The drum lick rudiment known as a Blushda is used by great drummers in tons of songs and solos.. These great drummers include Gary Novak, Dave Weckl, and Vinnie Colaiuta. Each of them has adopted this lick for years and has devised techniques of integrating it into their playing, in an amazing manner. The name is derived from the sound it makes when played. The blush-da is a hybrid of a given drum rudiment.
This lick is a challenging one to master. And, since it features flams as well as doubles, it plays at speed in order not to ruin the entire pattern.
Playing the Blushda:
The blushda pattern is 3 notes long, comprising of one flam, accompanied by one single and a double stroke. There is no alternating of hands with this pattern, therefore one hand will be on the lead depending on the hand you start with. As a result, it is an excellent pattern to adopt in the course of moving around the drums.
Right and Left Handed:
The blushda is spelt out with alternating hands on the notation sheet. While you can decide to remain with only the one hand on the lead when playing this lick, it is also nice to practice both left and right handed playing to help you develop your own technique. If you are conversant with drum rudiments, you may have observed that this lick is in fact the “Flam Accent” rudiment, only that it features a double after the Flam.
It is highly recommended that you try acquiring the Flam Accent rudiment first if you are finding it difficult to master the blushda lick. By grasping the Flam Accent skills first, you will be able to develop alternating Flams technique. Subsequently, you will simply insert the double as you get back to the blushda lick.
This lick is simply half of the “Flam Accent” devoid of the double. Therefore, you can play it with ease unlike the Flam Accent, especially if you find alternating Flams an issue.
Blushda – Variations:
If your desire is to gain control over the blushda, it is important to master the skill of starting this lick at diverse points within the 3 notes. Just like me, you may notice that you will frequently commence the pattern off the downbeat accidentally. However, you will quickly get back to the downbeat with no one noticing if you have taken time to practice the different variations. With each variation comes a different position in terms of the accented Flam. As a result, each one forms a unique, varied and interesting rhythm.
Get to practice the entire variations (a total of three variations) using a simple drum beat, as a bar of triplets. And, as you go from one variation to another, you will spot the sound of each version in terms of the manner it flows in moving the accent to a different position. Particularly, you will notice that some sound more natural compared to others. You are free to decide on your favorite variations and get familiar with them first before moving to others.
Playing the Blushda Through Sixteenth Notes:
Since the blushda is 3 notes long, it does not exactly fit into sixteenth notes bar. It creates a polyrhythm as it moves over the beat. You can practice using the sixteenths to play groups of three’s. Through the sixteenth, you can play this lick 4 times and can choose to fill the last beat of the bar with whatsoever you desire.
Blushda – Orchestration:
This bit is cool. The blushda gives out impressive sound when played on a single drum, but will really come alive when parts of it are moved around the drums. Majority of the orchestrations are applicable to both left and right lead although you can’t just play some in both ways since you will have challenges with crossing arms as well as encounter other difficulties. There are different variations of orchestration and you should experiment with the three blushda variations above along with the orchestration variations.
Subsequently, you can concentrate on the ones that work best for you.
One other thing about this lick is that you can add an extra Flam note, using the same hand to play it so that you can move the 3 note pattern to another position. Some great drummers adopt this concept to achieve great effect.
In summary, blushda is an advanced drum lick. However, you really don’t have to play it at very high speeds in order to create a great sound. The speed will ultimately come as long as you keep the doubling hand relaxed and loose.
Also, bear in mind that you are better off with just a few variations. The essence of practicing as many as possible is to eventually discover the ones that will work best for you. And, once you find your favorites, go ahead and focus on mastering them correctly.