Video Posts

Your First Drumset

my-first-drumset

We share this blog post at this time each year.  Christmas is a popular time for kids to get their first kit, so it seemed appropriate to share this again.  myfirstdrumset.com is a great resource for those just getting started in the world of drumming.

Are you taking up drumming for the first time? Are you buying a drum set for the drummer in your life this holiday season? If so, you may want to start at myfirstdrumset.com. This website was created by the people at Pearl Drums with the idea of educating not only the drummer, but the parent or loved one who is buying the set. Here are the highlights:

  • A “Welcome to Drumming” video with appearances by some of the top names in the drumming world.
  • A step-by-step video that shows you how to correctly unpack and set up your drum set.
  • Video tips on tuning, warming up, and playing your first beats on your new drum set.
  • A drum set buying guide.
  • A very informative FAQ section.
  • Statistics that show what a great thing drumming can be for the mind, body, and spirit!

If you or someone you love has decided that this is the year to take up drumming, there really is no better place to start than myfirstdrumset.com! And when you’re ready to make the purchase, Chops Percussion has many great instrument options for you to choose from, including the Roadshow kit. We also have a rent-to-own program that features the Pearl Export: The best selling drum set of all-time! Be sure to check out all of our rental offerings at chopspercussion.com. Welcome to the world of drumming!

My First Drumset

my-first-drumset

We shared this blog post at about this time last year.  Christmas is a popular time for kids to get their first kit, so it seemed appropriate to share this again.  myfirstdrumset.com is a great resource for those just getting started in the world of drumming.

Are you taking up drumming for the first time? Are you buying a drum set for the drummer in your life this holiday season? If so, you may want to start at myfirstdrumset.com. This website was created by the people at Pearl Drums with the idea of educating not only the drummer, but the parent or loved one who is buying the set. Here are the highlights:

  • A “Welcome to Drumming” video with appearances by some of the top names in the drumming world.
  • A step-by-step video that shows you how to correctly unpack and set up your drum set.
  • Video tips on tuning, warming up, and playing your first beats on your new drum set.
  • A drum set buying guide.
  • A very informative FAQ section.
  • Statistics that show what a great thing drumming can be for the mind, body, and spirit!

If you or someone you love has decided that this is the year to take up drumming, there really is no better place to start than myfirstdrumset.com! And when you’re ready to make the purchase, Chops Percussion has many great instrument options for you to choose from, including the Roadshow kit. We also have a rent-to-own program that features the Pearl Export: The best selling drum set of all-time! Be sure to check out all of our rental offerings at chopspercussion.com. Welcome to the world of drumming!

Mallet FAQs – Marimba VS Vibraphone

Welcome back to the Chops blog! Today we’re going to continue our series on mallet-related frequently asked questions (FAQ) by explaining the difference between marimba and vibraphone mallets. While they are very similar in appearance, and can sometimes be used for the same purpose, there are significant differences in marimba and vibraphone mallets.

The differences between marimba and vibraphone mallets begin with the materials used in their construction. The head of both style mallets contain a rubber core, but the material wrapped around that core varies. Marimba mallets use a softer yarn than vibraphone mallets, which use cord. The harder cord and rounder shape of the mallet head allows the mallets to produce a clear sound from the metal bars of the vibraphone.

Note the differences in appearance between the Vic Firth marimba and vibraphone mallets below. The M1 on the left is a popular marimba mallet. The M25 vibraphone mallet on the right was designed by Gary Burton, the world’s foremost vibraphonist.

marimba-vibe-mallets

Another important difference between marimba and vibraphone mallets is the material used for their shafts. Both are commonly available in birch or rattan, but marimbists and vibraphonists have different preferences. Marimbists typically prefer the rigidity of birch shafts, while vibraphonists favor rattan. Its flexibility is better suited to vibraphone techniques like mallet dampening.

In addition to their respective instruments, both mallets can also be used to play suspended cymbals. In fact, they are preferred over timpani mallets, whose wood cores can be damaged and destroyed by the vibration of cymbals.

