Tag: drums

Drummer’s Gloves

In my recent effort to make myself healthier, you may recall that I’ve been playing my drums more often than I’d been playing them over the last year.  Instead of once per week, I’ve been going three times a week.

The downside there is that my hands have been hurting a lot, and I’ve been getting tons of blisters.  You’d think after nearly twenty years of playing that I’d have calluses on my hands, but I don’t.   So each time I’d play, I’d come home with gaping wounds on my hands, which was terrible.

I decided to try wrapping my fingers in medical tape, which worked fine for a few weeks but wasn’t a viable solution.  It ended up that the tape would fall off from the sweat after a while, even though it was “water proof.”

I had tried drummer’s gloves back when I was in my late teens, and I ended up shredding them to bits after just a week.  I either play too hard, or the gloves weren’t very good, and they ended up in pieces.

After ten plus years of thinking they wouldn’t work, I decided to give them another try.  They arrived on Thursday, and I brought them with me for Saturday’s session.  I may have gotta a size too small, but otherwise it worked out well.  The blisters that I developed Saturday were much smaller than the last time I played a week ago, and there was literally no pain at all in my hands.  Overall I was pretty satisfied.

The one downside was that because it was the first time I was using them, they left quite a mess on my hands.  See the before and after photos below:


With Glove – Before


Without Glove – After

You can see there that there’s a ton of leftover fuzzies on my hands. Not the end of the world, but it was a surprise to take the glove off and see that.

I also think I may need to re-order and get a large instead of the medium.  The medium was a bit tight and may have lead to the few little blisters that I did get.  They weren’t uncomfortable, but they were certainly tight.

Overall, worth the money. We’ll see how they hold up over the next few jam sessions. My gut tells me they probably won’t, but it’ll be nice to be surprised and have them just last.

While we’re talking about drumming (and by we, I mean me), I’m thinking I want to get some more cymbals.  Sure, I have plenty, but I’m thinking I’d like some more smaller ones.  When I first started playing 19 years ago, I found that I liked bigger crashes better — the 18″ ones were my favorite.  Now that I’m in my ’30s, I find myself preferring the 16″ ones, and am wanting to try out some 14″ ones, as well.  It’s nice to be able to afford the luxuries of just buying them for myself. I know many of the guys I chat with on the Pearl Drummer’s Forum have to work hard and save their money to afford a new cymbal.  I feel bad for them, and appreciate how lucky I’ve been.

I haven’t started losing any weight with the additional workouts, if you were wondering.  I feel skinnier, but I think the lack of weight loss is due to me gaining muscle in its place.  Not a bad thing, I suppose.  I haven’t changed my diet at all, either, because I’m terrible at being healthy.  But hey, I’m trying.

Drum Time Playlist

I decided that for tonight (and Saturday’s) drum time (my affectionate name for when I play my drums), I will make a special playlist, containing some of my favorite songs, and some that I haven’t played before.

I know you’re dying to know, so here’s what I’ll be playing along with for my next two sessions:

  • Passenger – Deftones & Maynard James Keenan
  • Come Undone (Cover) – Adrenaline Mob (featuring Lzzy Hale of Halestorm)
  • Brother – Alice in Chains
  • Breathe (2 A.M.) – Anna Nalick
  • Cover Me – Candlebox
  • Far Behind – Candlebox
  • Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
  • The Red – Chevelle
  • She Said – Cinder
  • Clean My Wounds – Corrosion of Conformity
  • The Downfall of Us All – A Day to Remember
  • Arterial Black – Drist
  • Barely Breathing – Duncan Sheik
  • White Rabbit – Egypt Central
  • Where Did You Go – Full Devil Jacket
  • Levitate – Hollywood Undead
  • 2 Minutes to Midnight – Iron Maiden
  • Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
  • San Francisco – Madam Adam
  • Dyers Eve – Metallica
  • Everywhere – Michelle Branch
  • Cemetery Gates – Pantera
  • Purple – Pop Evil
  • Look In My Eyes – Rains
  • Bully – Shinedown
  • Wait and Bleed – Slipknot
  • What do I Have To Do? – Stabbing Westward
  • 22 – Taylor Swift
  • If You Could Only See – Tonic
  • Not Enough – Van Halen
  • Fallen – Volbeat
  • Shoot It Out – 10 Years

