Topic: Billy Ward's article on MD last issue  (Read 17783 times)

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dannydrumperc

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Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« on: November 01, 2004, 07:54 AM »
I have read it twice trying to understad how a snaredrum that is tuned in the tom-tom range and with the snares so loose that it resonate for more than one second it is still a good sounding snaredrum ???

And what about the tom-toms? If they are tuned lower than that same snare drum, how should they sound like? Bass drums?

I still don't get it.

Offline James Walker

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Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2004, 09:26 AM »
I have read it twice trying to understad how a snaredrum that is tuned in the tom-tom range and with the snares so loose that it resonate for more than one second it is still a good sounding snaredrum ???

And what about the tom-toms? If they are tuned lower than that same snare drum, how should they sound like? Bass drums?

I still don't get it.

I need to go pick up a copy of this month's issue  - I thumbed through it last week at the local newsstand, and read thru Billy's article.  I'm going by what I remember, so my apologies in advance if I'm way off base on this one.  (Jeez, this is gonna be two MD issues in a row that I will have bought...I may need to subscribe again after all...)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but IIRC...didn't he write something about the snare drum being tuned to a pitch in-between those of his higher toms?  Even if he didn't propose it, that's what I'd try - there's no reason why the snare drum has to be the highest-pitched instrument on the set.  As long as the snare drum isn't the same pitch as a tom (basically), it should work fine to have a tom pitched above the snare.

If you want to hear how a really low-tuned snare drum can sound (and sound good, IMHO), check out some of the tracks on Steve Jordan's DVD...it's a different sound, to be sure, but I kinda like it.
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline Jim Martin (cavanman)

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Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2004, 10:00 AM »
If you want to hear how a really low-tuned snare drum can sound (and sound good, IMHO), check out some of the tracks on Steve Jordan's DVD...it's a different sound, to be sure, but I kinda like it.

Or Jim Keltner on many different tracks (Delbert McClinton has some good ones).

I liked Billy's idea and tried it already. It does work but it is a contextual solution. He also has a disclaimer near the beginning that states: "...my approach is not endorsed by any drum company. It's simply the way I personally hear things."
He also mentions the concept of "reserving a pitch zone" for the snare that doesn't conflict (i.e. sympathetically buzz) with the tom notes.

He also approaches using a two tom setup differently than a four tom setup.

The primary idea I get from the article is that you can experiment with the "reserved pitch zone" concept and maybe simultaneously open yourself up to new sound ideas. If you are so blessed, you can try this with different size snares too. Calling Dr. Walker, Dr. James Walker. LOL!

And also just to reiterate this concept of Billy's article: It's a personal approach. Which can work for some and not work for others
*I just know that 563 is going to chime in here any moment! ;D

I'm having fun with it.  :)

Jim
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dannydrumperc

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Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2004, 10:02 AM »
Hi J,

Well, maybe I need to listen to some more music and check out that kind of snare drum sound before experimenting with mines.

About the tom-toms:

It says that when he uses a traditional set-up (just 2 tom-toms), his first tom-tom is lower than the snare drum (don't remember if it is a fourth or fifth below) and the next drum is a full octave below the previews. I dont know, but my experience tuning low is that the tone gets lost, and I end just having punch; and I mean thats fine for a very aggressive approach to drumming as needed in metal and the likes, but not for every style.

Dont know, maybe I tune my drums lower than the drummers that he wanted to reach.

Offline James Walker

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Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2004, 11:24 AM »


About the tom-toms:

It says that when he uses a traditional set-up (just 2 tom-toms), his first tom-tom is lower than the snare drum (don't remember if it is a fourth or fifth below) and the next drum is a full octave below

Yeah...I remember the toms being an octave apart - thanks for setting me straight regarding the rest of it.  (I just hit the local "big box" bookstore while I was out running some errands, and they've already got the December MD issue on the stands...the bastards!).  I'll have to hit the local music store - they usually don't turn over magazines quite so promptly.

