Latest Entries »

Exploring Grooves In 7

Hiya… here’s another Periscope broadcast with some elaboration. Hope you’re enjoying this little experiment…

Short version: grooves in 7 in various musical styles have some things in common that I focus on when I play. 

– subdividing into groups of 2’s and 3’s

– singing the sound of the pulsations once the counting is mastered

– playing from the bottom up, feet first, but driving the underlying pulse with hi-hat or ride cymbal

Core stuff, the essence of making the grooves work. The real key is to make the transitions from the 2 and 3 sub groupings as seamless as possible. If you practice playing jazz, funk, Latin, whatever in 3, you’ll perfect that transition nicely.

So give it a look and listen, and I hope as always that you can grab something useful. Enjoy!

Howdy, thanks for stopping by again to see what’s cookin’ behind my kit. I’m thoroughly enjoying making the on-the-spot Periscope videos and then presenting them here with some further explanation, and I hope what I’m sharing is helpful.


I love playing sambas in 5, and I’ll tell you a little about how to make them flow. I’ll also share some simple thoughts on improvisation and fills in a 5 samba.


A measure of 5/4 can be subdivided 2 + 3, or 3 + 2, meaning where you place the emphasis on the pulse. There are actually TWO pulses within the measure that shape it and create a contour. ONE two ONE two three is the first example. ONE two three, ONE two is the second. The first flows very well and breathes, I mean it really does feel like a lung.


In the video, I explore this idea and show how to make the measures breathe.


The other component has to do with fills mostly, and some improv. With either, you want to create mini-compositions, nice musical statements. So here’s a tip I follow from something I read about Miles Davis. He said he likes to NOT complete a phrase, by leaving things out.


I love doing this. I’ll hear a longer phrase in my head but only play bits of it, kind of fragment it here and there. It lets the audience fill in the spaces. Flurry is fun, but minimal bits and pieces help decorate what you’re doing as well as what your fellow musicians are doing.


There’s other cool performance tips for slow and fast sambas that I think you’ll find conceptually useful.


Anyway, give it a look, lemme know what you think.




– David

Howdy again, fellow keepers of the drumming flame. I’m gonna put up one more recent Periscope video with comment here, as I think this little experiment is actually working out pretty well. I like being able to discuss things a bit more, and, it gives you a much better idea of what’s being offered if you have a few minutes to watch.


In this video, I demonstrate exercises I’ve used to keep my hands in shape since I was around 11. I’ll hit 58 in about a week, so, I figure, something must be working with this approach. Mind you, it’s not been every single day since the early 70’s, but in the last fifteen years, yeah I’d say fairly regularly. If there have been gaps, I can literally get back up to speed in about a week or less.


Here’s the breakdown:


3 different weight sticks3 – Marching sticks, 7A’s, and Brushes

3 different grips – traditional, German and French

4 rudiments – single stroke roll, double stroke roll, six stroke roll, paradiddles

3 different volumes – Loud, Medium, Soft


I start with an exercise that Terry Bozzio taught me in the early 1980s, to develop tendon strength directly at the wrist, using German matched grip (back of palm facing up)


Then, French (back of palm facing outward) and then matched grip. All designed to loosen up my wrists and muscles.


Next, double stroke rolls, same grip sequence. Focus on loud to soft transitions with powerful intensity.


Then, six-stroke rolls and Paradiddles, played very loud and very slow to make the wrists work. Anyone can use rebound. Work the muscles and tendons to discover their finesse and limitations. Doing these exercises using brushes is especially helpful, as you’ll see.


I demonstrate some faster execution of the four rudiments, and you can appreciate their applications pretty quickly. I end the video with some timekeeping and execution of fills using combinations of the four rudiments I practice.


I hope it helps give you some tools to keep your hands in shape, but do remember: with great speed and power comes great responsibility. I’m kinda saying this tongue in cheek, but, if you unleash gratuitously and repeatedly, your phone will likely not ring very much. These exercises can be used in musical contexts with some interesting effects, if you do so musically. Going batshit crazy and hoping people will like it is more often than not a super great way to be left alone on stage… permanently.


