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How To Create Amazing Drum Parts

Gavin Harrison  /  UPDATED Mar 5, 2023

Arguably the most requested drummer by our viewers, Gavin Harrison is here at Drumeo to share his tips and methods for coming up with tasteful drum parts, how to improve your creativity, and your general mindset when playing the drums whether in the studio or performing live. This hour-long lesson is jammed full of incredible drumming knowledge, so pay attention! He also plays several tracks from his solo project “Cheating the Polygraph”, as well as a track from Pineapple Thief.

Remember to LEAVE A COMMENT on your favorite part of the lesson for a chance to win 1 of 3 signed copies of Gavin Harrison’s solo album “Cheating the Polygraph”.

Lesson Index:
0:06 – SONG: “Hatesong/Halo”
7:01 – Introduction
10:00 – What is Rhythmic Design?
14:34 – Gavin’s “CPU” Theory
21:58 – How Gavin Creates Drum Parts For A Song
28:21 – SONG: “In Exile” by Pineapple Thief
33:07 – How Gavin Came Up With Drum Parts For “In Exile”
50:50 – Billy Cobham’s Tom Lick
57:50 – SONG: “The Start Of Something Beautiful”
1:04:52 – SONG: “Cheating The Polygraph”

About Gavin:
Gavin Harrison is best known for his playing with progressive rock bands Porcupine Tree and King Crimson. He began working professionally in 1979 and has since appeared on over 140 recordings. He’s performed and/or recorded with a wide variety of artists including Incognito, Lisa Stansfield, Lewis Taylor, Paul Young, Iggy Pop, OSI, Shooter, The King Of Oblivion, Sam Brown, Tom Robinson, Go West, and many others.

He won the Modern Drummer magazine readers’ poll for “best progressive rock drummer of the year” from 2007 to 2010 (and again in 2016), as well as “Best Prog Drummer” from DRUM USA magazine in 2011. In 2014, Modern Drummer placed Gavin in the Top 50 Greatest Drummers of all Time.

Gavin plays:
Sonor Drums
Zildjian Cymbals
Remo Drumheads
Vic Firth Sticks

Song credits:
Hatesong/Halo (Steven Wilson, Colin Edwin & Porcupine Tree)
Arranged by: Laurence Cottle
Sax: Nigel Hitchcock
Trumpet: Tom Walsh
Trombone: Mark Nightingale
Flutes: Andy Findon
Clarinet: Ben Castle
Bass: Laurence Cottle
Orchestral Percussion: Dave Stewart
Marimba: GH

In Exile (The Pineapple Thief)
Vocals/Guitar: Bruce Soord
Keyboards: Steve Kitch
Bass: Jon Sykes
Guitar: Darran Charles

Start Of Something Beautiful (Steven Wilson & Gavin Harrison)
Arranged by: Laurence Cottle
Sax: Nigel Hitchcock
Trumpet: Ryan Quigley
Trombone: Mark Nightingale
Bass Trombone: Adrian Hallowell
Flute Gareth: Lockrane
Bass & Rhodes: Laurence Cottle
Orchestral Percussion: Dave Stewart

Cheating The Polygraph (feat.Mother & Child Divided) (Steven Wilson & Gavin Harrison)
Arranged by: Laurence Cottle
Sax: Nigel Hitchcock
Trumpet: Ryan Quigley
Trombone: Mark Nightingale
Bass: Laurence Cottle
Piano: Gary Sanctuary
Orchestral Percussion: Dave Stewart

Drumeo Team - We're professional, award-winning drummers and drum teachers, coaches, recording artists, and content specialists who are passionate about drums and helping drummers around the world. This post was written and/or edited by Sam Landa, Brandon Toews, Jared Falk, Dave Atkinson, or another pro on our team (which has a combined 1000+ years of drumming experience). Are you looking for inspiration, education, and support to take your playing to the next level? Join the Drumeo community today!

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