March 29, 2008

Are Rock Band Drums like Real World Drums?

It’s been widely reported that playing Rock Band drums is eerily similar to playing real world drums, far more so than any other fake plastic rock instrument. Take it from Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulous:

You can take a person that’s playing on the expert levels in Rock Band on the drums and put them on a real drum set, and they can play the drums. And I watched this happen with a Q&A staff of 25-30 people. Maybe 2 or 3 of those had experience of being drummers, but they’ve been playing the game for months now, and what we’ve got is 30 drummers in the Q&A department who are pounding away in the Hard and Expert settings. These people have learned the fundamentals of drums, and this isn’t abstracting fundamentals — you can put these people on a drum set and they have some basic skills now. As a payoff for playing a video game, that’s incredible! Rock Band is going to be out there training this wave of new young drummers, and that’s a really exciting aspect of the project for us.

Kevin, who regularly gets 98 to 99 percent on expert drums in Coheed and Cambria’s “Welcome Home”, put that theory to the test in a recent epsiode of G4’s Attack of the Show. He met with Coheed and Cambria and substituted for the real drummer!

How did he do? I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

What did we learn here today, kids? Rock Band rocks — and so does Coheed and Cambria.

See for yourself!

That is cool because there’s never enough drummers around… It’s good because the guitar part of these video games is nothing like a real guitar and absolutely useless… But there’s plenty of guitar players. Dig? So now… this will help equal out the balance between guitarists and drummers. HUH?

Music By Day
March 29, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Kevin plays the drums way more than just on Rock Band, he’s always showing off his ‘skillz’ on the ‘show’. I’d like to see someone who’s never played on a drum kit do that well.

March 29, 2008 at 9:16 pm

yeah.. he did really well for not playing the drums

March 29, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Wow, super awesome!

Love the idea for this site and great name.


Christopher Humphries
March 29, 2008 at 11:32 pm

You can take a person that’s writing at a fifth grade level and put them on a website, and they can write. Poorly, yes; but they can write.

Christ, ladies and gentlemen, at least learn the fundamentals of English grammar before moving on to the fundamentals of mainstream console gaming. As a musician who studies and practices consistently, I can tell you that Rock Band will give you little more than a basic sense of rhythm and tempo, even when played at the highest difficulty setting.

To Alex Rigopulous: Please learn to use commas properly before posting your ideas publicly.

Dave W.
March 30, 2008 at 12:05 am

Honey, quit correcting the other children or you won’t have any playmates. :)

Dave W's Mom
March 30, 2008 at 1:10 am

Dave, calm down man. That is clearly a transcription of something that Alex R said, which completely invalidates your petty point about his comma usage. To your other point, he’s not saying that playing rock band makes you an expert drummer or vocalist or whatever. All he’s saying is that it helps build basic skills and understanding of what must be done to play the real instrument.

Go whine about something else.

March 30, 2008 at 1:18 am

Hello webmaster! Found your blog on yahoo – thanks for the article but i still don’t get it.

March 30, 2008 at 1:43 am

So I can either: pay $30 per week for drum lessons at my local music shop. OR I can pay $250 (one time) for Rock Band. Either way, I can learn drums. But not guitar. Right?

March 30, 2008 at 7:41 am

This actually makes alot of sense. I’ve been playing drums for about 12 years and after taking the first few lessons I started learning on my own through listening and playing along to my favorite songs. Almost the same thing but if it encourages anyone to pick up the sticks and start playing thats great.

March 30, 2008 at 10:48 am

Rock band helps you improve the same thing the GH series did;Timing. (Unless your the singer, but I think it only helps singers who REALLY know how to use their voice, I mean like singing lessons for a long time use their voice) And thats why it helps peeps get used to drumming, because drummers hold together the timing for EVERYONE. It might not seem like much, but it kinda forms the backbone of the music. Ask anyone who has ever played in a 4 person band how long it takes to get everyone on the same page with stuff that isn’t even that complicated.

March 30, 2008 at 1:32 pm

CWEAWY THERE IS AN issue with the Drum Stix and with ignorant poster commantators!!

harvey hampster
March 30, 2008 at 3:57 pm

re: Comment by Plepco — March 30, 2008 @ 7:41 am

Well, actually yes you could.

Just wait until you can play these games with a real guitar.

March 30, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Total bullsh*t.

Playing drums is a world of its own with way more variables and parts to learn.

