The drum solo is one of the best things to master if you are a budding drummer. There are literally hundreds of thousands of different solos out there that can be played in a variety of styles and using a variety of different techniques.
There’s no better way to learn how to develop a solo than to listen to the masters at work.
In this article I’ll take you through five of the most celebrated drum solos in rock and roll history. I’ll be explaining what makes them unique, and why they are considered the “best.”
This is probably the most famous rock drum solo of all time. John Bonham was the drummer of Led Zeppelin and was known for his powerful style of playing. What makes this drum solo so special is the sheer length of the piece, the triplets and the dynamic control. This solo was improvised in the studio, and live versions sometimes lasted upwards of twenty minutes.
Van Halen’s Hot for Your Teacher is a very odd sounding solo. The drums sound quite flat in comparison to the studio techniques of today, however the solo itself is a great example of speed, control and dynamics.
Black Sabbeth’s rat salad provides great examples of single stroke rolls played at their best. This solo is special because of the speed of the piece, and the melodic nature of the drumming. The hole solo keeps the listener constantly on edge.
Judas Priest’s Painkiller has one of the recognizable drum intros of all time. This is the one song that made double bass pedals popular with a lot of drummers. It is a very powerful solo with little dynamics, but a very heavy sense of rhythm. Just listen to the timing cymbal crashes that are used during the solo.
Rock on is a David Essex cover by The Smashing Pumpkins. This drumming shows Jimmy Chamberlin at his best. It is filled with lengthy fills, drum solos and amazing beats. The drum solos in rock on prove just how powerful a well executed rudiment can sound. The best part about this solo is the lightning fast machine gun drum rolls that contain rimshots and triplets all mixed into one.
All of these drummers have established their own identities over the years, and all of them have gone down in the history books as the greatest rock drummers of all time. Remember, you don’t just have to listen to rock music if you want to form a great rock solo.
Jimmy Chamberlin never knew anything about rock music before joining The Smashing Pumpkins, and now he is considered one of the most original rock drummers ever. It’s important to listen to the greats as much as you can, but remember never rip off their style. Drummers don’t want to listen to a copy of other great rock drummers, they are always striving for something new.
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