I'm going to wait to re-read the article before I offer any more opinions on what Billy wrote..

The primary idea I get from the article is that you can experiment with the "reserved pitch zone" concept and maybe simultaneously open yourself up to new sound ideas. If you are so blessed, you can try this with different size snares too. Calling Dr. Walker, Dr. James Walker. LOL!

I'll see what I can do, esp. after re-reading the article.  It may have to wait until my next drum-building project - which will either be a 10" tom (my smallest is a 12) or a 16" snare drum.

Yeah, a 16.  Crazy!  

;D
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline James Walker

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Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2004, 03:20 PM »
FWIW...

I took one of my snare drums earlier this afternoon, and tried bringing the pitch down below my highest tom.  It sounded like I was playing my 45RPM record at 33-1/3.  ;)  I'm still curious to experiment with it, tho, after I get ahold of Billy's article again.

I was wondering:  has anyone hear checked out Billy's instructional DVD?  If so, does he use a snare drum with this sort of tuning, on the disc?  Keeping in mind the obvious caveats of judging a snare drum sound off of a recording, I'd be curious to hear it "straight from the horse's mouth"...or drum, as the case may be.  ;)

"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline jokerjkny

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Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2004, 07:16 PM »
well,

i for one, dont really like BW's snare sound.  too sloppy.  but then again, he's touring the world with that snare sound.  *shrug*

and JW,

yea, he does use this tuning on his DVD.  his snare is actually a pitch lower than his 10" tom.  thus, his 13x5 alumnium sits right between his 10" and 12" tom pitches.
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Offline JeepnDrummer

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Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2004, 10:28 PM »
His DVD is awesome.......highly recommended.  BTW, if you order one from his web site your name goes in a drawing for a DW aluminum snare drum.

He uses several snare drums in the video, but I don't know how he tuned them.  I do like the sound from his aluminum drum, though.

AndyEdwards

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Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2004, 11:06 AM »
I think a lot of drummers go for that tight snare sound but drummers I know who get a lot of work tend to have a lower sound with looser snares.
I think this sound might fit into a song context a bit better (maybe)


Offline Chris Whitten

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Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2004, 11:51 AM »
Yeah.
I'd say I most often aim for a mid-range pitch.
The high pitched Chili Peppers or Spin Doctors snare sound really grates on me these days.
For recording I like to shoot for a big, rich snare sound.
I admit I choose higher tunings for gigging though.
1) Less scope for the snare tuning to slip.
2) It's more easy to pick out your snare work away from all the mid range frequencies of the guitars and keyboards.
I prefer to hear my snare acoustically, rather than through monitoring. With lower tunings I tend to hammer the snare, resulting in a trashed left arm and snare batter.  :P

Offline jokerjkny

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Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2004, 01:50 PM »
I think a lot of drummers go for that tight snare sound but drummers I know who get a lot of work tend to have a lower sound with looser snares.
I think this sound might fit into a song context a bit better (maybe)



of course,

its all about context.  its madness to use a 10x5.5 picc in a celine ballad.  unless of course, the song called for it.

but speaking of tight snares, i'm of this school, but hate it formica table top tight, especially on shallow snares like a 13x3.5, etc.  might as well be using... well... a kitchen table.

rather, its cool hearing a deep snare like a 14x6.5 tuned up nice and tight, ala Steve Jordan, Steve Ferrone and Dennis Chambers.  you get that crack, but also a nice body that trails along with it.  instead of a "crack" or "thwack", more like a "thop".
...this aint no time fo' jibba jabba!

Offline James Walker

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Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2004, 01:59 PM »
you get that crack, but also a nice body that trails along with it.  instead of a "crack" or "thwack", more like a "thop".

Isn't that a 50s song?

"Let's go to the thop...
"Let's go to the thop...

