In the 2nd half of our interview, we continue our conversation with Shaun Rodgers.  In part 1 we talked a lot about Shauns current projects and teaching music in the Virginia public school system, and in part 2 we talk about the University of Maryland’s music department and about drum kits.  Shaun is a former colleague and bandmate of hosts Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray, playing drums in their original band, the Kairos Quintet.
Shaun graduated from the University of Maryland’s music department, and we ask him to detail his experience.  He tells us about his reasons for choosing the University of Maryland, the teachers (many of whom perform with the National Symphony), the amazing music facilities on campus, the classes, and the overall vibe of the school.
We dive into the world of drum kits.  Shaun explains his different kits, and how he chooses which one to use for each gig.  We discuss drumming techniques, choosing drum sticks, snare drums, the sounds of different drums based on the types of wood that they are made from, electric drum kits, and hand drums.
Shaun currently plays in several bands around Northern Virginia including:
–  Broken Ground Band: a 1990s/early 2000s cover band (
–  Half Pint Harry: a band featuring tiny instruments (
–  FarAway: an acoustic duo (plus drums) (
Hello, my name is Aaron Sefchick and
welcome back to another episode of Fret
Buzz The Podcast. Today we get into part
two of the reunion with Sean Rodgers,
all about the drums. A quick thank you to
all of those who joined us on our last
Live YouTube Song Critique. We had a
really good time. If you haven’t gotten
your submissions in, you have up until
the end of April. Head on over to and click on the
submit button and yeah,
send us your song and we can give
feedback critique on your songs. If
you’re interested, head on over to the Fret
Buzz The Podcast YouTube
channel and check out the month
of March. It was a good time and yeah,
we’ll be doing the next one
on May 3rd. So if you haven’t already,
start on those new songs and get them
submitted by the end of the month. The
more people that participate, the better.
So without further ado, let’s jump into
part 2 with Sean Rodgers and the awesome
reunion of the Kairos Quintet. Yeah, thank
you again and here’s part 2 on Fret Buzz
The Podcast… Can we jump over to to your
music schooling some more? Yeah. I love
talking about the differences between
music programs and we’ve had on at least
two guests that were from Berklee Cole Holland
and Miles Harshman. Both were Berklee grads. I’ve
talked about George Mason where I
studied and we last week we had Sean
Purcell dr. Shawn Purcell on who’s a
jazz professor at George Mason and he
talked about the program in the future
we’re actually gonna have the Dean of
the jazz Mason program on the show a
salsa doctor Darden Purcell so I’m
really interested to hear more about
Maryland’s music the University of
Maryland’s music program
and kind of the ins and outs and you
know you honest things that you thought
were particularly good about that
program maybe some things that weren’t
so good yeah I mean I music school were
there were so I knew I wanted to do
music and be music teacher so like in
that regard when you say interest music
and then whatever like your SATs blast
out to everybody so you start getting
those recruiting letters from everywhere
so like Manhattan School of Music sends
you something like hey you should come
audition here it’s like I don’t want to
perform really though so I knew I wanted
to go to like a big college college and
I was more or less choosing the school
before the music program I just got
lucky the Marilyn’s program is really
good cuz Marilyn was the school I wanted
to go to also an added benefit was that
they did not require music ed majors to
do marching band because I had never
marched I ran cross-country I didn’t do
marching band and like Indiana
University in Bloomington I was like hey
I’ve never marched I will probably bring
your program down like Orchestra instead
like further Orchestra things like what
what are the music ed majors who are
strings people do can I like go on that
path and they’re like no there’s two
years of marching band required and then
at Maryland I was like what’s the deal
with marching band they go music school
is crazy enough we’re not with three
percent I think of the music school
students are in the marching band
because you’re so busy already like
we’re not gonna make you do that that’s
sounds like hey I like this place
already and I gelled with the teacher
I mean Maryland also feeds the people
who teach there or instrumentalists in
the National Symphony it’s a table
Orchestra so you get like you get an
incredible teacher as your studio person
like when I got there it was the the
principal timpanist and the principal
percussionist to the NSO are the ones
who had up the Maryland music department
or the Maryland percussion department so
you’re getting years of experience I
mean the guy the reason
the person I like the most there he’d
been playing in the NSO for like 45
years percussion so he had for anything
tricks there’s a an excerpt Scheherazade
is a specific snare drum thing you’re
supposed to play like a roll very
quietly and it’s extremely difficult to
do well and he does it with one hand he
just goes and like drags the stick
across the snare and it works and I saw
him do that once so I tried it and then
they thought that was cheeky when I did
that and on it like in an audition for
parts like Irish Shahrazad and I did
that and you can see the other teachers
looking at him like hey that’s your move
hey do you copy Tony’s moving on i 100%
did why no I was like because here’s
what it sounds like otherwise
oh yeah no good call copying his move
facilities a clearly Smith Performing
Arts Center is is breathtaking it’s
stunning if you’ve been there this 7
concert halls I think seven different
halls big big space for music arts dance
theater so I can speak to I guess
education path so I went to like a
public school like a university I guess
not like a conservatory so Marilyn tried
to do like a conservatory style like
your classes for music we’re very
conservatory is very small whatever but
I also had like an English requirement I
had to get or a science requirement so I
was taking 200 person lectures as well
which is good cause like I didn’t want
to spend all day in the Music Building I
already was spending most of the day but
like I wanted to feel like a normal
college kid and like walked the campus
to a building where I would take a class
and then go like get lunch somewhere so
I offered all that has a football team
basketball team like I wanted I I wanted
I picked the place where I was going to
have the most fun getting my degree
without necessarily factoring in which
school would be the like the best one I
still think Maryland I could have gone
to Indiana Maryland or Penn State
Maryland was my top choice
Indiana might have been a better program
