Doubles

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Re: Doubles

Postby Greensail » Tue Sep 07, 2021 1:02 am

As a follow up on my doubles question, I have been continuing to work fairly diligently on them. We recently played a few outdoor gigs and perhaps playing a bit more free during the performance, it seems I've found space for them in my "language".
2 things - improved timing and smoothness if you will, in fills and rolls between drums, the practice has paid off. I can complete them or even make them a little more complicated, with a single hand as opposed to moving both hands to another drum. Second, I find my notes, especially slaps on the conga and especially the tumba have improved notably, which I attribute to a degree, that I vary the strike regularly if not continuously when practicing the doubles. But - I suppose this whole diatribe boils down to if you practice regularly, you improve :wink:
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Re: Doubles

Postby Thomas Altmann » Tue Sep 07, 2021 10:33 am

Thank you for your report, Greensail. That sounds encouraging.

Second, I find my notes, especially slaps on the conga and especially the tumba have improved notably


I have made the same experience. But playing floating-hand (manoteo) exercises generally had this effect. When I practice double stroke rolls (without the purpose of integrating them in my language), I usually start by playing heel-tip float units alternating (LL-RR), then at my maximum speed I just pull my hands down to the edge of the drum (open stroke position). Would you agree that that makes sense?

Thomas
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Re: Doubles

Postby Chtimulato » Tue Sep 07, 2021 2:20 pm

Thomas Altmann wrote:Thank you for your report, Greensail. That sounds encouraging.

Second, I find my notes, especially slaps on the conga and especially the tumba have improved notably


I have made the same experience. But playing floating-hand (manoteo) exercises generally had this effect. When I practice double stroke rolls (without the purpose of integrating them in my language), I usually start by playing heel-tip float units alternating (LL-RR), then at my maximum speed I just pull my hands down to the edge of the drum (open stroke position). Would you agree that that makes sense?

Thomas


I agree, Thomas, I try to do the same. Hence the importance of warming up.
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Re: Doubles

Postby Greensail » Tue Sep 07, 2021 6:14 pm

Hmmm, I don't really do it that way. Typically begin with tones, and then intersperse slaps and bass and move between drums, changing the note or drum pretty much with every strike. I shall experiment with your suggestion Thomas. I can play at a out 160bpm for 5" or so with consistency. That said, I have not been able to do a doubles roll that is anywhere near smooth, more accurately it sucks but.... I'll keep trying. I think slaps have improved because it forces you to just use the wrist with emphasis on the accuracy of hand positioning. Thank you both for the suggestions and camaraderie.
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Re: Doubles

Postby Chtimulato » Tue Sep 07, 2021 7:48 pm

Do you remember what I told about driving or speaking a foreign language ? :wink:
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Re: Doubles

Postby Greensail » Tue Sep 07, 2021 10:58 pm

Yes sir Chtimulato, nearly everyday actually. I suspect my previous "conclusion" about practice says it all. Nonetheless, very kind regards.
PS - its evening here, I think I'll go play my drums for an hour or 2.
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Re: Doubles

Postby drbongo42 » Wed Mar 16, 2022 9:48 pm

Having started out as a kit drummer and moved to Congas/Bongos later on I just don't think doubles or paradiddles or any other kit rudiments translate that well to Congas or Bongos. The main advantage of doubles using sticks is that you can play very fast and loud for a long time with minimal effort. Although I have seen people play fast doubles on Congas and Bongos they are not nearly as fast as playing with sticks and seem to take an enormous amount of effort for something that is never going to be as loud as other conga strokes. Most of the rudiments only really work on the snare drum anyway as the wires allow the very fast notes to stand out distinctly - on toms or congas this crispness is lost, except maybe on the macho bongo. More importantly they just don't fit the traditional rhythmic vocabulary of the Congas/Bongos - which is based around playing Marcha/Tumbao and fills involving slaps, heel/toe and open tones etc. Most people I see using them just do so at the beginning of their solo to demonstrate their prowess and then resort to much more musical improvisations involving different tones and poly-rhythms etc. Sure it is impressive to be able to play that fast with your hands - but it isn't much faster than you can do with a single stroke roll and it just doesn't have enough volume, power or tone unless you are close mic'd up through a PA. I am sure there may well be virtuosos who are looking for new directions to take the congas in, but I think for most players they are just a red herring - much like fast double bass drum pedals on the drumkit - it sounds impressive for 10 seconds during a solo - but how often do you use fast double pedals in music other than Death Metal. In particular I don't think the rudiments fit in the vast majority of Latin music, where Congas and Bongos are firmly based. For me the drumkit rudiments and Hand Percussion are two completely different musical traditions - one derives from European military music eventually incorporated in Jazz, the other from African rhythms and techniques fused with Flamenco/Hispanic music. Literally different strokes from different folks... :D
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Re: Doubles