There are so many things to do that these ‘expert’ gamers have no idea about. No doubt they can play beats on a drum, and no doubt they will have an idea of what goes on, but unfortunately for them, they will have to go through years of practice to even get to an ‘intermediate’ level of quality REAL drumming.

March 31, 2008 at 9:19 am

Aw man, people are saying Kevin plays real drums all the time. This DECEPTIVE video got my hopes up. I can do Hard mode on drums and have wanted to take up real drumming since then.

Charlie Six
March 31, 2008 at 11:15 am

Coming from a Drum Corps background I’d like to see some sticking that one would expect on the quads or snares as said already worlds apart when compared to real world drumming. There is just no way you can learn that stuff on those plastic things.

March 31, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Uhh… Sorry to break it to you, but Rock Band’s drums are not at all like real drums. They’re more like Conga drums.

Real drums involve a hi-hat stand to your left, played on with your right hand. A snare drum sits between your legs, played with your left hand. The tom-toms are on an upper rack in front of you that go from upper left, upper right, and down to the floor, depending on how many you have. Cymbals are elevated and hang over the upper right, middle, and left sides.

There are arcade games that have much better representations of drums. The one I’ve tried unfortunately had the high hat level with the snare, which makes playing impossible. But anyway.

March 31, 2008 at 6:08 pm


March 31, 2008 at 6:13 pm

Yeah right, Kevin’s a beginner. Get someone with NO Drumming experience what-so-ever, and play with Coheed and Cambria, and THEN I’ll be impressed.



March 31, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Yeah I thought this video was pretty cool. He seems like he has probably played the real drums alot. I cant believe he was talking smack to the ex-drummer of The Dillinger Escape Plan. Chris probably just wanted to smack that guy.

March 31, 2008 at 6:58 pm

Everybody should see the you tube video of people connecting edrums to the game mods. I believe 6 people have done it now and it works great. If it wasn’t for rock band I wouldn’t be learning drums. Ive been doing it for two months. Now I play on Hard and expert. The game is a great teacher. Go to the game’s web site look in the forum “Rock Band with Electronic Drums (HOWTO)”

April 1, 2008 at 10:57 am

BAH! So the game seems to simulate using a ride symbol on that far right drum. It would have been much f*cking better if they’d spent the extra 2 cents in Chinese currency for a decent drum layout!


April 1, 2008 at 11:23 am

Entropy did u watch the vid I posted. You can play real drums with RB. And I also use my module sounds with or without the in game drummer. Just did 89% on welcome Home :)

April 2, 2008 at 8:39 pm

First, I want to thank OSHO for making Entropy put his foot in his dumbass mouth, your drum set up is also really impressive, gratz.

Hands-down, my favorite thing to read is when people claim that these games teach you nothing about playing real instruments. First I can see that I am learning structural aspects of music: tone, rhythm, etc.
Before ever playing the drums, I was on expert guitar in Rock Band from having played Guitar Hero. Believe it or not it was helpful in scaling me from easy to hard/expert in a matter of 3 weeks, simply by getting me used to the speed of the music track. Now I am about to start my 5th week of doing drums and I can see improvement everyday.

Now here comes the question, how come I dont go and buy a real drum kit? Well some of us dont live in the middle of fucking no-where America. I live in a 1 bedroom apt with my girlfriend, in an apt building in Manhattan, so the RB drum kit pushes the limits of tolerable noise levels and space considerations. I can say that it has made the learning aspects of introductory drumming fun, which is an infinite improvement to whatever existed when I was a kid and its cheap comparatively. You cant beat that.

April 3, 2008 at 10:47 am

Ok ok, for those guys saying that it will take years fo practice to play real drums i got one thing for you, they are not claiming that RB drums are the real thing, its a close thing but not the real thing, what THEY are claiming is that if you get to master Hard mode you can actually START practicing on real drums, not that you will become the next Lars Ulrich in just 2 months!

As for me, same as Salviati I dont have enough space for a real drum kit, so i enyoy having a game where i can play the drums and later put it away.
RB drums may not be the real thing but they closely resemble it far more than other instrument based games (such as Guitar Hero), after all its just a game! enjoy it and keep on rocking!

April 3, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Oh and yeah and i agree with Rei-kun, its fake, get one with no experience and then i’ll be imppresed.

April 3, 2008 at 10:41 pm

This is my second month of drumming. Expert, Welcome home Coheed and Cambria is not that hard once you get the base down.

April 4, 2008 at 3:39 pm

thats crap, kevin is a musician, he talks about it all the time.

