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The Drummer Is King! (Guitar Lesson)

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The Drummer Is King!

Of all the crazy antics and skills you'll learn in this series, learning your place in the rhythm section may be the most important and arguably the most difficult! Learn the importance of playing behind the beat and letting the pulse of the rhythm lead you! Apply this concept over a grotesquely slow metronome setting and LAY IT BACK!

Taught by Bumblefoot in Bumblefoot's Artist Series seriesLength: 19:07Difficulty: 3.5 of 5

Video Subtitles / Captions

Scene 1

00:00.000 --> 00:17.626
Alright, I remember way back when I was about fourteen years old and I was all fancy and I was all yeah.

00:17.626 --> 00:23.963
Doing everything and I started taking jazz lessons and I remember walking into the first lesson thinking I was going to really impress the teacher.

00:23.963 --> 00:32.995
Ah, watch this, I was doing all this crazy stuff and he just stops and turns on a metronome and sets it down as low as it would go.

00:32.995 --> 00:38.429
As low as it would go to about forty BPM's and said play chord notes.

00:38.429 --> 00:42.190
I was like what, ok.

00:42.190 --> 00:50.834
So it was just going,
And I was just going.

00:50.834 --> 00:54.642
And he stopped me and said "No, no, you're doing it wrong."

00:54.642 --> 01:00.814
He had to teach me discipline.
I did not have discipline.

01:00.814 --> 01:07.733
I could do a lot of fancy stuff and do a lot of riffing and a lot of shredding and all that stuff but I had no pocket.

01:07.733 --> 01:14.954
Without that it doesn't matter what you do, it's crap if it's not in the right place in the beat

01:14.954 --> 01:20.713
and you're better off playing the wrong notes with good groove than the right notes rushing the beat.

01:20.713 --> 01:27.307
One of the most important lessons you could learn right now is that the drummer is your boss.

01:27.307 --> 01:28.607
The drummer is the boss.

01:28.607 --> 01:30.882
I know you're going to hate hearing that.

01:30.882 --> 01:34.133
Right now all the drummers in your band are smiling like yeah see.

01:34.133 --> 01:42.329
The drummer is the boss the beat is the boss so listen to the beat.
The beat is the leader and you have to follow the beat.

01:42.329 --> 01:46.275
Never, ever jump in front of the beat.
It's the worst thing you could do.

01:46.275 --> 01:52.939
It doesn't matter how well you're playing, how accurate, if it's in front of the beat in a bad place it's not good.

01:52.939 --> 01:55.679
Let's get a beat going here.

01:55.679 --> 01:59.928
A little, ah, there.

01:59.928 --> 02:10.817
That's brutally slow, as guitar players we just want to jump ahead and our heart is racing and we want to play double that speed and just to do this

02:10.817 --> 02:16.042
it's kind of a, it's painful, it's awkward, it's not right.

02:16.042 --> 02:19.919
This is what we need to learn and we need to become comfortable with it.

02:19.919 --> 02:24.331
So what I want you all to do is listen to this beat.

02:24.331 --> 02:31.296
This is forty BPM's and I want you to play just one whole note to each one of those.

02:31.296 --> 02:34.570
Let's get some volume.
There we go.

02:34.570 --> 02:38.866
When you play it, I want you to be behind the beat.

02:38.866 --> 02:46.667
A little bit behind, wait for the beat and then hit it even if you're way behind it is better than being way in front.

02:46.667 --> 02:54.794
You want to get into the practice of waiting for the beat to happen and not jumping ahead and not rushing everything.

02:54.794 --> 02:59.345
So just take a deep breath and just wait for it.

02:59.345 --> 03:10.420
If it's too slow you may not feel the pulse and the groove at that speed.

03:10.420 --> 03:15.854
So one trick you can do is take this slow rhythm that's going

03:15.854 --> 03:24.909
and divide it in your head into two, into four, into something that you can latch on to that has a wave that you can ride.

03:24.909 --> 03:34.300
So we've got boom ,boom, boom, boom.
So think of maybe boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,

03:34.300 --> 03:37.249
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

03:37.249 --> 03:47.922
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four and as you're playing to this, you're feeling this.

