Some links, tips, and a bit of jabber!

Howdy! I know that researching a purchase can be time consuming. So, I’ve put together some links and tips that have helped me in the past.

A few links to start us off: (It might not be brand new but you can find some great deals here!) has a wonderful social arena with drummers across the world. There’s also a forum! has a plethora of videos that demonstrate how different products perform and what they sound like. Just stick to the HD vids!


Also websites like and let you build your shells custom! You can select the number of plys, the type of wood and the finish! The also have a wide range of pre-cut shell sizes! You can also select things like bearing edge angle and miter.


When it comes to free online lessons Google is your friend! There is no one stop shop when it comes to good drum lessons. The entire web is your tutor. So all I can say is dig! Dig! Dig!

And don’t forget about writing your own lessons and play-a-longs.


These are just a few tidbits I put together to make your life a bit easier.



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Breaking the habit.

Howdy! You know, I’ve met a lot of novice drummers in my time. And they all ask me the same question. Why can’t I get better? At times we seem to get stuck in a rut when we practice. I’ve always said that every drummer has his rhythm. Meaning that every drummer has the one monotonous beat that’s been stuck in they’re head since the very first time they sat down to learn to play. This is the same drum beat we play every stink’n time we go to guitar center to test out a kit. LOL in fact those music stores are probably full of clerks that have memorized your rhythm. They know we’re there when they hear us play. The simple fact is that drumming is addictive and even habit forming. So how can we stir the creative juices and put a twist into our style?

Learning to read and write

You might be surprised to know that many a drummers, fantastic drummers even, don’t know how to read and write notes on a staff. For me, learning to read and write notation has given me a wonderful boost to my creativity. When you write your own material you are forced to know exactly what you’re doing. This is excellent practice. It also gives you a way to communicate with band members in a way that is clear and concise. Take a little time to search on for clips from Mike Mangini’s audition for DreamTheater. You’ll notice that one of the first things they do is communicate in depth about how things are played. Learning notation is the key to leaping into the unknown. Learning notation can help you think things through, especially when you’re working with things like odd time signatures.

Sometimes we get tired of playing the same old boring lessons, the so-called habit breakers. If this is you, try writing your own habit breakers. You could even assemble them into a book and sell it for millions!

Learning notation will also help you to understand programs like FL Studio. Software like this lets build melodies and rhythms from scratch using pre-recorded and synthetic instruments. I use this type of software a lot when I get an idea for a lick.

Hope these ideas are helpful to you and your passion.



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Eat your ostinatos!

Let’s face it most amateur drummers aren’t interested in the light whims of classical music. It is often looked down upon as drab and as lacking emotion to identify with. But not very many amateur drummers realize just how much the modern alternative/metal/thrasher style has its roots in classical genre.

One thing in particular is the ostinato. Wikipedia brings out the term ostinato is derived from an Italian word that can be rendered “stubborn”, and is reminiscent of the English word “obstinate”. World English Dictionary defines ostinato as “a continuously reiterated musical phrase”.

The ostinato is an integral part in all styles of drumming. In fact it is such a central part to music as a whole that it has found it’s way into many different cultures of music such as Latin, Jazz, Pop, Rock and classical. A good example of two ostinatos in action is the classic 3 over 4 polyrhythm.

3 over 4 time

Note that the Kick drum is played in 3 / 4 time. Placing the snare notes is easy too. Simply break the 3 / 4 time of the Kick drum into 16th notes. The snare is played on every 3rd 16th note. Take a look at Mike Johnston’s vid on three over four time. Mike does a fantastic job of showing how to use this simple and yet powerful element in your playing style.

Understanding ostinatos is fundamental to playing the drums and can add a new dynamic to your style. And there are hundreds of lessons online that will help you understand how to use this wonderful tool.

Thanks and Peace!



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Sticks! Loads and loads of drum sticks!

Howdy! I thought about this article while working on a piece for my band. You know a lot of drummers often overlook the effect that sticks can have on the overall sound of your kit. Drum sticks come in all shapes and sizes, and are made from many different materials. I’ve seen plane generic sticks as well as really out there sticks shaped like paint paddles!

You might say, “Why does the size of my drum stick even matter?” The basic Idea is that the thinner and lighter the drum stick, the lighter the instrument will sound. I’ll give you an example. Many of us are familiar with Mr. Dave Mackintosh, drummer for the power metal band DragonForce. This man primarily uses Vic Firth’s American Classic® 5A drum sticks. These sticks are 16” long and 0.565” in diameter. As you’ve probably guessed, DragonForce is one of my favorite metal bands. And Dave Mackintosh is no exception when it comes to talent and imagination. LOL, I really don’t have to provide an audio example now do I? Dave’s style is ruled by blazing blast beats with great precision. Now let’s think for a moment about Mr. Mike Mangini, drummer for the legendary DreamTheater. This gentleman often uses a signature drum stick made from laminated Birch called the Zildjian Mike Mangini Artist Series Drumstick. These drum sticks are 16 ½” long and 0.585” in diameter. When we compare the two, we notice that while the difference in size is minimal, the difference in timbre becomes very evident.

This kind of difference can completely change the dynamic of a piece. My gear list includes the Vic Firth American Classic® 5A, American Classic® 8D and a set of Steve Gadd Wire Brushes.

I hope that considering these small nuances will help you in creating your masterpiece of melody.


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Cymbals, not so symbolic!

Howdy! So now I’ve decided to yack about cymbals. I’m not here to preach a specific brand. I wanted to talk about what makes a good cymbal. I know everybody’s got their own preference when it comes to cymbals. Therefore instead of pitting cymbals together in a long drawn-out battle, I will go into a little bit of how cymbals are made, how a cymbal’s construction affects its tone, and how you can recognize the sound you want by what you see.

Firstly, the most simple and worry free way to know the sound of a cymbal is to choose by size. The smaller the diameter of the cymbal, the higher pitch you’ll hear. But the tone of a cymbal is colored by many, MANY other things. From the thickness and hardness of the metal used, to the type of battering utensil employed.  Few people realize, however, just how much of the tone is determined by the type of metal used when making a cymbal.

In the case of cymbals, there are many different types of metals used; they include Brass, Nickel, Zink, Tin, and Copper to name a few. Most commonly though an alloy of metals are used. A common one is called B8. The ‘B’ stands for Brass. Brass is an alloy made from copper and tin. The number, in this case ‘8’ is the percentage of the alloy that is Tin. Therefore, A cymbal made with the B8 alloy has 8% Tin and 92% copper. We’re all familiar with the popular Sabian B8s. You’ll notice that the B8’s have a very red color. That’s because of the alloy used is primarily composed of copper. The Most commonly found, and most audibly appealing alloy on the market in my opinion is called B20. As you’ve probably guessed, B20 contains 20% Tin. But what’s the difference?

The difference you’ll find is that B20 cymbals have a very open and natural quality, while B8 cymbals have a more focused an even louder tone. So, one may find that based on its color a cymbal will sound very different. And neither one is inferior. You must experiment for yourself and learn to find the cymbals you like and that fit with your playing style. Me, I’m a sucker for the Zildjian A Custom series.

Well, that’s my two cents worth,


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