Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Variations on the Charlie Watts beat

Hey folks,
Charlie Watts is the sort of player (much like Phil Rudd who I've mentioned in previous posts) that I didn't appreciate when I was a young punkeroo that didn't understand anything in music beyond pure velocity. Thankfully, I've grown up a lot (at least n that regard since then.

One of Charlie's big contributions has been to leave out 2 and 4 with his right hand while he plays backbeats with his left. This beat is a signature of later Rolling Stones music just as much as Keith Richard's open tunings are.

I've heard it said that this developed because Charlie couldn't keep the 8th notes going and play the backbeats as well. I find this extremely hard to believe. For one thing, it's just not very difficult a move to do. Most people that have been playing more than a month can manage it, so I really don't think Mr. Watts had any trouble. Also, I find it more of a coordination issue to interrupt the flow of the R.H. 8th notes the way he does.

Anyway here's some footage of me doing the beat with some variations it goes:

w/ 5/8 bass drum/snare drum pattern
w/1/2 time feel on snare/quarters on b.d.
w/shuffle or swing feel
w/ pseudo reggae feel
w/ all hi-hat notes open and rimshots on snare
w/double x feel on snare

These are just a few variations.

For the next 3, I'm putting the l.h. on the hi-hat and playing it with my foot on 2 and 4. With the right hand I'm playing little tonal patterns. They all have sort of a "Brazilian-y" vibe.

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