03:47.922 --> 03:50.290
You're dividing into something you can grasp a little better.

03:50.290 --> 03:56.791
So try it again and in your head think one, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

03:56.791 --> 04:02.480
One, two, three, four.
One and then lay back on it.

04:02.480 --> 04:16.295
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four...

04:16.295 --> 04:18.617
Just like that.

04:18.617 --> 04:24.213
Out of all the shredding and everything else you do this may be the toughest thing of all, this right here.

04:24.213 --> 04:28.534
As simple as it is because it's about everything else.

04:28.534 --> 04:33.503
It's not about your hands and what you need to remember is that music is not about your hands.

04:33.503 --> 04:40.329
Your hands is where the music ends, not where it begins, not where it's created, it's where the music leaves you.

04:40.329 --> 04:44.671
So don't think about your hands.

04:44.671 --> 04:51.915
Think about your body and your connection to the rhythm that's going on around you and this external beat here.

04:51.915 --> 04:57.958
You got to take it and boom, boom, boom, boom, boom…

04:57.958 --> 05:03.252
and don't rush that just stay behind that groove.

05:03.252 --> 05:13.422
This is the toughest thing to do out of all the crazy shredding stuff, yeah.

05:13.422 --> 05:22.742
So once you're doing this start doing scales and take it slow.

05:22.742 --> 05:33.353
What you're doing, you're not practicing the scale, you're not practicing hand techniques, anything like that.

05:33.353 --> 05:42.780
You're practicing staying behind the beat

05:42.780 --> 05:51.719
and developing that sense, that letting go.

05:51.719 --> 05:56.762
It's all about letting go and not trying to control everything.

05:56.762 --> 06:25.136
Learn to let go and let the beat happen.
Don't try and be the beat.

06:25.136 --> 06:30.319
That is probably the most difficult lesson that I've ever taken on and getting that down.

06:30.319 --> 06:38.445
It sounds like nothing but everything that's going on inside you as far as just releasing that urge that we as guitars players just have to jump in front

06:38.445 --> 06:41.603
and just do everything quick and just in the front.

06:41.603 --> 06:42.996
We're not in the front.

06:42.996 --> 06:49.405
The drums, the beat, whatever you're playing to is in the front and you have to respect that and you have to follow that.

06:49.405 --> 06:52.377
Very good, so do that.

06:52.377 --> 07:02.152
So set your metronome, your whatever you have that clicks as slow as it can go to the point to where you almost can't even feel that it's happening

07:02.152 --> 07:10.116
and then divide the rhythm in your head so that you are syncing up to it and then just relax and play behind it.

Scene 2

00:00.000 --> 00:03.355
So we're doing it with whole notes, one note per beat.

00:03.355 --> 00:13.664
Now let's try two notes per beat and you still need to maintain that whole internal thing of laying back, letting the beat happen

00:13.664 --> 00:18.424
and finding the wave within that slow pulse and riding that.

00:18.424 --> 00:23.218
So we've got the beat.

00:23.218 --> 00:31.465
I'm just breaking it up into quarters for myself.

00:31.465 --> 00:40.710
So we're going to do two notes per beat and we got.

00:40.710 --> 01:01.932
I'm already rushing, I've got to pull back.

01:01.932 --> 01:06.088
I'm sucking at this, see what I mean?

01:06.088 --> 01:34.624
One more time.
It's the toughest thing.

01:34.624 --> 01:43.455
Three note per beats now.
One triplet, two triplet, three, it's so slow, it's painful.

01:43.455 --> 02:10.728
One, two, three, two, two, three.
One, two, three, two.

02:10.728 --> 02:15.535
It shouldn't be this difficult.
It's difficult but it shouldn't be as bad as I'm screwing it up.

02:15.535 --> 02:20.086
It's because I'm trying and the worst thing you can do is try.

02:20.086 --> 02:24.689
I know that doesn't make sense but when you're trying, you're taking away what makes it natural.

02:24.689 --> 02:26.872
It's when you don't try it becomes something natural.

