The Drums for Intermediates – Different Snare Sounds

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 40,858
    Professional drummer Wes Crawford demonstrates some intermediate snare drum techniques.

    Wes Crawford

    Wes began his professional music career after graduating with a B.S. in Psychology at Virginia Tech. Soon thereafter, he began performing drumset with the extraordinary Jazz/R&B singer Jane L. Powell, a musical association that lasted eleven years and continues as a managerial relationship. The group toured throughout North America and the Caribbean performing at festivals, universities, resorts, nightclubs, and cruise ships. They opened for such acts as Ray Charles, Melba Moore, Freddie Jackson, Lou Rawls, The Crusaders, Joan Jett, Ernie Watts, and Paula Poundstone, and occasionally performed alongside artists such as Tony Bennett, O.C. Smith, and Dorothy Moore. The 1,300 colleges and universities comprising the National Association for Campus Activities voted the group Entertainer of the Year in 1990, their highest honor, and Jazz Artist of the Year for 1990-1992. During these years of touring, Wes also recorded two albums with Ms. Powell as well as for several outside artists. Wes also conducted electronic percussion seminars at VA Tech and at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Gifted. In 1992, Wes settled with his family in the Washington, DC area as an independent artist on drumset and percussion where he currently performs and records with acts such as Shahin & Sepehr (Higher Octave/Narada world music recording artists), Cocktail Nuts (aka “C-NUTS”- Jazz versions of rock classics, on Wildchild/Mapleshade Records), mrudangam virtuoso Umayalpuram K. Shivaraman (including a clinic at PASIC 2000 and a featured performance at Baltimore Drum Day 2000), Squeeze Bayou (1998 winners of the “Best Non-Louisiana-Based Cajun Band Recording” awarded by the Cajun French Music Association), and Night Life (high-energy show band). Wes has also regularly performed and/or recorded with Aisha Kahlil (of Sweet Honey in the Rock), Eva Cassidy, Catalyst Events’ “Beatswork!,” Zydeco Crayz, Mary Ann Borelli, “Oh Susannah!”, Sugar Jones, and Armadillo recording artist Daryl Davis. His other noteworthy performances and recordings include those with the David Bach Consort (2nd place winner in the 1998 BET unsigned band video contest), Hennesy Jazz Search regional winner Jerry Gordon, and performances with Milestone recording artist Ron Holloway. Wes considers education to be an important link to the future of the percussive arts and teaches drumset privately and at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. He also performs in public school assemblies with Mosaic, which provided the musical instruction and curriculum for the 2000 Maryland Artist/Teacher Institute. Wes serves as the Director of the annual Drumset And Percussion Camp of the Goucher Summer Arts Institute and as Vice-President of the MD/DE chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. In 2000, Wes started, a site to feature his interactive educational media such as his popular “Drumset Play-Along DVD.” His latest “A Rhythmic Murder Mystery” interactive DVD features a solo electronic drumset concert, which he also performs live. Wes holds Associate Artist relationships with Maryland Drum Company and with Trueline Drumsticks, and he occasionally works as Music Consultant for the not-for-profit Sustainable Environments for Health + Shelter.

    Hi. I am Wes Crawford, and were going to learn a little bit more about how to play the drum set, this time for beginner to intermediate level. Today, were going to begin by talking about some other kinds of sounds we can get out of the Snare Drum.

    The three other basic sounds I want to talk about today that youll use a lot in rock drumming. First two, when I speak about rock drumming, I am really talking about all kinds of popular styles, you might call it rhythm and blues or funk or hip-hop, but a lot of it to us falls under the very general hitting of rock. First, lets talk about the rim click. A lot of music we will use a rim click sound. Its a very resonant wood sound, and the way we do this, we still hold it just like in match grip, it will get the strongest resonance if you turn the stick backwards, and will put our hand flat down. You have basically the back part of your hand or your wrist area is touching the drum and it never leaves the drum. We want to lay this part across the rim over here at about this position, leaving about this much across, but you do need to experiment, and find the sweet spot. Yeah, that starts sounding nice, doesnt? When you do this stroke, leave the tip of the stick against the head as you lift it so your back part of your hand wrist stays against the drum as does the tip of the stick and then you come down across the rim, consistently in the same place, and youll get a consistent sound. Notice that my three fingers here are just lose. They are not scrunched up like this. Theyre just loosely laying on the drumhead when the stick is down, when its up, they rise too. So, practice this to get a good sound. All the beats you learn, you could use this sound as a substitute. So, well call this the rim click. Theres also a sound called the rimshot, and in books, a lot of these terms are used a bit interchangeably, but it makes the most sense to me to call this a rim click and this a rimshot and what I did to get this sound was I hit the rim and the snare drum at the same time, and this is used a lot in popular music rock in other styles to get a real sharp sound, particularly, on beat two and four what we call the back beat in rock drumming.

    The other type of sound you sometimes might want to get is sort of a special effect or maybe during a fill is a stick shot where we actually put the tip of the stick down here in the middle and then hit at that stick with the other stick. So, get used to using all of these different kinds of strokes, and think about the sounds and how you might use them. Its just three more sounds you can get out of your Snare Drum.