April 5, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Just to add my 2 cents: I’ve fiddled with music for years and last year tried to take up the guitar, acoustic, more seriously, but gave it up…just not built for playing….big hands, thick fingers etc. I can play and am sure if I kept at it I could get good..but the drive was just no there. Enter RockBand. Roomie did the guitar and I took up the drums and found a new addiction :)

I now have a Yamaha DTXplorer electronic drumset and started lessons a few weeks ago with well known drummer Frank Worrel. Frank was amazed as how quickly I picked up on things and had some advanced concepts down without ever touching a real drumset. I give credit entirely to RockBand.

HOWEVER, RockBand is only a PRIMER. It’s great for developing coordination and some very basic drumming. I’ve actually stopped playing RockBand because, while a good primer, it also teaches some bad habits and has limitations. For one you only have 4 pads, so some of the pads do double duty as HiHat, cymbal, and crash cymbal. The position of the pads makes it pretty much impossible to drum in the typical cross armed fashion (Not sure what they call that…Right hand hits the hihat, left his snare etc..)

There are some other uses for RockBand outside of the game itself. It’s great to play along with! In practice mode you can play along with a song with the drum track removed! You can also learn a song as well as on Hard mode (Don’t use Expert….I think expert level puts in crazy stuff that should not be there… I.E. Dani California is a good example) The shows you the beats and it’s easy to recognize and translate the cymbals and open hihat beats in the game to real drum counterparts. The one draw back to watching the screen is, at last for me, is you don’t ‘learn’ the song when you’re relying on the game to tell you when and what beat to hit. The way I compensate for this is to practice by looking away and not relying on the game…plus you can put in your own fills and fiddle around with the song however you like.

I actually have 2 rockband kits, don’t ask why, and after looking at how Buzz modded the real drum kit I plan to rip them both apart and attach the sensors to my drum pads, they’re so sensative that I should be able to just tape them to the bottom of the pads. By wiring in together two sensors for the same input I can use the extra sensors on the hihat and cymbals….so, if it all works I should be able to play rockband but have the entire range of drums/cymbals to use. :)

April 21, 2008 at 11:28 am

I can actually vouche for this a little, I’ve been playing the Rock Band kit for about 8 months now, and can pass/do well/destroy most songs on Expert. So, in a seemingly stupid financial move, I decided to buy a fairly basic 5-piece kit, having no previous experience playing the drums.

Initially, it was insanely hard and discouraging because while the RB kit does teach you the basics, it doesn’t prepare you for to feel that a real kit has (mostly the placement of each component). After fiddling around with it for a about month or so, things started to fall into place, and while I don’t consider myself “good” (pretty good or better than mediocre maybe) I can now play my kit with some degree of proficiency. So Alex R. wasn’t entirely wrong whe he said that the game has a real world parallel, just don’t think that because your amazing at the virtual substitute your ready for the stage.

PS: For anyone who is thinking of trying what I did, a good way to get the feel of the new kit down is to go into training mode for drums on Rock Band and follow the commands on the real kit. While this won’t track how well your doing, it’ll help you get the rhythms down. I know it helped me and it might help you too. Just make sure to turn the volume way up so you can hear the song.

April 24, 2008 at 2:01 pm

Yeah, I don’t buy it. I’m a drummer with over ten years experience under my belt at the age of 17 and given the fact that rock band gives you four pads and a kick, it doesnt actually prepare you for a real kit.

You know that bit in the video where he says “I might need some help with it” (or words to that effect)? I would argue that he got quite alot of help and has previous training as his technique was pretty flawless. Holding the sticks in the right place, using his arms in such a manner that only drummers do and managing to have a realistic feel for the force of the kick-work. The likelyhood of gaining this experience from four ruber pads (completely different rebound behaviour to drums) and a plastic kick pedal (again feels so different.) is practically impossible.

On top of that a game like this doesnt teach you how to work with a band, and a drummer needs to know what he’s doing without visual cues to hit each drum.

April 28, 2008 at 2:50 pm

I know this may sound like me being an arse but I think that a game like this that makes people buy drumkits and get straight onto playing “pieces” of music is not really the way to go.

A game like this completely ignores the rudiments and theory of music (wow, I don’t think I have ever sounded this boring in my life). Teaching basic rudiments is the equivalent of walking before you run. it allows you to actually break parts apart, making them alot easier to understand. plus you don’t sound like a noob when you visit your local music shop and want to discuss pieces with the people in there who have been playing for the past two hundred or so years.

