Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You Dummy! Your Hi-Hats Are Upside Down!

I remember when I bought this particular set of hi-hats... I walked into the drum store and took a pair of sticks and smacked them around a little bit. I was pretty impressed, they sounded great! Very bright, with a lot of stick definition. I started talking to the salesperson to find out how much they were going to cost me, when I noticed that the cymbal that was on top was marked "Hi-Hat Bottom." I chuckled a little bit to myself, and mentioned it to the salesperson, "Hey man, you've got your hats on upside down there."

His response set me back a bit, "I know, they sound a lot better that way."

Somehow, I had never before thought about experimenting with the hi-hats by switching the top and bottom cymbals! Its just one of those little tricks of the trade that can be easy to miss. In case you don't know, the bottom hi-hat cymbal is generally thicker, and the top one is thinner. By switching them, you can change the way the hats sound and respond, sometimes drastically!

With the thinner hat on top, the hats will be more responsive and open up a little easier, and will have a little more wash. Putting the thicker bottom hat onto the top will result in a faster, more focused sound. With this particular pair of Paiste Prototypes, I really do think they sound better in most settings with the bottom hat on top.

So go over to your drum set, and flip your hi-hats over! You've got nothing to lose, and it only takes 30 seconds, but it can seem like a whole new set of hi-hats. Even beyond that, why not try using other cymbals is hats? Grab a couple 16" crashes, and see what they sound like! 

If you flip your hats over and fall in love with the new sound, make sure to leave a comment!

Monday, June 27, 2011

5 Things Every Drummer Needs to Do!

1. Practice what you're bad at.

This is something that I wish I had learned many years earlier. Many times during "practice," I catch myself playing licks and grooves that are comfortable and already sound good; its only natural! The problem is that when you do this, you aren't growing. To actually make marked improvements you have to single out and focus on the things that you can't play. This is not easy, but if you do so your abilities will grow in leaps and bounds!

2. Play with a metronome.

Just... do it. It is a necessary skill. If you're tracking an album, it will be with a click. You have to be able to do so. At first, you will think that the metronome is broken. I'll let you in on a secret. Its not. Eventually, the click will become your best friend, and it will feel like another bandmate. Only this bandmate is always on time.