10/5/2009 7:25 AM
This week I got to play with some great drummers: Kenny Aronoff, John
Ferraro, and Gregg Bissonette. The week before I played with Chad
Wackerman, and the week before that I played with Walfredo Reyes, Jr,
the drummer in my band. I'm a lucky guy to have all these amazing musicians around to work
with, and I find it very enjoyable to listen carefully to their styles
and size up their groove on the fly. I've been playing with all these guys (except Kenny) for years so I
know how each of them feels to play with. They all have great center
time and none of them drag or rush. But for me, solid rhythm guitar
playing is directly related to my ability to center in on the hi-hat.
I try to pick up on the subtleties and accents they use or the “chip”
it makes when it closes. Think about it: In most kinds of music a rhythm section of guitar,
bass, and drums is most locked when the bass player is tight with the
kick drum, or at least playing off those figures. So it makes perfect
sense that the guitar player, when “paving” a rock solid groove, should
follow the other constant in the drum set, and that constant is the
hi-hat. Lock in on that pulse, listen to where the drummer is accenting
the beat and feel the time in your entire body, not just your tapping
foot. Before you know it, the rhythm section will feel like one big
groove with the sum of its parts much bigger than each instrument. And
what a feeling that is!
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