Postby vxla » Fri May 20, 2022 5:48 pm

This is a great resource for beginning to learn doubles:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z7Y5Ysko5s

Doubles are absolutely an invaluable technique for fast playing, and not just soloing. Using doubles effectively allows a player to exert less energy over time and be more creative in their vocabulary.
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Re: Doubles

Postby Thomas Altmann » Fri May 20, 2022 8:09 pm

Hi vxla, and thank you for the YT-link!

The exercises proposed by this man are pretty much the same that I do. However, to this day I haven't become much faster than the speed he demonstrates without sacrificing the cleanliness of my sound. In general, I place more value on sound (or what I take for a good conga sound) than on amazing licks. The double stroke roll, as other snare drum rudiments, has probably been applied to the conga drum since the early 1980s. I overheard that in 1984, but first really experienced it in the 1990s by Giovanni Hidalgo. He played at the Fabrik in Hamburg with Eddie Palmieri. Which means that my idea of fine conga playing was already shaped before the "new school" surfaced. To me, personally, the double stroke technique equals nothing more than an amazing lick. There is so much you can do without it ...

That said, I must admit that I have heard conga players utilize the double stroke roll and other rudiments (paradiddles etc) to a great musical effect. And I do mean musical. The rudiments have without a doubt "invaded" conga drumming technique, and they are about to stay. Anybody who chooses to dispense with them, will need very good reasons to do so. My reason is that they don't really belong to my style - which is still evolving, but anyway, my idea of what I want to hear from myself does not encompass double stroke rolls. Even on the drum set I use them rarely.

In my post at http://www.mycongaplace.com/forum/eng/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=9940 I wrote about the evidence that even the Prussian military drumming tradition may have prospered without the double stroke roll rudiment.

To reject and belittle this technique only because I couldn't master it accurately myself, would be a pretty poor and shaky reason. If I can't do it, then I am not good enough, period.

I cannot envision a technical status that would enable me to play faster double stroke rolls than I can play single stroke rolls. If I wanted to play a roll and resort to double strokes, I would have to confine myself to a much slower speed than I could achieve with singles. So to me at the moment, the double stroke roll isn't really an asset as far as speed is concerned.

But what has not been mentioned so far, is that double strokes actually sound different than singles at the same speed. These techniques are not interchangeable! Double stroke rolls for instance have a distinct musical quality. You can hear and feel the difference to single stroke rolls. The decision of which technique you use should not be made on the ground of speed exclusively. And the double stops on macho and hembra in unison that the drummer in the video demonstrates using the up-and-down-stroke technique (which it actually is), would never sound the same as being played with down strokes only. I'm afraid they will eventually sound sloppy, but that's my speculation. I will probably never play them like that. Those double stops often appear as a crescendo fill-in, mostly executed by the entire percussion section together. I'd rather focus on a clean crescendo than try to implement a technique that will likely not do the job.

I kind of lost my interest in the subject, by the way. There have been and still are many conga drummers who claim that double stroke rolls don't belong to the language of their instrument. Tata Güines was one of them, and he was not just anybody. I can't deal with them, but that's my personal affair. Whoever will incorporate them in his/her playing, my ears will tell me whether they are hearing music or - not.

I suggest that young conga players should learn and practice as much as they can, including the doubles. Once mastered, they will be free to decide what they can be used for. I suppose we all agree that music comes before technique. But it is always better to learn more.

Thomas
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