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  #1  
Old 04-04-2014, 08:28 PM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Need help with solos

Is there any resource or instructional video that would help me construct solos ?

When I am called on to do a solo in the context of a song it is usually the length of one verse;
this is where the band leader is calling on each member of the band to do a little solo during the song.

I always do OK when I start out my solo. But at about the halfway point I am at a loss as to what to play.
I want to keep the solo interesting so I usually go into some strange rhythm pattern and the solo starts to sound rather disjointed.
However, I always maintain the original rhythm.

Where can I get some help in structuring my solos ?


.
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  #2  
Old 04-04-2014, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: Need help with solos

common question and problem

this is sound advice from Andrew Hare ... and no it doesn't only apply to jazz

http://haredrums.blogspot.com/2012/0...rangement.html

http://haredrums.blogspot.com/

in my opinion listening is your greatest weapon

listen to drummers you love play solos or 4s, 8s, whatever.... and steal pieces of what grabs you and make them your own

a touch of advice.... if you are required to play within the parameters of an 8 or 16 bar verse don't blow your wad in the first 4 bars... set a tone and build on it ....

it does not have to be a chop fest

keep it melodic
keep it moving
keep it tasty
keep the vibe of the tune

huge mistake I see all the time is a drummer gets called to take a solo and all of the sudden it sounds like you are in his practice room and he is trying to jam all the "licks" he has been working on into 16 bars .... a big NO NO in my book ... I cringe

your drum solo doesn't have to be a spectacle

I have always thought this type of solo is a perfect example of the type of thing you are required by your band leader to execute

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTA3fXbCpYw&t=3m37s

now I'm not saying you have to be Dennis.... but notice how he keeps the song moving within his solo and does not try to blow your mind with a chop fest .... just keeps it greazy

good luck and keep us posted
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  #3  
Old 04-04-2014, 09:09 PM
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brady brady is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

2 words. Max. Roach.

I guess it depends on the context of the solo. In jazz, keep the melody in mind. Play round with it and adapt it to the kit.

In rock, I think it works a little differently. It's a little more groove oriented. Or at least is better IMO for the listener as opposed to "look at me" chops.

You said you typically solo for about a verse. That's a good starting point. If keeping in mind an AABA song form, your 8 measure verse-long solo would be the first "A". Repeat that verse, perhaps altering it slightly or changing a sound source. There's the second "A". Kick it up a notch with something completely different, yet still making sense for the song for the "B" section. Maybe doing something with a Latin feel, a tribal tom thing, thunderous bass drums, whatever works. Then repeat the first "A". It helps the listener too, to realize that this is all intentional and let them latch onto something recognizable. They'll realize that it's actually a song form and not drum stick masturbation. That is, if they didn't run to the bar or bathroom as soon as "drum solo" was announced.

There are others on here WAY more qualified than me to answer this for you. Surely they will be along soon. In the meantime, keep it groovy, keep it melodic. I hope this gets you started.
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Old 04-04-2014, 09:15 PM
feldiefeld feldiefeld is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

If you run out of ideas it usually means that you don't have enough vocabulary to rely on.

Change that by first stealing licks that you like from other drummers. One of the best ways to understand how to solo is to transcribe some solos that you like and learn to play them well. Then memorize them. Then take the licks and ideas from that solo and twist them around to make some new things …..ideas that are your own.

Another thing that you can do is simply construct the exact solo you wish to play (write it out note for note) in the context of the tune you are being asked to solo in and then memorize it. Some might call that cheating, but in the early stages, soloing can be quite nerve racking and that helped me. In one case, I wrote out a solo for a tune in a fusion band I was in ….it was stacked with great Vinnie Colaiuta ideas…..and i just played that note for note. Nobody knew that was my approach, all they knew was that I was playing some bad ass stuff……. cheating perhaps, but it worked really well.

Finally, one great way to ease into your solo is to make it groove based. Gadd and Carlock are really good at this, so check them out for inspiration.

hope this is helpful. Good luck. Soloing will become great fun when you get better at it.
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Old 04-04-2014, 09:28 PM
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Default Re: Need help with solos

all great advice so far

I wanted to add one thing to my earlier post

I enjoy going as far as to learn others solos note for note .... transcribe them and memorize them

it is amazing what you learn

but the most important thing you learn is what feels good coming off of your limbs and what doesn't

Elvin Jones had me memorize multiple Max Roach and Art Blakey solos ... then construct my own solo ... improvised of course based on a melody that he sprung on me that day ....but he had me include bits and pieces of my choice form the Roach and Blakey solos .... but I had to try to disguise them enough so that he would not recognize them

I grew 5 years that month
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2014, 01:19 AM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

Thank you so much Tony, feldiefeld and brady !!

