FUNKADRILL'S GROOVE THEORY

Groove Terms:

1. Pocket: Webster {A small isolated area or group}
Funkadrill {The point where tempo and feeling meet creating a drop that lifts the beat into a lock, creating a forceful movement of dance.)
The deeper the pocket, the more emotional the movement}

2. Feel: Webster {To be conscious of an inward impression}
Funkadrill {The character of a musicians style expressed through his instrument. The ability to feel the music of the song.}

3. Vibe Communication: Webster { A feeling or impression that someone or something gives off}
Funkadrill {The ability to communicate with other musicians through creative music expression and facial expressions.
The feeling of oneness expressed through the energy of the music.}

4. Attitude: Webster { The position of something in relation to something else}
Funkadrill {The intensity, awareness, confidence, and dynamic in which a player plays a song or song parts.}

Drummer and Drums:

A drummer is the number one player in establishing the groove. Drums are an extension of the player just as a piano or a guitar. The first rule of Groove is to find a drummer with a drum kit that expresses the sound of groove. Your drummer must feel comfortable playing groove. A drummers kick ,snare, and hat must fall on top of the beat or just before the beat ends. There are many degrees in-between that help you tune-in to the pocket. Make sure your drummers kit is as basic as he can get it without sacrificing his sound. The least amount of toms the better off you'll be getting that groove sound. Live as well as studio recording you want your drums to pickup the least amount of phasing as possible keeping your sound nice and full.

Picking cymbals are very important to groove too. Smaller sizes are best, 18" thin crash, 16" thin crash, 13" crash, 12", 10", and even 6" if miced right is the bomb! You want a crash ride 20" or a really dead ride like a ziljian custom K battered ride for accent without ring buildup.

Your drummer must Learn the art of tuning his drums learning what heads work best for his kit. A set of dead ringers is a must too. I like putting a muff on the front and back of my bass drum. If your drummer leaves his sound up to the engineer he's in trouble. Lets go back to Webster for his meaning of an engineer. { to lay out or manage as an engineer: 2. to guide the course of.} It is very important to understand this. He's coming to work collecting a check and is not the producer unless you let him be. After the session he'll go home and not even think about you and your drums. If you don't have your sound together your giving the engineer the green light to experiment on your time. His concept is one to take all dimension away from your drum kit. He's watching meters constantly trying to bring everything to zero by gating, compressing slamming the meters all to zero, and EQing till your drum sound is one dimensional. Compressing a little is OK but changing the natural sound of the drums it is too much. If you don't say anything about the sound or don't know the difference than you are stuck with a sound that was produced and not played on tape. The key here is to Know your drums!!!

In learning and performing a song you have to look at your concept of music a little differently. If you are self taught you are already on your way to the groove. In private lessons or school you are taught the measurement of notes. Reading a chart becomes a mental way of playing following the measures like a clock and duplicating the notes through ones instrument. In groove you learn to feel the music of song and it's power and charts are only used as learning tools.

You must commit a song to memory, never read a chart on a gig for charts are not groovy. A song has a pulse, dynamics, emotion, and a life of it's own. Reading music is from the head not the heart, one has to feel groove.

All music is rhythm and all rhythm has melody, so as a drummer you must navigate the rest of the band like a rider would take the rains of a team of horses and command a pace. The tempo at which you play a song has a great deal to finding groove. A little faster or slower could take the band out of groove, finding the right feel for a song is an art form.

Let me give you an example:

A groove drummer will find the meat of the tempo and lock-in. This will allowing his band mates the freedom to flow within and around the beat. Together they are sending out a force that is measured in depth. We call it "magic" when it happens. Allot of drummers think groove is boring playing the same thing over and over. Those drummers have never really experienced the power of groove. A band can be ruined by a bad drummer playing too much, rushing, and slowing down. Drummers are the most important member in the band so take the time to help him find the pocket. Spend allot of time going over music. That will help the hole band to find the pocket of groove. No one can tell you how to play groove it comes with practice. Groove masters can provide instruction like the art of the single stroke roll and where to play them as well as navigational skills. Groove must come from within each player. Make sure your band is intune with one another. One player out of the pocket can cause a train wreck.

Riding with the flow of the band is another part of groove. If you are a guitar player that likes to push when you play a solo your drummer has to go with your energy flow, this is called "Attitude". When your solo is over he adjust his attitude back to where the next part of the song leads him. I know it is hard to understand my terminology, but give it a shot and let me know if you feel a difference.