02:26.872 --> 02:33.141
So you have to think about it but not think about it.
You probably know what I mean if you've done that.

02:33.141 --> 03:07.760
See, I'm still fighting my tendency to rush it.

03:07.760 --> 03:40.150
Let's try four notes per beat.
So here's the beat.

03:40.150 --> 03:44.253
So I'm playing and it's not even so much I'm trying to focus on being steady.

03:44.253 --> 03:49.501
I'm almost just kind of thinking about keeping it behind and that's what I'm practicing here.

03:49.501 --> 03:55.282
Once you've got that etched in your head you don't have to think about it anymore it'll just happen.

03:55.282 --> 03:58.773
Let's see what else do we want to try?
How much do we want to go here?

03:58.773 --> 04:09.785
We can try five notes per beat, why not?
We're going to try five notes per beat.

04:09.785 --> 04:26.836
One, two, three, four, five, one, two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, five, one, two, three, four, five.

04:26.836 --> 04:33.734
There it is.

04:33.734 --> 04:42.325
I'm trying to get close to the beat but be a little behind it.

04:42.325 --> 04:43.881
I'm slowing down too much.

04:43.881 --> 05:22.820
One more time.
One, two, three, four, five, one, two, three, four, five.

05:22.820 --> 05:32.433
So everything is just a little behind and it's hard to maintain that and you just want to practice getting smooth and relaxed with it and easy with it.

05:32.433 --> 05:33.873
Being behind the beat.

05:33.873 --> 05:37.588
Six notes per beat, why not?

05:37.588 --> 05:55.529
Where every note that's on it, that's anchored down is a little behind.

05:55.529 --> 06:30.562
Too slow.

06:30.562 --> 06:40.058
I'm on it.

06:40.058 --> 06:41.103

06:41.103 --> 06:45.681
Seven notes per beat, hmm.
How do you fill that one out.

06:45.681 --> 06:48.723
Alright well then you can start dividing.

06:48.723 --> 06:53.348
When it starts getting to seven a lot of times even six you just want to think one, two, three, one, two, three,

06:53.348 --> 06:56.296
or one, two, three, four, five, six, one, two, three, four, five, six.

06:56.296 --> 07:01.084
For seven you might want to think the way the way Rush would always do it.

07:01.084 --> 07:05.054
You know one, two, three, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, three.
You can do that.

07:05.054 --> 07:09.001
Start dividing the group into little sub groups.

07:09.001 --> 07:11.486
One, two, three, four, one, two, three, one, two, three, four, one, two, three.

07:11.486 --> 07:16.362
So you need to get that in our forty BPM thing going on.

07:16.362 --> 07:56.345
Laid back.
Super laid back.

07:56.345 --> 07:58.388
It's tricky, it's tricky.

07:58.388 --> 08:11.590
Ok seven, one more time.

08:11.590 --> 08:43.911
Jumping ahead.
Stay behind.

08:43.911 --> 08:46.465
I'm not afraid to screw up on camera, it's human.

08:46.465 --> 08:55.637
Screwing up is good, it's a human thing, in fact it's stuff that people love is the imperfections that's what makes your playing human.

08:55.637 --> 08:58.098
I know we strive to be perfect and accurate and everything

08:58.098 --> 09:06.364
but honestly if you listen to boot legs of your favorite band or something, it's the little screw up that they make that just makes you smile and that's

09:06.364 --> 09:11.727
the thing when you're jamming that song with your friends and you make that screw up and everyone just looks at each other like yeah, you got it.

09:11.727 --> 09:12.749
You got the screw up.

09:12.749 --> 09:15.257
Yeah, there's nothing wrong with screwing up.

09:15.257 --> 09:19.018
That said, try and do your best.

09:19.018 --> 09:24.057
Don't try and screw up but if it happens it's ok, you're human so it's alright.

09:24.057 --> 09:26.680
It gives it character.

09:26.680 --> 09:31.876
Let's try eight now.

09:31.876 --> 09:37.706
Feel it.
Divide in your head.