Lots of great ideas ! I will listen to some other drummers and try out some ideas I have, and plan ahead a little better.

My big drum solo comes in the song "Gimme Some Lovin".

I start out with the groove, then I go to 8th notes with accents, then 16 notes with accents, then I go to the cymbals then I usually go down hill from there.

The audience loves it, but I know other drummers can tell when I run out of ideas.

So thank you for the help. I will try out your ideas !!!!


.
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  #7  
Old 04-05-2014, 01:37 AM
adamosmianski adamosmianski is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

All great advice here.

My two cents would be….

Don't fear space. Use it! If you're at a loss for what to play, just play time, but sell it. Use it to create tension. Play time for two or three bars, then a loud accent somewhere. Time for another bar or two, another big accent. Take your time and create suspense. Big giant rests can be very hip as well.

Also, don't feel like you have to play something new in every bar. Think of a melody. It gets repeated many times in the course of a tune, right? Well, you can do the same thing with your soloing. If you can't think of anything new, play something you've already played. It will sound as though you're bringing your solo full circle.

And last but not least (I suppose that makes 3 cents). When in doubt, play the melody! Play something that resembles the melody of the tune so listeners have something to grab on to. It doesn't have to be flashy, just recognizable.

Good luck!
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Old 04-05-2014, 02:02 AM
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Default Re: Need help with solos

Quote:
Originally Posted by adamosmianski View Post
All great advice here.

My two cents would be….

Don't fear space. Use it! If you're at a loss for what to play, just play time, but sell it. Use it to create tension. Play time for two or three bars, then a loud accent somewhere. Time for another bar or two, another big accent. Take your time and create suspense. Big giant rests can be very hip as well.

Also, don't feel like you have to play something new in every bar. Think of a melody. It gets repeated many times in the course of a tune, right? Well, you can do the same thing with your soloing. If you can't think of anything new, play something you've already played. It will sound as though you're bringing your solo full circle.

And last but not least (I suppose that makes 3 cents). When in doubt, play the melody! Play something that resembles the melody of the tune so listeners have something to grab on to. It doesn't have to be flashy, just recognizable.

Good luck!
priceless info right there Jim .... heed it

all of it

the bold is what really stuck out to me
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  #9  
Old 04-05-2014, 05:27 AM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

Hey adamosmianski and Tony, Great points.

Melody and rests..............

I think I'm not using the rests (spaces) to my advantage !
I have always known that the spaces between the notes (beats) are as important and the notes.

In fact if I have some larger spaces (rests) it would show how I know where the rhythm is when I'm not playing. And it would increase the effect of dynamics !!

I need to remember this.

Brilliant guys !! Thanks a million !


.
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  #10  
Old 04-05-2014, 06:51 AM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

A bit late to the party, but just want to add:

Developing vocabulary can be tricky, even for an advanced player. You can, and probably should, steal some licks, but they're just licks, so in the wrong context they can seem gratuitous or, worse, amateur-ish.

A great way to develop your solo-istic self is to remove most of the variables that make drumming difficult. For example, play only your hi-hat with the right hand, and be as interesting as possible. Why would a drummer find this difficult? Well, if you're like most drummers, you spend most of your life accompanying, occasionally playing a fill or switching to a new groove. This is obviously a lot different than playing lead drums, where you provide the featured musical content.

Music (and especially rhythm) can be described as a "game of anticipation". You engage the listener by playing around with what he/she expects to hear next. If I play "shave and a haircut", you think "two bits". So, when you play a rhythmic phrase, the listener expects to hear a variation of that phrase, at the very least. Repeat the phrase too often, and the listener is bored. After some variations, returning to the original phrase can "reset" the game.

There's been plenty of advice to "play the melody". You can, of course, follow the contour and rhythm of the melody with the wide range of voices on the kit, but often melodies are sparse or not very interesting w.r.t. their rhythms. Going a bit further with that idea, try examining not only the melody, but also the guitar riff, piano, horns, whatnot, for their rhythms, too. Write them out, not only in order to play them, but to take stock of the spacing and note values. Then, create some variations on those by adding or subtracting notes, syncopating, adding rests, etc. Doing this with only one hand on one surface enables you to think in terms of rhythmic expectation and improvisation, rather than in terms of licks or stickings. At this point, don't play doubles or flams or worry about rights and lefts, just play ideas.

And now the hard part. Once you've thoroughly explored the rhythmic landscape of a song, then you can start to add in more limbs, fill in the subdivisions between rhythmic ideas, and find spots where licks and stickings will be feasible. After much practice, hopefully, you'll sound more "musical". Good luck!
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  #11  
Old 04-05-2014, 08:00 AM
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Wavelength Wavelength is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

Here's Benny Greb's take on developing ideas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa3rRdDAWpc
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  #12  
Old 04-05-2014, 08:52 AM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

Quote:
Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
A bit late to the party, but just want to add:

Developing vocabulary can be tricky, even for an advanced player. You can, and probably should, steal some licks, but they're just licks, so in the wrong context they can seem gratuitous or, worse, amateur-ish.

