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Thread: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

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    Default Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    I've got to get something off my chest. Sure to be a sensitive subject for bluegrass fans but... a drummer in a bluegrass band in MY opinion covers up the mandolin chop. Leave the drums for country and rock etc.. I recently went to see probably my all time favorite bluegrass act (DL&Q) and have not been totally sold on the idea of a snare drum. Mr. Lawson has in my opinion the best mandolin chop of all time and I absolutely love his Gibson Victorian mandolin but never really got past the drums covering it up.

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    Registered User catmandu2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Drums in BG is about as effective as mandolin in rock'n roll; it's like...

    ...watering your lawn in a downpoor

    ...buttering your pizza

    ...putting rubber booties on your dog

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    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Hey, I LOVE buttered pizza man!
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    Registered User catmandu2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Well, I didn't say it was a bad thing!

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    Registered User Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Sort of the opposite:

    For practice play your chop to a drum machine and "mask" the snare. If you are doing it right once you stop chopping you hear the snare pop out.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    I'm not a big fan of it either.
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    Mike Parks woodwizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Sam is still able to get his chop heard over their drummer in the Sam Bush Band. But I kind of agree that in a traditional bluegrass setting I would rather hear that chop of a mandolin vs: a drum kit.
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    Registered User dcoventry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Good drummers are rare in the best of situations. If a mandolin and trap set are playing together, they need to work out their parts just like any other arrangement.

    A flute and a mando aren't supposed to go together either, but Grisman does OK with Matt Eckle.
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    I have experimented with a kick drum augmenting the bass on BG recordings. That sounds great, much better than a snare, and brings BG up to the level of "punch" that other forms of music enjoy. I think someone should experiment with that...I have another crazy idea as well. Here goes...every bass note triggering a digital kick drum as it plays through the amp. Ducking now.

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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Hmm. I've been a Kentuckian by birth and residence all of my life (working on my 6th decade), but I did not grow up on bluegrass music. I began playing the mandolin to bring a different tone and texture to the music of my band which was rooted in rock and hyphenated variations thereof. So when I picked up the NewGrass Revival albums in the late 80s and heard my fellow Kentuckian Sam Bush using the mandolin as a percussion instrument, I was stunned. I thought, 'Why would you do that with an instrument so capable of playing notes??' Years have passed and I have heard more bluegrass. I understand how someone with years of bluegrass exposure - and perhaps coming to the mandolin through that exposure - might take for granted the chop as the percussive force for the music. But after all is said and done, I somewhat see the presence of a drum set as freeing the mandolin to go tonal - which it does very well - while allowing the drum set to go percussive - which it does very well. In the absence of drums, the mandolin chop is a nice substitute. I can live in both worlds, offended neither by drums, nor their absence.

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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    If there are drums, it isn't bluegrass...

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    Registered User dcoventry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    If there is a dobro, it's not bluegrass
    If there is an electric bass, it isn't bluegrass
    If there is a harmonmica, it isn't bluegrass
    If there is an amp, it isn't bluegrass

    All hail the bluegrass police!

    PLEASE NOTE THE UTTER SARCASM

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    Last edited by dcoventry; Aug-02-2011 at 11:50pm. Reason: More Sarcasm needed
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    Registered User Mike Bunting's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by dcoventry View Post
    If there is a dobro, it's not bluegrass
    If there is an electric bass, it isn't bluegrass
    If there is a harmonmica, it isn't bluegrass
    If there is an amp, it isn't bluegrass

    All hail the bluegrass police!

    And in the words of NWA, Fight the Power!

    This information brought to you by the open minded musicians coalition........
    I see that Will sucked you in!
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    You won't see many BG bands adding drummers; the dyed-in-the-wool fans won't tolerate them, regardless of how tasteful they may be, or what expedients the band will use to keep drummer and mandolinist from stepping on each other. Of course, there's drum (brushed snare, I think, mostly) on quite a few Flatt & Scruggs records, Jimmy Martin had a drum some of the time, and when the Osborne Brothers and Jim & Jesse were doing country package shows, I think they used drummers (correct me if I'm wrong here).

