Stick control with weak hand

steviop

Junior Member
Been a good few years since I posted on here. I did lessons for around 8-9 years with a teacher and got up to a reasonable standard (graded work), the last couple of years I haven't done any lessons and been away from the drums and not played much at all.

Basically I'm starting up again and going to go it alone this time with everything I've learned in the past still in mind, I can read etc and have good understanding and I'm now determined to improve myself even further than last time.

My technique was never the greatest and I sort of by passed working on it a lot (I know), this time I'm willing to take a step back to take two steps forward, so I've started stick control every morning for 30 minutes on top of normal practice later in the day. Has anyone got any tips for the weaker hand?? I'm playing the first page only for now my dominant hand has pretty good control the problem I've got is even though the grips I use for both hands are identical I regularly check my finger/hand/stick placement to make sure they are mirrored there is just something not feeling right about my weak hand grip, it's hard to explain, with my good hand I can do triple/quad strokes with nice control at around 105bpm in 16th's (best way I can explain is it controls nicely liking bouncing a basketball well and feels effortless) but my weak hand just can't control itself and is about 10bpm lower on the metronome and even then it just isn't comfortable.

Any tips or is it just a case of eventually it will go since I haven't played for a couple of years regularly?? Thank for any replies in advance. P.S I used matched grip.
 
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Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Doesn't really matter what you use. Accent sheet, Stick Control accenting the Rs or a reading text like Syncoptation.

I just do them single handed.

SC : L-l-L-l l-L-l-L L-L-l-l etc..

Syncopation as triplet. LlL llL Lll Lll etc..


Do all the variations Accents, doubles, accents with doubles in between. I do these no all limbs and as comping ideas/exercises as well.

Also just simply leading wih the left is a good idea, as there is a coordination aspect to this.
 

60's Drummer

Senior Member

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Half an hour isn't a huge amount of time to be getting your technique together-- hopefully you can expand that to an hour or 90 minutes, once you make a daily thing out of it consistently. I'd be playing the left hand lead exercises about twice as long as the right hand lead ones-- assuming your left is your "weak" hand. And don't just play the first three pages of the book-- play the whole thing. Try doing a different page every few days, for a while.
 

eddypierce

Senior Member
Here are three suggestions (for pages 5-7 of Stick Control) which originated with Joe Morello (and all of which can be found in Steve Forster's new book on Stick Control variations):

1. Play 4 bars of the Stick Control exercise followed by 4 bars with the hand that ends the exercise. So Exercise #1 would be this:

ll: RLRL RLRL l RLRL RLRL RLRL :ll ll: LLLL LLLL l LLLL LLLL :ll

Exercise #12 would be this:

ll: LRRR LRRR l LRRR LRRR :ll ll: RRRR RRRR l RRRR RRRR :ll

I sometimes do a variation on this, which is just to play 4 bars on the left hand following four bars of the exercise, no matter which hand the exercise ends with. So that might especially help with your weak hand.

2. Play 4 bars of the Stick Control exercise, then play another 4 bars where the left hand plays continuous 8th notes, and the right hand plays the right hand part of the exercise. In other words, the right and left hands will end up playing flat flams (both hands strike exactly together, at the same volume) for all the notes designated "R" in the exercise. Exercise #1 would be like this ("B" means both hands play together--you'd need to do this on two separate surfaces, or a pad that allows you to play flat flams):

ll: RLRL RLRL l RLRL RLRL RLRL :ll ll: BLBL BLBL l BLBL BLBL :ll

Exercise #5 would be this:

ll: RLRR LRLL l RLRR LRLL :ll ll: BLBB LBLL l BLBB LBLL :ll

3. Continuous vamp--this one is like exercise #2, except that the left hand just plays a continuous left hand vamp the whole time, and the right hand plays the written part (again, play on different surfaces, or on a pad that allows flat flams).

Of course, another idea is to spend a lot of time practicing the exercises that have ratio of 3 lefts to every 1 right:

LLLR LLLR l LLLR LLLR

RLLL RLLL l RLLL RLLL

LLRL LLRL l LLRL LLRL

LRLL LRLL l LRLL LRLL (etc.)

Ed Shaughnessy had an article in Modern Drummer a while back called the "Sure Fire 3:1 Cure" where he recommended practicing the RLLL pattern something like 400 times every day for several weeks to develop the left hand. Dom Famularo has similar exercises in his book "It's Your Move." And of course, Dom has a whole book called "The Weaker Side" which is devoted to Stick Control-like exercises that have more notes in the left hand than the right (if you're right handed, that is).
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
Getting reps on those sticking will be nothing but a good thing, so long as you're playing them with ideal technique that's worth enforcing & cementing into your muscle memory. I'd do nothing but free strokes, mainly in American grip and some French too.
 

Sebenza

Member
If you've got a certain technique down with one hand, but are struggling to execute it with the other, playing both hands simultaneously can help.
I don't really know how to explain it but trying to replicate movements from one hand to another feels easier to me while playing simultaneous strokes than with alternate strokes. It might sound weird but it's as if your strong hand teaches your weak hand while playing...?

One exercise I "invented" (I'm pretty sure something basic like this will be pretty common and well known, but I kind of accidentally arrived at it by myself) is to play a measure of eight (or whatever subdivision) notes with the right hand, followed by a measure with both hands, then a measure with the left hand and finally a measure of alternating strokes upon which the whole sequence is repeated but this time starting with the left hand.

It would be something like this...where the B stands for both hands simultaneously
R R R R B B B B L L L L LRLRLRLRL L L L B B B B R R R R RLRLRLRL
 

steviop

Junior Member
Thank you all for your detailed replies.

Some great suggestions here playing both hands at the same time to get the same feel and doing four extra hits with each hand after each stick control exercise is good too.

Tried again this morning but my weak hand just feels the same awkwardness almost like my grip is jelly and doesn't judge the stick coming back very well, where my strong hand judges it perfectly like I said before it sort of likens to bouncing a basketball well with your hand and has a nice fluency. I'm convinced I'm holding the sticks the same if I could just have the same feeling as my strong hand I could really push forward from there.

Would you guys say it's maybe just a case of building the muscle up over time, I can't tell whether it's my brain or muscles that need to build/adapt. But my groove playing is pretty decent so it's definitely not a independence problem I wouldn't say.

Really appreciate the replies so far thanks
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It usually just is about the miles.

Dominant hand already has a leg up.

Unless you play open handed or sometimes or mostly there is pretty much a 4:1 ration there. So there's an idea.

Many people start using their weak hand for what their dominant hand usually does. Eating, drinking opening doors etc... I've recently found that because I've worked my left so much that I started doing those things without thinking about it.


When doing LLLR be sure to do all the permutations.

LLRL
LRLL
RLLL

There is a difference depending on where the beat is.



If you have some techniques down, you probably can't say the fingers, your push-pull motion all the things you have worked so much to be able to do on the hats with the dominant are equal with the other hand.

Just make it a priority.

Even when you're tired from practicing, if you weak hand can handle more, continue to work the hell out of it.

Same would go for your left foot if that's behind the right and you need it to be more on the same level.

How much control do you really have on the hats with your left foot as an individual musical voice?
 
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