Ilan Rubin is one of my favourite drummers. Recently I decided to transcribe a solo of his, both for my own practice and for others to benefit from. The solo in question can be seen in the video above, which is a short promo piece from Q Drums, the LA-based drum company that Rubin is an endorsee and part-owner of.
The solo is described simply as an improvisation, but provides great insight into Rubin’s typical playing style. Heavily influenced by Bonham in both sound and content, he makes extensive use of the six-stroke roll, fast kick drum doubles and other triplet fills around the kit. The tempo is formidable, yet Rubin still executes these figures perfectly with an incredible dynamic range.
The transcription features all articulations and stickings as played in the original video, although bear in mind that Rubin plays open-handed, and so often leads with the left – a right-handed player might want to reverse these.
I’ve been transcribing and practising a few grooves recently, and thought it might be useful to people if I made the transcriptions available on here. If there’s a good response to these it might become a separate section of the site.
So here are a couple. The first is a Vinnie Colaiuta groove, taken from the legendary Chaka Khan rehearsal/soundcheck footage that continues to disappear and re-emerge on YouTube every few months. It’s a somewhat Garibaldi-esque beat that makes use of ghost notes and syncopation. The basic co-ordination of this groove is fairly difficult, but achieving the internal dynamics that make it sound as smooth as Vinnie is the real challenge.
The second is a beat from Drew Langan of The Drum Department YouTube channel. It’s a semi-linear groove that utilises the inverted double rudiment (as Langan explains in the video), as part of a constant stream of 16th notes. Again, the difficult part is making it flow – this one really has to be broken down and practised slowly to a click.