but I don’t I didn’t like the marching
band require me
I really did not vibe very well with the
percussion people there during the
audition just I didn’t like their
attitude which is really cocky for a kid
who was 17 at the time to say but they
were very they kept going like we’re
like the Julliard of public school and I
go that’s fine but you do keep saying of
public schools at the end of that like
keep yourself in check here I just it
was it was like at a level of
pretentious that I didn’t need and then
Maryland who the guy was I walk in one
day and the guy who did the one-handed
thing that person old old guy doesn’t
care attitude I mean he cares you know
that old man like I don’t give a poop
attitude so I walk in and he’s got like
a cup of coffee on the tympani heads I’m
like what are you doing I’m like what
are you doing he goes Hartman doesn’t
give us money so I figure if I ruin one
of these heads they buy new ones
make sense
it’s hard to argue that logic but like
that kind of attitude just like he was
more laid back and he he took what he
did seriously and like that was obvious
but he wasn’t like he could still be fun
like that like it wasn’t the thing the
audition at Indiana they said like hey
can you play this one passage again
lesson yeah and they said can you do
that you didn’t do that correctly and I
was like yeah did I remember we went
back and forth for a little bit and
ultimately I did it correctly and I just
something there I was like I don’t
that immediately miffed me because I was
like this is something that because I
didn’t change like what it was a five
stroke rough put it up and I did it over
and over and over again and I was like I
haven’t changed the way I’ve played this
from the first time I played through
this it’s a five stroke rough and they
learn that yeah it isn’t that’s like I I
don’t like just tell me if it’s good or
bad don’t don’t be so nitpicky on the
college audition I don’t even need the
feedback really you’re just writing down
to determine if you want me in the
program and like when I auditioned to
Maryland to anything I did and I
remember distinctly like hitting if I’m
supposed to hit like a chord like AE I
hit like a or like a flat E whatever
something like Tritonal not correct
so there’s something in there that’s
right but then there’s like a major
seventh in a court I’d like for the very
ending note how it like like kind of
made a face and looked up and then the
percussion people they’re like nodding
and smiling and then like how to laugh
and they’re like yeah so you want that
last note back and I was like yeah boom
and I hit it again they were yeah that’s
that’s better okay that’s cool who’s
like that attitude it was just it was
more relaxed it wasn’t as it wasn’t as
whiplash yeah I’m pretty sure during
that scene he is rushing to when he’s
like you’re not at my tempo and what
your tempo is changing I also take away
from the flesh I mean we were when you
were studying was it like intensive
there I mean I remember big feeling like
I just didn’t have enough hours in the
day like yeah to get to do all just so
many different classes you couldn’t
excel at everything because there just
wasn’t enough time like had piano class
and had ear training and had your
private lessons he had you know your
music ed class is like oh I’ve got a
quiz and flute tomorrow I’ve got to
practice that for 30 minutes it just was
not enough time yeah I mean it’s it’s as
intensive as you want to make it my
sophomore year this will kind of make
sense my sophomore year I on top of the
orchestra that we had to do so I was in
whatever group I was in I was Monday
Wednesday Friday 11:00 to 12:30 that was
like my required ensemble but I was also
in either the wind ensemble or the
most of their concerts so then that’s
Tuesday Thursday 3:00 to 6:00 and then
they also put me into like a repertoire
Orchestra that met Mondays for like
three hours and when it came time for
juries those not in the know that’s what
you play music at the end of the
semester it’s like your seal your final
for your performance grade and we had to
write down like who’s your teacher of
the three like what are you working on
how much do you practice a week whatever
and I wrote down 1.0 hours of practice a
and they were like what and I was like I
don’t know I was like that’s counting
the lesson I have with with Lee I’m
sorry what and I was like well you have
me doing on top of my regular ensemble
you have me doing about 15 hours a week
of ensembles for no credit so I have to
go home and do homework than two and I
don’t practice if I need to go to bed
because I have class in three hours and
then they’re kind of like Oh what about
weekends and I said I spend enough time
in this building during the week they’re
kind of like I got an A for the room I’d
let that semester cuz but they were like
we’ll let you get away with this
one-hour thing and we’ll take you off
some stuff but that number needs to be
if supposed to be like three hours of
days like what they want you to do
mm-hmm and that’s I mean that’s almost
not feasible as well because if I’m
learning I got to learn how to play the
euphonium for a quiz tomorrow the only
time I didn’t have to practice for like
a method course was when I had to take
the percussion methods course because
that was my first three years of
percussion I love this class is the
method classes like oh I get to play
violin for four or five weeks and I get
to play viola for five weeks and or
whatever s classes cuz we would
basically form an ensemble of secondary
instruments just in the class for I
think a semester when I was there and it
was something I think that was before
maybe they’re doing it now they had a
secondary instrument ensemble the like
the music ed majors you could be like I
could play euphonium pretty well I
picked it up really quickly so that’s
like I could have sat down and like read
some middle school who like euphonium
music in a band that way and that would
have been fun so doing that like in
classes was fun but there was no like
organized ensemble for that but there
used to be so if they brought that back
they have that at Mason where on Fridays
the all the music ed students eventually
have to take conducting classes and so
they actually conduct all of the music
ed students playing secondary
instruments this was a really cool
experience like I had so much fun
playing tenor sax in the con
ban for a semester because I just like I
was learning how to play saxophone I had
my own still haven’t but I like actually
got to be in a band and play something
that was at my level mm-hmm and it’s
good for so it’s good for everyone
practicing that instrument and it was
good for the conductor’s too student
conductors to practice to prepare for
going out and actually you know being a
band or choir conductor yeah that like
student teaching when I student taught a
student out of school in Bethesda
very very affluent like fantastic school
and it was the orchestra was definitely
closer to a college-level program than a
