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Official rant about triggers and metal drummers.

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  • Official rant about triggers and metal drummers.

    Not trying to start a flame war. Was curious what people had to add to my 2 cents. Curious what people's counterpoint is to the subject.

    With all the new technology at a musicians disposal nowadays, it's interesting to see the diverse paths it's taken down. We've got things like autotune to help the music industry put together superstars with very little talent, but good looks. I can't say that technology is the problem, much like guns arent the problem when people get shot with them. it's the people using them for the wrong reasons that end up being the issue

    I don't think using bass drum triggers should be considered cheating. What I do think is that in cases where it's used in certain applications (specifically "extreme" metal) it gives a false sense of power that isn't really there. Guys like Vinnie Paul, Tommy Lee, and many others use triggers in live situations and in the studio. Not because they play so fast that they wouldn't be heard without them, but because it's a quick fix to get a solid sound. But I think something is lost in the translation. Imagine John Bonham playing the intro to good times bad times (ya know, with that quick double he does w/ his foot?) using triggers. Hell....the engineering on drum beats like when the levee breaks would have the soul completely removed from them if they had been given a quick fix of using a bass drum trigger, because it negates using a mic on the kick drum in the first place. Kind of the same way autotuning is a quick fix to get it right on the fly instead of taking the time to get the take right.

    On the flip side of the coin you get guys like Dave Lombardo who can play VERY fast and simply don't use triggers at all. If his dynamic level was negated and not heard on songs like angel of death, it would sound like any other modern day death metal band.

    Which brings me to "extreme" metal drummers. To build your entire foot technique around the neccesity of needing triggers is like having a guitarist that can play so incredibly fast, but if you put them on an acoustic guitar you could never hear what they were doing even if you put the most sensnsitive microphone in the world up to their acoustic. Or like someone who can play really fast on a keyboard, but only on a b3 organ with no velocity.

    Firstly.. when you refer to your genre as extreme, where do you go from there? what's more extreme than extreme (unless u count the band?). I think the whole faster=better kinda gives alot of new drummers the wrong idea. They blast through as many variations of a single stroke exercise like a horse with blinders on. Leaving things like groove, feel and dynamics to the wayside for the sake of focusing on speed alone. Then in the end their only claim to fame that sets them apart from thousands of other drummers in the same genre is how fast they can do it...which one would presume leads to 360bpm+ videos on youtube. It's a bit like watching somebody build a ship in a bottle...becoming bored with the process, so taking it to the next step and learning how to build hundreds of them in hundreds of bottles at record speed.

    Curious as to what people's opinions are on this. AGAIN...NOT TRYING TO START A FLAME WAR BETWEEN METAL DRUMMERS AND THE REST OF THE WORLD. Not all metal drummers fall into this. I love metal music (even the stuff that uses triggers). Guys like lombardo, brann dailor, chris pennie, ken schaulk are a total inspiration to me. So don't think i'm dissing on something i've never taken the time to appreciate.
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  • #2
    Yea, I don't like triggers. 90% of the time, they just sound fake. But that's the popular sound with modern tech/death metal--everything needs to be perfect and clean sounding. That, and most metal guys (including myself) just can't play double bass at the same volume for all the speeds. That, or they play very quiet. And then there's the issue of strokes not even being even sounding.

    So yea, using a trigger is a sort of "cheap" way out, rather than trying to fix those issues. However, even top guys like Roddy will use them simply because you just get a much cleaner sound. And like I said, that's just the popular sound today. With the way all the drums and guitars sound in modern recordings, for a bass drum's volume to fluctuate and not sound perfectly even, most people would hear that as being sloppy. It's a bit unfortunate though, because a lot of metal guys complete ignore any sort of dynamics with their feet.

    But once you get outside of the death metal stuff, most guys seem to stick with mikes.


    • #3
      I don't see much difference between triggering kicks and lombardo's sound which is super gated mic'd kick drum sound.
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      My Trick 7pc Double Bass kit AKA "too Blue!"


      • #4
        I agree to an extent. Although i have taken the liberty to talk to some semi-pro to professional Metal and non Metal drummers on the issue and its not because its "easy" but because some music call for a certain sound. Since alot of metal music has really dense sounding guitars and ambeince, you need something of a higher frequency to cut through the mix, in this case, that really anoyying click sound that would drive some people mad by itself.

        However, it works very well for that style of music as well as other music that uses alot of low frequency like Hip-Hop, Rap, etc. Another huge reason why people use triggers is because its a whole lot easier than setting up your whole kit miced mixed through PA systems trying to get the drums even with every other mixed instrument.

        With triggers alot of the work of trying to get a decent sound out of a miced kit is cut in half. Alot of the people i talked to accually have samples of their kit in their homestudio recorded and just sampled through the brain.
        Last edited by GhostXNote; 03-01-2009, 04:27 PM.