"...at the thop!!"
 ;)

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

All seriousness aside...that's one thing I love about my 15" snare drum.  I can tune it up - not "begging for mercy" tight, but moderately tight - and still get that same pitch you'd get from tuning a 14" down, but with faster stick response off of the tighter batter head.  Ditto 13s and 12s - you can get those higher tunings that are possible on a 14, without having to crank the bejeezus out of the batter head.

Or you can tune a 13 down and get more of that "thwak," without having to delve into the '80s power ballad range like you would on a 14.  

Lots of options.  Options are good.

"thop...thwak..."  To adapt a phrase from George Carlin, it's terminology like this that kept me out of the really good schools.  ;)
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

sirdrumalot

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Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2004, 06:34 PM »
It's a great article, I decided to try tuning my snare like that recently, it sounds great.

Offline Chris -

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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2004, 06:41 PM »
An easy way that I learned how to relate to his "tunning" was is by singing, "My dog has fleas."  The "My" is what he tunes the snare drum to, followed by the toms.  Hope this helps.  
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Offline jokerjkny

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Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2004, 10:04 PM »
(...)

"thop...thwak..."  To adapt a phrase from George Carlin, it's terminology like this that kept me out of the really good schools.  ;)

you'd think with an English degree from NYU, i'd use less onomotopoetic language.  :P

funny, but i actually got chastised by a fellow forumite from the cymbalholic site!

sheesh, i'm a roll, eh?
...this aint no time fo' jibba jabba!

Offline jokerjkny

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« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2004, 10:04 PM »
An easy way that I learned how to relate to his "tunning" was is by singing, "My dog has fleas."  The "My" is what he tunes the snare drum to, followed by the toms.  Hope this helps.  

so, if i'm using "Here Comes the Bride", which is the snare?  ;)
...this aint no time fo' jibba jabba!

Offline Joe

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« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2004, 10:25 PM »
so, if i'm using "Here Comes the Bride", which is the snare?  ;)

I'm not Rhythmist, but I personally would assign "Here" to the snare drum (with regard to the spirit of this thread).
I'm not a particularly slow player, yet I don't play fast.  I play half-fast.

Offline James Walker

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« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2004, 10:32 PM »
I'm not Rhythmist, but I personally would assign "Here" to the snare drum.

Either your version of "Here Comes The Bride" is decidedly different from the one I know, or your drum set has a 6x15" snare drum, an 8" rack tom, and a 10" floor tom.  ;)  Isn't "here" the lowest pitch of the phrase?

If we're going by "Here Comes The Bride" as a reference, my snare drum would be the note for "dressed" ("...all dressed in white").

I guess I just think about it differently, tho.  I just try getting each tom to sound its best - getting it to "sing" as best I can - then I bump a given drum's tuning up or down just a bit if adjacent toms (on a larger setup) sound too close in pitch.
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2004, 10:37 PM »
you'd think with an English degree from NYU, i'd use less onomotopoetic language.  :P



It's onomatopoetic.   ;)

I think the use of onomatopoetic words is great. The majority of names given to percussion instruments are onomatopoetic. Djembe, Tom-tom, Doumbek, Conga, etc.; their names all describe the sound of the instrument.
 Sorry

Offline Joe

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« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2004, 10:40 PM »
Either your version of "Here Comes The Bride" is decidedly different from the one I know, or your drum set has a 6x15" snare drum, an 8" rack tom, and a 10" floor tom.  ;)  Isn't "here" the lowest pitch of the phrase?

I was referring to the lower tuning as professed in this thread, as well as my current preference.  It's not impossible that I missed a tangent that renders my previous post ill-thought, so I apologize if that's so.  

However, when I did have toms, my 10" rack tom did much better at a higher tuning than my snare drum.  I went along with this to avoid the sympathetic buzz so well-known with these drums.  So, I most often used this setup.
I'm not a particularly slow player, yet I don't play fast.  I play half-fast.

 

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