April 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm

yeah you’re right that did sound like you being an arse

your lucrative 10 year drumming career is not threatened

you’re just like every other elitist “real” musician who completely misses the point of these games

you should be happy that these games are creating a huge interest in music among youth. Not just that it’s motivating some people to pick up the real instruments and try to learn them (why are you trashing people for this? makes no sense), but also it’s opening up interest in artists and genres that would never have happened otherwise. A few years ago, I never thought my 16 year old brother would be talking to me about Deep Purple, or the other way around, me talking to him about Coheed & Cambria

you’re an arse, go learn to have fun.

April 30, 2008 at 5:52 am

I could imagine being able to wing the stage version based off of rock band, yeah, but I’m also going to assume he’s a skilled drummer in his own right.

Still, I’ll give games like this and Guitar hero props for teaching the basics of rhythm and timing, and giving younger folks a taste of what it’s like to play… although the only thing it’ll actually teach you to be able to play is rhythm bass. :]
(I’m a bassist. I’m allowed to say that. <<)

But, seriously, I blame way too many hours of GH2 (and scoring expert 5 stars on John the Fisherman and YYZ) for making me pick up bass in the first place. : P

Adam Seale
May 1, 2008 at 3:37 pm

my friend and i are doing a project for our introduction to world musics course at the University of Florida on rock band to see if those with rock band drumming experience can play real drums and vice versa.
we will be doing a video project and it most likely will end up on youtube.
if you are interested in participating, we would appreciate emails at
we are looking for participants who could possibly give us AIM interviews, video chats, and if at all possible, raw footage of you playing rock band drums and then real drums.
this is a nonprofit endeavor that will only be shown to memebers of the current introduction to world musics course, and like previously stated, will probably be put up on youtube. there will be a class page that will have all our videos posted. when we find out the account information, we will contact you if you wish to know where it is on youtube.
once again, contact us at:
we would appreciate any input from the community!
andrew and dan
University of Florida
Summer B 2008

Andrew and Dan, Univ of Fla
July 10, 2008 at 7:25 pm

I think real drummers are giving this game a lot of crap senselessly. Think about when you first started playing the drums and how much this game would have helped you develop your coordination. I know it did for me. Ive beat the game on expert and can now hold a pretty decent beat and figure out songs by myself. Ive been a guitar player for long, but had a very vague idea of drumming. After playing this game i could noodle around with drums and sound fairly good. It helped separate my right foot from my right hand and come on, its not hard to figure out that the red pad acts mostly like a snare, the yellow is the hi hat, blue is a ride and green is the crash. They all switch to toms at any given time but that´s not that big of a deal. It surely wont gie you that level feel, but that´s really not that much of a problem. So for one, I say rock band drums are great (guitar and bass and all that crap are a totally different story).

July 25, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Right, ive read every comment on this page and there is a range of different views from both musicians and not, which is causing a mish-mash of … well .. rubbish both god and bad.
I write this to best inform you people of this topic.

((Personal info)) – Drumming in bands-5yrs
Step-dad = Roger Pope
look him up and you will find he has played with elton john in the 70’s along with many other old musicians. (though he is now a has been sadly) i add this bit just to show to both drummers and gamers alike that my information is not nieve and bias.

oh and before i forget yes that guy in the vid has played drums before, for CERTAIN…

now then, learning the drums goes in leaps and bounds. When you first begin you will be unable to seperate your limbs and develope limb independance this takes practice just to get used to it, like patting your head and rubbing your stomach ‘n visa versa. (though it is considerably harder than that ^_^)

Rock Band DOES help this fact to a great extent, although if you were to play a beat on a real kit like a simple beat from rock band, the lack of notes on a visual display will prove very difficult to you rock band(ers) simply because you will have to memorise what you play rather than read making co-ordination alit bit lagged. (try, you’ll see what i mean)

THE POSITION OF THE PADS: yes this is different to a kit and the toms double as cymbols, but the difference between rockbands kit and the real thing is the spacing between drums and cymbols. The big thing is the “h-hats” sit where a floor tom or ride cymbol would be on a real kit, though this is a game and if it was placed correct it would;
[1.)cost more for the extra part to manufacture.
[2.) difficulty increase (crossing sticks-causing alot of clatter of hitting sticks together) which beginner co-ordinated people would get very hacked off with.

THE FEEL OF THE KIT: is nothing like real, (again this is a game so, who cares? not like one of you 100% players could take on/overtake me??)
The bounce off the surface -think- Pads=rubber & Drums=Skins its going to be different.

