How To Make Your Drum Solos More Interesting

Keith Carlock  /  Featured Lessons / Aug 30

Keith Carlock, best known for his work with Steely Dan, Toto, and other legendary acts, came out to Drumeo to wow everyone with a full lesson on how to make your solos more interesting.

Keith’s biggest way to bring unpredictability and creativity to his solos is to play around with modulation, moving from a 12/8 feel to a 6/8 or 3/4 feel, and weaving in and out of all three. “It allows for interesting things to happen and shifts the way the time feels to keep things interesting for the player and the listener.”

Lesson takeaways:

  • Practice to a metronome
  • Sing ‘melodies’ between the kick and snare that you might play in that timefeel
  • Work with existing muscle memory and bring in grooves you’ve played before
  • Make your solos more interesting by bringing in new timefeels, melodies, dynamics, repeating sections, textures, and using the rim and hands
  • Play along to records to solidify your internal clock

Lesson Index:
0:24 – SONG: “Hey You” by Oz Noy
5:57 – Introduction
8:30 – Drum solo #1
19:21 – Demonstrating modulation
30:00 – Drum solo #2
34:02 – Putting it all together
36:29 – “Black Cow” by Steely Dan
41:00 – Drum solo #3

About Keith:
Keith Carlock is a professional drummer and famed author of the critically acclaimed DVD “The Big Picture: Phrasing, Improvisation, Style, & Technique”. Keith has recorded and toured with the who’s who of the music industry, including John Mayer, Sting, Steely Dan, James Taylor, TOTO, Christopher Cross, Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Diana Ross, Faith Hill, The Blues Brothers Band, Mike Stern, Leni Stern, David Johansen and the Harry Smiths, Richard Bona, Chris Botti, Wayne Krantz, Rudder, Harry Belafonte, Oz Noy, Larry Carlton, Clay Aiken, Rascal Flatts, Paula Abdul and Grover Washington Jr. Besides his extensive and impressive resume as a professional musician, Keith has also been voted number 1 Pop drummer, number 1 Fusion drummer, and number 1 Best All-Around drummer through Modern Drummer’s Readers Poll.

Keith plays:
Gretsch Drums
Zildjian Cymbals
Evans Drumheads
Vic Firth Drumsticks

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