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Tech: Acoustic drummin'

Les in Chorlton 12 Oct 10 - 03:01 AM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Oct 10 - 10:05 PM
Les in Chorlton 13 Oct 10 - 03:46 AM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Oct 10 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Oct 10 - 06:10 AM
Les in Chorlton 13 Oct 10 - 06:12 AM
Les in Chorlton 13 Oct 10 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Ed 13 Oct 10 - 06:32 AM
greg stephens 13 Oct 10 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 13 Oct 10 - 08:02 AM
Les in Chorlton 13 Oct 10 - 09:23 AM
greg stephens 13 Oct 10 - 09:58 AM
Phil Edwards 13 Oct 10 - 12:18 PM
Les in Chorlton 14 Oct 10 - 03:14 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Oct 10 - 03:31 AM
Phil Edwards 14 Oct 10 - 04:23 AM
Tattie Bogle 14 Oct 10 - 12:53 PM
greg stephens 14 Oct 10 - 12:58 PM
Jack Campin 14 Oct 10 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,goodlife 14 Oct 10 - 04:36 PM
Tattie Bogle 14 Oct 10 - 08:59 PM
GUEST,guest 15 Oct 10 - 02:30 PM
Les in Chorlton 07 Nov 10 - 09:15 AM
Les in Chorlton 27 Jan 11 - 08:48 AM
Les in Chorlton 28 Jan 11 - 08:55 AM
Bobert 28 Jan 11 - 09:21 AM
Desert Dancer 28 Jan 11 - 10:44 AM
Les in Chorlton 28 Jan 11 - 12:13 PM
Crowhugger 28 Jan 11 - 08:34 PM
Les in Chorlton 29 Jan 11 - 04:53 AM
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Subject: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 03:01 AM

The Beech Band is an acoustic collection of between 15 and 30 musicians. Squeezers, whistles, banjos, mandolins, fiddles, guitars, 'cello. guitaron and lots of percussion, in fact what ever turns up.

We play at our session in The Beech and we have now played for a couple of Ceilidhs

Do dance bands need a central-ish drummer? I don't think I'm talking about full kits but I do see bands with an acoustic, we play with out PA, collection - say washboard, small symbols, bongo-ish things.

Any guidance?

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 10:05 PM

"Do dance bands need a central-ish drummer?"

1) Depends on what is motivating your 'critics', the answer will be yes or no.

2) Generally, somebody is always 'leader' in any bunch of musos - starts the tune, signals the finish, extra chorus, assigns solos, organizes sets, sets pace, etc.

3) Do the Dancers you play for easily follow the beat/rhythm of the dances - this will give you your real answer.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 03:46 AM

I think our 'issue' is 15 to 30 musicians playing together - I just wonder of me might get a bit sharper with a more obvious drummer

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 05:00 AM

Depends if that is the 'sound' you want - you must have some sort of 'rhythm section' leader?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 06:10 AM

I'm surprised you haven't picked up a bodhran yet, Les - much less a cursed shakey egg or two. But all you really need is a bass drum with pedal to pound away one whilst playing your tenor banjo. This has the advantage of being a good place to display the band insignia so people know who they're listening to. If I lived a bit nearer I'd put together a vintage trap and do the job myself, like a down-at-heel Sonny Greer, whose gleaming percussion set was gifted by the appreciative gangsters who ran the Cotton Club.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 06:12 AM

We have no leaders as such, Ged the melodeon 'leads us in' and Ken the guitar 'counts As & Bs, changes of tune and ends coming up'.

We have a variety of percussion - most pretty good but with such a lot of tune players etc. a central rhythm section of drummer plus said melodeon and guitar might just set a tempo etc. that all could hear and stick to.

Hence for my request for what a 'drummer' might actually play.

Cheers

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 06:21 AM

Thanks Sean, we have Bods, shaky eggs, tambos and if not careful somebody will turn up with a full drom kit.

I have seen 'Ceilidh Bands' with those strange collections of 'washboard, small symbols, bongo-ish things' and it sounds good.

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 06:32 AM

I've seen a couple of Ceilidh bands who have used a Cajón to good effect.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: greg stephens
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 07:33 AM

I would recommend a bass drum, played sordo style with one stick and one hand. You can add what you like in the way of shaky eggs, washboards, congas, claves, scarapers(guiros) etc, but your bass drummer is the best mainstay.
There is a problem that may occur though. Would be percussionists may have no sense of rhythm. And a useless bass drummer can make a whole band useless. So don't invite just anybody to be your drummer, it isn't esay sacking people from a friendly infomal group! One fiddler won't mess things up, but one percussionist can.
And, when adding perceussion to a ceilidh/barn dance band, there is the Golden Rule, the Rule of Rules. No bodhrans.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 08:02 AM

The answer to "what should they play?", I think, is "as little as possible". Dance tunes, particularly English ones, tend to have a very square, solid, percussively rather boring beat; jazzing it up with syncopation and cross-rhythms is tempting and can be fun, but it's liable to stretch the music out of shape rather than supporting it (I swear one evening we ended up playing Dennis Murphy's Salsa - which was fun in itself, but dancing to it might have been a bit interesting!).

