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Funky Drummer -- was the hi-hat overdubbed?
Old 1 week ago
  #31
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by poserp View Post
Didn't realize the whole video "Soul of the Funky Drummers" was on YT. 1:09:40. I rest my case, your honor.



EDIT: I didn't realize it because this version, at least, was posted three months after my last comment. Thank you, universe, maybe we can get the funk right now.

EDIT2: What it sounds like when a beginner drummer (a bit over a year) tries to play the notes that Clyde plays in the videos:



Once I clean up my playing, I'll do the full song. Anyways... This isn't some impossible beat to play, you just need two drummers and/or an overdub.
You've been drumming for a year and you know what pros are capable of?

Then again, it seems plausible, with their video and it sounds like it could have been.
Old 1 week ago
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanM View Post
You've been drumming for a year and you know what pros are capable of?

Then again, it seems plausible, with their video and it sounds like it could have been.
I listen to the pros when they speak.

Attached is what Regroover pulled for the hi-hat track. Nothing about that says "straight 16ths". I hear a.) a bit of the upper end of the snare, and b.) a much funkier hi-hat groove and to my ears I hear two different hats. One of them is playing 16ths, the other is not. There's also a bit of vocal in there. I'm about 90% sure there's nothing from the kick.
Attached Files

James Brown - Funky Drummer (ver_Layer 4.wav (2.91 MB, 320 views)

Old 1 week ago
  #33
Here's the hi-hat "isolated" from Dylan Wissing playing it. Not the same, at all.

EDIT: My apologies for misspelling your last name.
Attached Files

dw_funkydrummer_Layer 4.wav (1.88 MB, 281 views)


Last edited by poserp; 4 days ago at 05:59 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #34
Final audio bit for now, here's a version with the hi-hats on the left, the kick in the middle, and snare on the right:
Attached Files

funkydrummerlcr.wav (3.23 MB, 283 views)

Old 6 days ago
  #35
Quote:
Originally Posted by poserp View Post
I listen to the pros when they speak.

Attached is what Regroover pulled for the hi-hat track. Nothing about that says "straight 16ths". I hear a.) a bit of the upper end of the snare, and b.) a much funkier hi-hat groove and to my ears I hear two different hats. One of them is playing 16ths, the other is not. There's also a bit of vocal in there. I'm about 90% sure there's nothing from the kick.
It's a combo of closed hats, open hats and ghost notes. Not 2 hats.
Old 6 days ago
  #36
Notation in any music doesn't capture the nuances of individuality and the moment. I don't know what this conversation is trying to capture.
Old 6 days ago
  #37
Quote:
Originally Posted by meez61 View Post
I think he does still think the hi hat was dubbed? he's obviously put some time and thought into it and considering JB was known to use 2 drummers and the vid posted of clyde and jabo playing together from that documentary is it really that much of a crazy idea? I dunno and I personally don't care just thought I'd say that you're (paul) the one who seems to be patronizing in this thread, whether you are right or not. PEACE.
Whatever, I'm just not down with didactic preaching. The recording is too raw with too much reverb and it's too difficult to analyse accurately so I can't see the point of ranting on for so long when you can't even really play.
Old 6 days ago
  #38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
Whatever, I'm just not down with didactic preaching. The recording is too raw with too much reverb and it's too difficult to analyse accurately so I can't see the point of ranting on for so long when you can't even really play.
I'll take that as a gauntlet. I played all the instruments on this track:



and recorded it and such.

And another, just bass and drums for a bit:



Now, granted, I don't have a couple of decades of professional experience so these are a bit rough as I'm still workin' it out. And, yes, the notes and the patterns matter.

Last edited by poserp; 6 days ago at 05:08 AM..
Old 6 days ago
  #39
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanM View Post
You've been drumming for a year and you know what pros are capable of?

Sure:



For better or worse, I was born with an analytic mind and I'm on the spectrum. I've been absorbing this stuff since I was a kid, but it wasn't until recently that I've had the time to woodshed like I've wanted to on drums. I think there are plenty of people who can hear the differences and know what drummers can do without being able to play it perfectly. I won't take the easy way out, though, and say it's all "feel" and assume that you can't learn to play like the people who put down the really good stuff.
Old 6 days ago
  #40
Quote:
Originally Posted by poserp View Post
Sure:



