Percussionists-your advice please.

(Mods, I almost put this in cafe society but decided that it was more about advice than music. If you feel differently, feel free to move it.)
I am a guitar player mostly. I have a good grasp on music theory when it comes to melody and chords, but when it comes to rhythm I got nothing. I can keep basic 4/4 time, but wouldn’t know 12/8 if it bit me in the ass. I know this is true because I wrote a song for my band that was in 12/8, thinking it was in 4/4. (My drummer had to tell me. :smack: )

I have always wanted to get into percussion, I figure now is as good a time as any. So what do I do. I am not looking to become a percussionist, but I figure if I get a stronger grasp of rhythm theory it will improve my guitar playing as well as make me a more interesting person.

The only thing I know to do is get a drum of some sort and start taking private lessons. But frankly I can’t afford a new instument and private lessons are, temporarily, out of the question too (my finances are very tight). So how else can I go about getting this education?

Any advice?

Believe it or not, take some ballroom dancing classes. You won’t get too many “exotic” time signatures (7/8, anyone?) but you will get a very good feel for rhythm and it’s much cheaper than a set of congas and a teacher. Not only that, if you’re a guitarist that values your hands, you won’t want to do any kind of hand drumming anyway. My rhythmic skills as a sax player are SO much better since I’ve taken dance classes.

I applaud your efforts in discovering the nuances of rhythm. Eddie Van Halen was a drummer bfore he became a guitarist, so was Nuno Betancourt. They benefitted greatly from the experience.

Your song was not in 12/8, it was in 6/4. Lowest common denominator and all. You need not get all tied up with odd time signatures, irregular subdivisions will keep you happy while satifying your need for quirky feels.

Take for instance “Turn it on again” by Genesis (Phil Collins?). It sounds like it’s in a super weird time sig, but can be counted out in 4 with really odd rests.

What you need is the ability to sub-divide internally.

There are drummer’s metronomes that will give you almost any form of subdivision you can imagine. With varied clicks!

Too many guitarists rely on simple 4/4 and some basic chord structures. They can go to hell. You don’t need Lydian modes and 7/8 time signatures to make good music [sub]unless you’re Mr. Bungle[/sub].

Find a local drummer (most good drummers play by night, and teach by day) and get a good “basics” lesson. Don’t pay more than $30/hr, buy books and a simple metronome if needed.

Should you have any more questions, my email is (my screen name) at

I was a guitarist since a very young age (about 5-6ish - nine to start playing serious. First onstage at 10)…

I also began playing drums after a few years (at 15) and a friend of mine told me one thing that worked…Borrow a set of drums (or buy) and set them up in your home, put on some headphones and pick songs you are familiar with, then work on playing along…

given this might not be the best idea if you have room-mates, but it (over time) gets you playing and possibly enjoying it. Later on, once you get a little of the basics down, invest some time in theory or drumming books…

the other thing is, if you can’t borrow drums, purchase a set of sticks and use a book, chair, couch, table, anything…

No. It is 12/8. It is a compound time signature.

To see why this is wrong, play a song in 6/8 and then play it in 3/4. Does it sound the same?

You’re an idiot. Not just because of this post, just in general. You have never played a note of music in public, you have no credibility, the Dope cannot wait untill you no longer have posting priviledges. Next time, try experince, instead of blind Googling.

You have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about.

Tell me why I wrong thing.

OR try listening to song in 3/4 and then one 6/8.

The first will count 1 2 3…

The second will count 1 and uh 2 and uh …

You’re right!

I played songs that were in 4/4 in 8/8…they sounded the same!

The songs I listened to in 3/4 sounded the same in 6/8!

You sure opened my eyes!

What sort of magical credentials do you have? You seem really loud, is there anything that could make me believe you?

Here you expose your ignorance…

You are quoting yourself.

My mistake.

Please share your musical credentials with us. Google doesn’t count as experience BTW.

I have never seen a song in 8/8. But there would be difference between 4/4 and the cut time 2/2. It all about the accent of the beat.

Tell me what the hell mean?

You clearly know not of what you speak.

I played the saxophone for few years and then switched to guitar. I also took a couple of music classes in college.

Tell me. Why do think these different time signatures exist if they are all the same? Why are so many songs in 6/8 or 12/8 if they are really 3/4 and 6/4(why not 3/2?)?

You have no idea about what you’re talking about.

I meant. Tell me why I am wrong.

People pay me for lessons, you couldn’t buy em.

Real simple why the common denominator does not work.

Imagine a song in 4/4.

You could put dffierent accents on each quarter note. 1 2 3 4 can all sound different because of the accent.

Now imagine that song in 2/2. You can only accent 1 and 2.