Blastbeats (is it just nature, or lack of good practice?)

morningmist

Junior Member

SO.

Please do not ostracize me for being an idiot, if you think I am one. You're not the first, you're not original, etc.

I have some questions about blast beats. I've been playing for four years, give or take. I've been blasting for around three years, and I've obviously gotten better from my first days of doing blast beats. But I'm still pretty bad with them, I can't really keep them going for more than thirty seconds at 210 bpm (8th notes, not 16ths).

There are a few things I think I may be doing wrong, but I'd like to get opinions as well as tips on what they may be, and how to get better.

1. Genetics? I mean I've been blasting for 3 years about, will I ever get better? A lot of people I know picked up speed pretty quick. But for me, it's been a struggle with keeping that speed going for any time long enough. Do I just not have enough of the kind of muscle it takes to move the stick that fast?

2. Practice? One of my friends told me recently it's good to take a tempo like 170-180 (around where I'm comfortable for this exercise) and blast for about five minutes. Should I do this once, twice, three times, continually? My friend learned this from someone else, he never had a problem with speed, so he couldn't tell me.

3. Technique? Maybe I should change mine up, but I'm not sure where to start. Moeller is interesting, but is it really good for blasting? I've seen it used, it works. Finger flipping isn't that great of a technique for me to rely on SOLELY because I had hand surgery on my left (snare) hand two years ago. There's a lot of scar tissue that can't be broken, and it's on my ringfinger and middle finger knuckles. Believe me it makes using only my fingers insanely difficult. I can go fast with them, but not for very long. What's a good technique for blasting besides fingers? It seems to be what everyone else is doing to go fast.


So whether it's playing longer, practicing the right way, or maybe hitting the gym for some cardio (and quitting cigarettes.. I'm in the process) I should probably be doing all these things. I'm asking because I'm curious to see what all of your opinions are on this, I'm wishful someone out there has some wise words for me. Often times I lose a lot of hope over this and bash myself for my lame blast beats. I'm trying, but I just can't seem to get there.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member

I'm asking because I'm curious to see what all of your opinions are on this,
Invest some time and money into a few lessons. I'm wondering if you're lacking a focused practice routine if you're seeing little improvement after three years. Sounds very much to me like you need some guidance from a qualified teacher. If you've been at it for that long and have stalled as far as improvement is concerned, then it's time to change tack. What you are doing now isn't working, so it's time to explore other avenues IMHO. So, to answer your thread title, I'm calling a lack of "good" practice.

I'm not a blaster myself, but I know how to design my own practice routine....doesn't matter if it's blast beats or paradiddles or getting down a half time shuffle, the process remains the same. Seek out a good teacher, he'll iron out any issues with respect to your technique and will tailor a practice work out that's right for you and I'm willing to bet you'll see a vast improvement in no time.

Keep at it my friend.
 

Wick

Senior Member
To build up strength and stamina in your hands, alternate playing 4 quarter notes every measure with both hands

O-O-O-O
R R R R

O-O-O-O
L L L L


Do the exercise at a low tempo for 5-10 minutes. And make sure you're using correct form (I hope you have good stick holding form) or it will have a less affect.

And you also probably do most of your practicing on set right?

I would suggest doing it on a pad, its not as temping to mess around with everything, and it helps you stay more concentrated.
 

morningmist

Junior Member
I've actually done the LLLL RRRR exercise quite a bit. I usually extend it though to this:

RRRR LLLL RRRR RRRR LLLL RRRR LLLL LLLL

Sort of an elongated paradiddle or what have you, I lack in musical composition jargon. I totally know what you mean, I'm always tempted to start playing something else. I wonder how damaging that is to my discipline.. I start using a pad.

Given both what you have told me, I'd say that a big part of my problem is technique. I don't even know what I do, or if I'm holding the stick in a way that mimics any certain technique or anything. Sounds like I should find a technique that works for me, and start building on that with exercises.

By the way this is my first day on drummerworld's forum, I made my account today. I'm already impressed with how quick I got these replies, and I'm thankful for the advice from both of you.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I'd say that a big part of my problem is technique. I don't even know what I do, or if I'm holding the stick in a way that mimics any certain technique or anything. Sounds like I should find a technique that works for me, and start building on that with exercises.
There's some fundamental elements to playing that you're uncertain with here mate. Grip is paramount IMHO (not so much the way you hold the stick, ie. trad. matched etc, but a good understanding of how to use the fulcrum).

Jump on that teacher mate.......sounds like you need to grasp a good comprehension of the basics. A teacher will have that sorted in no time. IMHO the WORST thing you can do is keep plodding along under your own steam with no direction and little improvement. As much as I sound like a late night infomercial.....don't waste the next three years of your life, make the change today.

You can thank me in ten years!! :)


By the way this is my first day on drummerworld's forum, I made my account today. I'm already impressed with how quick I got these replies, and I'm thankful for the advice from both of you.
Welcome aboard. there's some amazing talent here, a wealth of knowledge and an answer to just about every conceivable question. Enjoy!
 

Evilbagua

Silver Member
I played in a death/grind band for 4 years. It was a good 95% blast beats. Based on what you said if you practice and see no increase in speed/endurance, I think the issue may be your hand that had surgery. How serious was the surgery? Is your hand not able to perform at 100% now?

