye House Drum Works, with 2 brand new kits for our tuition rooms: a fusion set in ‘Bonewood’ white with black hardware and an LA/hybrid fusion configuration in ‘Bloodwood’ red with chrome fittings and stands. The finishes are stunning and the colours set off beautifully by each kit’s distinctive hardware pack. We have topped both sets with Aquarian Texture Coated heads and new cymbals too: Sabian XS20 sets in brilliant finish – an excellent all-round/mid price cymbal range. The kits sound amazing: our custom built rooms here do help as they are designed to support the natural acoustic properties of the drum kit, but this combination of great drums, cymbals and drumheads makes for an excellent, balanced and inspiring sound. I should mention the Mars bass drum pedal and hi-hat stands specifically here too, as everyone here has found them super-playable and I couldn’t agree more.

Picture of white Mapex Mars drum kit in Studio 1 at Dye House Drum Works

New Mapex Mars set up: Studio 1, Dye House Drum Works.

 

Aquarian practice pad, wall-mounted mirror and drum rudiment chart set up in Studio 1.

Technical station.

Each of our tuition studios is kitted out with an independent technical station, featuring Aquarian Tru-Bounce practice pads, a wall mounted mirror and Vic Firth rudiment charts. The mirrors are also aligned to be used while sat at the main drum kit.

Audio monitoring for CD and MP3 playback is fitted in all our rooms, via a mix of Ramsa, Yamaha, Sony, Peavey and Jamo sound systems, plus Tama Rhythm Watch metronomes for more focussed technical and timing work.

Mapex Mars drum set in Studio 2 of Dye House Drum Works.

Mapex Mars kit is Studio 2, Dye House Drum Works.

Mapex Mars drum set with Sabian XS20 cymbals, plus Aquarian technical station in studio 2 at Dye House Drum Works

Mapex Mars: ‘Bloodwood’ finish, Studio 2.

 

Superstition by Stevie Wonder

This past week or so I’ve been working on songs for a dep gig with a great band of local musician friends I’ve had the pleasure of working with on and off for some years. Their set is comprised of classic R&B, motown, funk and soul material, with some of the world’s top drummers in the chair on the original recordings – and so my job here is proving to be once again an enjoyable challenge!

One particular song on the list is a firm favourite with many and varied cover bands – and one which I have played on lots of occasions with several different outfits, but I would have to say that its truly sublime feel has proved to be one of the most elusive and revisited grooves with which I have ever wrestled to the point where, to date, I’ve never been happy with how I play it! …and this track was originally recorded by a guy who probably wouldn’t consider the drum kit to be his first instrument! Continue reading

Respect! …natural and musical grooving.

Respect –  performed by Aretha Franklin, 1967 (written by Otis Redding).

Drummer: Gene Chrisman

Much of the rock & pop approach to drum rhythms relies heavily on a 2 & 4 ‘backbeat’ feel and in more recent times, regularity and repetition through the entire kit has proved to be the fashion.

I’ve played this song many times, but only quite recently stumbled upon the bare unpredictability of the bass drum here in Gene Chrisman’s playing. For me, it’s the totally natural work of a master with very much the whole picture in mind. Continue reading

Theloniuos Monk/Straight, No Chaser tutorial

Learn to play jazz drums at Dye House Drum Works

I thought I might share a couple of things with you today, as this afternoon I am enjoying the music of Thelonious Monk – and his drummer of the time, Ben Riley.

If you’re not familiar with Monk’s work, check him out. In terms of jazz greats, he’s right up there and really is someone with whom all musicians should become at least aware.

There is so much to love about the man and his music, but for me the real deal clincher is a singular sense of fun that comes through in his compositions and performances. Continue reading

What is the role of the drummer?

Advice for drummers: what is the role of the drummer?

An important and fundamental question we should pose ourselves as drummers – especially if taking early steps in playing drums – is ‘what is the role of the drummer?’ This is actually quite a difficult one to pin down as answers can be subjective and at least partly reliant on genre & context, but common responses might be: to keep time; to hold the band together or to create a rhythmic framework; to structure dynamics or perhaps to signal changes within the music. To whittle the focus of our art down to one catch-all phrase could be to deliver a great injustice to the history and players of our instrument. The role of the drummer – even in the simplest of conditions – is all these things, and so much more. Continue reading

Beat Displacement & Cantaloupe Island

Cantaloupe Island tutorial.

Here’s an interesting and fun rhythmic concept, accessible to players of all levels: ‘Beat Displacement’.
I’m going to reference this directly to an equally engaging and highly musical tune: Herbie Hancock’s ‘Cantaloupe Island’, which features the genre-defining talents of Tony Williams on drums.

Although this tune is widely regarded as a ‘jazz standard’, the feel is in ‘straight eighths’ (as opposed to the more common swing/dotted jazz ride rhythm). The ‘beat displacement’ content is displayed here within the snare drum line, pretty much right through the track, landing neatly alongside the bass emphasis. Here are a couple of bars taken from the drum part:

  • Ride cymbal at the top – and if you’re just starting out playing drums, try leaving out the pedal hi hats to begin with. Continue reading