        • #5
          Alot of metal drummers can play really fast about as hard as you can play slow double bass. You can't play 250 + bpm with out triggrs and have a clean sound. Dave lombardo is great and all but SUPER gated sound. I have heard/saw him not be able to play angel of death.

          As for a quick way out to a good sound... Yes.. Whats wrong with wanting to have the same good sounds night after night. Instead of iffy maybe not cutting sounds?

          Your more so raving about guys then wanna go 10000bpm and tap the bass drums and sumtimes snare and thats it. Theres alot of metal drummers that trigger and can still play slow and have a good groove and play solid as hell.


          • #6
            ogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaog aboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogab oogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboo gaogaboogaogabooga
            ogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaog aboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogab oogaogabooga


            • #7
              You use Bonham as an excellent example. I look at triggers as just another way to get a certain sound. Do I think they sound plastic? Absolutely, in fact why not just use an electric drum set? But depending on the application triggers can be a real lifesaver. I'm not sure how "extreme" metal differs from speedmetal but regardless the way that type of music is played requires triggers. Lombardo did everything without triggers for the first 10 years. Not sure what he does now. I like the sound of mics better, as you say we miss the subtle nuances of a bass drum played softly, hard, or staccato depending on the part of the song. But a new age is upon us, and extreme metal wants extreme speed. That's just life.


              • #8
                i see it as just another way to get the sound you want. if someone was using an electric kit no one would really give him heat for that. then again i use mics and i dont even own a double pedal or play metal lol. still its all personal and i dont think there is anything wrong with it.
                Tama Superstar Custom


                • #9
                  personally, i think when used properly triggers are acceptable (especially if your drums lack the tone of the almighty pearl)
                  but my biggest quarrel is(are) Blast Beats, there are much more creative grooves and patters one could use in metal.
                  undrig is right about the whole wrong impression thing, i saw a 15 y.o. all he could do was blast beat, nothing else, man when i was 15 i was learning how to read music and count in 6/8, but thats the difference in starting drumming to play grindcore, or just to play.

                  But to each his own, I just wont have a whole heck of a lot of respect for the guys who think their BA for playing double bass triggs at 300bpm but not being able to do much else.
                  whatev i guess
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                  • #10
                    I like triggers and a lot of drummers also use them when they do not have their own personal sound engineer as well. There are many reasons drummers use triggers. Some are the same and others are not. To each his own.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 44Ronin
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                      ogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaog aboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogaboogaogab oogaogabooga
                      Yeah, I kinda agree with you.. But you are exagerating a little bit in the "fridge" part, don't you think?


                      • #12
                        You can't fake music. If it sounds good, why complain? Using triggers does not make you any less of a musician.
                        pls no bully ;w;

                        //My new Travis Barker Signature OCDP kit w/ Zildjian Pitch Blacks!


                        • #13
                          Speaking as a drummer from an "extreme" metal band, I really feel as if the majority of you have got the wrong impression about it all. Whilst I can't really comment on triggers (because I don't use them), I can certainly say that you are wrong about what goes on inside the mind of a metal drummer.

                          First of all, it's not a competition to see who's fastest and no, I don't think I'm "bad arse" because of the way I can blast. When I'm writing drums to a song, I'm thinking about what is most suitable for the music. I'm not trying to show off, break boundaries or anything like that - I'm playing to the music, which is something that many other drummers in countless other styles (and plenty of members of this forum) struggle to do.

                          Some of you may scoff at this comment, but when I'm blasting or playing straight double bass, I am effectively in the pocket, just in a very different sense to what it's normally considered.

                          I think it really just comes down to people having the wrong impression of what it's all about. It's the music I love playing and listening to, simple as that.


                          • #14
                            Let's not forget either the reason a lot of extreme metal drummers use triggers is because they use two bass drums. It is ridiculously hard to tune two bass drums. When you're in a metal band, you don't have a lot of time to mess around with little things like that unless you are near the top. Most of these shows have 3-5 bands on them. There simply just isn't time to get that near perfect sound. Triggers eliminate the tuning problem. They cut through the wall of sound and add to the precision of the music.
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                            • #15
                              Triggers help a lot with making each one of your hits defined and allow them to be heard more clearly. At 250bpm (which only a handful of drummers can actually do on their feet) without triggers, the kicks sound like mud. It is also much easier to setup triggers at your shows, than to gate the kickdrums and use mics etc. etc. (I don't know all the lingo, but I know setting up triggers would be quicker)

                              George Kollias, one of the fastest guys in deathmetal explains his feelings about triggers and bassdrum playing in this video:

                              For fun:
                              This is a jam video of the few beginning sections he is using mics on the kicks but the later sections of the videos you hear him using triggers.