But hey, we’re drummers. We drive the ship, and if sometimes we feel like leaving a few rooster tails and ripping up the waters, crank it up and let ‘er rip! Besides, life’s too short to just groooooooooove all the time if there’s a bit of animal in you wanting out. It doesn’t hurt to discover what’s truly under your skin now and then…


PS Please let me know if this link expires. I am still learning the in’s and out’s of making Periscope work. Thanks!








Hello again from the low-tech drumming cave I call home in Los Angeles. In our last adventure, I posted two Periscope links from some broadcasts I’d done recently, and they seemed to work okay. Yay for links! For our next leap into percussive abandon, we’re gonna take a look-see at another Periscope shout out I did about drumming a proper Texas shuffle.


The thing I like about being about to post these links is that I can elaborate on what was basically done on the fly, with no layout like a YouTube lesson or something more structured.


So, first thing: we can agree to disagree about what is exactly a Texas shuffle, as they may vary from place to place… and that’s okay. What I can tell you with a high degree of certainty is that you play the same beat with both hands, and this is the key.


If you keep the snare loudest, the kick second and the cymbals third in terms of volume, you’ll get a nice mix that won’t wash out the band if it’s cymbal heavy, nor will you overdo the drive by stomping the living hell out of the kick drum.


It’s about subtly. And crisp pop. More like a really quick grimace, repeated over and over and over. If you want to hear the master of this hand dance, check out Chris Layton. He was the driver behind the late Stevie Ray Vaughn’s band and does in fact know a thing or two about ba-doobah dop-ah, doobah dop-ah…


As a jazz drummer in my 20’s in Austin, I knew precious little about the aforementioned sound or how to really play a proper Texas shuffle, but thanks to a guitar player named TeePee Tom, and the patience of Kathy Murray and the Kilowatts, I got it dialed in reasonably and have been eternally grateful for their respective tutelage. Annnnd, a very big thanks to Dee Harrell, Kathy’s bass player at the time, for helping me learn how to lock it in.


By the way, Kathy Murray and the Kilowatts are still playing in Austin, so please check them out of you wanna hear it done proper. Here’s her website as well (complete with her new CD link): (


Anyway, here ya go, hope it’s useful, and remember: keep your sticks low to the surfaces to get the bar-b-cue sauce mix just right!



Howdy hi-tech neighbors! If you saw the short blog post I wrote a month or so ago, I shared some information about Periscope and what drummers could do with it.

Well, upon further exploration, I found a simple link to the broadcasts that you can copy and paste into WordPress. I like this because some days, I just want to sit down and play and talk, not work out a formal, flawless lesson presentation that would rival Benny Greb’s production quality. Since I’m a few light years away from his stellar stuff, you’ll have to humour me and settle for the occasional shabby tee-shirt, whatever is clean that day version of drum information sharing…

That said, I had a thought one afternoon about a simple quintuplet presentation, so, I hit Record and started rambling. The link below takes you to the Periscope post, and all you have to do is hit the Play arrow, and it’s off to the races.


Here’s the 5-note/7-note version.


I was exploring these ideas as part of an upcoming series of drum clinics I’d like to do. Things will be a bit more formal and structured so you can really sink your teeth into things, but this will give you the basic idea. Comments, feedback and suggestions are appreciated if you’d like to share a thought or two.


Thanks, and enjoy!

NAMM 2017 and What Really Mattered


Hey gang, yeah, I’ve been slacking here like a boss. A lot of stuff going on, eating my mind and time. It’s about to get busier, with more things to share. As always, I appreciate you stopping by. I really mean that.


So, NAMM 2017… I spent four days there, gathering this and that, running myself into the ground, and ending up sick for a week and a half afterwards. It drained me pretty good, but when you’re surrounded by thousands of people, sick happens.

In the end, after thinking about the whole extended weekend, I wondered, what the hell should I tell you about? Products? Meetings with old friends? Connecting with new friends? Same ol’ shit, really. Boring, filler, nothing of any real consequence. You know from reading this blog for several years that I strive not to be commercial, and that I only rarely mention products.

That’s because I’m far more interested in people. Real people, humble ones, those with integrity, often the lower key folks who run under the radar and just get shit done. Soooo… that’s what I’m gonna tell you about NAMM 2017. Two groups of people. I learned valuable lessons from both, and hopefully, you’ll benefit as well.