high school level it was something like
if I just didn’t like how something
sounded I’ve I remember telling the
flutes on some passage I was just like I
know that you can play that better than
you just did and then they did and then
so like when I was conducting that way
the person comes out to observe me and
she’s like just so you know like
whenever you get a job you’re not going
to get this job so there’s no way you’re
gonna just be able to say play that
better and expect it to happen like you
need to know how to make it better so
like conducting the secondary ensembles
is good because you get to hear like oh
man that’s not wait you got your your
lips are not tight enough to make that
note whatever it is
yeah it’s useful because if people if
the musicians is that you’re conducting
don’t actually fully know how to play
the instruments that well I mean you
might you have to have some knowledge
like you guys are flat like you might
want to change your mouth you know pull
your mouthpiece out in order to get in
tune you might have that year cuz the
kids aren’t gonna do it on their own
mmm yeah that’s a that was alternate
fingering in order to play this package
better that makes a big difference yes
you have to have some knowledge and then
at least some knowledge like if
expression like as you get older I can’t
do high school I wouldn’t be able to
teach like a one on one violin lesson
with a high school person but like in an
orchestra setting I get here and go no
we need more of a swell like at this
point you can leave that way and then
like hey I can
tell you it needs to swell but like how
that’s where your private lessons come
in so what can we talk about your
physical drums yeah so I have two kits
now I used to have like five and that
was unnecessary the like my best kit or
my baby is a Gretsch renowned 57 Gretsch
drums sound amazing they’re solid maple
shells they’re modeled it’s got
Chevron’s on it modeled after like 57
Chevys the that’s so pretty and sounds
great but it’s a 22 inch bass drum it’s
big it’s a full-sized kit yes so I never
use it because I play really small
stages and I have the break beats by
Questlove by Ludwig technically is a 16
inch bass drum so it’s like using a
floor tom for a bass drum and you put it
on a riser so that it hits the normal
way small TomTom a small floor tom but
still the full-size 14-inch there so you
get like a nice full snare sound which
is good and stuff like a piccolo that
higher pitched and it’s small man I
could probably I can set up on a near
about half of the size like half of the
space that the other drum set takes like
yesterday I was playing in essentially
like a triangle probably about four feet
from like the back of the seat to the
front of the bass drum total well it’s
got a really small it’s really small
yeah and then I mean so I was crammed
there like that wasn’t particularly
comfortable I would prefer to spread out
but I can play really small spaces like
that and then the drum sound pretty good
and if you buy like they come with stock
heads if you change out the drum heads
for like good heads that alone is going
to make even terrible drum sound better
yeah but I mean the shells are sturdy
the shells sound pretty good and you put
good heads on it and that’s like I
I don’t use the Gretsch kit because
there’s never a need this one sounds
great it’s the one we recorded the Cairo
stuff with yeah it sounds great and it’s
small and it’s it’s way more practical
like it’s I can throw the whole thing in
I have an SUV I don’t have to fold any
seats down and I can put it just in the
space behind the backseat the whole kit
so that’s nice
I can drive whatever like five people
and drums to a gig if I need yeah nice
and compact it’s got a nice nice tight
sound yeah and it sounds good like
that’s if it sounds as good as it does
there’s no reason to use the other one
if there’s a stage ever that’s
appropriate plus it’s like the other
drums with the maple shells like it’s
just loud like they’re thick heavy maple
shells and they sound beautiful and they
resonate amazingly but that’s I mean if
you touch it it’s gonna be almost twice
as loud as that the other kid is the
breakbeats yeah a lot of the times
you’re playing you don’t I mean if
you’re in a bar or something like people
don’t want to not they want to be able
to talk to each other and enjoy the
music at the same time and it’s got to
be more fun to be able to play harder on
a smaller kit than to play a big kit I
have to use hot rods or brushes here
something you know or just playing
softer in general like I’ve pulled
played the same venue with both kits in
the first time it’s like just doing a
sound check I use the same symbols
regardless symbols or symbols its
symbols are gonna be louder they’re
gonna remain longer but it’s not like I
mean you that’s however hard you hit it
is how hard they’re gonna sound that
doesn’t really change the way that the
drums do so like just kind of lightly
playing the drums are still booming cuz
they’re huge they’re thick they got this
great sound and then I take the smaller
kit and I plated that same like volume
and it was like way too quiet oh good I
get to actually like lay into them
yeah like lift my arms to play so I
would trade that compromise of like I
get if I get to really hit the drums
I’ll play the quieter kit ideally I
would love to play the loud kit like
when I was in a punk band it was loud
enough it worked so I could hit those
really hard and play the big awesome kit
but if I can’t like if you it’s it’s not
as fun if you can’t play you know right
it’s not like if I’m not really laying
into it it’s not gonna be his fun
especially with drummers I mean you know
all the students that I have in bands
one not like that always tell the
drummer I said look we moved with these
soundproof walls anybody in the lobby
can hear within a band environment they
hear the loudest instrument what do you
think that is yeah it’s like the drums
the crack of the shell yeah it you you
they are so the drums are naturally loud
there it’s got that you know resonance
to them that on a smaller kit like that
when you get to lay into them that
that’s it’s a satisfactory you know you
get to hear whereas if you have a larger
kit you you as a drummer have to be a
very controlled drummer to be able to
pull back and most often going into any
kind of venue the drummer doesn’t have
that control and I’ve I’ve even been in
bars where you know a shield is needed
and it’s like you don’t want to go to a
bar and be a drummer and be that wrong
with it the shield kit it’s the small
kits I think or there’s it’s like a I
don’t know if it’s new but I feel like
there’s more and more companies making
smaller ones I just saw a Gretsch makes
one now and I was like cool yeah but
it’s $3,000
hard pass for $3,000 for a half-size kit
the break beats were 400 yeah and how
fantastic another whatever like hundred
dollars in drum heads and stuff and so
you spend five six hundred dollars maybe
yeah and it sounds there’s no way that
it sounds
