DVD Review – Ginger Baker: Master Drum Technique

Who knew that Peter (Ginger) Baker made an instructional video? I did. So I’m reviewing it.

The DVD is actually a re-released version of the original video that was on VHS, but it’s now armed with slow motion, looping, & chapter select features. Which means that it kicks the crap out of the VHS version.

Ginger Baker starts out the video with a bare bones minimum description of how to hold a drumstick and a woefully inadequate section on tuning the drums. It does get better from there, however. Baker’s approach to teaching is a lot like your standard drum teacher’s method. As soon as you can hold the sticks you move on to rudiments, the first two being the paradiddle and the mummy (it’s an english thing) daddy roll. Cool thing about this video is that whenever he does demonstrate a rudiment, the sticking appears on the screen. Nifty. After he demonstrates the basic rudiment he usually turns it into some form of a tom groove. Baker’s tom grooves are probably one of the most interesting parts of his playing and he does a great job of showing how he uses them in his playing. For example he plays a song called “Ants in the Kitchen” where the main groove is a paradiddle that has been shifted one sixteenth note. Instead of RLRR LRLL it’s RLLR LRRL.

Once he moves past the rudimental part of the video he talks a bit about African rhythms and metric modulations. The end. The whole thing is a whopping eighty minuets long. Which makes it a quarter of the length of John Blackwell’s DVD. There really isn’t much to this DVD. The aim of this video was for someone completely new to drums to be able to watch this video and get a firm grasp of the basics. Well this DVD just doesn’t hit the mark in that respect. That’s not to say that this DVD isn’t worth a look see. I think that intermediate to advanced drummers who love Ginger Baker and his music are going to be the one who will really get something from this DVD. Beginners should seek another learning resource though. There’s just far superior learning material to be had.

Here’s the breakdown: for content I’m giving it one and a half mic. If you’ve had more than one drum lesson there isn’t going to be much to learn from this DVD. Even if you do find something cool to learn, it probably won’t be taught very well.

For presentation i’d like to give one fifth of a mic… but I can’t so I’m just not going to give it anything for presentation.

For extras I’m giving it half a mic, and I’m being generous, just because I remember the horrors of VHS and I’m elated that it got re-released on DVD.

So two mics in total.

I rented it off Netflix and if you’re interested in this DVD I’d recommend you do the same. However, you can also buy it online for about 10 bucks so even if you wanted to gamble on buying it, you wouldn’t be out much.

It pains me to have to give a bad review to a drummer like Ginger Baker but this DVD just doesn’t pass the smell test.

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