I discovered Wes Watkins (youtube channel link) last week and instantly became an admirer of this guy. It seems like a lot of drumming channels on the tube are really bloated with chop guys these days, but I found Wes to be really thoughtful in how he uses his chops. As opposed to just unleashing a barrage of mind-shattering chops at human-defying speeds (don’t get me wrong, that is still there), there is something in his form that makes all that come together really well and seem less like chaotic free-form and more close to what is an exploration on a theme. Dude’s, got it going on, bottom line. Very flavorful and an inspiration to watch for sure. Anyways, here is the video that got me looking into the specifics of a certain groove he is playing.
Here is the transcription that will be sure to get your hands and feet some nice exercise.
And here is a video of me playing it around 100 bpm.
One of the biggest challenges for a groove like this is the placement of the ghost notes. It’s easy to get trapped in a very linear movement with the flow always being one drum at a time, especially with the softer notes. It seems many people begin this type of playing with David Girabaldi and Future Sounds (grab a copy if you don”t have one already) that mostly focuses on paradiddles and their displaced counterparts. Once again, very linear. But with this Wes Watkins groove, it will really work on your coordination to get some of your softer notes overlapping with the harder upbeats and the kick.
Happy Grooving, ya’ll.