The Drums – Varying the Bass Drum

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 17,838
    Professional drummer Wes Crawford demonstrates how to vary the bass drum.

    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.

    Hello. I am Wes Crawford and were going to continue our study of how to play drum set more for a beginner intermediate level player now and were going to talk about varying the bass drum. As weve said, the snare drum in rock and styles is the most often found on beats two and four as we count one, two, three, four, but the bass drum can vary a lot; and a lot of times, well want the rhythm of the bass drum to more closely match the rhythm that the bass guitar player plays. That create sort of a united front down on the low end, doesnt mean every node has to match by any needs, but you want to keep that in mind and thats a big reason why we want to vary the bass drum or just create rhythmic interest. So, lets continue doing what weve been doing playing eighth notes on the hi-hat and then hitting two and four on the snare drum. Now, if you learn to read rhythms, therere many, many books on this subject and you can get all kinds of further information from them. Urge you to copy these and if you copy all of these beats youll have the independents, interdependence necessary to play lots of eighth note based on rhythms. Here is the first one and we keep this going. So, with that, very popular beat. The second one Ill show you. Now, I can help to sing these too so that you can memorize them. For instance, I would say this one, boom bah, boom boom bah, boom bah, boom boom bah, so, now I am going to sing them and then I am going to play them and I think you should try to do the same too particularly as you play it longer or if youre reading music to get your beat, try singing it so that you can know that you internalize it, youre not dependent upon the written notes. How about this one, boom, bah boom bah, boom, bah boom bah. Well, how about this one, well expand upon that, boom, bah boom boom bah, boom, boom bah boom boom bah, boom boom. Now, that snare drum has been very consistent on two and four. Now, if we want to think about the count of such would be, that would have been, one, two, and, and four, and one, two, and, and four, and one, two, and, and four, and one. Remember, to learn any of these beats particularly as they get a little more complex to hear the sound and to be able to sing them helps to understand them intellectually if youre counting helps and then it helps to actually play them to the muscles so you want to know them all these different ways so that they will really stay with you.