John "Jr" Robinson on the April 2011 cover of Modern Drummer Magazine

April 2011

Rock ‘N’ Jazz Clinic

Write Creative Drum Parts

Part 1: Direct Connection

by Chris Prescott

Over the years I’ve had many students ask for help in writing drum parts for their bands’ songs. This article is designed to help you figure out where to begin.

Start by examining some of your favorite songs. Notice what the drummer is playing and determine if there’s some evident meaning or purpose in the parts. How are the drums supporting the music? Often you’ll find that the rhythms being played are not in the drums alone but are shared by other musicians as well. A classic example is the way the kick drum is frequently played in unison with the bass guitar. This is what I call “direct connection.”

The mp3s below illustrate a few ways you can make a direct connection with a rhythmic guitar pattern.
 
Guitar Strumming Rhythm

 
Bass Drum Only

 
Backbeat

 
Further Possibilities

 
Altered Backbeat

 
Busy Versus Ghost-Note Grooves

 

Check out the complete article in the April 2011 issue for transcriptions and additional insight.