[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Re: Tablas and looping revisited

Ed wrote:
>I've been wondering if there is possibly a way to mount the tablas up 
>I can reach them when standing.  This would also be good because I'm play
>guitar too and could easily switch between instruments without constantly
>sitting down and standing up.

I once saw a trap drummer who doubled on tabla by using a table setup very
similar to the one that Dennis described.  He positioned the table to his
left, just behind his high-hat so that he could switch to tabla by a quick
turn.  I spoke to him after the concert and he was happy to let me demo the
'tabla table.'  Personally I felt that the position of the tabla (relative
to the throne) were raised a little too high for comfortable playing.  He
agreed, but said that it was a far better solution than having to move to
the floor for a few tunes, or just some quick soli over the course of a 

In India I've seen tabla and some folk drums like nakara played in street
processions.  The players would basically take a long cloth sheet and wrap
the drums securely within the sheet, then wind it around their waist and 
it all together so that the drums sat at a level that was comparable to the
standard playing position (seated on the floor).

Another option may be to make some sort of frame to hold the two tabla 
and then mount it on a stand, similar to a bongo stand, which you could
adjust for height to your guitar playing position.  Or, you could begin to
play your guitar seated on the floor, right next to the tabla . . .  ;-)

> What are you other looping tabla players doing to record good tabla
>loops live?  When I sit on the floor in the traditional playing position I
>can't get a good bead on my footswitch so the loop timing is usually off.

This is a tough one.  I'm primarily a sitar/surbahar player, but I also 
my other instruments seated on the floor.  I've had to learn to use the
footswitch in a not entirely ergonomic way, tapping the buttons by using 
distal side of my foot from a crosslegged sitting position, rather than to
control them with the bottom of the toes as one would when standing or
seated in a chair.  Fortunately the EDP footswitch is fairly easy to use
this way.  Sitar and other stringed instruments don't really pose that much
of a problem in this regard.  But tabla are harder to deal with, since
they're directly in front of you and there isn't much room to maneuver the
footswitch.  My workarounds have been these:

1) position the EDP footswitch so that the Record and Overdub buttons are
directly beneath my right foot, then I begin a loop with Record and close 
with Overdub.  This is still very tricky in terms of getting the timing 
right.  It's also tough if you want to continue playing then immediately 
any of the other buttons, since they're behind the baya at this point.

2) a cleaner, more rhythmically accurate loop can be achieved by using the
left hand on the footswitch to initiate and close the loop.  I'll 
a "Ta" stroke (right-hand drum only, for those non-tabliyas among us)
instead of a "Dha" stroke (both right and left-hand drums) for the opening
beat of the loop, then after closing the loop, I'll overdub either the baya
(left-hand, "bass" drum) stroke alone, or, using my foot to control the
Overdub, play an entire "Dha" stroke.  Overdubbing the entire stroke can
also help to accentuate the feeling of "sam" (highly stressed main beat of
an Indian 'tala' or rhythmic cycle) within the loop.

This all reminds me that there's a good thread in the archives from a year
or so ago about "barefoot looping."

Hope this helps.