Innovation. We all strive to create something new, or to go where no man has never gone before, but we've all experienced the downers. It's all been done before, might have been your frame of mind. Perhaps you tried something and it sounded really bad. However really think outside the box. Theres all sorts of things you can use, that you wouldn't think of using. In this article, I'm going to help you find new spins, and odd techniques to add an interesting flavor to your playing. Who knows? The crowd might just go wild.
Think outside the set (and the box)
My drum kit is a Diablo Combat Punx. When I performed my solo at the highschool talent show (and won) I made a few modifications to my set. These are the techniques (some rather odd) that won me the show.
Xylophone: I added a playschool xylophone, and put a mic on it. I would do short Neil Peart-like interludes and things on it, and would go back, to drumming, returning abour 30 seconds later. The crowd was interested, and you can do a lot of interesting things incorporating xylophones and marimbas.
Guitar: That's right, I put a guitar on a flat stand, a Squier Bullet (a very low-quality guitar.) and I would tap the strings with my sticks. It's difficult to do to get a real guitar sound out of. Try using nylon tips, make sure to hit lightly. When done correctly, you can add all sorts of odd sounds.
Electronic Feedback and things: Try different electronic noises. Beeps and boops. I used a toy laser gun. Setting down my sticks to play some bongos that my stepdad had in the garage, I picked up a toy lazer gun and fired it in the mic, every time I had played a bongo roll. The crowd liked it alot.
Wires: I had mooped wires through an old crash from my beginners silvertone drum set, after punching holes in it. When you hit it, the wires vibrate against the metal, and make a very odd noise.
Xylophone2: If you can pull wires in varying tensions across a wooden rack, you can make an ersatz wire xylophone. You can play this almost like a harp, and do blazing fast note progressions.
Household Items: All of the following can be used in interesting ways from my experiments:
-Coins (Dimes can make a metallic rain on cymbals if dropped in succession.
-Forks (When swept across a cymbal makes an elephant squeal noise.)
-Dampner Gel (Put it on your cymbals for some odd effects, doesn't sound good if done wrong. It's pretty random if you get a good sound or not)
More traditional techniques
-Remember to incorporate your cymbals into soloing and fills. Learn your cymbals back to front, try different angles to get different sounds, hit from the bottom, the top, or right into the side. Some cymbals get a cowbell effect off the bell, but usually a bit brighter. Smack that thing inbetween some tom combo, maybe every 3 or 7 seconds, for odder signatures, or 2 to 4 if you like to be traditional.
-Pause. The dramatic pause whoops in solos, and can be used in different ways. Use it after a roll, or some bombastic drum assault, then stop. After a certain amount of time, crash into something completely different.
-Use your goddamn highhat. The Hi-Hat has a pedal for a reason. Keeping a constant chick throughout a solo sounds really cool, and opening and closing the hi hat like crazy while pounding it sounds really odd, and if combined with other odd snare strokes and such, can make you sound like some malfunctioning robot. Try blowing in one of those Peter Frampton tubes while you're at it.
Try to think outside the box. Think as a percussionist not a drummer. Hopefully my article will have given you some ideas, and maybe given you some ideas of your own.