As you can see, quite the eclectic playlist.  I jump from Taylor Swift to Slipknot to Metallica to Michelle Branch.  Why? Glad you asked.  For one, it keeps a drummer versatile to be able to play along to various styles of music. Sure, I could just slam my head to pure metal the entire time I’m playing.  But there’s only so far that style of music can take you.  By adding in some pop and mellow tracks, it helps me be improvisational.  I don’t play those types of tracks note for note, but instead put my own spin on them, making them more fun, but also keeping me on my toes.

Classics like Dyers Eve and Cemetery Gates are just fun to play.  Of the 33 songs I put on this playlist, 22 I’ve never played before. So this should be interesting!

Have any suggestions that I should add?  I’m not leaving for drum time for 6 more hours, and will gladly take requests. (You’ll just have to trust me that I’ve played your requested song, unless you want to hike into the city at 5pm.)

Drums = Exercise

Ever since I moved in May of last year, my drums have been at a music complex about half an hour from my apartment. Not ideal, and certainly not as cushy as I had it when I lived in my house. But it is what t is, and that’s the best I’ve got for right now.

Up until this week, I’d only been going there once a week, usually on Friday nights after work. They recently changed their hours, so they’re open much earlier all the time, so it’s slightly easier to go on Saturday morning. It’s also a lot quieter on Saturday mornings, too. Friday nights are hit or miss. Since there’s close to 100 rooms in the place, sometimes I get there and there’s no bands rehearsing. Sometimes there’s a bunch. And as soundproof as they built the place, it’s still pretty loud. Thankfully once I put my headphones in and start playing, it’s tough to hear any other musicians, so that’s okay. I think, but haven’t confirmed, that I’m l the only musician there that’s not in a band and just plays for fun. That’s probably because of the fact that the place is kind of pricey if you’re by yourself. Since most of the other renters are in bands, they get to split the costs between them, whereas I’m by myself.

Starting this week, I’m going three times a week. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning. Not only does this make financial sense, but it’s good for my mentality and physicality, as well. It’s no secret that I’m out of shape, and have been for years. And it’s also me secret that I can’t go to the gym consistently. The only form of exercise over the years that I’ve ever been able to manage has been my drums. So why not take advantage of it?

I got myself an iPad mount a few weeks ago, which has worked wonders. I used to,play along to my iPhone in my pocket, but that wasn’t working out so well. If a song came on that I didn’t want to play, I’d have to reach into my pocket and take the iPhone and change the track. Which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you’re trying to play along to songs that may start instantly, it’s too to get the iPhone back in your pocket before the song starts. Now the iPad sits gingerly to to the left of my hi-hats at a height that I can not only always see what’s playing, but I can reach over and swipe to the left or right to change tracks. It works out way better this way.

Here’s a gallery of my drums. Because this post is really long right now, and your eyes could use a break from reading. And because you’re probably curious about what it looks like if you haven’t seen it before.

I’ve also been experimenting trying to play some songs that I’ve never tried before. I’ve always tried to stick to albums and songs that I was confident I could play, but that’s getting kind of boring. So why not try new stuff? I’ve got a playlist on the iPad that’s just called Drums, with tons of songs that I either know I can play, or that I want to try to play.

People often ask “Can you learn to play this song?” And drumming isn’t really something that you can learn. Either you hear what the drummer in the song is doing, or you don’t. Granted, you could read the sheet music, and play it note for note the way the composer did, but that’s usually not likely. More often than not, you just play along to what you hear. You may get to a part that’s hard to hear or too complex, and you improvise. Most of drumming is improvising. At least the way I play it is.

I’ve had this particular drum kit for almost a year and a half now. I bought it for myself in September of 2011, as a birthday gift to myself. It’s my dream color, Pearl’s Ocean Sparkle. I’m a hit miffed that there’s two different shades of blue, but it happens. I got such a good deal on Craigslist, I couldn’t really complain. Perhaps some day I’ll replace the mismatched drums wit matching ones. The issue is that they don’t make this particular line or color anymore, so I’d have to custom order them. Price isn’t a big deal, but there’s around an 8 month wait for custom ordered drums from Pearl.

