Drums and the Various Types of Rimshots.
There are three primary types of rimshots. Each type tends to have its own use. Rimshots are very popular in many music styles and you will be needing at least the first two of these three types, sooner than you think . . .
RIMSHOT #1: The lay-over rimshot
The LAY-OVER rimshot is popular in many styles of music from Pop to Country & Western music. This type of rimshot is also widely and commonly used in Latin music styles as well.
HOW TO PLAY A 'LAY-OVER RIMSHOT':
To execute a lay-over rimshot, the butt of the stick is laid-over, (across) the rim of the drum (usually the snare.) The trick, or objective is to produce a popping, wood-block sound. There is a bit of an art to doing this . . .
See the Cha-Cha lesson to watch videos of this rimshot technique.
Grab the stick in your left-hand with just the tips of your thumb and first finger. No other fingers should touch the stick. Grab the sick so that the butt will lay across the rim of the snare at about the 2:00 o'clock position. The point of the stick will be somewhere near the center of the drum. You'll want to lay the stick across the rim of the drum in such a way that it creates a popping, wood-block sound. You will feel the stick under the palm of your hand as you connect with the rim. The point of the stick will be making contact at about the center of the head . . . under your palm. This means you can't allow your fingers to wrap under the stick as you lay it into the rim. If the fingers are wrapped underneath . . . it will blunt the effect. The stick won't make good contact with both the rim and the head simultaneously.
Place your thumb and first finger on the sides of the stick as you lay it into the rim. Search for tone! Perfect tone will depend on how much of the stick is protruding over the edge of the drum (rim.) Move the stick slightly one way, then the other (forward or back) and experiment until you find that perfect, crisp, hollow, wood-block sound.
Many beats (especially the Latin beats) require that we often switch quickly from a lay-over rimshot to a solid blow with the butt of the stick to either the snare or possibly the small mounted tom above. It is important to develop speed with this. For example, be able to play a quick rimshot on the snare, then move up to the tom and connect a couple of hits using the butt of the stick and then return to the snare for another lay-over rimshot. Practice this repetitiously until it feels natural and easy to do. You will need it in many of the (Latin) beats to come.
RIMSHOT #2: The POWER Rimshot:
This rimshot technique may save your job someday! It is relatively simple to execute but many drummers may not be aware of the value.
This one is called the 'Power Rimshot' and it will give you immense power once you are aware of 'when', 'where' and 'how' to use it.
The 'Power Rimshot' may be played (usually on the snare) with either the right or left hand. The best use of this rimshot technique is for adding dynamics and power to the backbeats of songs that call for more feeling and power.
HOW TO PLAY THE 'POWER RIMSHOT':
It is simple! Just play a beat . . . (any beat), preferably 8th rock (only because you'll probably be most familiar with it).
As you connect with the backbeat . . . shift your stick to a position where the point of the stick connects near the center of the drum at exactly the same instant the shaft of the stick connects with the rim. There is a certain 'feel' to doing this and it will allow you to pull new and different tones from your snare drum. More than that it says, "FOLLOW ME and don't argue with this tempo"!
Both areas of the stick must connect simultaneously. When it is done correctly a pinging sound will arise from the drum along with the normal snare tone. Your volume level will increase by a factor of 2 or 3. It can be considered obnoxious if used inappropriately.
In many situations this technique may be too much . . . too loud and too strong for the environment. At other times . . . you may be called 'wimpy' if you DON'T use it and we ALL know that 'wimpy' drummers don't last long! I would much rather be criticized as too loud rather than called wimpy or weak. Let me explain . . .
Situations arise onstage where the decibels are deafening. The amplification of electrified instruments and P.A. equipment surrounding the drummer may often drown out the drums completely. Sometimes the other instruments may be so loud that the drums often get completely covered and over-powered.
The next thing to happen may be chaos as the other players take the tempo away from the drummer. Sometimes the loudest instrument in the band may run away with the tempo. All the other players will follow that more dominant instrument because they can't hear the snare backbeat well enough. The song self-destructs and inevitably everyone in the band will blame the drummer . . . (and not the dorky guitarist who ran off with the tempo in the first place! ) At that point . . . the drummer gets tagged with that dreaded 'El Wimpo' label. It can be a fate worse than death itself.
A wise drummer will save his/her own reputation by not allowing the situation to develop in the first place. This occurs most often because the offending instrument may be at a distant corner of the stage and that player either can't hear the backbeat or is refusing to follow it. By driving home that backbeat with a 'Power Rimshot', the drummer (with the help of a good bass player) can regain control of the tempo and the band. This technique can weld and tighten a band like no other trick I have learned in 40 years of playing. It works! Try it anytime your situation calls for it! Never, ever let your band accuse you of playing too wimpy and NEVER allow them to take the tempo to the moon, then blame you for allowing it.
Dynamic? Yes, that's a cool label! It's good to fluctuate from loud to soft at the appropriate times. Use dynamics to your best advantage.
Wimpy or weak? NO! If we blindly follow a wild and dominant player into the abyss, it's our fault. Know when to hold your ground with a solid and powerful tempo, even if it means that you may be a little too loud.
RIMSHOT #3: The 'Cross-Stick' Rimshot:
This rimshot type has nothing at all to do with hitting the rim of the drum but it does produce a rimshot sound.
You won't see this cross-stick rimshot used a lot in today's music but it is extremely useful as a solo technique or when we are seeking to create uniquely different fills.
HOW TO PLAY A 'CROSS-STICK RIMSHOT':
As the name implies, the cross-stick rimshot is executed by smacking one stick with the other. Usually we place the point of our left stick in the center of the snare. It will be at an angle to the head, somewhat perpendicular . . . maybe 75* degrees. Then, with the right stick . . . we smack the left stick somewhere in the middle. This will produce a cracking sound that might really jazz up your solos and fills once you learn to execute it effectively and quickly. It is quite impressive when mixed with rudimental techniques such as the Single Drag or the Ratamaque. Usually a drummer will play the rudiment quite fast and finish it off with the cracking sound of a cross-stick rimshot on the very last note of the rudiment.
Old timers like Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa made great use of this rimshot technique but it isn't used as often, these days.Copyright Bill Powelson 1965-1996-2008-2014 @ all rights reserved.
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