For better or worse, I was born with an analytic mind and I'm on the spectrum. I've been absorbing this stuff since I was a kid, but it wasn't until recently that I've had the time to woodshed like I've wanted to on drums. I think there are plenty of people who can hear the differences and know what drummers can do without being able to play it perfectly. I won't take the easy way out, though, and say it's all "feel" and assume that you can't learn to play like the people who put down the really good stuff.
On the specdrum?
Old 6 days ago
  #41
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
On the specdrum?
Sounds great,Iโ€™m gonna buy one...
Old 6 days ago
  #42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goa-Dubs View Post
Sounds great,Iโ€™m gonna buy one...
SpecDrum: MIDI sequencer synthesizer sampler drum interface with "eardrum" resolution technology (i.e. 9 x 10^20 ppq resolution) and built-in 20k bands of audio separation for spectral remixing.
Old 4 days ago
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by poserp View Post
Listen starting at 2:00 - 3:30 or so... The cymbals tick on over the top of open hi-hats, it goes on through drum fills... Starting at about that point, Clyde adds an open hi-hat to his pattern that you can hear -- Clyde's hat doesn't sound like the one that's playing the 16ths either. Plus, the way Clyde demos the beat above, he doesn't play it like that. That, to me, is the big part. The snare is exactly right, the "feel" is exactly right, and he's not playing 16ths. Also, Clyde's hat is about in the middle of the stereo field, and the one playing 16ths is more on the left.

EDIT: I also hear it during parts that would be played on the snare with two hands, but that's only during fills (he does some cool stuff on the snare, esp. during the breaks, with one hand too). There's a hit in the intro where the ride, snare, and the closed hi-hat hit at the same time... I counted it out, it comes around beat 4 of measure 3 going into measure 4, for reference.
None of us on this thread were at the original 1969 session, as far as I'm aware. But Alan Leeds was James Brown's Tour Manager when this track was cut, and his office was just down the hall from King Studios in Cincinnati. We discussed this session at length recently, and Alan rediscovered the original "Funky Drummer" tracking sheet in his legendary archives. It clearly shows how the session was laid out - the whole band tracking at one time, one track for the drums, one take for the song. I'd be shocked beyond belief if that drum performance were anything other than one of the world's most legendary funk drummers grooving his ass off on a kit.



Our full conversation is here, along with a whole bunch of images from Alan's archives, videos, tracks, etc. if you're interested in more: www.gettingthesound.com/pages/e2-alan-leeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by poserp View Post
Here's the hi-hat "isolated" from Dylan Wyssing playing it. Not the same, at all.
poserp, thank you for checking out our course! It was a lot of work, and we're proud of it. It's REALLY important to note the distinction between playing the "Funky Drummer" breakbeat live on a set of drums, and attempting to sonically recreate it so that it sounds identical to the original - they are very different animals.

The hi hat sample you posted from our course really won't make any sense out of context if you are simply trying to play the beat live on a set of drums - that hi hat track is a composite of a bunch of different sonic elements, which works in conjunction with a whole bunch of other elements to attempt to recreate the sound, feel, vibe and sonics of the original breakbeat. We have ALL kinds of things layered in there for our Funky Drummer recreation: multiple drum and cymbal recordings and overdubs, an old ashcan, sine waves, a paint can, re-amping in an old factory bathroom, you name it. When you're trying to recreate a sample, it absolutely doesn't matter what sounds you use or how you use them to get the final mix - the only thing that matters is that the original and the recreation sound the same.

If anyone is interested in learning to play the "Funky Drummer' breakbeat (it's hard!), here's a free course that reaches it as best I understand it: www.gettingthesound.com/courses/how-to-play-the-funky-drummer-breakbeat

At the end of the day, this entire conversation is a tribute to the genius of Clyde Stubblefield (and James Brown and the rest of his band, of course), and that nine minute+ jam they recorded fifty years ago. May we all be debating the track in another fifty years from now!
Old 4 days ago
  #44
Quote:
Originally Posted by dylanwissing View Post
None of us on this thread were at the original 1969 session, as far as I'm aware. But Alan Leeds was James Brown's Tour Manager when this track was cut, and his office was just down the hall from King Studios in Cincinnati. We discussed this session at length recently, and Alan rediscovered the original "Funky Drummer" tracking sheet in his legendary archives. It clearly shows how the session was laid out - the whole band tracking at one time, one track for the drums, one take for the song. I'd be shocked beyond belief if that drum performance were anything other than one of the world's most legendary funk drummers grooving his ass off on a kit.