whatever twenty four hundred dollars
worse than the other kit right right
it’s just it’s a lot like amp guitar
amps I mean you can get a pretty good
amp for 500 bucks
like the like the dumbbells are like
fifty hundred thousand dollars and like
yeah they probably sound a little better
surely they sound amazing but if you
listen to I just get miles to mod your
sand yeah yeah but you could get you can
get ninety percent of the way there with
something at a tenth of the cost if you
yeah obviously there’s a lot of your
technique in your fingers and but
haven’t a small amp you actually get to
you get to lay it you get to turn it up
it sounds better yeah like there are
very few situations now I’ve said this
multiple times you don’t need a big amp
unless you’re like really there’s no
where I played the vanguard again
recently this big venue in Hampton and
like I bring my fender Princeton amp
it’s like 12 watts and has a teeny
speaker and like I’m playing a place the
size of a basketball Stadium like it’s a
he puts a amp mic on my guitar and it
comes through the house system yeah
that’s all you’re not yeah I get to turn
it up to where it sounds like it’s
supposed to you and I’m sure with drums
I mean we talked about that in Cairo’s
to like whenever you see like Motley
Crue and those giant stacks there’s not
those are for show they have like one
amp and then it’s going through the
house yes that’s exactly right you see
like these old pictures of the who or
what a well I guess not maybe such the
who but yeah it actually did it but many
bands like that they were had these
walls of answers yeah none of those are
actually hooked up you know that right
yeah you see the wall of it amps and
then you see like a Fender frontman with
a mic and have you seen that video of I
think it’s pete thorne and like some of
the guys from that pedal show and Anders
Anderson’s music they they turn a
Marshalls full stack up to ten it’s like
a JCM like an 80 no no I’m gonna
definitely have to it’s really
entertaining like 10 different players
go into this room and just like wail on
it it’s it’s really fun to watch fun you
know everybody’s like ears are bleeding
afterwards we have
yeah it’s the drums though it’s the same
the same thing like you can you want to
be able to play fully without playing
loudly there’s a difference between like
loud is is a bad word in music like you
can play out but like you don’t ever
want to so it’s too loud
cuz that like supersedes and equality it
just that’s too loud I can’t hear even
what they’re doing there was a drummer
where that I respected that I taught
actually a bhakta rock before you guys
who had talked to me and I’d love to
hear your perspective on this Sean for
all our listeners he had talked about
the box and how your shoulders and down
and and within this like bought this
range and how your your hands should
never really leave that box in terms of
control I see a lot of drummers where
they’ll try to approach the guitar the
guitar he try to approach the drums
where there’s they’re like swinging and
they’re coming out of that quote-unquote
box what is your experience with control
in that approach I’ve been taught and
untaught so many ways to like play the
drums like when I was growing up just on
a snare drum we I was originally using a
lot of arms and everything and then my
teacher was like nope it’s mostly wrist
he’s trying to get me like drumline
style stuff right and then when that
went to college teacher colleges like
now dude you got to use your arms more
like this is way too like regimen and
you got to be more fluid if you use your
whole arm you’re gonna sound less stiff
I mean there’s definitely a box that you
don’t want to leave and that’s just sort
of like a natural range of motion I
guess more energy you’re using your you
get yeah yeah you get more tired but
also like you need like to play loud or
to play faster sort of it you can’t just
like concentrate just in wrist a lot of
times you
arms right now like did you watch Travis
Barker blink-182 play I don’t think that
level of movement is completely
necessary but it works for him right I
move when I play and that’s I mean it’s
part of it too depending on the venue
like I move more I’ll feed off the crowd
if it’s like a super live crowd and
they’re really into it like songs that
are louder I’ll be doing a lot more just
moving as I play yesterday’s gig we were
mostly background music I just kind of
sit still I don’t need I don’t need to
move I’m not the music isn’t moving me
as much right so it’s a little bit of
both like there’s there’s you want to
have your technique in your control but
like I don’t know man if you’re holding
the sticks right and it’s working like
have fun yeah yeah and yeah so it
depends like Max Weinberg on a Bruce
Springsteen like he he would be the
textbook definition of the box he
doesn’t move he’s very like technical
his posture is perfect his arms are
perfect but that doesn’t look like that
much fun to do just to sit and be like
right there for three hours like move
around some not again no Travis Barker
standing up doing flips or whatever he’s
doing but like we do 99 red balloons in
a band in a minute and it’s just that
riff that tempo is good and the whole
time I’m playing my head is going like
up and down like crazy because it’s just
it’s a fun riff and um mostly just
keeping straight time there yeah so my
whole body will start moving like I can
dance from the waist up because I do
that on the drums I can’t really have
never really danced standing but like if
I’m playing music I will be I’m I’m
moving on the kit if it’s fun how about
how about the angle of your drums like
palms that’s all everybody’s it’s
different strokes for different folks
there’s like a pretty deep sometimes
you’re limited by what you have like if
you have the Bach to rock drum sets so
there’s the one that’s got like that
like the Yamaha that big rack that’s
very customizable that huge bar that
goes across yep yep like if you’re
setting up the Tom’s then the Tom’s are
mounted to the bass drum yeah like you
only have so much you can do there and
if your drum is 12 inches like you it
has to be at least 12 inches sort of
like off of the bass drum so it’s not
hitting it so like my smaller drum I can
position more or you’ll see people who
take their top TomTom and they put it on
a snare stand because it can’t position
it correctly with the mount on the bass
drum so like you don’t want the drums to
be whatever like vertical because it
won’t sound as well right right but
other than that I mean however you play
him is fine I somebody I know plays with
the hi-hat like almost or I guess the
snare almost as high as the hi-hat like
at the same level I don’t know how you
can play that way right hand on top
without just constantly hitting your
other hand there’s no space yeah like
but it works for him so fine I guess
didn’t I guess like if whatever you’re
doing I’ll change up my setup depending
on how many drums I have like my ride
cymbal changes position if I have just a