FOR WANT TO BE DRUMMERS!!!:If you play rockband and you want to play drums then great, join us! haha but it will take alot of painstaking work. until then you should attempt;
1st-Mastering limb independance.
2nd-Drum rudiments eg paradiddle lrllrlrr or double paradiddle lrlrllrlrlrr (l-left hand, r-right hand practice on snare or h-hat?)
triplets and many more, search the net for more rudiments like on youtube.
the rest i leave to you. Now go out there and beat some skins!

Rockband teaches timing, limb co-ordination and some rudiments, nothing more. want more? search, look & learn!

September 23, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Yeah, all of my drummer friends have had the same easy transference of their drumming skills into letting them play confidently on hard and expert.

But man, that video was incredible. Kevin did brilliantly and I was interested to hear about Claudio getting 84% on expert. Being the singer of the actual band that may not sound that great – but it’s still a pretty good score.

October 4, 2008 at 8:20 am

I got RB2 a couple weeks ago and I thought the drums were impossible and decided to just play guitar. Now I LOVE the drums and don’t bother with guitar. Man, I’m only on medium so far and limb independence is brutally hard. But it’s so much fun when it works! I’ll never be drummer in real life, and I can’t imagine how much harder it would be to actually have to memorize these combinations without all the flashing lights on the screen to guide me, but this game rocks. Now, when I listen to music I try to pick out the drum patterns and it blows my mind how complex they are. RB2 has given me a huge appreciation for drummers.

Brian B
December 17, 2008 at 5:40 pm

My take? I’m a part-time pro keyboard player who basically started off drums via Rock Band a year ago. I’m a good hard-level drummer on Rock Band, and can already translate these steps readily to a real drum kit. My take is that, if you want to actually play real drums, then make Rock Band part of your practice routine to get you off the ground, but mix in the real thing as soon as you can. Take some privates, or to save some cash, community college courses so that you don’t ingrain in bad habits ( which are very easy to form, hard to break later ). Like others have mentioned, you need to learn proper technique, rudiments, the tactile feel of a real kick/snare, how to improvise, and the accenting/”auditory feel” of how to actually groove. Playing drums ( or any instrument ) is not a mechanical, note-for-note regurgitation, but one of being really in the moment and listening to everything going on around you, and then expressing yourself accordingly: this crucial skill rock band does not teach, and takes a long time to learn. I think Rock Band’s main benefit to me is in reducing the barrier to entry to getting basic independnece down, as well as showing me some cool grooves right away ( easier than transcribing parts by ear ).

Plus, as a motivation to practice, it is great–what could be more motivating than playing your favorite tracks with your part muted out, recorded by the actual band! ( playing with a real band, true, but only if they are good players, which they won’t be if you are a noob drummer ). Also, I recommend buying a cheap electric kit ( < $300 )and then getting an adaptor that allows you to hook that kit up to rock band: it’s a total blast! And then you’ll be using something fairly close to the real thing ( hi-hat, real kick pedal, etc. ). What’s interesting is I took a rock-funk group drumming class recently at a local music school, and found that I was probably the best all-around drummer in the class–the other two had been drumming for years—even though I’d taken maybe 3 private lessons + 50 hours of rock band. They knew a few more grooves, but the grooves i did know, i kept in better time and had better feel actually. Also I had better independence, and picked up new rhythms much more quickly. Now, I know I have some advantages being so immersed in piano/keyboards, but still, I went from newb to ok drummer by playing RB predominantly, and used that as motivation to play an electric kit.

isaac ho
January 6, 2009 at 6:49 pm

THATS SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I THOUGHT HE WOULD BLOW IT!

March 2, 2009 at 7:41 am

Okay this guy kevin from G4 Plays real drums trust me he got his off beats exactly that just goes to show he can play real drums

June 4, 2009 at 9:58 am

Even assuming someone could develop the timing needed to play on a real drum kit, wouldn’t there be an overwhelming reliance on visual cues? I mean, rock band requires drummers to follow a series of on-screen prompts, whereas many real drummers often do not “read” any sort of pattern.

I’m guessing there would be a real issue with improv. and syncopation. Also, if the feel is different it’s because real musicians can set their own pace, whereas rock band requires that the drummer follow a fixed speed. It’s not always healthy to “go with the gravity” all the time, it becomes habit forming.

I know some guitarists who, because of constant imitation of rhythm patterns, cannot strum without following the drummer (down stroke – bass, up stroke – snare) and get trapped in the pattern.

July 15, 2009 at 8:14 pm

THIS IS A LIE!!!! Kevin Perrera has been playing the drums for years!!!! Here is proof!