A great way to develop your solo-istic self is to remove most of the variables that make drumming difficult. For example, play only your hi-hat with the right hand, and be as interesting as possible. Why would a drummer find this difficult? Well, if you're like most drummers, you spend most of your life accompanying, occasionally playing a fill or switching to a new groove. This is obviously a lot different than playing lead drums, where you provide the featured musical content.

Music (and especially rhythm) can be described as a "game of anticipation". You engage the listener by playing around with what he/she expects to hear next. If I play "shave and a haircut", you think "two bits". So, when you play a rhythmic phrase, the listener expects to hear a variation of that phrase, at the very least. Repeat the phrase too often, and the listener is bored. After some variations, returning to the original phrase can "reset" the game.

There's been plenty of advice to "play the melody". You can, of course, follow the contour and rhythm of the melody with the wide range of voices on the kit, but often melodies are sparse or not very interesting w.r.t. their rhythms. Going a bit further with that idea, try examining not only the melody, but also the guitar riff, piano, horns, whatnot, for their rhythms, too. Write them out, not only in order to play them, but to take stock of the spacing and note values. Then, create some variations on those by adding or subtracting notes, syncopating, adding rests, etc. Doing this with only one hand on one surface enables you to think in terms of rhythmic expectation and improvisation, rather than in terms of licks or stickings. At this point, don't play doubles or flams or worry about rights and lefts, just play ideas.

And now the hard part. Once you've thoroughly explored the rhythmic landscape of a song, then you can start to add in more limbs, fill in the subdivisions between rhythmic ideas, and find spots where licks and stickings will be feasible. After much practice, hopefully, you'll sound more "musical". Good luck!
Excellent information. A lot to think about.
Thank you.

.
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  #13  
Old 04-05-2014, 08:53 AM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavelength View Post
Here's Benny Greb's take on developing ideas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa3rRdDAWpc

Super video, great information.

Thank you so much !


.
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  #14  
Old 04-05-2014, 10:34 AM
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DrummerSneed DrummerSneed is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

Don't forget to light your sticks on fire, throw them in the audience, do a back flip and then play with your hands :p
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  #15  
Old 04-05-2014, 12:07 PM
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Dre25 Dre25 is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

Mike Mangini is putting out a dvd called ''the grid''.

I haven't seen it but I saw the demo for it and it's all about constructing solos with some kind of systematic approach.

Personally I just play simple things with odd note placement and I try to throw some flashy/speedy things in there, but I try to pace myself. That Benny Greb video is great.
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Old 04-05-2014, 03:24 PM
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Default Re: Need help with solos

such great info guys

really enjoying this thread

and I had not seen that Benny Greb video ..... fantastic... thanks Wave

"he didn't use any new words in there. I knew every letter that he used. sorry, everything is stolen."

"... but I play the ride cymbal pattern... it must be jazz..."

brilliant.... Benny is hilarious

Last edited by WhoIsTony?; 04-05-2014 at 03:40 PM.
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  #17  
Old 04-18-2014, 07:33 PM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

Just an update on my soloing.
Last night I had the opportunity to solo. And it went very good !

Thank you for all of the advice and reference material !

I found out that in the past year when I was soloing I was having the following problems.

1. I was trying to use every lick I had.
2. I was tapping out and getting to the good stuff too early. So I had no place else to go.
3. I was not using spaces. In other words I was trying to fill the whole solo time with beats. The spaces create interest.
4. These are about 16 measure solos and I felt like I had very little time to “show all my stuff”. But I have come to find out “showing all my stuff” is not what makes a good solo.

Thank you guys for your help !!

.
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  #18  
Old 04-19-2014, 12:19 AM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

Tell the rest of the band that when you run out of ideas, they should listen for the switch to playing Wipe Out.

LOL
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  #19  
Old 04-22-2014, 09:10 AM
remohead remohead is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

I tend to start simple, string a few rudiments together with quarter note kicks and or eighth note kick/hats, mixing the hands playing 16th or 32nd notes. For me varying dynamics playing a big part and giving the feet space, the hands don't have to be playing constantly, I like to work some linear patterns in so that there is a bit of space and groove too.

I hope this helps,

Remo
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  #20  
Old 04-27-2014, 02:30 PM
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Drumsinhisheart Drumsinhisheart is offline
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Default Re: Need help with solos

Sorry for hijacking but, Benny Greb is a percussive genius.
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