Join Rich Lackowski for an in-depth discussion in this video "When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin, part of Drum Set Lessons: On the Beaten Path.
- Okay, we've learned one John Bonham beat earlier, one's not enough, we need to learn more. And this is, the heaviest, greatest rock and roll beat I think that's ever been played. And everyone that wants to learn how to play the drums comes up to me and says, "I wanna play "When the Levee Breaks." And here's your chance. This is how it goes. Okay? So, when the beats all put together, this is what it sounds like. (drumming and cymbals) So now, the first thing you'll notice is on the recording, you hear a little bit of echo and stuff like that, the drums sound real big.
Part of that is because John Bonham played big drums to begin with. Another reason is that beat was recorded in a stairwell. And the microphone was real far away up on the third floor or something. What the microphone was hearing was a little bit of echo. John might not have been playing one E on the bass drum. That could have been echo. If he played it without that E, it just doesn't sound like the beat.
So part of what we're doing is making this beat kinda sound like it's played in that stairwell on that famous recording. So now, let's get into it. Let's break this beat down. The first thing we're gonna do is play that one E on the bass drum, okay? And we're gonna play eighth notes on the high hat, two and four on the snare, and the and of beat three on the bass drum. So this is what it sounds like. (drumming) So the next thing we're gonna do is add another bass drum to the beat that we just played.
And it's gonna sound like this. (drumming) Now when we put it all together, we're gonna add one more bass drum hit on the uh of beat two.
And it's gonna sound like this. (drumming) One more thing, when you're trying to emulate what you're hearing on the recordings, you'll notice little inflections on the high hat.
Sometimes the high hat sound beefier and chunkier. Other times it sound kinda delicate and dainty. Sometimes it sounds sloshy. Sometimes it sounds tight. Part of that has to do with the cymbals that you're using, the stick you're using, the drummer that hitting it. But some of it has to do with how hard and how much weight you're putting on that high hat pedal. Here's a couple different techniques that you can use to create different inflections, different kinds of sounds on the high hat. The first thing you can do, is you can play with the neck of the stick, the shoulder of the stick and it gives a chunkier kind of rock sound.
And that sounds like this. (cymbals) You could also play with the tip of the stick. And that makes a little more staccato which just means real tight kinda sound. That sound like this with the tip. (cymbals) Now those were both played with a tight, closed high hat. I was putting a fair amount of weight to clamp the cymbals together pretty tightly.
That gives you the tightest, most crisp kind of sound. But you could also loosen that up a bit and it gets sloshy. So I'll play sloshy high hats with the tip and I'll move down the neck and into the shoulder of the stick so you can kinda hear it going from crisp to meaty as we go down the thicker part of the stick. And that sounds like this. (cymbals) So now let's play When the Levee Breaks one more time but I'm gonna lay into the shoulder of the stick, I'm gonna slosh up the high hats a little bit by just loosening up the weight that I'm putting on the pedal with my left foot.
And I'm gonna make if sound a little bit heavier, a little bit more rock sounding. By just those inflections on the high hat. So here we go. (drumming) And there you have it, When the Levee Breaks.
By the time you complete this course, you'll understand all the essentials of being a good drummer: from reading and writing music to playing with healthy technique to keep you drumming for a lifetime—along with a well-rounded vocabulary of over 140 famous beats and fills that you can use to create your own music and start playing in bands.
- Setting up your drums
- Basic hand and foot technique
- Reading music
- Playing basic beat and fills in a variety of styles
- Playing in 3/4, 5/4, and 7/8 time and more
Skill Level Beginner
Introduction to level 11m 16s
1. Getting Started
2. Basic Rock Beats
3. Basic Rock Fills
4. About the Drums and Sticks
5. Basic Blues and Shuffle Beats
6. Basic Blues and Shuffle Fills
7. Basic Jazz Beats
8. Basic Jazz Fills
9. Basic Country Beats
The train beat1m 32s
10. Basic Funk Beats
11. Basic Reggae Beats
12. Basic Latin Beats
13. More Jazz Beats and Fills
14. More Time Signatures
15. Time/Meter/Tempo Manipulation
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