If marimba and vibraphone mallets are very similar, can they be used for the same purpose? Yes, but only in certain circumstances. The soft yarn heads of marimba mallets limit their volume, and therefore effectiveness, on the vibraphone. However, vibraphone mallets can be used on the marimba for a clear, cutting tone. Jazz musicians who play both instruments simultaneously often choose vibraphone mallets for this purpose. In this video, Dave Samuels, with the Caribbean Jazz Project, uses vibraphone mallets while soloing on the marimba and then comping on the vibraphone.

Advanced percussionists, such as high school or collegiate students should own both marimba and vibraphone mallets. Serious soloists will have several sets in varying styles and hardness (see our previous mallet FAQ on marimba mallet hardness) available in their mallet bag.

We hope this guide has helped you understand the difference between marimba and vibraphone mallets. Please contact us for assistance choosing mallets or for recommendations. See you next time!

Vic Firth – Musician, Businessman, Legend

The music world lost a legend this week with the passing of Vic Firth.  If you don’t know a lot about him, an interview that he did with CBS Sunday Morning in 2010 does a great job of telling how he got started and why he’s been so successful.

“The key word for me is persistence. Whatever you set out to do…you have to have a magnum passion to do it…and you’ve got to work beyond what you ever dreamed you’re going to work…to succeed at the level that you want to succeed at. Persistence…persistence…persistence.” – Vic Firth

 

Farewell Rhythm Devils

OPINION: Farewell Rhythm Devils

01-greatful-dead

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most celebrated rock and roll bands in American history, The Grateful Dead. To celebrate, and close their legendary career, the surviving members gathered to play five final concerts, dubbed “Fare Thee Well”. As we look back on rock and roll’s “longest, strangest trip”, we’d like to highlight their renowned drummers, the Rhythm Devils.

Bill Kreutzmann formed The Warlocks in San Francisco in 1964 with Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan. They quickly gained a strong following in the bay area, and in 1965 renamed themselves The Grateful Dead. Two years later Kreutzmann invited percussionist Mickey Hart to sit in with, and eventually join the band.

02-rhythm-devils

Kreutzmann and Hart were a perfect match and quickly became one of the defining sounds of the band. Together with bassist Lesh, Kreutzmann formed the rhythmic base for the band while Hart added more complex, decorative parts to the mix.

Kreutzmann and Hart earned their nickname of “Rhythm Devils” in the 1970s as they began playing drum solos during Grateful Dead concerts. Their extended solos were largely improvisation, and featured a large variety of percussion instruments. In addition to their drum sets, Hart and Kreutzmann played various hand drums, electronic instruments, and unique, custom made instruments.

03-drums

In this Rhythm Devils solo, recorded during a Grateful Dead concert in the summer of 1989, they feature a talking drum, timbales, several large bass drums, and a unique string instrument called “the beam”.

While Kreutzmann and Hart are most recognized as members of The Grateful Dead, they both have active solo careers. After attending a Grateful Dead concert, renowned film director Francis Ford Coppola enlisted Kreutzmann and Hart to record their improvisations for the soundtrack to Apocalypse Now.

Mickey Hart is also recognized as an influential figure in ethnomusicology, the study of music throughout the world. As he toured with The Grateful Dead, Hart collected instruments and recorded and documented the music performed by the local people. Hart would also form several important percussion groups, including the Diga Rhythm Band. His 1991 album Planet Drum was awarded a Grammy for Best World Music Album, and his book Drumming at the Edge of Magic: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion is regarded as a classic work on drums and ethnomusicology.

04-hart-book

While The Grateful Dead and the Rhythm Devils will not perform together again, they leave behind an extensive library of audio and video recordings. We recommend the following recordings and books:

American Beauty, The Grateful Dead
Workingman’s Dead, The Grateful Dead
Live/Dead, The Grateful Dead
Drumming at the Edge of Magic: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion, Mickey Hart
Planet Drum, Mickey Hart
Diga, Diga Rhythm Band

The best way to experience the Rhythm Devils, and The Grateful Dead is a recording of a live concert. There are many official releases, but countless “bootlegs”, or audience recordings, are legally available for free on the internet using BitTorrent.

Farewell Mr. Kreutzmann and Mr. Hart, we’re thankful for everything you did for rock and roll, drums, percussion, and ethnomusicology!