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Few concepts one rock beat: 2

Dynamics 1: The simplest way to approach it is to go from soft to loud and back while doing the rock beat. But playing soft is very difficult. Most of the time, the beat will lose its energy, its drive as the player struggles to feather his strokes. One way to sidestep that land mine is to change the tools. Instead of sticks, the player can use blasticks, those brushes made of plastic and rounded together by duct tape (Good old duct tape). He will move the same but produce a softer sound. For something a touch more aggressive, here comes the hot rods, lightning rods and all their variations. These are great for all the lightly amplified situations, where the accoustic guitar doesn’t go through many watts. And, finally, if we go back to sticks, it is important to consider the bid of the stick, because the bigger the bid, the bigger the sound. Where the taper of the stick is will also impact the volume. Oh, and, of course, for those delicate and soft situations, always carry a handkerchief that one can spread on the snare to soften that voice. As for the bass drum?… Learn to play it soft. No skipping on that.

Dynamics 2: This one is much more technical. It is simple to understand but difficult to execute. Same rock beat with all the voices at the same volume. Then make the bass drum go progressively softer. Then louder. The other voices need to keep exactly the same dynamic, just the bass drum will change.  Now try to change the snare, then the hi hat. This concept is a lot of fun with 4 ways coordination beats like a good old samba. I call it coordination within coordination. It is also something I use a lot if the room I play in emphasizes the high frequencies of the hi hat (I will then play the hi hat softer) or if I need to pound my bass drum because it’s not cutting through, etc…

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