Help with flying finger/ snare tuning

ian2accurate

Junior Member
I'm trying to work on blast beats and I'm having trouble getting my flying technique working on my left hand. On a practice pad I can get the left hand up to about 170bpm consistently, but when I try it on my snare it seems like unless I play 1" away from the rim I can barely get it moving. I have the snare tuned pretty tight, so do I have to get it insanely tight or is just about applying a lot of force at that rate?

I can play regular matched grip at about 200 bpm pretty well but of course volume decreases when I'm starting to get around this speed.
 

Goreliscious

Senior Member
I'm having pretty much the same problem. Because my fingers aren't as good with my left hand, I end up using my wrist and forearm more which knackers me out. I know what you mean about playing closer to the rim to get a better rebound, but then all you get is 'kang, kang, kang' rather than 'crack, crack, crack'. I've got a 13" snare and I play about an inch above centre cos then you get a lot of the crack, but the rebound is better too. I think it's just practice that's gunna save us.

I just found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDKlnNKN-5c

Read this too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matched_grip
 

Goreliscious

Senior Member
Oh yeah...and the snare tuning...

I think you're right not to really tighten up your batter head, I find it actually gets harder to blast when the head is really tight. What is do is tune the resonant skin to around a medium tension, then tune the batter skin a few turns tighter than the resonant...then you get the 'wet' crack, and you get a better feel/response/rebound.

I find that with the snare it's always best to have the resonant skin tuned lower than the batter skin so that air movement is reduced. When you have the resonant skin tuned the same as the batter, or even tuned higher than the batter, you can feel the air inside the drum kicking back up to the batter head and messes with the batter head rebound.

If you haven't already read this... http://home.earthlink.net/~prof.sound/index.html ...do so. It's pretty lengthy but I find it really useful and most importantly - it explains the principals of different tuning methods.
 

ian2accurate

Junior Member
I've seen that video before. I may try adjusting my grip a little bit because I've been extending my pointer finger a little and I may try wrapping it around. I've read the tuning bible before, its good to look back at it though because that thing is great.

I'll try detuning the snare head as well.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
I've found this whole left hand flying finger thing a kind of paradox because the eventual problem with people always seems to center on control if you're primarily a matched grip player. And although it doesn't always look metal enough for some guys /with exceptions of course/, a traditional grip might be the key if you wanted to use this technique for blasting. With trad grip you focus more on the thumb, and in doing so centralize all the spastic activity you get with trying to make those left handed matched grip fingers dance in unison, because let's be honest, you know 99 out of 100 people are going to become impatient and try to turn all that into one big twitch that they have even less control over. With thumb control left hand your mind has a lot more control over what's happening, because all of your energies are focused on a much smaller area.

This is one of my videos where I approach with mostly trad grip thumb.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPwil-onwXo&feature=channel_page
Check out the first 9 seconds.

You can also relax a lot more and carpal is never going to be a possible factor.
 

Crazy+Hands

Senior Member
hmmm, blasting with trad grip, i dont think i've ever seen that. I bet it would work for extended blasts, but for moving around the kit it does seem to be a little more difficult with trad grip. To me its one of those things that if you don't start out using it and stick with it, its really awkward and hard to learn, especially for self taught drummers. You can't really hit the cymbals the same way as you would with matched grip, and that is really important in metal where your using more crashes and chinas as opposed to jazz or other styles. It has its place but the metal genre isn't it. Then again, there's always the jazz-deathmetal style to be considered, in bands like Atheist.
 

ian2accurate

Junior Member
I tried loosening the snare head, it helped a little but I still can't seem to get the stick popping up enough. I can get my right hand to get decent control with some speed but just barely any height at all.

For the life of me I can't get my traditional grip working. I've messed around with it from time to time and I can't get any power out of it unless its very slow and I use my whole arm. I've seen some of you videos, and I'll try using my thumb like that but there are no guarantees it will help...
 

Therma lobsterdore

Senior Member
I have seen some drummers that play traditional grip perform blast beats, they always switched to matched, even JoJo mayer.

ian2accurate, try practicing at slower speeds where you can get the stick height up to a better level, and then work it up from there, sounds like you just need more practice is all.
 

Crazy+Hands

Senior Member
Jojo is one of my favorite non-metal drummers, his d n'b style drumming in particular is phenomenal, but like you said you just cant approach the concept of blast beats using traditional grip...the blast beat is by far the most inhuman sounding drum beat and it requires both hands to be balanced...i.e. matched.

getting your finger technique right is very challenging, its what im working on now because for so many years my left hand (which is stronger than my right) used alot of arm motion to get up to high speeds=not good for endurance and comfort on the kit, especially at tempos of 250 and up...each 10 bpm you go up is a much greater increase in speed, even though it doesnt seem that way.

Try approaching your blast beats by focusing on creating each "stroke" as groups of four notes (16ths) at slower tempos instead of just playing fast 8th notes (upstroke/downstroke). If you make the first note a slight accent using your wrist, the next 3 will be all fingers...eventually your wrist won't have to move at all because the motion becomes so condensed its no longer needed or noticeable. You want to create the illusion of 4 notes in one stroke...start out as slow as you need to and gradually work up while concentrating on maintaining control and proper grip. If your having trouble moving up in speed, play at your max comfortable tempo for 3 times longer (or more) than you can at your all out max speed...also try working each hand independently while the other keeps tempo. hope that clarifies things somewhat.
 

ian2accurate

Junior Member
Jojo is one of my favorite non-metal drummers, his d n'b style drumming in particular is phenomenal, but like you said you just cant approach the concept of blast beats using traditional grip...the blast beat is by far the most inhuman sounding drum beat and it requires both hands to be balanced...i.e. matched.

getting your finger technique right is very challenging, its what im working on now because for so many years my left hand (which is stronger than my right) used alot of arm motion to get up to high speeds=not good for endurance and comfort on the kit, especially at tempos of 250 and up...each 10 bpm you go up is a much greater increase in speed, even though it doesnt seem that way.

