Paul taught me to appreciate the "ride cymbal" | Paul McCartney | Fab forum

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Paul taught me to appreciate the "ride cymbal"
6 July 2014
7.19pm
Funny Paper
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By "taught" I don't mean literally in person (unfortunately).

The "ride cymbal" means playing one of the cymbals standing free above the drums of a drumset, by tapping it repeatedly and rhythmically with the drumstick while keeping time.  It is usually distinguished from the closed hi-hat (the two cymbals sandwiched together which sit to the left of the drummer) which has a clipped SH! sound.

Many years ago when I first heard the first McCartney album (which incidentally, was my gateway drug to the Beatles proper), I quickly latched onto "Every Night" which became my favorite song on the album.  After listening to it a few times, I noticed he does something interesting:  the song has two different moods, with the main part, and then the "woo woo woo" part.  For the former, he keeps time on the drums using the closed hi-hat; and for the latter, he switches to the ride cymbal.

I then began to notice this style in other musicians (notably Danny Seraphine of Chicago and Michael Shrieve of Santana).  For years, I became quite a snob about it, finding fault in any given band or song that did not take advantage of this style.  In the last few years I have relaxed about this, but I can still be reminded of its importance now and again…

The switch to the ride cymbal to keep time has an interesting effect on the ears: there is kind of a liberating feel, almost like the song has stopped traveling on the ground and has taken off to begin its ascent into the air.

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Into the Sky with Diamonds, thisbirdhasflown
Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
6 July 2014
11.49pm
vonbontee
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It was drummers like Elvin Jones (via Keith Moon) and jazz drummers in general (particularly Tony Williams in the second Miles Davis quintet) who taught me to appreciate the ride cymbal.

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Into the Sky with Diamonds
I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
7 July 2014
3.03am
muzair
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vonbontee said
It was drummers like Elvin Jones (via Keith Moon) and jazz drummers in general (particularly Tony Williams in the second Miles Davis quintet) who taught me to appreciate the ride cymbal.

 

Yep, ride cymbal in jazz is where it's at, because it has a clear attack (stick on metal), but a longer sustain than than a hi-hat. If you play a swing feel on a hi-hat, you get a much tighter and stiffer rhythmic feeling, which is great as a device and often used in the beginning of a tune or in the first chorus of a solo. It also sounds like much older jazz.  When momentum starts building, that's when you move to the ride, because it still states the time, sounds more open, and lets the bass notes breathe.

On the flipside, there are some times playing where you'll get a jazz drummer playing music he's not really well versed in (rock or funk etc), and he'll move to the ride too much, killing the groove, because some feels call for that tighter rhythmic accent that comes from the hi-hat.

It's all about textures, and different music calls for different textures at different times.  The 'Every Night' example is a textbook example of hi-hat and ride variation within song sections.  Think of how different 'Tomorrow Never Knows' would sound with hi-hat and not that beautiful washy cymbal sound (I think Ringo is riding a crash on that one).

You can hear Ringo make similar moves without using the ride cymbal, but by varying his sound on the hi-hat, from slightly open (washy), to closed.  The bridge on 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' is a good example of where he uses a completely closed hi-hat to create a variation in texture from the verses where he plays a washy sound.

As a final thought, the ride cymbal playing on Kind Of Blue by Miles Davis is pretty much mandatory listening for every jazz drummer.  Worth a listen if you've never heard it, especially So What and All Blues.  Jimmy Cobb is the drummer, another master! :)

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Into the Sky with Diamonds
7 July 2014
3.34am
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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thanks to all of you. I'm such the guitar person that I never pay the slightest attention to the drums. Will have to listen to "Every Night" again.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
7 July 2014
3.53am
vonbontee
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Welcome muzair, appreciate the comments! Feel free to say a word or three about yourself on the appropriate thread

http://www.beatlesbible.com/fo…..4/#p128932

if you plan on sticking around, or for any reason at all really.

EDIT: Oh wait, I see you've already introduced yourself and I missed it or forgot. Sorry!

I think Jimmy Cobb's a great drummer but I wish he didn't have to be so placid on Kind of Blue - by which I mean, I wish there was at least one uptempo number where he could be a little bit splashy and flashy! (That's actually one of my lesser-favourite Miles Davis (or Coltrane) album anyways.)

For years, I became quite a snob about it, finding fault in any given band or song that did not take advantage of this style.

Haha yeah, I feel pretty snobbish about that myself quite frequently! Based on the limited amount that I've heard, it seems that most of the newer, younger jazz drummers are more inclined to play with semi-funk or hiphop-influenced beats, with more emphasis on cracking that snare and bass drum. And I keep thinking "how can that be jazz? where's the ride cymbal?!"

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
7 July 2014
4.25am
Ron Nasty
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It's where Charlie Watts is endlessly fascinating, as he's basically a jazz drummer. He uses the "ride" a lot, and it set him apart from Ringo, Keith, and Ginger. Obviously, Ringo's style of moving around the kit was always going to be different as he was lefty playing a right-handed kit, which limited his options – but also gave him options unique to him.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
7 July 2014
5.25am
vonbontee
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I remember having a conversation on some forum (maybe this one?) about Ringo being left-handed, and asking if there were special lefthanded drumkits or if they could just set the stuff up backwards (and if it were possible).

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
7 July 2014
6.18am
Ron Nasty
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@vonbontee I seem to remember a conversation like that, and it could well have been with me, as I know I have pointed out about how Ringo being a lefty changed how he played a right-handed kit. Perfectly possible to set up a left-handed kit. If you think of the kit as a U, on a basic right-handed set-up, it is usual to have your snare, hi-hat, crash, and small tom to your left, with your ride and large tom to your right. You just switch the sides they are on.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
7 July 2014
10.21am
Funny Paper
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Thanks to all for your comments.  Yes of course the ride cymbal is used a lot in jazz.  My favorite jazz drummer, Joe Morello, in his work with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, really went to town with ride and its variation with hi-hat.

In the non-jazz realm, I think though that Michael Shrieve did the most pioneering work with the hi-hat, varying its ability to be closed, semi-open and open.

I never thought of Charlie Watts and the Stones; I'll have to give a re-listen to see what he does there in this regard…

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
14 July 2014
6.53am
Von Bontee
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Michael Shrieve! His solo on Santana's "Soul Sacrifice" is mindblowing, and he was like 16 years old! That whole track is fantastic and really worth spending 9 minutes on Youtube watching it. (Half the band were tripping on mescaline, btw, lol)

 

@Funny Paper , do you have any particular Dave Brubeck recommendations? I've only got Time Out but I like it enough to maybe get more.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
15 July 2014
8.13pm
Funny Paper
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VonBontee, yeah the Shrieve solo on that song is great.  I almost prefer his work when he's backiing up the rest of the band -- in my opinion he made Latin percussion work with a drum set by figuring out inventive ways to accompany his fellow percussionists Chepito (timbales) and Mike Carabello (congas) like no other drummer has.

On Brubeck, my favorite album is Countdown: Time in Outer Space.

Among my favorites on that album:

list=PLPXnjn8pYN7xxAg2uwF0_IUrUdb_vMO2I

And if you want to hear a mind-blowing drum solo, listen to this (the drum solo proper doesn't begin until about 46 seconds in):

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Von Bontee
Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
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