Our full conversation is here, along with a whole bunch of images from Alan's archives, videos, tracks, etc. if you're interested in more: www.gettingthesound.com/pages/e2-alan-leeds


poserp, thank you for checking out our course! It was a lot of work, and we're proud of it. It's REALLY important to note the distinction between playing the "Funky Drummer" breakbeat live on a set of drums, and attempting to sonically recreate it so that it sounds identical to the original - they are very different animals.

The hi hat sample you posted from our course really won't make any sense out of context if you are simply trying to play the beat live on a set of drums - that hi hat track is a composite of a bunch of different sonic elements, which works in conjunction with a whole bunch of other elements to attempt to recreate the sound, feel, vibe and sonics of the original breakbeat. We have ALL kinds of things layered in there for our Funky Drummer recreation: multiple drum and cymbal recordings and overdubs, an old ashcan, sine waves, a paint can, re-amping in an old factory bathroom, you name it. When you're trying to recreate a sample, it absolutely doesn't matter what sounds you use or how you use them to get the final mix - the only thing that matters is that the original and the recreation sound the same.

If anyone is interested in learning to play the "Funky Drummer' breakbeat (it's hard!), here's a free course that reaches it as best I understand it: www.gettingthesound.com/courses/how-to-play-the-funky-drummer-breakbeat

At the end of the day, this entire conversation is a tribute to the genius of Clyde Stubblefield (and James Brown and the rest of his band, of course), and that nine minute+ jam they recorded fifty years ago. May we all be debating the track in another fifty years from now!
Thank you, this is worth it for the tracking sheet alone! So, a contemporaneous recording that has a somewhat similar pattern is "Mother Popcorn". Until I saw the whole "Soul of the Funky Drummer" video, I wasn't certain it was Clyde on the track, but he demos that beat and claims it, so I'm going to assume he played it. The thing that sticks out to me about "Funky Drummer" is the 16ths feel like that wasn't used again on any other tracks. I can't think of any other James Brown tune that has that. Clyde would take beats and re-work them, change up the syncopation and such. It's really odd that he wouldn't do the 16ths again if that was a thing he did on "Funky Drummer".

I'm listening to the interview now... Interesting. I'm going to try some stuff in the lab, because there are some things that should become apparent in recording.

Thanks again for putting in the work; I'm only interested in the truth of how it went down, I'm still of a mind that Jabo and/or Nate Jones played the 16ths in the session, but I'll put in my work too on this.

EDIT: Having two small kids and drums, I get to hear the drums when other people play them. The floorplan of my home has a bathroom right above where the drums sit in the basement. I noticed when I was in there and my kids were playing it had a sound to it that was interesting... Anyways, time to spend a week or so on experiments.

Last edited by poserp; 4 days ago at 07:04 AM..
Old 4 days ago
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by poserp View Post
The thing that sticks out to me about "Funky Drummer" is the 16ths feel like that wasn't used again on any other tracks. I can't think of any other James Brown tune that has that. Clyde would take beats and re-work them, change up the syncopation and such. It's really odd that he wouldn't do the 16ths again if that was a thing he did on "Funky Drummer".
I know exactly what you mean, and I've had this same conversation with a couple of other people that knew Clyde. As best I can tell, he played something different in "Soul of the Funky Drummer" video session than he did thirty years earlier at the original "Funky Drummer" session in Cincinnati.

Why? I don't know. Having spent MANY hours over the past few decades trying to decipher and play what Clyde created at that session, I can only guess that his chops were at their absolute peak in 1969 after having played hundreds of shows a year with James Brown. The way he played then may just not be the way he played in 1999 when that video was filmed (along those same lines, I certainly know I play differently now than I did in 1990, for example). We'll probably never know.

I will DEFINITELY argue against the idea that someone else was overdubbing the hi hats on the "Funky Drummer' session - that performance of Clyde's is the sound of one amazingly funky drummer creating sheer brilliance behind his kit (IMHO, obviously - I wasn't born when the song was recorded). As an illustration of what overdubs on the "Funky Drummer" sound like, listen to the "Original Tambourine Mix" of the track. It's pretty obvious that they sort of crammed the original tracks into the middle of the stereo field, then overdubbed a couple of tambourines on the sides. It's a somewhat wacky mix to my ears, and not terribly surprising to me that this version isn't the one that the world celebrates.

I've been researching everything I can find about this track for decades, and I still have so many questions. I'm just glad I'm not the only one obsessed with the "Funky Drummer" breakbeat!
Old 4 days ago
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by dylanwissing View Post
I know exactly what you mean, and I've had this same conversation with a couple of other people that knew Clyde. As best I can tell, he played something different in "Soul of the Funky Drummer" video session than he did thirty years earlier at the original "Funky Drummer" session in Cincinnati.