A Bartender Named Bobby

It’s Friday night, and I’m hanging with friends I only see once a year. We’re in the lobby of one of the big hotels, listening to live music and wanting to get our drink on. I saunter up to the bar and order a couple of shots, and the bartender looks at me like I’m a Mormon in a whorehouse. Very confused, he was. The glaze in his eyes was strange, even by my definition of strange.

No affect, emotion, juts kinda zoned out. I say, “Yes, I’d like a shot of head-whomping tequila, something to make it pound.” No smile, nothing. He pours a pathetic version of a shot, really more like half of one, in a tiny plastic cup. Just bending over like a wounded robot.


So I pay for my overpriced, under-poured drink, and off we go. I down it quickly, and we go to another bar around the corner, where a bartender with a sense of humor proceeds to fill the shots like shots were meant to be filled. “Now that’s how you do it, young lady!” I exclaimed, sharing my gripe and angst about the shortcomings around the corner. “Yeah, he’s kinda weird,” she replied, with nothing else offered. My friends and I agreed, and off we went into the loud night, buzz in hand and soon down the gullet.

The next night, Saturday, we go back to the same lobby, and I order more drinks for myself while my friends reloaded nearby. As the bartender in pouring, I say to him, “Your man Bobby doesn’t know how to pour a proper shot. Glad to see you do.”

The bartender stops and looks up at me, and says, “Take it easy on him. Bobby’s got Parkinson’s, he’s not gonna be around much longer…”

And right there, the music in my world stopped.

It felt like a freight train going full steam coming to a screeching halt, and everyone hopped off, leaving me to my stupid self, sitting in coach.

The bartender handed me the receipt, and I tripled the tip.

“This much is for you. The rest is for Bobby. Don’t tell him who or why. I’m an idiot. Let’s leave it at that, okay?”

The bartender nodded, I took my drink, and my friends and I left.

You truly never known someone’s story. The are silent struggles everywhere. I hadn’t put my foot that far into my mouth in so long I’d forgotten what the rubber on my sneakers tasted like, but I got quick reminder. The universe speaks in strange ways. It’s always talking to you, sometimes through you. Sometimes through others. It’s the real music we should be listening to.


Streetlight Cadence and their mid-day Serenade

Sunday morning, it’s pouring. Stops and starts, but it was a wet one by day’s end. I checked out of my motel and parked over at the Disney lot and hoofed it about a quarter mile to the NAMM entrance. On the way in, you pass a huge soundstage where people are playing all day.

As I walk by, I see four musicians on the large stage, getting ready to play to about seven or so people. The diehards, standing there with umbrellas, taking in every note, transfixed by the young performers. I kept walking, thinking, “Who the hell plays in the rain to virtually no one?”

And then I hear them, and I stop. Turned around, looked at four guys with no drummer, singing harmonies that painted rainbows across a grey stage and sky. I mean, it was instantaneous. Some of the most beautiful music I’ve heard in a long time, a simple love song.

The small audience remained front and center, taking in every note. They applauded strongly when the song was done and looked forward to the next one. I walked a little more, and then turned around again, this time watching the group on the larger monitor located at the back end of the audience.

Another stunning tune, performed to perfection on an imperfect day with a smattering of listeners. It didn’t matter. The musicians embodied what music was about, what it should be about, what it must be about. The performance. The moment. The presence.

Google Streetlight Cadence.

And that was part two of the universe having its say.



I’m guessing the third part would be me writing this blog and sharing the moments with you. I’ve always felt that being a writer was more like being a vessel for something larger, kind of a scribbling pack mule transporting thoughts from nether regions to the light of day. So for now, that’s what I’m going with.

Give more than you want to get. Consider the unknown stories, and play to the falling rain, like every note is the only note. Sure, music is a business and you do have to hustle to get your meaningful message out, but hustle with heart. Strike that balance, and the road will unfold in some very interesting ways.

And don’t forget to feel your feet as you walk, because remembering to play from the ground up is everything.