high Tom and a floor then I put the ride
like in between more like a traditional
jazz kind of setup if I have a another
Tom there obviously I’ll move the ride
more above the floor Tom like off to the
right just depends on the setup depends
on the gig yeah yeah I mean I’ll set up
a floor tom that’s like almost level of
rack Tom that’s like almost level with
the snare just because I’m supposed to
be like compact whatever or like low I’m
playing like a pit in an orchestra my
cymbals will be down low I’ll be down
lower just in general so that I’m not
like sticking out but like on a main and
it’s been so long since I’ve like really
just set up like if I were to set my
drums up in my basement now and like
really position them exactly how I want
I never do that because it’s like we get
there I gotta be
in like an hour or I get there I get
there first I gotta be set up before the
rest of the band and a lot of these
cases because the stage is so small like
I’m setting pieces up taking them up to
the stage putting it together trying to
still tweak it so that I’m comfortable
but also minding like alright I got
three other instruments coming with amps
that have to fit on this stage that can
maybe hold one person so it’s a lot of
adapting I guess but you have a general
you find out eventually just what works
for you physically like I’m just gonna
let I like a 17 inch drumstick the
sticks I use they’re 17 inches I picked
up a stick that’s 16 inches I didn’t
think 1 inch would be that much of a
difference it’s like it changes how I
would play entirely I have to reach a
little bit farther I have to do whatever
else right but it’s fun I mean the same
way if you change like the gauge on your
strings for a guitar depending on a gig
or whether or if you’re just trying to
switch it up see how you feel using like
medium gauge instead of medium lights
whatever switch up maybe I haven’t want
the time to be higher this time maybe I
want the cymbal to be farther away maybe
I want whatever the hi-hat to be even
higher and just kind of that if it’s
comfortable that day for me it is if
it’s not comfortable the next day I’ll
change it yeah what are your thoughts on
the different types of wood I mean I
know you you mentioned that your maple
your solid maple Gretch kit like it it’s
very resonant but like you have birch
kits and they have maple kits and all
kinds of other stuff and snares
sometimes there’s metal like copper
metal snares and stuff I prefer a wood
snare you can tune metal snares are just
there like they’re just harder the
I guess cuz they don’t it echoes
differently off of metal than wood
there’s a little bit of like absorption
just based on the material so like I
found metal snares if I’m just tuning
like for a classroom or something
they’re very pingy they’re more finicky
to tuned correctly a wood snare you
throw the heads on and if you have
decent snare
decent heads whatever you can make it
sound pretty good pretty quickly I mean
the the level apply I don’t remember how
many ply maple the that Gretchen’s but I
mean the drums are probably twice as
thick as the breakbeats which i think is
birch that’s the thickness is gonna add
depth and resonance to I don’t know like
with drumsticks Hickory is the best way
to go at least in my opinion Hickory is
indestructible maple is lighter just
I’ve been using Hickory once I used a
maple stick that I liked because it was
larger but it wasn’t heavy
maples not as heavy of a wood but then I
recorded and I listened back and it was
one was doing it with the maple and I
heard something with the Hickory sticks
I was like oh I can there’s a there’s
way more punch with the Hickory once I
can hear the drums have way more like
oomph to them what about like on your
Tom’s like having and your kick having
like a maple versus birch or whatever
other wood same the same deal I mean it
maple maple is great there’s like I’m
trying to think of with like marimbas
and stuff rosewood cherry wood sounds
beautiful like Duke wood the cheap stuff
is not going to sound as good but I’m
sure there’s something to like the
density of the wood itself in the
specific tree like some trees somebody
figured out this is gonna sound better
that plays into like those
million-year-old like strep
million-year-old a million dollar like
300 year old Stradivari violins they
were made using whatever technique and
whatever wood they can’t be replicated I
have no idea I don’t know if I’ve ever
heard one maybe I have I’ve seen
somebody who’s been playing one I
couldn’t tell the difference between
that and like a I don’t know like a
fifty thousand dollar violin and I don’t
even know if that’s expensive or not but
that’s like if you’re paying two million
dollars at all it sounds exactly like
this does it my ear is not good enough
to hear whatever that is a million
dollar million-plus dollar difference in
hmm but going back to a kit like if you
were to play the same size kit with the
same setup and you had a maple kit
versus a Gretsch kit and they had
similar apply levels like is there a
different sound more than the birch but
like it would one have a warmer okay
the maple will be a little bit more of
this it’s warmer or fuller that kind of
yeah they sing a little more it’s almost
like describing wine it’s all these in
beer like these word that nutty and
tasted like what but yeah that’s kind of
what I’m getting at like it what’s the
vibe you get reached there’s a warmth
like the maple one’s really they they
resonate they don’t ring but they
resonate like you can hear them for a
while and I don’t know if you
necessarily hear it as much as you feel
it as it continues the birch ones I
think the cheaper ones that tends to be
in a lot of kits sounds pretty good if
you have a good drum head it’s gonna
sound good but the sounds gonna decay a
little faster that could also be though
how you tune but I just in my experience
I’ve found the Gretch maple kid I have
like you hit that it’s gonna there’s
gotta be I’m just I’m trying to think of
like a guitar difference if there’s a
guitar made with a better wood you can
play the same string but once just gonna
sound fuller or warmer or brighter
whatever you want I guess the birch kits
are technically a little brighter and I
would I’d describe it as like a
sharpness they just like how they cut as
opposed to being more of like a round
but maybe in the in a like for you sneer
you might want that to cut through a
little bit better
mm-hm I do crank my snare I like that’s
yeah for live shows cuz then I’d I can
either hit it harder I don’t necessarily
have to but it will always cut through
you need the bass in the snare more than
anything else so I’ll make sure that the
snare is is good and cuts through and
then I have
called the big fat snare drum it’s just
a plastic thing you drop down and it
turns it like a five my snare sounds
like it’s in the Red Hot Chili Peppers I
drop a big fat snare drum on it sounds
like a Zeppelin’s there mmm that’s cool
so there’s little things you can do like