Why? I don't know. Having spent MANY hours over the past few decades trying to decipher and play what Clyde created at that session, I can only guess that his chops were at their absolute peak in 1969 after having played hundreds of shows a year with James Brown. The way he played then may just not be the way he played in 1999 when that video was filmed (along those same lines, I certainly know I play differently now than I did in 1990, for example). We'll probably never know.

I will DEFINITELY argue against the idea that someone else was overdubbing the hi hats on the "Funky Drummer' session - that performance of Clyde's is the sound of one amazingly funky drummer creating sheer brilliance behind his kit (IMHO, obviously - I wasn't born when the song was recorded). As an illustration of what overdubs on the "Funky Drummer" sound like, listen to the "Original Tambourine Mix" of the track. It's pretty obvious that they sort of crammed the original tracks into the middle of the stereo field, then overdubbed a couple of tambourines on the sides. It's a somewhat wacky mix to my ears, and not terribly surprising to me that this version isn't the one that the world celebrates.

I've been researching everything I can find about this track for decades, and I still have so many questions. I'm just glad I'm not the only one obsessed with the "Funky Drummer" breakbeat!

Ha! I love a great nerd debate. One thing worth noting, Clyde switched from Traditional to Match grip sometime between his time with James Brown and when he did the "Soul of the Funky Drummer" video and this one (which I think is from 1999-ish too):




I think that affected his snare playing somewhat. I'd say that's potentially a useful thing to do (Traditional grip) when playing "Funky Drummer". I'm working on my own weird hybrid grip right now as I found I have a lot more agility (it's kind of an overhanded traditional, I use it for both hands). Attacking the snare from higher up, so more of the tip of the stick makes contact with the drum, seems to help with the "crack" in the snare, although when Clyde is playing his stick is almost parallel with the snare head.

I'm curious when Clyde started mainly playing the ride on live performances; he plays hi-hat on recordings, but most of the time live it looks like he's on the ride (or that's just a larger crash cymbal, I don't know). Maybe he didn't like the Vox hi-hat hardware or something? Or, maybe he felt like that was the only way to compete volume-wise with the band.

BTW, here's a video of him and Jabo doing the two-drummer thing where Jabo plays the hi-hat along with Clyde Stubblefield, at 8:30 or so:



Personally, I think "Funky Drummer" evolved from this, but that's IMO.

Not sure who played on this, but it's got more of that "straight" 16ths feel kinda similar to Funky Drummer:



Wikipedia credits Clyde on this, I'll do what digging I can... August of 69, so only a few months before the Funky Drummer session.

EDIT: Oh, and this of course from the same album... Perhaps "The Popcorn" is kind of a lynchpin, in that it seems like they were playing around with these sorts of grooves. The feeling though is different, more like "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More Baby" than "Funky Drummer", which is what grooves well with that sort of thing if you're playing 16ths on the hat. That and some of Zigaboo's stuff, although he has all that New Orleans stuff like the Clave going on too:


Last edited by poserp; 3 days ago at 05:42 PM..
Old 4 days ago
  #47
Quote:
Originally Posted by poserp View Post
I'll take that as a gauntlet. I played all the instruments on this track:



and recorded it and such.

And another, just bass and drums for a bit:



Now, granted, I don't have a couple of decades of professional experience so these are a bit rough as I'm still workin' it out. And, yes, the notes and the patterns matter.
he practice in private

I'd keep the practice in private Dude. You're not convincing me of any deep understanding here.

The Popcorn pattern is interesting though because it's very similar with the snares too.
It made me wonder if it was tape machine pitch control that helped the tempo on Funky Drummer although it doesn't sound pitched up. The reverb and saturation makes it almost impossible to really judge what's happening.
Old 3 days ago
  #48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
I'd keep the practice in private Dude. You're not convincing me of any deep understanding here.

That's fine, I'm a padawan so I'm not afraid to suck. Going through the process is part of my practice, and I can listen back anywhere. WIP and all that:



Old 3 days ago
  #49
Here's a hybrid sort of thing, a bit of "Cold Sweat" and a bit of "Funky Drummer". The Behringer TD-3 is, IMO, a most excellent funk metronome. I don't use it nearly enough, but it's very cool for helping to figure out funky patterns on the drums:

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