Drums For Dummies
Repeat this procedure on the bottom head if you have double-headed drums. Some like to get both heads tuned to the same pitch, but other people tune the bottom head slightly higher or lower than the top head. Experiment and see what you prefer.
Drums For Dummies
Playing a percussion instrument is all about rhythm. So if you play the drums, when you get together with other musicians, you need to be able to choose the correct rhythm for each song. If you end up reading music, this task is easy because the style of the music and basic groove pattern are notated on the chart (sheet music), but if you play without music, you have to figure out what to play. To do so, you need to listen to what the other musicians are playing and immediately choose a rhythm that fits.
Drums For Dummies gets you going on the road to becoming the drummer you want to be. Get started with the basics--what drums to buy, exercises that build your skills, and playing simple rhythms. Then move into more complex topics, explore drumming styles from around the world, and add other percussion instruments to your repertoire.
Dreaming of drumming? Here's where to start! Do you find yourself tapping on the tabletop whenever music plays? It's time to turn table-drumming into the real thing. The simple, easy-to-follow advice in this book gets you going, whether your goal is to start a band or just to play for your own enjoyment. Conquer the basics of the drums while you discover the different rhythms of rock, blues, Latin, and other music styles. You'll also find advice on playing other percussion instruments, buying and maintaining a drum set, performing for an audience, and much more. Inside... Begin with basic rhythms
Learn fundamental techniques
Choose the perfect drum set
Find out how to tune drums
Explore rhythms from around the world
Discover how drums are used in different musical styles
About the Author
Like pots, pans, and garbage cans, drums come in all shapes and sizes. Most are round, but some are octagonal. Some are shallow and others are deep. Some are shaped like bowls or cylinders, others like goblets or an hourglass. Some you beat with sticks, while others you strike with hands or fingers. (See Figure 1-1 for a few drum shapes and sizes.) But, regardless of their shape or size, all drums consist of three basic components:
C. Tom-tom. The tom-toms are pitched drums that are usually between 9 and 18 inches in diameter. A drumset commonly has at least two, if not three, of them (some drummers, such as Neil Peart from the 1970s rock band Rush, have dozens of tom-toms, so go wild if you want to). Generally, the largest tom-tom (called a floor tom) is set up on the floor with legs that are attached to the shell of the drum. The smaller tom-toms (often called ride toms) are attached to a stand, which extends up from the bass drum or from the floor next to the bass drum. These drums are used for fills (a fill is a break in the main drumbeat, as I cover in Chapter 13) or as a substitute for the snare drum in some parts of songs.
bullet Gongs. These cymbals were really popular additions to drumsets during the stadium rock era in the 1970s when drumsets were huge and drum solos were a staple. Gongs actually come in many shapes and sizes, but the most popular are large (up to three feet across) and very loud.
People have been playing drums since they discovered that banging a stick against a log made a pleasing sound (or at least a loud one). Unlike most musical instruments, you can find drums in all parts of the world. Different cultures created different drums based upon the materials they had on hand, their rhythmic sensibilities, and whether they were nomadic or agrarian people (people who moved around a lot developed smaller, lighter drums). As a result, you see an awful lot of different types of drums in the world.
Just as you have a wide variety of drum styles in the world, you also have a bunch of ways to play them. Some drums require hands or fingers while others require the use of sticks to produce their characteristic sounds. Still others utilize both hands and sticks.
The most common and recognizable drumstick is used on the drumset and for playing rudiments (used for classical music and in drum corps; see Chapter 3). This stick is generally about 16 or 17 inches long with a diameter ranging from about 3/8 inch to almost one inch. The stick tapers down at about the last 2 or 3 inches (called the shoulder ) to a beaded tip, which is what strikes the drum. The tip is made of either wood or nylon. The nylon-tipped stick produces a crisper and brighter sound than the wood-tipped stick. Figure 1-5 shows you a typical drumstick.
Some of the more traditional drums have other types of sticks. Some are wrapped in felt or fleece, some are just straight sticks with no tip, some are curved, and others have beaters (the part that actually beats the drum head) on both ends. See Figure 1-6 for a variety of stick shapes and sizes.
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