In short, or to sum this whole thing up rather, I’m going to start playing more. Not just because it makes me feel good, but because its good for me. I love drums.

RockBand 2 Mad Catz Cymbals Review

Update 12/16/2008: UPS just dropped a package from Mad Catz.   They didn’t fix my broken cymbal, they sent me an entirely new package, cymbal, mounting hardware and all.

No note included saying what was wrong, or anything, just a new cymbal.   It looks like it’s been handled, which probably means that someone tested it out to make sure it worked right, before they sent it to me (or that it’s a refurbished.)

I tried it out, and all seems well.   Kudos to Mad Catz for the excellent customer service.   Their site says 4 to 6 weeks, and it only took 12 days from drop off, to return.   I’m psyched.

Update: After playing for an hour or so this afternoon, it’s evident that one of my cymbals is defective.   It’s sometimes registering two hits, instead of one.   I called Mad Catz, and the guy I got was super friendly, extremely understanding, and set me up with an RMA.   He said the website suggested 4-6 weeks, but realistically, it’s more like 2 to 3.   I’ll update again when I get the new cymbal to see if it’s working properly.   I’m glad I didn’t just try returning it to Amazon to get another, they appear to be completely sold out everywhere I’ve checked today.   Glad I pre-ordered mine 3 months ago.

My Cymbals finally arrived last night, and I was psyched to get them.   Ever since they were announced, I’ve been excited about them.   The way I assumed they worked, was actually different than how they do work.   More on that later.

First, some images, to show how freaking cool they look:

The whole kitHi-Hat CymbalRide Cymbal

The cymbals certainly give the drums the look of a real drumkit (okay, at least a real electronic drumkit,) but how do they play?

They take some getting used to, that’s for sure.   I just got them last night, so I’m still in the adjusting phase. But right from the get go, my wife said “You look like you’re having more fun.”   Which I totally was.   It felt like I was playing more realistically than I had without the cymbals.

When I first bought the cymbals, I assumed that they would just act as extenders of their respective colors.   So when you’d hit the blue, it made whatever sound the blue one should at that specific point in time. As Rock Banders know, the drums pretty much all double as cymbals or drums, depending on the part of the song.   I was pleasantly surprised that the new cymbal pads are dedicated as cymbals.   So, if you hit the “ride” cymbal, it makes the ride cymbal no matter what.   Same for the hi-hat, and crash cymbals.

It may throw your brain off, when you hit the cymbal when it’s a tom-tom in the game, and you hear the wrong sound, but it won’t break your streak, or count against your overall score.   As long as you hit the right color, the sound that the game makes doesn’t matter.

My favorite thing about the other game, you know, that one I returned already, was that there were dedicated cymbal pads with their drumkit.   The Rock Band 2 drumkit, with the add-on cymbal pack (a measly $29.99) is 100% totally, absolutely better than GHWT’s, hands down.

The game is more fun when playing drums, with the cymbals.   It’s more realistic, and more creative.   I especially dig that during the “Overdrive fills”, you can be a lot more musical with the drums, with dedicated toms/cymbals.   If you’re a die hard drummer for a Rock Band band, you absolutely need to spend the $29.99 to get these cymbals, pronto.

So Far Removed

Packing up the rest of our stuff over the weekend kind of depressed me.   I looked at my collection of guitars, and drums, and microphones, and mixing boards and the like, and thought about it.

It’s been a good three years since I played anything, seriously.   And even longer since I’ve written anything music related.   I’m so out of the loop, it’s saddening.

What was once my dream to do full time, is now just a memory.   I gotta try to get back into writing, and playing.   Once we are done putting away all the stuff we own, in our new home, I’m going to restring my guitars, and start playing again.   It’s time to play a guitar that isn’t plastic.   I’m going to have to break up with Guitar Hero and Rock Band for a while.   Which is also sad.