    I guess I'm hoping we avoid another tiresome debate over "bluegrass rules," which some find important in defining the genre, and others find inhibitive of some interesting possible developments. Most Cafe´people who care about such things, have already clearly staked out their positions on the subject.
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    Registered User dcoventry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post

    I guess I'm hoping we avoid another tiresome debate over "bluegrass rules," which some find important in defining the genre, and others find inhibitive of some interesting possible developments. Most Cafe´people who care about such things, have already clearly staked out their positions on the subject.
    Yeah, I think this is accurate. Same with A vs. F; Picks, Tonegards etc. Opinions are like..........bellybuttons! Everybody has one!
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Progressive bluegrass, Roots bluegrass , Pop bluegrass , Acid blue grass , formal bluegrass , Death bluegrass , Free Form bluegrass , Canadian bluegrass ( yuck) . the only thing i play is music and the lottery

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    Registered User dcoventry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by rico mando View Post
    Progressive bluegrass, Roots bluegrass , Pop bluegrass , Acid blue grass , formal bluegrass , Death bluegrass , Free Form bluegrass , Canadian bluegrass ( yuck) . the only thing i play is music and the lottery
    Nice. Very nice! I love it when folks have good sense of humor about this stuff!
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    you may not like hearing drummers in bluegrass but believe me drummers hate playing bluegrass even more

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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    double post
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    Registered User Mike Bunting's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    I probably would have been in the anti-drum camp until I saw Doyle Lawson's band this past weekend. There was no denying that it was bluegrass, so spectacularly well arranged, played and especially sung that it was stunning. I had to listen really hard to pick out the drums because they really know how to mix their sound. The soloing was hot but no one overplayed and the band's was as precise as can be. I have some of Dole's stuff from the Gents days as well as the Bluegrass Band recordings, his solo Tennessee Dream album and the first couple of Quicksilver albums but, unfortunately for some reason, they had been on the backburner for a while. Needless to say, I've been digging them out the last few days.
    But back to the drums in blue grass, I guess I'm pretty traditional when it comes to blue grass, but the quality of the music trumps the instruments involved.
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    Registered User dcoventry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by rico mando View Post
    you may not like hearing drummers in bluegrass but believe me drummers hate playing bluegrass even more
    The man is on a roll.

    I think bass players might have a gripe, too. Check out T. Michael Coleman's song he does with the Seldom Scene about being a bass player called And On Bass.

    This isn't it, but he's so cool it don't matter none.
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    Registered User Grommet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Sweet clip!

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    Registered User Paul Cowham's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Not going to comment on whether bluegrass should have drums in it or not.

    However, I remember seeing a swingy type band that had a percussionist playing snare. He was playing it really tastefully and a musician friend of mine commented that he was so good that you didn't notice him which I thought was a really shrewd observation.

    As soon as the word drums is mentioned it is tempting to think of loud, in your face rock drumming, but there is a whole other world of percussion out there and as dcoventry said in an earlier post, good drummers are rare.

    I know the dgq isn't "bluegrass" but George Marsh's tasteful percussion goes well with dawg's mandolin.

    Having said all that, I could imagime that in a bluegrass context, if there was a snare then the role of the mandolin could be quite different.
    Last edited by Paul Cowham; Aug-03-2011 at 6:05am.

  24. #24
    Registered User dcoventry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    As Paul said, George Marsh is truly one of the good drummers. When I was in college at UCSC he was a prof in the music dept. and I remember him leaving class early, stuffing his drums in his car and hustling off to a DGQ show in SF. I saw a few of those, and he added so much texture to the music. Also, I think as a solid time keeper, it frees the other musicians up to be more melodic and take leads that more varied.
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    Default Re: Drums in Bluegrass music cover up the mandolin chop IMO.

    Hmm I see where this thread is going, though perhaps a more apt title would be The mandolin chop gets lost/ hidden when played in bluegrass flavored country music

    Personally I believe the mandolin can be very effective in Rock and/or Roll.
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