Howdy, gang, a short post here. If you go to Periscope and follow me on @DaldridgeDrums, I’ll be putting up clips here and there throughout the event. I’ll let you know if I see something truly interesting and unique. I’m especially interested in Zildjian’s new line of dry K’s. I’ll let ya know what else is cool. Please follow me, and we’ll see ya soon! – David
Update 3:10 p.m. Thursday: quick addition. The Zildjian’s were amazing, but pretty loud around me, hard to hear. I’m going back to see if I can get a decent sample, but believe me, these things are awesome!

Update  8:15 pm Friday I set up the live Periscope feeds to also go to my Twitter @daldridgedrums 

It’s hard to get decent sound in the NAMM hall with soooooo much noise going on around, so please bear with me. I’ll do the best I can with my trusty 6s iPhone!


I was in my teens when Weather Report entered the jazz world and forever turned it on its proverbial ear. I left heavy metal and prog rock for a while and opened my mind to an entirely different reality. The colors were endless, and the thought processes were unlike anything I’d ever experienced.


I can’t recall who turned me on to Weather Report, but I bought their first album to learn more about where jazz was headed. The opening track, “Milky Way,” remains one of my favorites, mostly because of the lessons offered regarding simplicity, as well as expanded thinking.



The surreal chordal beauty of the song speaks for itself, so I’ll get right to my point. At 1:12 into it, a single percussion strike occurs. The personnel for the album included Airto Moreira, and a Wiki article mentioned that Don Alias and Barbara Burton played but were not credited.


So… I can’t tell you who hit the note. All I can say is, it landed exactly where it needed to.


But it’s not THE note.


That one occurs at 1:37 into the song, and it’s played by saxophonist and weather report co-founder Wayne Shorter.


And it’s perfect.



DownBeat awarded Album of the Year to Weather Report’s inaugural effort, and it took me down a path I’ve appreciated for decades. I often cite “Milky Way” as probably the best example I’ve ever heard of simplicity, timing and unobtrusive playing.


Wayne Shorter’s terse breath is likely a lesson of great magnitude for sax players in terms of execution, duration, and phrasing, but what we drummers can take away from it is the single moment and how it could sound on so many different surfaces.


Now you might be thinking, “Well, why aren’t you singing the praises of the one percussion strike?” I suppose it’s because that’s something I would expect from percussion, hearing something struck. I think Shorter’s note was ALSO percussive in its execution, which to me says he could have been thinking of his instrument in a different context.


And this is where the door really opens.


As drummers, we strike surfaces… but how often do we listen to other instruments and then seek to mimic their phrasing and approach to their instrument? A keyboard player can’t exactly make a note whisper like a breath in the unique way a sax player can. Likewise, a sax player can’t hit a handful of keys, but they can rapidly player the notes in the keys struck. The keyboard player could then mimic the phrasing of a sax player doing runs of notes, perhaps using grace notes to simulate short flows of breath.



That was and remains the real beauty for me in “Milky Way,” how it opens my mind to think of how other instruments phrase, because – and here is some real gold – it makes me think more about the other performers and how I could strive to understand and perceive the world through their eyes/ears.


Do this, and you get out of yourself and into the process of the music being performed. Do this, and you step up your musical game considerably. You develop bigger ears, hear space more, become patient and content with letting the music evolve on the spot.


You step outside yourself, and by offering room for the perfect note to show up, you clear the way for everyone else who is doing the same thing.


Get a stage full of that going on, you have magic.

Hi, and thanks for stopping by. I haven’t had much up lately, been way too busy, but this read will more than make up for the gap. Yes it will.

First, the usual disclaimer: I don’t do product reviews as a general rule here, simply because that’s not what this li’l blog is about. What I do is write about people and stuff I like and believe in. Usually, I prefer to surprise folks and put up something up that they never expected to see, to give them due recognition. When it comes to products, same thing.

In the case of Liberty Drums, based in Shildon, U.K., it’s a bit of both. I met Andrew Street and Kevin Lodge at the 2015 NAMM show, in Anaheim, California, where Goran Kjellgren was sharing a booth for his Percussion Kinetics Vector bass drum pedal. I wrote a blog about Goran’s pedals awhile back for the same reasons: great product, great person.



Andrew and Kevin are the heavy lifters at Liberty. Kevin’s very intense attention to the vast array of production and logistics details, as well as his experience as a sound engineer, allows Andrew to do what he does best, which is make a seriously amazing drum. But mind you, everyone at Liberty contributes to making the final product one that’s well worth checking out.



