Gabe Helguera has gone from creating a drumming fresh YouTube channel to launching the drum tuition website Drum Beats Online. This is no small feat.
Let’s find out more about Gabe Helguera and his drumming journey.
Who is Gabe Helguera?
Gabe Helguera is most well known for being the drummer for the band I Prevail and his website Drum Beats Online.
But where did it all start?
Gabe first began drumming at the age of 12 when he got a drum kit for Christmas. This was a complete surprise but Gabe was stoked as you would expect. He started trying to figure things out by himself at first before starting lessons a few months later.
At the age of 13 things started to get more interesting for Gabe. This is when he started a band with his older brother called “Lookout Gabe”. The band got their name after Gabe managed to poke himself in the eye with a drumstick. Now that sounds painful!
Being in the band opened Gabe up to the world of playing with other musicians and performing on stage. This ignited his passion.
Between the ages of 15 and 18, Gabe started performing with a variety of local bands of different genres.
Correcting early learning mistakes
Gabe fell into a trap that gets many drummers.
At the start after a few lessons playing the drums came naturally with what seemed like little effort. This meant skipping many of the foundations drummers would learn such as rudiments and technique.
At age 18 after being rejected for a church audition Gabe decided to go back and work on these foundations so he could progress his career.
Been critical of yourself isn’t easy, but Gabe knew this is what he would have to do to have a career as a drummer.
From the ages of 18-21, Gabe stepped up his practising dedicating as much time as he could to becoming a better drummer.
Gabe also didn’t go to college so he could work to fund his career path as a drummer.
These weren’t easy years though as manual labour jobs aren’t easy and most of his bands at the time broke up. Unfortunately, this happens as people go in different directions starting careers etc.
This made Gabe want to have something that was his to control.
Starting a YouTube channel
With bands coming and going starting a YouTube channel gave Gabe something, he could control. The channel was called Drum Beats Online and initially had a mix of covers and lessons for beginners.
Although it was slow progress at the start, it was something that was his and continuously worked away on it.
The YouTube channel later evolved to become more than just traditional drum lessons. The channel now covers a wide range of topics such as making progress in the music industry, a day in the life of a drummer and gear reviews.
In recent years the production value has increased drastically on his videos and they are some of the best on YouTube.
Take a look!
Performing in church
After originally being rejected for the church band at the age of 18, Gabe had now developed enough skills and got the gig.
Like many drummers, Gabe Helguera got his break playing in a church band. Church bands have big production value and excellent musicians.
This experience is invaluable for any drummer looking to become a professional.
If you have experience in any big production on your CV, this is going to help you stand out when auditioning for gigs.
Gabe was also extremely smart and made the most out of the opportunity to network with other musicians. This is so valuable and important if you want to be considered for other gigs.
Becoming a full-time drummer
Gabe took a different approach to become a full-time professional drummer than a lot of people. Many drummers hope that one day an opportunity will come along and this will become their full-time gig.
This isn’t what Gabe did…
Gabe worked out what he needs to cover his expenses and worked to cover all of that through drumming. Between church, YouTube, gigging with local bands and starting in-person lessons, Gabe achieved this.
It probably isn’t what most people would class as a professional drummer but he was making a living just from playing the drums.
I think this is amazing and an incredible achievement.
Joining I Prevail
For the next few years, this is how Gabe lived. Until he received a call to audition for I Prevail. The band had been recommended Gabe through the sound technician that worked at the church.
Ah, the power of networking…
Since joining I Prevail Gabe has toured across the globe and recorded one album so far, “Trauma” that released in 2019.
Currently, Gabe has two main focuses, I Prevail and Drum Beats Online.
Drum Beats Online
Drum Beats Online began as Gabe Helguera’s YouTube channel but it quickly evolved into a full online instructional website for drummers.
DBO Academy focuses on 4 pillars of learning.
- Courses – these are all the lessons from beginner through to advanced. Each course has a video and full notation.
- Progress tools – as you can view the courses you have completed and track your practice sessions.
- Incredible community – get the support from other drummers going through the same journey as you.
- Your drumming path – when you complete a course you are presented with the next course taking you on a logical path to improve your drumming.
The main difference you get when you join the DBO Academy is that you are learning from Gabe’s methodology.
You are on a journey with Gabe to make you the best drummer you can be.
When compared to sites at the other end of the spectrum, such as Drumeo where you are getting a series of masterclasses from different drummers, having one tutor can be extremely beneficial.
This is especially important in the early days of your drumming. Learning from one tutor gives you the chance to build a solid foundation before looking into a wider spectrum of techniques and methodologies.
The good news for you is that the DBO Academy has recently gone through a big refresh updating the website and its content.
There is currently a waiting list to join the site so make sure you go and sign up to the DBO Academy!
Gabe Helguera’s gear
As far as kit configuration Gabe can be seen often switching up his gear between I Prevail and Drum Beats Online.
Most of the kit formations do follow the setup of a modern rock kit. 1 tom, 1 floor and a selection of cymbals although he does sometimes use a larger kit as pictured below.
Currently, Gabe has one signature product, his signature sticks. These sticks are a Vic Firth X55A stick with the I Prevail logo and Gabe’s signature.
Drum Beats Online does also offer a limited selection of apparel for drummers.
The range currently includes a tank top, t-shirt, hoodie and cap.
Although the selection is small currently, some of the designs are nice. I especially like the t-shirt!
Find more of Gabe
Luckily for you, you can find Gabe all over the web! Check out his links below:
I admire what Gabe Helguera has achieved so far in his drumming career.
He had a clear goal, practised hard and worked logically to achieve it. It is great to see a drummer be so honest with his journey and the steps it has taken to get to where it is.
There also has to be a special shoutout to the DBO Academy. Gabe has created a great service that drummers love. Not to mention the dedication and commitment Gabe put into this whilst touring with I Prevail is no small feature.
Gabe is a true hustler.
I can’t wait to see what Gabe gets up to next in his drumming career.
Okay, I’m off to join the waiting list for the DBO Academy…