that where I don’t have to mess too too
much with the drums because now there’s
a little like fun toys you can put on
they can alter this town that way yeah
so like one song I need a deeper sound I
put that on the next song I need more of
the crack I take it off now I have that
yeah it’s almost like guitar effects
pedals it’s nice to have that be able to
customize to each song especially if
you’re playing in a cover band and you
want to be able to kind of get the vibe
of the original song right across yeah
what are your thoughts on electric kids
so I got I’m gonna say I love them cuz I
got one for free free is good yeah and
it’s good because we live in a town
house so like the room I have for music
it’s just the third bedroom when I use
this music room was like there’s no way
I could set up like an actual drum here
I had drums with mesh drum heads that
reduce like 95% of the sound yeah and in
a place an old apartment I didn’t think
that was an issue and then I had some
bad neighbors who I guess like I was
playing it like six and then I guess I
didn’t like that so they reported it to
the office really they gave me this hey
you’re too loud and then the next day I
got another one that’s like will evict
you if you get a third notice and was
like hey I wasn’t even here yesterday
this is just salt like this second one
is not founded on and I invited them in
said here listen to these drums like
this is what I’m doing oh that’s not
that bad but we have to tell you to stop
because they’ve filed enough complaints
electric kit takes away any of the like
inherent physical parts that you feel
from the drums the that like depth yeah
cuz you’re just hitting like plastic it
whatever yeah and you hear the sounds in
the headphones so they’re great for
practice great for small spaces but it’s
not it’s not the same
an electric guitar and an acoustic
guitar not the same but there’s still
the feel of playing guitar it’s a
completely different because it’s like I
mean it’s an artificial drumset I don’t
I don’t know how else to it’s just not
this it feel like it’ll be like driving
a Prius versus like a Mustang correct
like one you’re gonna feel and has that
like there’s there’s a literal feeling
to it not just what it sounds like and
then the other one works but it doesn’t
have that same doesn’t do anything for
you inside I experienced using an
electric kit it was that the biggest
thing that really bothered me was the
the bounce back the lake your sticks
didn’t bounce off the heads the same way
that they do on a real way responsive on
because the rubber nough still bounce
back yeah yeah yeah and then they’re not
as customizable they’re good for like
I’ve tried to set mine up about as close
to I would normally play and I’m it’s
helping because I’m trying to put like
the middle of each drum where the middle
would be on an acoustic setup right but
these are way smaller I mean they’re
what like eight inches across so like if
nothing else its target practice so I’m
getting better at like hitting the spots
of the drum I actually should be hitting
right right right there’s a lot of dead
space between yeah yeah there’s there’s
no forgiveness if I’m playing something
and I miss like I’m I won’t hear the Tom
in the headphones I’ll just will hear
silence cuz I missed the drum entirely
as opposed to like hitting the rim or
like sorta getting the head yeah have
you ever brought your electric kit to a
gig no I’ve only had it for about like
two weeks okay somebody was just didn’t
want it and the saxophone player and one
of my bands was like I feel like my
drummer would want it if you’re giving
it away and I was like I would I will
take that it’s there great practice
tools but for live shows
I’ve played musicals like in a high
school where they have an electric kit
and that’s fun because for each song
like I can program you know this song
should have
more of a like a electric sound change
that up this song should have more of
the acoustic sound switched to like
those patches but I don’t mean it’s for
me it’s feel like it’s not as it just it
just isn’t as fun understandable yeah
this is there’s a tangibility that there
isn’t on an electric kit that playing a
fool plus and I think that comes back to
just like how they’re loud it’s a loud
instrument like you don’t want a drums
are loud they’re communicating
instruments you can hear them for miles
you don’t want something that you hit
and it goes like right like you want to
hit and like feel that power behind it
yeah yeah the sound wave the acoustics
the how it plays with the environment
that you’re in and yeah it’s just fun
yeah it’s not more fun yeah you’d be
proud of me I went to a drum circle here
in Virginia Beach last Sunday and it was
I had blast I mean I go sometimes but uh
it’s playing my djembe and there I love
doing that but there’s all you know
other people have different types of
most people have djembe is of these
things but I taught a student hand
percussion for about a year and a half
and he they went on a trip to Greece and
he came back with a doom back and I said
that doumbek cuts through cos you know
it’s got that it’s a ceramic body and
it’s got a like a plastic head it really
cuts in in the midst of the drum circle
yeah it’s fun to play real instruments
too so like I have two Jim Bay’s I say I
have a real one in like a fake one I
have a Remo remade one and then I have
one carved by hand out of a tree with an
antelope skinhead on it yeah
which is I mean that’s my favorite thing
to do I take back what I said about
follow the drinking gourd I like
bringing in my djembe and then the kids
are like animals can I go yeah there’s
some parts like on the side where I
haven’t hit it with my hands so you can
still feel a little bit of the fur
didn’t shave it all the way down yeah
like oh that’s so weird but those sound
like the
those ones handmade from a single tree
carved out of a tree and it’s thick it’s
a heavy drum you can hear those like in
Africa complaints like two miles away
because if there’s no like if you’re out
like out in it so here there’s buildings
and stuff to block it but you’re just
out like in planes
they can be heard literally for miles
yeah and the Remo ones can be heard I’m
sure for leg yards yeah I had a I had a
I can remember the name of the brand
it’s like a they make drums like regular
kids okay okay it was mine yeah I know
had a mono one and I uh I had a roommate
anyway who was wanted to get one sewing
with us with him to the Guitar Center to
get one and I found this no-name brand
that was like you were talking about a
real djembe carved out of solid wood
with animal skin and I ended up buying
that one and selling in mine and like
the different we will still get together
sometimes and like mine sounds so much
better anything with the metal tuners on
the sides like they just don’t the we
call it the lug whatever you have the
lugs and man-made heads like they just
don’t sound as good yeah yes I mean
that’s like electric and acoustic it in
terms of feel to like when you’re