09:37.706 --> 09:50.808
Play to that.
Have it a little bit behind.

09:50.808 --> 10:12.528
Too far behind.
There we go.

10:12.528 --> 10:25.925
What you should be thinking about is those down beats, those little, the metronome hits and when you land on them being behind them.

10:25.925 --> 10:33.587
So you're playing, you're playing, you're playing, you're playing but where you're connecting to those you want to be behind it.

10:33.587 --> 10:39.694
So it's sort of a weird thing to focus on like normal you focus on just you know, just playing the scale.

10:39.694 --> 11:03.520
You want a piece of your own mind to be thinking about that beat.

11:03.520 --> 11:19.518
There you go.

11:19.518 --> 11:22.219
Cool, so yeah let's work on that.

11:22.219 --> 11:30.183
It's not about your hands, it's not about all of that, it's about what your feeling and connecting to that and connecting that to the rhythm

11:30.183 --> 11:32.134
and really getting in touch with it.

11:32.134 --> 11:38.333
Getting in touch with the beat that you're playing to and then just pulling back and not jumping in front of it.

11:38.333 --> 11:43.325
It's tricky, it's tough and it's not something you really see, it's something you feel.

11:43.325 --> 11:45.856
So it's not really something I can truly demonstrate.

11:45.856 --> 11:51.220
I can just tell you about it and then you have to try it and find it and good luck!

11:51.220 --> 11:54.354
Good, thanks for watching.

Supplemental Learning Material


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

LSCalgaryLSCalgary replied on October 14th, 2018

Bumblefoot ROCKS!! I love his teaching style! :)

efecheverriaefecheverria replied on July 26th, 2016

This is one of the best teachers on JamPlay

redskywhisperredskywhisper replied on December 13th, 2015

This could be renamed "Meditation for guitarists"

Darien_DMTShamanDarien_DMTShaman replied on September 21st, 2014

Best lesson i've ever seen. Beyond stoked to utilize this, helps with maintaining steady flow. Thank you!

studiobuddystudiobuddy replied on March 5th, 2014

best lesson ever !

keltiebrucekeltiebruce replied on February 19th, 2014

Oh this is great. So much fun. Learning a whole bunch

philmanphilman replied on February 9th, 2014

Like his style

slayer1987slayer1987 replied on January 26th, 2014

I like his teaching style

rufus wrufus w replied on January 15th, 2014

Hay. Great lesson made me realize what i was doing wrong thanks

mupchu777mupchu777 replied on January 14th, 2014

Unfortunately a needed class... I practiced this when learning my scales... very very necessary

CraigMR76CraigMR76 replied on January 3rd, 2014

Great stuff!

buckeyestevebuckeyesteve replied on December 26th, 2013

Great lesson!

jobloskijobloski replied on December 24th, 2013

Great teacher! Put me at ease!

tangohuntertangohunter replied on December 21st, 2013


Bumblefoot's Artist Series

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Unconventional... Diabolical... Just plain crazy! Learn a fresh, quirky and MUSICAL approach to extreme guitar playing!

Lesson 1

Series Introduction

Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal pulls out all the stops in his blistering artist series. Dive into the intense, yet seemingly effortless, playing style of a true legend in our time. Learn...

Length: 4:21 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
Lesson 2

The Drummer Is King!

Of all the crazy antics and skills you'll learn in this series, learning your place in the rhythm section may be the most important and arguably the most difficult! Learn the importance of playing behind...

Length: 19:07 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Focus on the Rhythm

Now try taking the concepts learned in the last lesson and apply them to chords and strumming. The physical differences between playing chords and single notes provide an interesting challenge when staying...

Length: 13:58 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Do You Have an Accent?

Make sure you're thinking and playing behind the beat...Check! Now Bumblefoot makes sure you are thinking about each note and each beat you play. Just like the spoken word, good guitar playing is punctuated....

Length: 9:54 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Why...Yes I Do!

Now that you've practiced playing with accents at a basic level, learn this blazing sequence in C major and put your chops to the test!

