Drumming quesitons

I get a lot of questions about drumming.

And I love talking about drums and music.

But I typically don’t answer those questions. Because unlike questions about love, money, and life — they don’t relate to everyone. But I’ll make an exception here and answer a few drumming questions at once. And I’ll continue to do so every once and a while, so feel free to keep asking if you have more drum questions.

Dear Pud,

Do you suggest that someone learn drums on an electric set? I want to play on real drums so that I get used to them, but I don’t want to make a lot of noise.

Harold
22 years old
Gainesville, FL

Harold,

It doesn’t matter what you learn on. If you can tap out a beat with your fingers, you can play the drums.

My first drum set was a set of empty paint cans in my bedroom when I was 12. By the time I got my real first drum set, I was already pretty good.

One summer when I was 20, I auditioned for band (this band, in fact). I had to learn an entire album, but was living with my grandmother in NYC at the time and had no access to drums.

So I bought sticks, and set up the chairs, sofa, and bed as a makeshift set. I practiced the songs without a real drum set, and the audition was a success. What happened later is another story for another day…

Regarding using electric drums to play quietly — while it’s true they have a volume knob, if you live in an apartment with people below you, the beating of the bass drum will still drive them crazy. Plus, a decent electric set is usually beyond the budget of a beginner, starting at around $2,500 for something used on Ebay.

Pud,

I noticed your double-bass skills on your YouTube stuff. What kind of pedal do you use and how do you have it set as far as tension and beater type?

What’s your pedal rig, Pud?

P. Simms
21 years old
North Carolina

P.,

  • Pedals – DW pedals (5000 series, though they’re all the same)
  • Tension – I keep the left pedal tight and the right pedal loo
  • Beaters – The ones that came with the DW pedals, on the soft side (the beaters are reversible, with one side soft and one side hard).

More importantly, I have a trick for playing double-bass that makes it very easy. I’ll try to make an instructional video this week or so.

I get a lot of questions about double-bass. Even experienced drummers struggle with it. But I can usually get a beginner to play fluid double-bass within 10-15 minutes. Will post video soon.

Pud,

I’m looking to buy a new drum kit. What are the cheapest, high-quality drums out there?

Thanks,
Armando
16 years old
Los Angeles, CA

Armando,

Tama Superstar. They sound great and can be had for around $700. Or less, if you go Ebay.

Pud,

I came across your page after viewing your drumming videos on YouTube.

I was wondering 1) what prevented you from pursuing a career in music? And 2) I’m a drummer too. How do I make it in the industry?

Thanks,
Josh
18 years old
Summerville, SC

Josh,

Most people take the path of least resistance. There are many exceptions to this rule, but unfortunately I wasn’t one of them. So:

Hard – Finding success as a professional musician and programming computers as a hobby.
Easy – Programming for a living and playing drums as a hobby.

I used to wonder the same thing myself. Over the years I’ve put various efforts into becoming a professional musician. But I always ended up dropping out. So I started reading interviews with rock stars, to figure out what made them so different.

I noticed one common theme (other than heavy drug use and alcoholism). And there are hundreds of examples, but the one that always stuck out in my mind was an MTV interview with Axl Rose from Guns N’ Roses.

Interviewer: What would you be doing if you weren’t a professional musician?
Axl: I dunno. I’d be working at a gas station or something.

So as for your second question, “how do I make it?” Take Axl’s advice, and don’t have ANY interests other than music, or they will derail you.

Also consider taking up heroin.

Rock on,
Pud

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