Try approaching your blast beats by focusing on creating each "stroke" as groups of four notes (16ths) at slower tempos instead of just playing fast 8th notes (upstroke/downstroke). If you make the first note a slight accent using your wrist, the next 3 will be all fingers...eventually your wrist won't have to move at all because the motion becomes so condensed its no longer needed or noticeable. You want to create the illusion of 4 notes in one stroke...start out as slow as you need to and gradually work up while concentrating on maintaining control and proper grip. If your having trouble moving up in speed, play at your max comfortable tempo for 3 times longer (or more) than you can at your all out max speed...also try working each hand independently while the other keeps tempo. hope that clarifies things somewhat.
Thanks! I may try some of those things. I noticed after doing a few workouts of just completely killing my left hand muscles (about 20 minutes of going at around 170bpm for 20-40 seconds until I die, waiting 10 seconds, then again) I'm starting to get a little more strength (speed) in my left arm. I'm going to try working more with some of my weighted sticks. I have been slacking off (ie more studying and doing homework) so I've skipped some stick workouts, but I'll definitely work some finger technique into my general workout.

How do I play at max tempo for 3 times longer? Like keep playing while my hand is just wimpering around and barely hitting correctly? Or should I just try to slow down and play a bit longer until I can't keep the notes going?
 

VedranS

Senior Member
Thanks! I may try some of those things. I noticed after doing a few workouts of just completely killing my left hand muscles (about 20 minutes of going at around 170bpm for 20-40 seconds until I die, waiting 10 seconds, then again) I'm starting to get a little more strength (speed) in my left arm. I'm going to try working more with some of my weighted sticks. I have been slacking off (ie more studying and doing homework) so I've skipped some stick workouts, but I'll definitely work some finger technique into my general workout.

How do I play at max tempo for 3 times longer? Like keep playing while my hand is just wimpering around and barely hitting correctly? Or should I just try to slow down and play a bit longer until I can't keep the notes going?
Dude, you're approaching this whole practicing speed thing wrong in my opinion. What you need to do is slow way down. What I would do if find the tempo where you could do singles or whatever you're going for forever, or almost anyway...a tempo that's basically relaxed and effortless. I'm not talking 20-40 seconds here, I'm talking minutes. Your fatigue needs to come from basically your muscles getting tired, not from you blowing all the oxygen getting to them in a matter of seconds. Rather than tensing and being on the verge of of a cramp, you should notice a slow steady burn and fatigue as your hold your singles for minutes, whether you're using fingers or wrists or whatever you want to practice.

Now, the tempo where you can do this for a long time may be painfully slow compared to what you're going for, but this way at least you're building real solid techinque. Anyway, so Derek Roddy says to push the speed, right? Well, I might be wrong here, but I think he at least means pushing the speed of singles that you can do consistantly for a long period, and practicing those, and not the speed of singles that fall apart in 20 seconds...That's just me talking though, not trying to put words in his mouth.

Anyway, so you find that speed that's comfortable, go for a long time ( I don't know, i like to go for 5 minutes personally), and then right away increase the metronome by a few BPM's. Ok, so now you should be playing at a slightly uncomfortable speed, or at least one where it gets harder after a while. Now you're pushing your speed barrier. No, right away it's not nearly anywhere close to extreme metal speed, but its solid, and i'd rather start with that first...So, to reiterate, I understand you should "push" the speed, but maybe the speed you should be pushing is one where you can keep it going for minutes, and make it relaxed without tensing, and keep upping THAT metronome mark. that make any sense?
 
I agree with Vedran here, don't go so fast that you kill yourself. Also weighted sticks are not going to help you go faster, in fact they'll do just the opposite. Jojo Mayer explains this in his Secret Weapons DVD by saying that if you work your fast twitching muscles (which are good for speed and finesse) with weights they will turn into slow twitching muscles (which are good for power and endurance)

Lastly for all the people saying you can't blast trad style:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAkTd4BXgs4&feature=related
 

tinlid82

Junior Member
Ian2accurate, i know exactly what you mean when you say your left hand uses the wrist and forearm instead of the fingers, i had this same problem about 2 months ago. my wrist would bend down and i would move my arm to give the strokes energy. the first step is to focus on your left hand and make sure the wrist doesent waggle about, this is quite hard, because your left hand naturally wants the wrist to control the strokes. when i got the hang of this, I would hold a stick in my hand and do flying fingers while i watched tv and used the computer (i still do, im doing it now) you will notice a signifigant improvement in your left hand flying finger technique.
just my 2 cents
 

Redfern

Senior Member
I also have quite a big problem when it comes to flying fingers, ive gotten to a point where i can keep it consistent with each hand individually but when it comes to using both hands at the same time, the entire thing falls apart horribly! I either have alot of trouble seperating the hands as they start to hit together at the same time or i just lose momentum... Any tips around this, or is it just another matter of time issue?
 

joeysnare

Silver Member
another thing from jojo , perhaps on the rebound your not getting you fingers out of the way fast enough and its eating up all the sticks momentum.
 
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