Length: 9:38 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Sweeping Sensation

Done much sweep picking? Whether you are experienced in this technique or brand new, this exercise will dramatically improve your coordination and hand synchronization while sweeping. This isn't your average...

Length: 7:48 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Sweep it under the Rug

Take the same ascending drill from the last lesson, move it around a bit more, and reverse it. It's even harder going down! Take it slow!

Length: 10:43 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Sweep Up More Stuff!

Slackers beware! Bumblefoot introduces another picking variation and connects the ascending and descending sweeping patterns for one mind and finger boggling exercise. Whatever you do, DON'T CHEAT! Practice...

Length: 11:59 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Mental Multitasking

A seasoned guitar player can have multiple active channels going in his mind at once. That's what helps the masters play a rhythm and a melody line at the same time. That's what makes singing complex melodies...

Length: 8:14 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Huh? Two Scales at Once?

Put mental multitasking to work with your hands. Practice playing a simple C major scale, but play it in a round. Start it, and then while continuing to play it in sequence, start it again!

Length: 4:07 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

One Step Ahead of Your Hands!

Sharpen your mind like a samurai sword with this exercise! While playing one note, think and speak the next note you will play. Practice this to a metronome with different note values...EEK!

Length: 12:17 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Does Your Left Know What Your Right Is Doing?

Here's one more brain tearing exercise! Practice playing different rhythmic groupings with each hand at the same time. Then, try to talk while you're doing it! Make these mental multitasking lessons part...

Length: 7:01 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

What Do You Have on Tap?

Get a brief tutorial on proper tapping technique. Then, it's off to Bumbleland! Dive into 2 finger right hand tapping phrases, string skipping, and more!

Length: 10:06 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

I'll Take Two of What She's Having!

Take 2 hand and 2 right hand finger tapping to the next level. Don't forget rhythm! Rhythm is still important when notes are flying by!

Length: 6:36 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Now Let's Go Tap Dancing

Take the last two crazy lessons on tapping, and make them a bit more musical. As with the sweeps, DON'T CHEAT! Make sure your playing is clean and calculated at whatever speed you are playing.

Length: 14:56 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Be a Bit Abnormal

With this lesson, Bumblefoot delivers the first of a handful of ways to take what you may already be comfortable with and add some quirkiness. This segment focuses on changing the harmony in the major...

Length: 10:20 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Blues it Up!

Bumblefoot alters the major scale a little further and roasts it over a simple blues shuffle. Dive in and see what's cookin'!

Length: 5:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

The Note Before the Note

Do you like the pentatonic scale? Are you maybe a little tired of being limited by it? If so, this lesson is for you! Learn a VERY simple way to spice it up!

Length: 6:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Read Between the Frets

Join Bumblefoot for another great way to disguise and spruce up your standard pentatonic ideas!

Length: 4:43 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

I'm All In!

Before...Between...Now you can add a note after each note played on each string in your pentatonic scale. Practice all three options over the track and work on adding some other embellishments such as...

Length: 7:09 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only

About Bumblefoot View Full Biography "Making music has a greater purpose - anything I can do to help others, I try to do."

-Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

I love spicy food - working on recipes for my own line of hot sauces. Been upping my tolerance - currently at 7,100,000 Scoville Units (that's 3x stronger than commercial-grade pepper spray weapon) If anyone asks me about Scoville Units, I'll bore them for a half-hour talking about capsaicin molecules, habaneros and heat measurements.

One time in Japan, I stayed up 43 hours straight doing gigs, interviews, instructional videos and going to clubs.

I take oral hygiene and fire safety seriously.

As a kid, I'd lay the guitar on the ground and play Bach pieces with two hands and one foot. Been a while since I tried that.

When I can, I like to do home improvement stuff - mostly drywall and electrical, some simple plumbing. Last thing I did at my house was install recessed lights in the ceiling going to a dimmer, and put in a new bathroom sink and faucet.

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Beginners Welcome.. and Up

Unlike a lot of guitar websites and DVDs, we start our Beginner Lessons at the VERY start of the learning process, as if you just picked up a guitar for the first time.Our teaching is structured for all players.

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 92 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00

Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!

Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

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