Michael (real drummer)
December 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Kevin Perreria has been playing for years! Kevin Perreria = Kanye West/Amazing

Rockband “drummers” cant be real drummmers. It takes more that just hitting the note at the right time. Dynamics and technique is everything!

Michael (real drummer)
December 16, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Funny thing… I have never played the drums before in my entire life, however after playing the rock band drums I got pretty good at it on rock band. A friend of mine got a real drum set and started playing along with it to the game rock band. I tried it and after one night I actually started doing ok. I got basic drum beats down, and incorporated a little other flashy stuff. So I think with some practice, I could be pretty good at the drums. I have found an instrument I could really really get into, and be good at it. Now granted it will take some time though.:)

April 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm

It isn’t a point of if its realistic or not .. Quite frankly I think anyone who bought it realizes that its just a video game. The point is that it lets you enjoy the music yourself if you never played an instrument. Just because a lot of you have real life experience with drums doesn’t mean that you’re better than someone who plays rockband. They are entirely different things. For example everyone cooks at one time or another. I cook professionally im a chef but it doesn’t mean that people who don’t cook for a living can’t cook. There are people who cook better than me and they have never done it professionally or have been trained. I play rockband drums for a few years now and I enjoy it very thoroughly & would like to try the real thing. Does it make me a drummer ? No. Does it mean you have the right to ridicule me for enjoying this game? Absolutely not. Maybe you should focus more on the fact that this game makes people want to learn the art of drumming instead of being a condescending bunch of pricks.

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September 29, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I don’t know…I have an electric Drum kit and have been playing Drums for about 12 years. I got Rock Band last year for parties and although Rock Band isn’t “the real thing” (no Duh) it’s pretty darn close. Yes, the set up is very different from a real kit and there’s no sheet music but, its a heck of a blast.

I recommend it to anyone interested in at least trying the Drums before they spend 1000’s on a real kit and decide that drumming isn’t for them.

October 3, 2010 at 11:56 am

[i]For example everyone cooks at one time or another. I cook professionally im a chef but it doesn’t mean that people who don’t cook for a living can’t cook. There are people who cook better than me and they have never done it professionally or have been trained.[/i]

Great comment. A “Rock Band drummer” will never have the well-rounded playing style of a professional drummer, but you do get many of the basic technique and ideas.

If someone PURELY rely on Rock Band the game and do no other research such as proper technique, fills, etc (highly unlikely if you enjoy and invest a fair amount of hours into RB drumming), then they will probably end up with terrible posture, technique, etc, even if they can FC tough RB-Expert-level songs.

It’s similar to someone who buys a Drum Kit and jumps into it without research. A person who bothers to read up and practice the correct techniques and incorporates it into his RB playing can turn out to be a semi-decent drum player, even if he’ll never be world-class.

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jordan 23 forces
July 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Um no. If you play Rock Band drums on Expert well, you have a leg up on someone who’s never played but there’s so much of a difference on a real set. For example:

1) Dynamics. In real life, it matters how hard you hit the drums. If you hit the hi-hat really hard, but the kick or drum is soft, you may play all the notes correctly, but it’s not going to sound the way it should.

2) There’s no using your left foot to open and close the hit-hat. Another really important skill that you’ll never learn in Rock Band.

3) Moving around the set. Hitting across 4 surfaces that are right next to each other is much different than actually having to do a fill from snare to tom-tom to floor tom and back to a crash, for example. Even if you play pro drums, it’s not that close either. Also, it doesn’t really matter where on the surface you strike, as long as you’re not way out on the edge, you get the same result. Not true in real life. Go hit a snare drum right in the middle and then more towards the edge (but still on the head) and you’ll see a big difference in sound.

4) Timing. On RB, you can hit a stream of notes out of time and many times still get credit for it. For example, take “Tom Sawyer”. I’ve noticed that in the beginning section with the 16th notes on hi-hat that I can vary the tempo and still hit all the notes even though my audible strikes are way out of time.

5) Playing from memory. It’s much easier to play a song when you have the notes streaming in front of you. Many times, at that point, you’re not drumming, but just using hand-eye coordination to hit notes. For example, think about how hard it would be for most Expert drummers who get Gold Stars on everything to even 5 star those same songs without a note chart.

So yeah, playing RB drums gives you somewhat of an advantage in some ways, but it’s foolish to say that you can go from being even a great expert player with no RL experience and play the drums at anywhere near the same level.

November 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm

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