100 Tips for Drums offers...well...tips for drums. 100 of them in fact. The book has been put together by Pete Riley, a British drummer who contributes to Rhythm magazine.
With quite a broad sounding title, you'd expect there to be a lot of different stuff covered in the book. And it you'd be right - it's crammed with all sorts of useful drumming info. Let's have a closer look...
There are actually 10 main sections in the book - getting started, set-up and technique, rudiments, time playing, drum set vocabulary, reading, drum sounds, in the studio, playing live, and putting it all together. Quite a mix.
You also get a 56 track cd that has some examples of grooves, time playing, and rudiments that match the notated examples.
So what's the book like? Well, after a short introduction we go straight into the getting started section. Here Pete talks about some basic principles like how? where? and when? to practice, using a click, recording yourself, making a mini studio, dynamics, warming up, and not straining your hands/wrists. It's all worth a read through, and there's some good advice here.
After that we're into the first main section of the book...set-up and technique. This covers setting up your kit, grip, using your fingers, the moeller system, bass drum technique, and hi-hat technique. It's nice and informative with about half a page dedicated to each point.
The rest of 100 Tips For Drums is layed out in a similar way, with fairly short and to-the-point chunks of info. The rudiments section is ok but doesn't go into a lot of detail and only a few rudiments are mentioned. On the other hand, the time playing section is a bit more thorough and includes some tricky exercises, broken-time playing, swing, using brushes, shuffles, 16th notes, 2nd line grooves, Latin grooves, and Afro-Cuban grooves. Definately enough to keep you busy for a while!
The drum set vocabulary section is quite interesting, and focuses on expanding what you are capable of doing on the set so that you can be more creative with fills etc. There are exercises for hands, feet, double strokes, and ostinato soloing. It's pretty good, and worth spending some time on.
An area that is likely to offer plenty of info you didn't know is the drum sounds section. Here, Pete talks about acoustic enviroment, sound reinforcement, drum suspension, drum heads, tuning, dampening, the bass drum, snare buzz, and choosing drums and cymbals. It's really useful and will give you an insight into some aspects of drum sound that you maybe weren't aware of.
The in the studio section is pretty cool too, and will definately be useful if you haven't had a lot of studio experience before. It covers being prepared and getting the most from your time, mic positions for the drums, how many mics to use, placement, overheads, and types of mic. If that wasn't enough, it also discusses different sound effects like reverb, noise gates, and compressors. There's plenty of detail and it'll put you in-the-know when you're in the studio.
Last of all there are 3 quite short sections - reading, playing live, and putting it all together. These cover some basic stuff and are worth a read through, however there isn't much detail in these sections. But, with so many topics covered in the book, I guess some areas are bound to be shorter than others.
On the whole I quite like the way the book is presented, you can just dip into the area you're interested in and get a juicy nugget of info. There aren't many pictures though, and some would have been helpful in the technique and set-up section, but it's not a big problem.
The cd that comes with the book is just what you'd expect - well recorded and clear. It's really useful and helps to elaborate on the examples in the book.
I found the grooves and exercises enjoyable to play, they gave me a good workout and there's a mixture of some easier and more difficult stuff. The rest of the book was full of useful info, and I picked up a plenty of pointers to tweak my playing.
So, how is the book overall? It's reasonably good I reckon. Whatever situation you find yourself in from recording to practicing, this book will likely have some great info to help you out.
Any downsides? One or two. There's loads of info here - lessons, advice, how things work and so on. But only a few of these sections go into a lot of detail. The book is a bit like a jack of all trades, instead of a master of one. The only other thing is that there aren't many pictures to show you different grips etc.
Those minor gripes aside, I'd reccommend 100 Tips for Drums to anyone who wants a book that covers most of the common issues, skills, and situations you'll come across as a drummer. It's especially good if you're a new or intermediate player who hasn't come across a lot of this stuff yet.
Best place to buy? Good old Amazon are often the cheapest, so I'd try looking there for the best price.
The Final Word: this is a good all round book with loads of drumming info. It doesn't cover everything in great detail, but gives a good basic knowledge on most things. If you want really specialised info...this might not be for you.