Weekend Drummer: What is a weekend drummer?

Over the course of the next few posts, I am going to dive into some information that I believe will be useful to drummers but mainly weekend drummers. So then what is a weekend drummer?

Instead of coming up with a phrase to define a weekend drummer I thought it would be better to define the term by answering the following questions.

  • Does the drummer have another job?
  • Does it count if the job that the drummer has is in the music field?
  • What days of the week are these gigs?
  • Where are the gigs played and for whom?
  • How often does a weekend drummer play?
  • What type of music is played?

Answers:

  • The person may or may not have a job and it doesn’t matter what field the job is in.
  • The gigs can be any day of the week but they are usually on Friday or Saturday.
  • Gigs are usually in bars, clubs, conference rooms, churches where the drummer has to bring their own kit, community theaters, and other various small to medium size places.
  • Gigs are usually for the attendees of the bar, club, or public events (town fair). For private events (wedding reception, mitzvahs, corporate events) then the people invited are who you are playing for.
  • It doesn’t matter. You have one gig a year or gig for multiple bands multiple times a week.
  • All of it. The type of music varies from gig to gig and even from set to set within a gig. Most weekend drummers are in bands that cover tunes of different artists, of different genres, from many different eras of music.

If you are only doing the following then I am excluding you as a weekend drummer but not from the information I’m going to share.

  • Internet drummer – Drummers who only play on social media accounts If this is the only time you play drums, aside from practicing, then you do not fit the definition of a weekend drummer.
  • Studio drummer – Drummers who only playing in a studio setting. This one is a little more rare to find but there are some drummers out there who only do studio work.

The term “weekend drummer” is not the best of all terms and there is a gray area when talking about who is included and who is not. There are things that I am going to address that could be for every kind of drummer on the face of the planet. However, for the purposes of reaching out to a specific group of drummers, this was the best term that came to mind since a term like “working drummer” or ”gigging drummer” was too broad. Now that we have an idea of a weekend drummer is lets move forward with the concerns.

Weekend Drummer: Introduction

The drummer showed up with this huge drum set and pretty much took up the whole stage.

The drummer was still setting up and we were supposed to go on in 15 minutes.

The drummer sped up all of the songs.

These are some of the complaints I have heard from other musicians when it comes to drummers at gigs or rehearsals. While, not everything said about drummers was bad I was able to take the complaints and create general categories of concerns. As I was looking over the general concerns I noticed that most of them were not related to the actual playing of the drummer. Even more interesting was that some of the playing (grooves, licks, fills, etc.) concerns could be avoided by doing things before the drummer even sits behind the kit at a gig or rehearsal.

Curious as to what the internet had to say, I searched for answers that would address the complaints that I heard about drummers. While I did find some answers to the complaints, in most instances I did not find anything that actually did addressed the complaints from other musicians (or I did not look well enough). I started thinking, “How is a drummer supposed to know about certain things if nobody addresses those things?” Wanting to answer that thought, what I hope to do is contribute more information that address the concerns that may pop up for drummers especially weekend drummers.

I will go into more depth later as to what a weekend drummer is but for now, a weekend drummer is a person who plays drums at private events, small public events, musicals, bars, clubs, and some churches.

The things I will cover include:

  • Which drums to buy.
  • Getting the right tempos for songs.
  • Learning songs,
  • Taxes (yes, you should file all of your gig money to the IRS)
  • The pros and cons of using a tablet
  • Using an electronic drum pad(s)
  • …and more

What I would like to accomplish:

  • Address many of the complaints and concerns I have heard from musicians.
  • My hope is that drummers will be more informed so that they increase their opportunity to get more gigs.
  • I want to see drummers be a more reliable person in the band if they are not reliable already.

Even if the information I present does not apply to you and your situation, like using an electronic drum pad, I do believe that the information may be worth sharing to other drummers you might have in your circle. So with that being said, lets define what a weekend drummer is and then get going on addressing the complaints.

Linear Drumming Approach

Introduction:

In linear drumming, there are multiple ways to approach learning and”mastering” this type of playing. Some of these approaches include:

  • Chain the paradiddle rudiments together with single stroke roll and double stroke roll. Then substitute the feet in or add in kick drum hits in-between the rudiments.
  • Combine singles and doubles with the hands and the feet
  • Memorize and combine multiple licks then displaced the start of a lick within a beat.
  • Gary Chaffee’s Patterns series books
  • Mike’s Johnston’s “Linear Drumming” book

No matter the approach, what is important is that it makes sense to you AND it works for your situation. I thought the Gary Chaffee book “Sticking Patterns” would work for me but it did not work for my situation. Then one evening while at work I discovered an approach while dissecting a bunch of linear patterns and licks.

As I analyzed the patterns I broke the patterns into groups of 3s and 4s. Doing that I noticed that all of the patterns could be broken down into 24 separate 3 note combinations linked together. Yes, 24 is a lot of combinations to remember and practice but conceptually it is only eight patterns with three different starting notes. I will explain later.

A few things to mention before moving on.

  1. I have not actually practiced this approach yet. I plan on starting this approach this month (May 2019) and document my practice along the way.
  2. More important, this approach is not new. As a matter of fact Dave Weckl introduce this approach, if not something very similar, in one of his videos.

Definition:

Linear drumming is a drum kit playing style in which no drum, cymbal, or other drum component hits simultaneously. Unlike other forms of time keeping and fills, there is no layering of parts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_drumming

The Approach:

1R – L – R4L – R – L
2R – R – L5L – L – R
3L – R – R6R – L – L
7R – K – R10L – K – L
8K – R – R11K – L – L
9R – R – K12L – L – K
13K – R – K16K – L – K
14K – K – R17K – K – L
15R – K – K18L – K – K
19R – K – L22L – K – R
20K – R – L23K – L – R
21R – L – K24L – R – K

Optional combinations:

  • K – K – K
  • R – R – R
  • L – L – L

Listed above are all 24 combinations plus an additional three combinations to increase the possibilities of linear drumming. These 24 combinations can be simplified to 8 combinations given that 3 patterns are the same but starting on a different part of the pattern. The combinations conceptually can even be simplified down to four combinations if a drummer chose to and look at a combination from only a Hand/Foot perspective. Then one would substitute in an ‘R’ or ‘L’ where there is a Hand marking.

  • H – K – H would turn into R – K – L or L – K – R or L – K – L or R – K – R

Personal Note:

I look forward to practicing this approach since linear drumming is something that I’ve always wanted to learn and improve on. Many times I might hear a particular fill in my head that requires a combination of hands and feet but I have never stop to practice it in a way that I am not just memorizing 16/32 note licks.