I started off being able to hold a shakey blast for a good 30 seconds. I practiced infrequently, but always clocked atleast a few hours a week+band rehersals. Over a few years time my speed and endurance have increased dramatically from when I started to attempt blasting. Going from 30 seconds to playing 15 grind songs back to back blasting without issue. Also I don't think Cardio is a super major factor, the fastest drummer I've ever seen in person was the drummer of the tech/death metal band Slaughter Box, He is a very very big guy but crazy fast. I'm not in amazing shape but I can keep up just fine. Getting in better shape can't hurt, but I don't think that alone will speed up your fingers.

I think your best bet would be to try a few different techniques. I'm not a fan of the gravity blast, but that is more of a fulcrum opposed to the "finger flipping". A lot of extreme metal drummers my band played with used the graivty blast combined with triggers. I tried it, but I have no plans to use triggers, and playing extreme music is usually the worst venues. I couldn't get it to cut through the sound.
 

braincramp

Gold Member
Welcome it is a great site, a good teacher does help so much but even with that I got to put in lots of practice time to notice improvements in anything I try to learn. If you have a day job like me, when I get discouraged trying to learn something I always remind myself the big time pros have the opportunity to spend up to 8 hours a day practicing.I still try to get an hour a day minimum and for me personally its really not enough...good luck
 

Pass.of.E.r.a.

Gold Member
I haven't read all the other posts carefully so sorry if this was already said...

First of all why would you change your technique? you'd be starting from square 1 again and you'd basically have to spend how long it took you to get to this point, AGAIN just to get to the same point. So IMO not worth it. (Hope that makes sense)

Personally I wouldn't be worried so much about speed, but more concerned with accuracy. Practice slow. And by slow I mean 100-120 (or even slower) to a metronome. Once you can line up every beat with that metronome, start gradually increasing the tempo. After a few months of that (you will probably not improve dramatically overnight) you will start to feel improvement!!

Hope I helped. P.S. Derek Roddy is on this forum and is much more qualified than I to teach this kind of thing.

-Jonathan
 

RickyBobby

Member
Don't know if this was already said but...
pick up Derek Roddy's Evolution of Blast Beats Book!
I"m not a big blaster but it sure heightens Speed and Accuracy in any groove!
Cheers
 
I would suggest using wrist motions since you had finger surgery. George Kollias uses only wrists. And he be FAAAASSSTTTTT.
 

morningmist

Junior Member
Yeah, I noticed. His speed and precision is amazing, but I think I like the complexity of some of his fills the best. If you've seen clips of his video on youtube, he does this IN-SANE fill using inverted paradiddles.

I actually modified my grip a little bit today. I changed my thumb placement and turned my wrist so my palm was facing more down than to the side. I just finished drumming for two hours (including some exercises) and I already noticed a little bit of improvement. Maybe I'm just having a good day, then again..

We'll see I suppose.
 

Derek Roddy

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Morningmist.
I don't have a lot of time (I'm out of town) but,one thing you said stuck in my mind, it was this...

"I can't really keep them going for more than thirty seconds"

O.K. Let think about something.....how many songs can you think of..... that have 30 second stretches of blast beats....at ANY tempo? Because I can't think of any! Haha.

What I mean is....sure...there are long sections of blast beats in some songs...but, they're broken up by fills, rolls, rest, left out notes, etc....

The fact that you can't keep playing blast for longer than 30 seconds at a time.... is of no worry because, you'll never have to do that... in a real life playing situation....simple.

Cheers,
D.
 

morningmist

Junior Member
WOW... Day two of using this forum and Derek Roddy finds my thread!

Thank you for the advice. I appreciate any amount of advice from someone as talented as you. As brown-nosing as that sounds, seriously. I think anyone would cherish advice from great musicians of any and all instruments.

What I guess I meant was that I can't play certain tempos more than 30 seconds... For instance, I can keep at eighth notes on 175 blasting. But I really get what you mean. I used to think doing fills constantly because I couldn't blast straight for a really long time was a bad thing, but you kind of just switched my position on that.
 

Frost

Silver Member
WOW... Day two of using this forum and Derek Roddy finds my thread!

Thank you for the advice. I appreciate any amount of advice from someone as talented as you. As brown-nosing as that sounds, seriously. I think anyone would cherish advice from great musicians of any and all instruments.

What I guess I meant was that I can't play certain tempos more than 30 seconds... For instance, I can keep at eighth notes on 175 blasting. But I really get what you mean. I used to think doing fills constantly because I couldn't blast straight for a really long time was a bad thing, but you kind of just switched my position on that.
I really do think it's something you develop over time, speed is something that comes gradually with practice, no one jumps on a kit for the first time and starts playing 275bpm Origin tech death. One thing that will help with your blasting a lot is if you practice technique for single stroke rolls.
 

JoeLackey

Senior Member
Try not to worry about speed. Get a metronome and work on groove. Also try to expand what you listen to and who you watch. There are certain guys that when you watch them play, it only inspires you to groove like them and create you're own grooves. Benny Greb, Steve Jordan, and Keith Carlock are, in my opinion, the straight up grooviest out there. Just take you're time and do the best you can.
 
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