Book Reviews - Stojak, Smith and Henrit
How to Build A Drum Groove Volume One – Rick Stojak (Book)
With a foreword from Zoro and testimonials on the back cover from Daniel Glass and Gene Hoglan, I had high expectations for a book that sounded rather ambiguous to me upon first receiving it.
The fact this is Volume One obviously dictates there are more to follow in the series, but what is it about and how does it work?
Sometimes authors of drum books have a way of overcomplicating things and in the past I have reviewed books that seem to make the process of learning more taxing than it needs to be.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover this book was simple and as straight forwards as they come.
In the simplest terms, this is a book of quarter and eighth note based grooves, suitable for use in almost any genre. Some of the grooves are in the jazz or world music style which would certainly help to broaden the horizons of a beginner student.
What makes this book a little different is that it’s written with real world songs and grooves in mind and the grooves are designed to point you in the direction of great tracks which you can then play along to. For example, one of the grooves in the “Two-Bar 8th Note Play Alongs” show the groove and tempo to “The Talking Heads; And She Was”.
Rick states his approach is one of making it easy to both learn to read drums and to practise by introducing students to different songs right off the bat.
It does go beyond this approach though and there are some ideas for grooves in time signatures such as 5/8 and 7/4 and plenty of room to write and create your own grooves.
As I said at the start, some books over complicate things. This one doesn’t and successfully brings the learning and fun elements together.
There is also a decent resource guide in the back which lists a great number of other drum books and listening to look in to.
I feel it’s suited more to the beginner than the advanced player, but it’s a decent book and perhaps contains an approach that will work for students who find more traditional ways of working on new grooves and ideas a little monotonous.
Pathways of Motion - Steve Smith (Book and DVD)
This release from the Journey sticks man is an in depth look at matched grip technique and playing, including FOUR versions of matched grip!
One of the main points Steve makes at the start of the book is that he feels the techniques he demonstrates will help those who are heavy handed more comfortable with playing relaxed and he begins by talking about the way he sets up his kit and the reason for using different techniques.
Packed with rudimental and drum kit exercises as well as an accompanying DVD (which you can also view in the “my library” on the Hal Leonard website), there are over 2 hours of exercises and talk from Steve which more or less take you through the whole book.
Given the quality of the DVD alone the price tag of this offering is more the justified, in fact I feel it’s somewhat of a bargain.
What I especially like about this release is Steve’s approach.
Many players will have heard of German grip or French grip, the idea of letting the stick rebound and the difference between playing tight or loose in the hand; but Steve has his own unique way of looking at and working on these ideas that for me makes this well worth taking the time out to work through.
The “Tony Williams grip” was for me a particularly interesting concept and one I think I’ll be looking into a least a little, given I’m currently working on my jazz.
Some of the rudiments that are included here include the paradiddle variations that Steve is well known for and the flamed mill. In fact, the rudimental combinations section of the book is particularly enjoyable.
If you’re stuck with applying the rudiments to the kit, this will certainly help you to get over that hump as he makes playing rudiments seem both easy and enjoyable. Again this may appeal to those who feel they are a limited to just playing singles around the kit.
A very good book and fantastic value with the DVD, I recommend checking this one out and I feel it’s suitable for experienced players and those who are just starting out alike.
Available from Hal Leonard
The Hayman Drum Book – Bob Henrit and Nigel Constable
With a beautiful Hayman kit on the cover, this book draws you into a world of memories and experiences, as well as a thoroughly researched history of Hayman Drums.
From the start this book was engaging and interesting, presenting the history of what are now legendary drums, but were once greatly coveted and played by the likes of Mitch Mitchell and Ronnie Stephenson.
It’s an interesting book and those who particularly enjoy getting into the history of a company would be hard pressed to find as complete a resource as this into Hayman.
The book is loaded with pictures of Hayman kits, snare drums, brochures and innovations alongside the history of this now vintage brand and names such as the Vibrasonic.
If you’re interested in finding out more on these drums, the history of where they came from and the people behind them then this is well worth a read.
As someone who doesn’t remember the Hayman name being in shops, it was fascinating to read about kits such as the Staccato Thunderhorn, a kit that looks as incredible as its name suggests, and the reasons that production of the Hayman Drums finally ceased.
Gear heads, you will enjoy this book and if you ever had a Hayman set I think you owe it to yourself to take this walk down memory lane.
For more information visit www.thehaymandrumbook.com
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