Ask the Expert – choosing drum patterns to match strumming patterns

Ask the Expert – choosing drum patterns to match strumming patterns

Matching drum grooves with strumming patterns

Ian Greening from Aldershot in the UK writes:

“After a few years away from it, I started playing bass in one of my church’s worship teams. The drummer is twelve years old and his technique is actually pretty good, but what he hasn’t got experience of yet is choosing the right drum pattern to fit in with what the worship leader is strumming on an acoustic. As you can imagine this can be problematic at times but he has a really good heart and wants to learn so it’d be good if we can help him out. Do any of your drum DVDs addresss this please? It’s probably easier than having musos shout at you when you get it wrong (which was how I had to learn anyway). Alternatively, is this something you can address in the blog perhaps?

While we’re at it, I’m currently working my way through the intermediate bass DVD. I”ve been playing on and off for about 20 years but as I’m entirely self taught I’ve developed a fairly idiosycratic way of doing things (i.e. lots of bad habits…) so it’s teaching me a more systematic approach and it’s definitely worth the investment. Just wanted to say thanks for putting it together and I’ll be be investigating the advanced one when I’ve got through its predecessor.

Andy replies:

To be honest both the beginners and intermediate DVD sets will give your drummer plenty of clues about how to find the right groove for the song as well as plenty of stock examples borne out in current worship songs that he can play along to. If he hasn’t been playing very long he’ll still get loads out of the beginners set. It just depends on whether he’ll be offended being given something technically billed as for beginners.

What might also be helpful for him is our Worship Backing Band Practice DVD which contains 54 songs to play along to. He has the option with this to take drums out of the mix and instead listen to a click track which will help him on his time keeping as well. You can buy this in a combo with one of the drum DVD sets and save a bit more as well.

A lot of choosing a groove is to do with picking up on the recurring rhythmic accents in the melody and then being consistent, even if the acoustic guitarist randomly changes their strumming pattern. At 12 years old someone needs quite a lot of confidence to assume that role, so the age and maturity aspect can play a pretty important role too…