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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #109552  by jefkahn
 Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:51 pm
How would you describe the drum beat to Ramble on Rose? It's not a straight beat--it has a little swing to it, but it's not a full swing. How would you tell a drummer who has never heard this song how to play it? Is it enough to follow the rhythm of Jerry's intro lick?
 #109558  by Grant
 Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:08 am
It is a pretty straight forward 4/4, but it key is to sit behind the beat

in my opinion, the ability to do that and lock in separates good drummers from bad.
 #109565  by jefkahn
 Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:11 am
So playing behind the beat... Is this a feel thing, or is the beat not going right on the 3? Say more, please.
 #109570  by Rusty the Scoob
 Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:45 am
It's a feel thing, but could probably be measured in microseconds as well if you have a good enough device (it's very hard to find one that's more sensitive to minute time differences than the human ear). It's a tough thing to describe over the internet but you'll feel it when you try it.

Set a metronome going at a medium tempo. It is by definition Right On The Beat. Then try placing your notes just a tiny fraction behind it - this is Behind The Beat, and will give a relaxed feel. Then try putting your notes just a tiny bit before each beat - this is Ahead Of The Beat and will make the music feel rushed and/or energetic.
 #109581  by strumminsix
 Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:07 am
jefkahn wrote:? Is it enough to follow the rhythm of Jerry's intro lick?
Worst advice you could give, IMO. The drums set the pace, the band plays to the drums not the other way around.

Start with a straigh 4/4 then add in a hit just milisecond before the 3. Then sub in a cymbal crash on the 3. A pair of 16ths for the the 4. etc
 #109582  by Rusty the Scoob
 Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:34 am
TONS of JGB songs start with Jerry setting both the tempo and feel, with the rest of the band including the drummer following his instructions.

Normally it's best to let the drummer set it, but you know... he's Jerry.
Last edited by Rusty the Scoob on Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #109585  by jefkahn
 Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:58 am
Thanks everyone. But Rusty and Strummin, did one of you say to place the note before the beat and one say to place it after?
 #109587  by Rusty the Scoob
 Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:38 pm
Yes, but we're describing two different things. I'm talking in general terms, and I think he's describing how to get that particular Ramble On Rose bouncey lilting feel.


Much of what makes a phrase melodic is NOT being consistent with where you place your beats - you want to push or pull each note a little for emphasis. If you play a melody strictly on the beat it sounds robotic or computerized. In the GD, they played rhythmically loose enough that everybody (except maybe Billy) was free to be melodic whenever they wanted. Ramble On Rose is one of the best examples of this approach.
 #109590  by strumminsix
 Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:44 pm
Rusty the Scoob wrote:TONS of JGB songs start with Jerry setting both the tempo and feel, with the rest of the band including the drummer following his instructions.

Normally it's best to let the drummer set it, but you know... he's Jerry.
We might have read that quote differently. Yes, let Jerry set the tempo and feel but the drummer keeps the beat against what the lead line lays down :-)

Rusty the Scoob wrote:Yes, but we're describing two different things. I'm talking in general terms, and I think he's describing how to get that particular Ramble On Rose bouncey lilting feel.


Much of what makes a phrase melodic is NOT being consistent with where you place your beats - you want to push or pull each note a little for emphasis. If you play a melody strictly on the beat it sounds robotic or computerized. In the GD, they played rhythmically loose enough that everybody (except maybe Billy) was free to be melodic whenever they wanted. Ramble On Rose is one of the best examples of this approach.
Exactly, bro!