zondag 17 februari 2008

Basic brush patterns

I would like to take this opportunity to help whomever interested, on his/her way to start the use of brushes into their drum-playing.
The brushes can improve one's technical & musical skill in so many ways.
One big benefit is that you are able to practice at any given time because of the softness in sound they produce. Not only good to stay friends with the neighbours; you don't need to use earplugs to keep on going for longer periods of time. It works perfectly to imitate a complete groove on just one drum by using all it's colors in sound.Most drummers I know who play brushes, have developed their own 'tricks' and pattern- combinations. Usually, the techniques used with sticks, familiar to these drummers an myself, have been adapted to holding brushes instead with much less bounce when played on a drum/cymbal. It's a good idea to do realize that they do have some bounce, and I would recommend trying to get the most out of this.
Eventually this comes in hand even more when you grab sticks again. Obviously what it comes down to, is learning how to control even the slightest motion between pifit point in your hands and the response you get on either a downstroke or sweep.

Guidelines I use to try and maintain a good sound:

-always keep all movements in time.
-circular sweeping motions have a maintaining pulse with each beat on a repeating simular position on the head.
-preferably always keep 1 brush on the head to get a ' closed' ongoing sweeping noise.
- when playing double strokes, instead of letting the down strokes fall direct horizontally on the drumhead, experiment with a slight angle from the side. You will get a fuller more legato sound.

Below you will find 4 basic brushpatterns I use. I believe they are fairly simple in concept, which makes them easy to alternate and adept to any particular groove/tempo.
You could practice them both in swingfeel or straight 8ths/16ths.

Hopefully you will get something out of this and feel free to comment on this.
Lastly I would like to add that this is just my personal approach to brushes, and that it seems to work for me, but do try and figure out your own patterns and ' tricks'. Once you get the hang of a few patterns, things will start to happen by themselves. You might want to repeat and memorize some of these ' accidental variations' and develop them more.

Good luck!

blue = left hand
light red = right hand
small outlined light red dots = taps
All examples are played on 100bpm. Some of it half time at 1st.

Reading and understanding
brush pattern-'maps' can be some what ambiguous. That's why I've quickly videotaped them and put a clip next to each one of them in order to try making it a little easier.

Example 1

Notice the light red dot bottom right being the down beat of 1 and 3. I also sweep towards the dot in the middle(the 2+). When I play an accent with the left hand, I don't actually lift the brush from the head completely. Instead I push the full spread of the wires onto the head quickly and you hear that tap sound.

Example 2

As long as you keep the motion going with the right hand, You can lift it from the head in time and create different accents. Half way the clip I change to a variation on this pattern:

Example 3

This one is great for ballads, and to combine with example 2 as well. You can either use the full surface of the head, or make the circles much smaller for uptempo tunes.

Example 4

For more audio&video material check : www.myspace.com/sebastiaancornelissen