Continuing on the matter of giving due recognition, Rhythm magazine awarded Liberty Drums the best wooden snare drum in the world last year. Modern Drummer gave strong respect and admiration to Liberty’s jazz/bop kit a few months ago, and they also created a video of it. The tuning was a bit low for my taste to sample a jazz kit, and thus was born my desire to write this blog and put up a few video samples with higher tuning and more emphasis on the jazz end of things.


rhythm mag liberty.jpg


While at NAMM 2016, I had the chance to briefly play the Liberty Jazz/Bop series kit seen here, with the following sizes of Finnish birch shells: 8×12 rack tom (12 ply), 14×14 floor tom (12 ply), 18×14 kick (15 ply), and a 14×5.5 snare (15 ply). Here’s a video clip of my exploration, shot with just a cell phone and the usual NAMMbient background madness…



Ya think?

The snare pops and sings. The kick launches, and the toms deliver from the bottom up. I say this especially, because for the following video clips I shot, I tuned the toms higher. The first clip emphasizes the kit’s overall bop performance with sticks, and the second showcases the use of brushes and how much subtle range the kit has. The third give brushes their due, and it lets you hear what makes jazz so special, at least to my ear.

The snare in particular, while not the award-winning one, stands out as musical instrument of its own. Amazing tones, the smallest little details, the stuff a jazz drummer who is close-mic’d can use to make beautiful musical statements. My jazz chops are decent I suppose, but they sounded more so to me because I could hear the sound of gen-u-ine jazz drums at my fingertips. This gave me an authentic palette to create with.


liberty kit


On a side note, as I was shedding one night, just goofing around, I could swear I smelled wood, I mean, like walking by a tree in the forest kind of wood. I mentioned this to Andrew in an email, and he said I was in fact smelling bees wax, which the inside of the shell was treated with.

Bees wax.

Yeah, kids. That’s what you do when you hand-form every single shell that goes out the door and want to put a signature on it. You address production with a deep level of focus and care. Now, multiply that level of attention to ten years of making drums. Rhythm magazine did the math and came to a similar conclusion.



Now, on to the main point of this blog: Here’s a brief up-tempo improv I shot to showcase the overall kit’s response to sticks. I used my iPhone 6S, with sound recorded using a single overhead condenser mic, run through a board and directly into the iPhone using an iRig adapter.



The drums are super light by the way, and they are running Remo Emperor clears on the toms, kick, and an Emperor vintage coated head on the snare. Tuning could go from rock to bop in sixty seconds per drum. I‘m not kidding. In four minutes, you have two entirely different sounding kits that sound authentic on both end of the spectrum. Yes you do.

Here’s a second clip, a slower example to let you hear the drums a little clearer.



Liberty’s latest achievement – and you can be sure that it is – was getting their wares into Pro Drum Shop, in Hollywood. Do that, and you’ve summited the top of the West Coast drum store hill. They are distributed by Cymbal Planet on the East Coast, in New York, and if you live in the U.K., the Dealer link on the Liberty site will take you where you need to go (

I’ll leave you with my favourite clip, the true test of any jazz kit, recorded with no external mic, directly to my iphone. Brushes are where the real finesse of this American art form really come to life, and I enjoy giving it a shot every time I pick up a pair. Use ear buds to grasp the finest levels of detail in the snare, and I do believe you will hear what I heard… some subtle truth, laid out across a canvass built by true artisans.




Liberty, you guys really know how to make a drum that sings. You’ve given the drumming world a beautiful and distinctive voice to express itself with.

Well done, mates. Very well done.


liberty logo






A few months ago, a good friend of mine showed me an app at lunch that I didn’t quite know what to make of. Periscope is sweeping the world, literally, letting you broadcast live and pick up followers for your broadcasts. I could see the immediate potential and applications… but is it all it’s cracked up to be?


I have used it on my iphone (6S) and my ipad (2 Air) with mixed results. The speed of both devices and their processors certainly makes a difference, as does the camera quality. The sound still leaves a lot to be desired, so you do have to take that into account when you broadcast.