At the bass end I think the most we need on the average tune is
BONG
...
BONG
...
BONG
...
[and] BONG BONG [and]
BONG
...

and so on. So basically we need someone who (a) can lay hands on a big drum (b) has a good sense of time and (c) doesn't get bored easily.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 09:23 AM

True enough Phil, I had forgotten Dennis Murphy's Salsa but I do recall The Dingle Regatta Waltz. Which is partly why I think we might need a drummer who works with Grd and Ken to keep the tempo and time sig. consistant.

Too be honest most of what we have done has been with any proper plan so perhaps we will just evolve?

Les


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: greg stephens
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 09:58 AM

I am very much with Working Radish (unusual names they have in Manchester, don't you think?). Keep the beat simple. I spent many years working on adding complex beats to English dance tunes. Tremendous fun at the time being experimental. But I've got it out of my system now.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 12:18 PM

He's OK - we call him Workie.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 03:14 AM

Bongos are no then? How about cymbals?

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 03:31 AM

I take it an electronic drum kit is out of the question then?


:-P


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 04:23 AM

Depends if you want percussion for time or colour. If it's time, less is more. I wouldn't rule out bongoes, though, what with having some myself.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 12:53 PM

I play in a very large ceilidh band: up to 40 attend a ceilidh band class, but when we go out to play for ceilidhs usually at least 20 of us! Putting yourselves in a semi-circle rather than straight lines seems to help with hearing each other or watching bowing on fiddles: any players with hearing or visual difficulties should sit nearer the epicentre of the band. (I'm not joking there!) Of course there may be constraints on this advice in some venues, and playing in the open air is the worst for "losing" each other, and getting out of synch.
Without causing war, decide amongst yourselves who is the best time-keeper, and appoint him/her as leader, maybe playing standing up so can be seen by the rest of the band: it does NOT have to be a drummer, but functions as a conductor would in a symphony orchestra, but without the baton. AND that person should have a notion of the best speeds for dancing - forget the X beats per minute: do a wee prance about to get the right speed before starting. If the dancers' knees start sagging you're too slow! If you're too fast, they'll be dropping out or having heart attacks or waving white flags.
Oh, forgot to say, I play bodhran in the band - for some dances, or for waltzes and slower numbers I'm on button accordion.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: greg stephens
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 12:58 PM

Bongoes are great, nice crisp beat


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 02:03 PM

I can usually pull things together using a washboard, but I have a rather unusual technique - I'm trying to emulate what danceband snare drummers do. Normal washboard playing is too fuzzy to drive things along.

Snare and hi-hat is as effective as you can get. Greg's suggestion of bongos seconded, if you have someone who can really play them.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: GUEST,goodlife
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 04:36 PM

In defence of the bohdran a good player can hold all the musicians together with a good beat if anyone takes the time to listen to him instead of listening to themselves and saying am i not the greatest player to-night as so often happens then complains everybody is playing it wrong


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 08:59 PM

Goodlife, you are so right there: those who only listen to themselves are the worst enamy of keeping a band together!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 15 Oct 10 - 02:30 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Nov 10 - 09:15 AM

A small roll of drums?

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 08:48 AM

Just re-read this and found it most informative.

Anything else

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Jan 11 - 08:55 AM

Still drumming up support

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Jan 11 - 09:21 AM

I say "yes" to having an acoustic set up... Doesn't have to be a complete drum kit but should have at least the basics: kick drum, snare and at least on cymbal...

The kick drum and snare kinda work two sides of the beat but between them keep the rhythm so that everyone (band, dancers and listeners) is on the same page... Congas and bongos are fine if yer talking a duo or trio and playin' music that really is listening music but if want people dancing then ya' better have a little more ummmpppffftttt!!!

BTW, I perform as OMB (One Man Band) and I can see the difference in people's behavior when I have the drums going which, BTW, I play exclusively with my feet than when I'm just doing a footstomp while playing various stringed instruments...

So put me down in the "yes" column...

B~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 28 Jan 11 - 10:44 AM

This photo and the next (on Flickr) show two very different kits that I've seen used for contra dance percussion. Both played by amazingly skilled players (and in smaller ensembles than yours!), so I'd say it's not about what you play, but how you play it.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Jan 11 - 12:13 PM

Thanks Bobbert & thanks Becky - all good stuff

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Crowhugger
Date: 28 Jan 11 - 08:34 PM

Go with whatever drums you want to have in the music.

It's valuable to have a beat-authority that everyone can see, whether it's a drummer or someone who faithfully and accurately bobs their head, or has a non-stop mando or guitar strum, whatever. It doesn't have to be the same person for every song but if possible keep it to the same 2 or 3 people. Once players know whose beat is "the law", make it their job to play according to what they see, not what they hear. This is because sound travels wayyy more slowly than light.

It's an approach that choral groups have to develop to sing properly in churches with lots of natural reverb--sing to the beat you see the director making, not to what you hear another part doing--otherwise timing is a mess. It seems like that's basically the kind of issue you have.

It doesn't take much to get the hang of matching what you do with what you see, but it IS easy to forget partway through a song until it's a real habit. To further help the group tighten up, try recording yourselves while playing according to what everyone hears, then record the same song again with everyone matching what they see. Play back the best one at slower speed for everyone to hear. Only one person gets to decide which sound was at the right time. People are pretty good at self-adjusting once they can hear themselves coming in a smidge early or late.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Acoustic drummin'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 04:53 AM

Thanks Ms/Mr Crowhugger,

we play almost exclusively for social/country/barn/ceilidh dancing at the moment but you adivce is most udeful

L in C#


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