playing the man made it kits or the
whatever factory made like drums they’re
still fun but there’s there’s nothing
like when you switch to like that one
that’s handmade and you hit it and you
can hear immediately like whoa there’s
something definitely different about
this yeah have you ever gotten to play
congas a little bit mostly just if I’m
doing like a musical show or something
like that
djembe was more of my thing through high
school like West African hand drumming
was one of the things I was like really
really deep into and there are as many
opportunities in Maryland they had an
African drumming class and I like looked
into it and talked to the guy and like
showed up with a drum and he saw the
drum was like you’re already up like if
you have this drum you’re
above the level 2 class and there’s only
two levels it was like great so what do
I do that the spots in DC there’s drum
circles and stuff but that’s kind of
fallen by the wayside is drum set is I
mean it’s neat it everywhere you don’t
need a djembe player as much for bar
gigs as you do a kid player behind
electric guitars stuff yeah I really
like the congas the conga sir
I mean it’s just a completely different
technique with the Union it’s a lot more
home and yeah I really enjoy because
it’s it’s the physical aspect of it
there’s nothing as physical to play like
play guitar you push a finger down to
play a drum you have to raise and lower
your arm entirely yeah or wrist but I
mean it’s there’s the physical element
of just using your whole body
yeah it’s workout yeah well yeah great
the set then you’re getting here like
other limbs involved and that’s when P
other people like fall off because
they’re like I can get to working three
much for dudes just no gigs oh man we
played last week and it was there was
two birthday parties that had the whole
upstairs floor of this place reserved to
like right until we started so the place
was already like midnight 12:30 crowded
at 10:00 when we started and I was like
this is gonna be awesome because now we
don’t even have to start quietly there’s
bodies that are gonna absorb the sound
right and the gigs where I’m sweating
like profusely by the end of usually the
ones where I’m having the most fun cuz
that’s your really really plan yeah yeah
for our listeners in terms of the things
that people should be aware of in your
experience like I’m just kind of
thinking of in terms of like the members
of a band be it a vocalist a pianists a
a bassist especially a bassist and a
guitarist and how like within my
of you know teaching bands how from a
drummers perspective what what they what
you would be able to clue them in on
things that they would be this should be
aware of things that they may not think
about from a drummers perspective or on
the opposite end of that speaking
directly to drummers and what mistakes
or what things that they should be aware
of maybe that they’re not thinking about
in terms of the band environment or
whether it’s like most been most
drummers don’t know chordal structures
and it’s like that so that was really
where my question was going to be coming
yeah I mean this circles back to where
we were saying you just like listening
is such an such an important skill if
you’re a based I mean the bass and drums
should be able to hear each other all
the time yeah they should be married
yeah now that’s like it’s always cool
cuz you’re that you’re the rhythm you
need the the bass bass still gets to
carry some melody but like if you’re
doing some riff I’m not gonna try to do
something that goes completely against
it because it’s not like you want a
compliment right it’s usually rhythmic
things like guitars if but just like in
bands I’ve been in experience-wise if
they’re doing a riff you just like
forget how to do the riff and sing so if
you’re whatever it is sometimes there’s
things just rhythmically you get like
you confuse your own head so you can’t
do like don’t whatever and I guess that
was what all my life by the Foo Fighters
just now yeah but if you whatever so if
you can’t sing and do that riff and you
just start going tenten tenten – and
that would be something if I hear that
it will pick up and if you’re doing that
I would still try to have on the bass
whatever the underlying rhythm is
supposed to be yeah
it’s listening if you don’t read like
chord structures or anything I’ve done
then like with Kyra’s stuff when you
come in and it’s just measuring you have
like a lead sheet a see whatever if I
can see that there’s a chord change
whether or not I should hit a cymbal
something you can at least follow and
you can see like how the song moves like
you don’t just sit on one chord the
whole time all right so you can see
things like that it’s really it’s
listening it’s kind of no no you’re know
your place I guess to like yeah yeah
yeah it really does come down to
listening and all members of the band
need to have that open open ear and kind
of it’s just like you say just like with
it all comes back to Kairos which is
kind of crazy but just listening to each
other and being aware of what
everybody’s doing and yeah noodling and
practicing that can all happen on your
own time and when you’re actually in a
band environment together that’s that’s
when you’re supposed to be listening to
each other and having that conversation
that’s really what it’s all about that
conversation between musicians musically
I feel like this is related so when the
bands that I’m in now one I was in
because I was playing guitar at an open
mic and the the husband wife duo and
they were I was I could talk and I was
like I’m a drummer by trade and they
were like oh we actually need drums for
a gig that’s how that started other
bands though are craigslist ads and i
respond to i search whatever drummer but
i don’t i search like looking for
drummer and every time i see the like on
craigslist drummer looking for band I’m
like then why don’t you try to find that
band that you want to join so to a
degree I guess it’s kind of like picky
cuz like I would listen to a bunch and I
these two bands I was in one kind of
came along because the saxophone player
works with my wife and I was looking at
both of them at the same time and I
for the 90s band before this tiny band
and the tiny band came along afterwards
because they’re like hey your husband
plays drums right we don’t like our
current drummer cuz she doesn’t want to
do any of the songs that we want to do
oh okay
but being able to choose and listen to
like if there’s hey this is our band we
kind of sound like this or these are our
influences you can determine if that
seems like something you would want to
do right so then like when I got there
like when I was auditioning for a group
was like oh I like the music they cover
I like this stuff yeah and yeah and then
like and I know these songs so I can
listen and if they’re going to be
looking for like we do Monkeywrench if
you’re looking for the specific hits
parent-to-parent dependent but whatever
it is like if you’re looking for that
