Tips n’ Tricks.


IMG_11741) Always take the time to properly set up your kit before any performance or practice session. Quite often, not enough attention is given to the ergonomics of playing, and the correct height and posture will go a long way to improving your performance, technique, sound and endurance.

2) Check the condition of your drum heads. The best kit and player in the world can still sound lousy if your drum heads are not up to scratch and/or correctly tuned. If the head is pitted or dented or the skin is pulling off the hoop, replace it immediately with the model of your choice, and get the best you can afford.

3) Ensure you use the right Drum heads. Selecting just the right drum heads these days can be quite a mission, with the number of brands and model types available. However, going with the the reputable brands like Remo or Evans will ensure you have dont have quality issues and enable you to largely customize your sound and lifespan of the heads, dependent on model type. Generally-speaking, you won’t go wrong with the Remo Ambassador & Emperor range. Speak to your teacher and get a heads up! /

4) Tuning is king when it come to getting the best sound and performance from you and the drums! A well-tuned and correctly-balanced drum head set will make yours and and your sound engineers life a lot easier:

5) Eight sure-fire ways to efficient drums tuning:

a) Ensure the lugs, tuning screws and rims are clean

b) Place the head firmly on the rim of the drum & replace metal hoop. Secure all the tuning screws and finger tighten in-parallel (not clockwise) till flush with the hoop.

c) Apply 1/2 to 3/4 turn to each screw, again inparallel, depending on number of lugs: 6 oclock – 12 oclock / 8 oclock – 2 oclock etc.

d) Press lightly in to middle of the head and eliminate any of corsets wrinkles between each lug. This way you eliminate any major tuning deficiencies visually, before the head is too tight to verify.

e) Tune the head up sequentially a 1/4 turn at a time inparallel to your desired pitch and tone.

f) With the opposite head muted (drum on pillow for example) tap clockwise on the head with a drumstick 10mm from each tuning screw and establish precise same pitch between each lug. Tune up from lowest screw and directly opposite, never tune down. If you need to tune pitch-down ensure the complete head is tuned and then detune evenly around the drum.

g) Press moderately firmly into the middle of the head with the bottom of your hand. This will slightly stretch the head and seat the rim. Readjust tuning accordingly.

h) There are different opinions on the correct tuning balance between the top and bottom head, but generally as starting point make sure both head as the same pitch. This will ensure maximum resonance from the drum. However this can vary depending on the different head specs and it is common practice to tune the bottom head a quarter or half tone higher (about a 1/4 turn) to achieve a more contemporary tom sound with a slight pitch bend. In the case of snare drums, the snare bottom (thin) head is considerably tighter than the toms resonant head to maximize snare responsiveness and tone.

6) Always play for the Music and band, not to impress the other drummers in the audience. Besides, any self-respecting drummer will admire you more for being musical and enhancing the tune, rather than a daredevil display of drum chops!

7) Never shut you ears off from any Music. Dont stick your nose up at any musical genre. Listen & absorb every conceivable style of Music at every opportunity. No one style of Music is mutually exclusive and often, many techniques and idiosyncrasies of one will assimilate beautifully with another.

8) Behave professionally, even if you are an amateur. This isnt meant to be preachy – but nobody has time for time-wasters, prima donnas, boozers and anti-social behavior in any business – and any studio, classroom or band environment is a business environment, where (whatever your level of experience) you have the potential to excel or flounder.

9) Dont play when you practice. Dont practice when you play. This means, when you practice stay focused on what your are working on and dont start messing around under the guise of practicing. Similarly, try not to introduce ‘Page 3 Exercise 8 Double Paradiddle’ variation into a playing/ performance environment. unless you absolutely sure its going to enhance the music in some way!

10) Maintain your Drum Kit. Ensure your pedals are well-lubricated and adjusted to minimise squeaks and rattles. Likewise with snare, cymbal & Hi Hat stands; change the felts, clutch pads and nylon sleeves occasionally to eliminate metal to metal contact and extend the life of your gear.

11) Dont believe all the hype about Drumsticks. Bigger or smaller sticks wont make you play louder or faster, but a well-balanced good quality stick will make the world of difference to your playing, technique and tone and help you avoid actual injury. Like drumheads, there are huge range to choose from, but start with a medium-gauge wooden tip stick from reputable companies like Pro-Mark, Vic Firth and Vater. Check out my Signature Pro-Mark ‘Neill Ettridge’ model, which has been very widely acclaimed is a great medium-gauge stick with a perfect weight & balance.

12) Bigger kits dont make you play better! Its a bit of any urban legend this one, but aside from the aesthetic appeal of a big glitzy drum set, chances are you run the risk of just playing the same drum fill or rhythm on a different drum, rather than with a smaller set having to conceptualise and create a whole new realm of ideas.

13) The development of ‘drummer gloves’ and ‘non-slip’ drumsticks & pedals with rubbery grips is not a good one. For optimum technique, you want to minimise friction between the contact point of the hands and stick or feet and pedals. Good hand technique requires you have a loose grip and maximum movement of the stick at the fulcrum. Likewise, Bass Drum & Hi Hat, which in some circumstances require you to move up, down and across the footboard to facilitate 16th notes.