Tagged: John Bonham

Lez Zeppelin And The Importance of Ghost Notes

Last night I had my ass kicked by a bunch of girls. Lez Zeppelin, the all female Zep tribute band, came storming through Boston, rocking a capacity crowd at The Middle East. I should have been prepared for what was to take place. My good friend and former bandmate (and current Lez Zeppelin bassist), Megan Thomas, contacted me a few weeks ago, telling me about her latest musical endeavor and inviting me to their upcoming Boston show. Megan is an amazing musician, so I knew she would nail all of the classic John Paul Jones bass lines. What I didn’t know, however, was how well everyone in the band would nail EVERYTHING. Especially the drummer.

Lez Zeppelin
Lez Zeppelin

With a 26″ Ludwig bass drum, 15″ Paiste 2002 Sound Edge hi hats, and a massive gong behind her kit, drummer Leesa Harrington-Squyres not only had the exact set up of the late John Bonham, she also had the same incredible feel and power. From the aggressive and sloshy intro of “Rock and Roll” to the odd-time stomp of “The Ocean“, Leesa channeled the spirit of Bonzo and flawlessly reproduced every back beat and fill in the Zeppelin catalogue. From the ghost notes to the sextuplet bass drum riffs to the massive pocket, it was all there.

Loop #121

Today’s loop, while not a direct copy of any particular Bonham groove, highlights the same underlying ghost notes found in many of his beats. In this case, the notes appear directly after the 2 and 4 of each backbeat, almost giving a sixteenth note type delay effect on the snare.

Editors Note – No mudsharks were harmed during the making of this loop.

Preview Here:

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88 BPM

Gruss Loops Volume VI – An In-Depth Preview

I finally snapped out of my post-Halloween, candy-induced coma and created mp3 previews for my latest subscriber-only loop release, Volume VI. With the widest range of styles and sounds I’ve yet to produce in a single loop pack, I consider this my pièce de résistance (until I release the next one). Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Papa's Got Some Brand New Loops
Papa's Got Some Brand New Loops

122_JB – After receiving several requests from my subscribers for more straight-up, James Brown-type funk grooves, I set off to record a series of loops inspired by the Godfather of Soul himself. With the snare cranked up high and a very dry and natural mix, this set of loops will help you to get up and do your thing. You know. Movin’ it and doin’ it. Can I count it off??

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99_FrameDrum – Who said the frame drum was just for traditional, South Indian music? This set of loops takes some of the Carnatic rhythmic phrasings this instrument is known for and melds it with a few Westernized 4/4 grooves that will keep your parents clapping on 1 and 3.

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100_Sugarfoot – This set of grooves is my hat tip to the one and only Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett. Funky pop drumming with some extra sweetness on the kick, these grooves will make you want to adopt a chimp and name him Bubbles.

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285_Bebop – In an effort to fill the 260-300 BPM gap in my catalogue, these uptempo jazz loops take some of the straight ahead stylings of Philly Joe Jones and Max Roach and mixes them up with some more of the contemporary and polyrhythmic phrasings of Bill Stewart and Peter Erskine.

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77_BigReverb – Holy Reverb, Batman! It’s almost like the drummer from My Morning Jacket and John Bonham had a baby. And that baby started recording drum loops with ridiculous amounts of reverb for its website.

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93_Sixteenth – This recording session originally started off as an ode to Michael McDonald’s 1982 Lite-FM hit, I Keep Forgettin’ and ended up as something quite different. With a steady 16th note pulse on the hi-hat and some extra “sub” on the kick, these grooves are equally Gangsta as they are Yacht Rock.

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To become a subscriber and gain instant access to all of the 100+ loops (each as AIFF, WAV and REX2) in Volume VI, just click the button below.





When The Reverb Breaks

Loop #98

Fu Manchu Not Included
Fu Manchu Not Included

I’ll admit, I started off today’s recording session with a rather uninspired wank-fest. Not really sure about what to play, I inevitably ended up doing some mathematical-fusion-funk-jazz grooves that only Kenwood would appreciate. Then I discovered a new reverb plugin. A plugin so magical, it inspired me to play a plethora of 70’s, heavy duty, straight up rock beats. The kind of drum grooves that make you want to do disturbing/illegal things with mud sharks.

Preview Here:

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70 BPM

Ghost Notes.

Ghost notes are the ‘special sauce’ to any great drum groove. No, they’re not made of Thousand Island dressing, but rather, notes subtly played on the snare drum, often filling in between the hi hat and the back beat. They’re so quiet, you usually don’t notice them when they’re there (hence the highly creative name, “ghost note”), but take them away, and the magic is lost.

John Bonham
John Bonham

Listen to any Led Zeppelin track and you’ll hear John Bonham intricately filling in the groove with ghost notes. Most people associate Bonham with his bombastic backbeats, but I’ve always been drawn to the stuff he does in between the two and four. Please keep in mind, ghost notes don’t apply to playing the gong and/or handling mud sharks.

Joseph 'Zigaboo' Modeliste
Joseph 'Zigaboo' Modeliste

Ghost notes aren’t exclusive to rock drumming. When played properly, they can easily (and tastefully) work their way into any genre. Check out Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste’s playing with The Meters to hear them in a funk setting. Zigaboo constantly keeps his grooves flowing with a a steady undercurrent of ghost notes.

Loop #28

Here’s a loop in three (or 12/8 if you prefer) with more than a few ghost notes on the snare. If things sound a bit crispier, it’s because I’ve added some new overhead mics (see post below). Logic users, you’ll notice there are now 6 individual drum tracks. The mic placement might vary from day to day, but from now on, here’s the basic set up:

Track 1. Kick
Track 2. Snare Top
Track 3. Snare Bottom
Track 4. Room
Track 5. OH L
Track 6. OH R

Preview Here:

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Download the Logic session here. (79MB)

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60 BPM