Drummers’ Tip #25

If you’re trying to figure out the direction of the clave (2-3 or not 2-3?) in any song, listen to the harmonic rhythm. One chord for 2 measures or more (a slow harmonic rhythm) will usually work best in 3-2 clave. “Footprints” is a good example. When there are more chords, or a faster harmonic rhythm, you’ll find mostly 2-3. May the clave be with you.

Drummers’ Tip #22

Count-offs are more important that we think; they set the groove before the downbeat. Unless you have a pickup, don’t start playing your hi hat (or anything else) before the music starts. If someone else is counting off the tune, watch their feet first; this where they get the tempo. As you determine the tempo, begin playing the groove in your mind. Nail the downbeat, and make sure the groove is settled from beat one. If you’re counting off a tune, use the same method, and give a solid, strong count-off in the correct time value.