There’s a Help manual you can download, and within a few minutes reading, you’re up and running. For those of you who have not yet seen or heard of Periscope, here’s some thoughts on how it works, and some pros and cons I’ve discovered after about 2 weeks of playing with it.

me scope

When you download the app, you can use your Twitter account to log on with it. The set-up is pretty quick, just a few steps and questions. If you have multiple Twitter accounts, you can use those as well. Once you have the basic Periscope account established, you are ready to see and share with the world…



There are FOUR icons on the bottom of the home screen that make Periscope work. The first is the small TV. It displays who is live that you are following, along with random Periscope broadcasts that its algorhythm cranks out. If you see numbers to the right of the broadcasts, that’s how many people are watching it. If you see minutes or hours, that’s a broadcast that has ended and how long ago.



The second icon is a Globe, with two options: Map and List. Map lets you expand and see live and expired broadcasts from all over the world. The red dots mean live or just recently ended. The blue dots mean the transmission has ended a while ago.


List shows you live transmissions, selected I guess at random by Periscope. It’s cool for just browsing to see what’s out there with no particular search agenda. For either, once you select a broadcast, you may notice little hearts bubbling up from the lower right hand corner. These are generated when people tap the screen, and you can do so as well when you hear or see something you like in a broadcast.



The third icon is a Camera Lens, with a red dot. This is how you go live and broadcast. You click on it, and then you can type in a short description of what your ‘scope is going to be about.


There are four small icons on the screen above the keyboard that give you additional options. The Pointing Arrow gives precise location to your viewers on the Map display. The Lock enables private broadcasting, nothing global, and lets you select who the potential viewer(s) will be for this broadcast. Mutuals is another option, meaning people you follow who also follow you back.


The Chat icon, when not enabled, allows everyone who is viewing to add comments. When it’s enabled, it only allows people to add comments who are already following you.


Once you have these four options configured, you select Broadcast Now, and you are live! However, to get the camera to show your face, you have to double-click the screen to reverse the image. Very important to remember…


To stop the broadcast, you tap and drag the screen down, and select End Broadcast.


Oh, and one important note: broadcasts do not remain on your profile indefinitely, nor do they remain on your Twitter feed. You have the option though of saving them to your camera roll for future viewing.



Finally, we come to the People icon. This one lets you edit your profile by clicking the Cog icon, upper right corner. It also lets you search for people, see your followers, and also delete followers. This item is important, because yes, the porn world has indeed discovered Periscope. Select the Cog icon on the profile and click “Block Viewer.”


If you encounter annoying viewers posting rude comments during a live broadcast, you can block them as well. Select their profile, find the Cog icon (upper left hand corner, click and select “Block Viewer.”


The rest you’ll figure out pretty quickly, as it’s not that complicated.



Sooooo… with all this said, is it worth time investing it getting it up and running? I think so, yes, because you can demo stuff on the spot that comes to you, plan something ahead and announce it on Twitter and Facebook, create a live feed to your Twitter account for people who do not yet have Periscope, and it’s a cool way to build your presence around the world.


I’m on there as David Aldridge, using my Twitter account (@daldridgedrums) as the link. Mind you, the sound quality for both iphones and ipads is limited, but if you don’t play too loud, it’s comes across okay.


But do remember this: it’ll cream your cellular usage like a thirsty camel after a 30-day trek across the Sahara. Watch out for that and battery use (which you can monitor for this and other apps on an iPhone 6S, I have discovered).


It’s a brave new world out there, and Periscope lets you partake of it in a very interesting way. I think it’s got a lot of potential, and who knows, maybe it can help you get your particular drumming message out there in a way that transforms other players. We truly do live in most amazing times…



Off Beat with Michael Aubrecht

A Drummer's Look at Drums and Drumming

the musician's brain

thoughts on music, the brain, and learning


Dialects of Jazz

pathways in music

Music Psychology and Neuroscience Research, Education, Cultivation

Dedicated To Everything Drumming

Drum Lessons In Ventura, CA

Ventura Drum School

Maeve McMahon

Music cognition, psychology and neuroscience


Just another site

LaFrae Blog O Love

Professional Drummer in NYC

nedzepplins pics

Some Fuel For Rhythmic Thought

Cruise Ship Drummer!

Some Fuel For Rhythmic Thought


Just another site

A drummers blog

my life and what it's about