I know those little nuances to that I
would assume you’re expecting to hear
right right yeah I just I know from both
sides of the wall there are drummers who
don’t necessarily listen to the band and
that I subversive there’s also a lot of
band members being like I said vocalist
pianists guitarist bassist who don’t
necessarily listen to the drummer and
there is that that wall that goes up and
it’s all about breaking down that wall
and listening to each other that’s like
the the group the tiny group it’s it’s
it’s our band but it’s like the ukulele
the lead sing it’s like his band right
you know what I mean like it’s not and I
mean that in a completely respectful way
he’s driven like he wants he creates
spreadsheets on super organized yeah
like it’s his baby I’m aware of that and
like he’s still he’s super collaborative
we still work together on a but like
everything Oh what do you think of this
that the other but a lot of times he’ll
be like what do you think about doing
this song and mostly I just want to play
anyway so I love this is something like
somebody you
they requested like we Caroline and he
was like we could learn that and I was
like now let’s not learn that I’m tired
of that song right right right right
like he really wants to we will yeah
yeah but that’s fine that’s it’s good
though too because you need that like
leadership like he wants to if he’s
gonna do that like that’s fine because
I’m not gonna take the lead on the
things where he’s pushing out getting
gigs whatever yeah I like to play help
out with the music and stuff but if like
all of the direction is him and that’s
not a problem at all yeah it’s we all
went in five of just five equal players
yep that’s why we played like two gigs
yes they’re trying to make music yeah
there are some projects obviously that
it is one person’s mission and so what
they want to do in life be it you know I
forget who’s that I’m not gonna use that
example because I don’t remember who
would the guys name is but nonetheless
there are bands like you know obviously
like Rush you know it’s three guys and
they all have a collaborative feel and
that’s why rush is what Rush is but then
you have you know these single name
people out there and it’s their revision
and it’s their band and dictate yeah
that’s sort of like when you guys were
talking about butch butch podcast was it
where bands were like if you have the I
think your time up festivals it was a
you’re talking about like bands with the
like a full band versus somebody who
picked up musicians with them so like
Dave Matthews Band will be a good
example because his name is in it but
it’s the same people that doesn’t rotate
right first is like if Taylor Swift is
putting together like a stadium tour and
she auditions drummers something like
that right right right right but it’s I
mean it’s it’s knowing is this more of a
is this more of like this person just
wants musicians to back him up or does
he want band mates so you can get
complicated depending on what you’re
trying to do if you’re trying to record
music and make money you may want to
just hire people to
record the parts so that you don’t have
to deal with all the you know them
owning portions of the song and every
time you want to sell up sell the rights
to it you gotta get permission from
everybody and which could you know could
be could be complicated but it’s never
gonna be that as good as if you if you
let the drummer do his thing and let the
bass player do everything I mean it’s
yeah elaboration pull together music
probably yeah right and I mean it’s it’s
good like the tiny bit I really I just
wanted like I hope none of that came
across as negative but it’s not like
it’s his Ben he’s the clear leader but
we are all been mates like it’s not like
our opinions all matter well yeah
there’s clearly a designated like we’re
aware that there’s somebody who’s like
the leader yeah and we’re there to help
him but we are also like it’s a team
yeah whatever he’s the captain of the
team but it’s not like he’s I don’t know
coach and we’re all the players and he’s
making us do whatever it’s like if he’s
the team captain like we’re all in it
together but we have we are aware that
there is a leader here yeah it seems to
naturally happen in most situations even
I just I played in a couple gigs with
his jazz quartet recently and like it
does it just naturally some people are a
little bit louder and have a clearer
vision even if they weren’t supposed to
be the leader necessarily yeah you have
type A and type B personalities
I’m pretty beat I just I like to play
man that’s largely are we playing I’m on
cool yeah yeah Thank You Sean yeah this
is fun love to come on again with other
stuff that I can speak to I’m listening
to some of these things when you talk
about like synth pedals and other like
technique sounds like wow this is out of
my this is beyond my domain well that’s
why we got to bring in the right person
for you to topic yeah that’s right so as
we always say to our our listeners if
you do have a deep knowledge of a
specific subject area feel free to
contact us and maybe we can have you on
the show
yep or know somebody who does yeah
mm-hmm this is two really easy cuts to
talk to yeah we just we just want to
have a good conversation and talk about
the things that we enjoy and then we
hope that you enjoy yeah and that’s
anything related to music really learn
something along the way expanding our
musical language in each and every
single one of us whether you play drums
guitar vocals piano bass anything
doesn’t matter just that language that
we all speak and diving a little bit
more into it so that we can altogether
speak a little bit more clearly is there
any place that our listeners to go to
any of let’s see one of the bands if you
search broken ground band calm that’s my
90s early 2000s like blink way to Foo
Fighters the cover band half my Harry
calm is the tiny band
that’s uh which just you gotta listen
because people like they see two
ukuleles a saxophone a small kit and
give like the most confused looks and
I’m like just close your eyes and listen
to a song and then head judge those
would be the two spots I don’t have my
own website I don’t I mean I have
apparently managed to fill up my
schedule pretty much completely just
from teaching and then the gigs of those
two bands faraway songs calm
that’s the duo that I play drums with
there they play all the time all over
the place and then sometimes I have
drums with them cool and you can check
out Shaun’s drumming up with the cutter
is quintet cool alright guys well thank
you very much this is a good reunion yes
and yes means everybody have yourselves
a good day whatever you’re doing whether
it is singing in the car or mowing some
lawn or doing some chores thank you for
tuning in to fret buzz the podcast and
we shall catch you on the next Thursday
same bat-time same bat-channel
yeah before your time kind of came out
of nowhere there all right guys I gotta

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