If you have a drummer friend, you may be wondering what the best compliment for a drummer is so that you can make them feel special after watching them at a gig.
There are dozens of compliments that you can give, and each of them will focus on specific things that relate to drumming. Knowing a few of these compliments will better equip you to say the right thing at the right moment.
In this guide, I’ll break down a few different areas of drumming to compliment a great drummer on. I’ll also give a few practical examples to give you an idea of what to say.
Stage presence refers to how it looks when musicians play on stage. Depending on what genre a drummer is playing, stage presence can be very important.
If they play in a rock band, complimenting them on how much energy they brought to the stage can be very encouraging.
If the drummer you’re complimenting plays in more mellow environments such as jazz gigs, this isn’t the type of compliment you should go to first.
Here are a few examples:
- “You really lit up the stage with the energy you brought behind the kit.”
- “Those stick tricks were one of the best parts of the show. It’s amazing how you keep everything together while doing them.”
- “You make playing the drums look like so much fun.”
How do you compliment a good drummer? You praise their technical skills behind the kit. Learning to play intricate patterns and combinations on the drums takes years of practice, and being recognized for that is very rewarding.
So, mention how your drummer friends’ technical skills impressed you when you watched them. If they played an epic drum fill at a certain point in the gig, mention it to them.
Here are a few compliment examples for praising technicality:
- “You’re an amazing drummer, and you make playing the drums look so easy.”
- “Your hands move so quickly around the drum set that I’m starting to think that you’re a robot.”
- “That fill you played in the second song was absolutely mind-blowing.”
- “I can tell that you’re very serious about practicing and being the best drummer possible.”
Musicianship refers to how a drummer interacts and plays with the other musicians in the band. When a drummer has a good sense of musicianship, it means that they make the best choices for songs to make them sound good.
Musicianship compliments are some of the best you can give, as they tell a drummer that he’s a vital member of a band. It also tells a drummer that they’re a good overall musician and not just a great drummer.
It’s always a safe bet to comment on how well a drummer played with a bass player.
Here are some comments that you can make about musicianship:
- “You locked in so tightly with the bass player. It made every song feel incredibly solid and groovy. The other guys on stage fed off that very well.”
- “The other musicians are lucky to have you in the band. You made everything they played sound so much better.”
- “I could see how much the other musicians valued your solid timing.”
Professionalism is a fairly arbitrary topic, but it’s something that many drummers take pride in. You can also encourage a hobbyist drummer by telling them that they could easily make it in the professional music industry.
When a drummer shows professionalism, it means that they’re doing everything they need to do at a gig, and it means that they’re doing it to the best of their ability.
If you feel that they’re doing this, here are some compliments that you can give:
- “I can see thousands of people paying to watch you play drums in the future.”
- “You looked like a professional on stage. You could easily do this for a living as a professional drummer.”
- “You played the drums with so much authority that it looked as if nothing could ever possibly go wrong.”
Drum Kit Setup
If you don’t know what to say about a drummer’s playing abilities, an easier route would be to compliment the gear that they’re using. You can mention how good their drums and cymbals sound, or you could comment on how good their kit looks set up on the stage.
Here are a few practical examples of gear talk:
- “Your ride cymbal sounded like butter coming through the front speakers. I loved it every time you played it.”
- “You must have one of the best sounding snare drums that I’ve ever heard.”
- “The finish on your drum set looks incredible under stage lights.”
- “You’ve tuned your drums perfectly. The toms sound so musical when you play drum fills.”
Comparison to Famous Drummers
Another option to take is to compare your drummer friend to other drummers that are famous that they may know. It’s quite flattering to hear that your drumming reminds people of drummers that have made it so far in the music industry.
Here are a few examples:
- “You’ll give Ginger Baker a run for his money with your drum solo skills.”
- “Your energy and power behind the kit reminds me of John Bonham.”
- “You’re so musical behind the kit that Dave Grohl will probably hire you for his next band project.”
- “Buddy Rich would be excited to watch you if he was still alive.”
- “You could have played drums for The Beatles. Ringo Starr would’ve had to give his seat up for you.”
Accepting Compliments as a Drummer
If you’re a drummer yourself, something very important to remember is that accepting compliments is a skill in itself. When someone compliments you as a drummer, your first instinct will be to mention somewhere in the gig where you made a mistake or what you think you can work on to get better.
It’s better to refrain from doing that and just accept the compliment with a gracious thank you. That will avoid any awkwardness coming up from the person complimenting you.
How do you praise a drummer? You focus on a particular part of drumming that you think that drummer performs very well in, and then you compliment them accordingly.
Compliments about stage presence are excellent ones to give a drummer after watching them play live gigs. Technical skill and musicality compliments are also great options to go with.
If you’re unsure of what to say, try praising the gear of a drummer. It’s always great to hear when people like your drum and cymbal sounds.