The Key to Speed

legobeast

Member
Hi Nhzoso,

Thanks for that addition.

When I practise singles I normally start with the right hand, then move to the left. When I have gone through the whole set of rudiments that I do (about 20) I then go back to repeat three. Singles with both hands, then singles right and singles left.

I do fifty reps of each rudiment at a fixed speed at which I can manage to keep thing reasonably accurate. The aim is, over time, to push the speed up. For most, I am double or more where I started, but for the basic stuff (the three described above), I have hardly moved.

My right hand is faster than my left (I'm right-handed). On my metronome, I am at 50 bpm for right and 45 for left (four hits per beat, with the first beat accented slightly).

So, the right hand IS faster than the left, but my hats speed is still not as fast as it needs to be, and I also get a problem with tensing up after about 2 minutes when riding the hat at higher speeds. I have tried moving the hats around a bit, but that does not make a lot of difference. The main issue is basic need for more speed and more stamina.

I think, like you say, the thing is just to keep practising. I think the routine is not too bad. It's not that regimented, but mixing playing along to songs with using DVDs and doing rudiments a few times a week keeps it interesting. Probably, I need to get to a way to find a higher level of dedication! Need to try to join a band, perhaps, but that seems like a big extra commitment step for a guy with job, kids, blah blah blah! Would be fun, though!

Anyone know of any musicians looking to set up a band in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania!!!!!??? Unlikely, I guess!

Cheers folks for all the advice, but as always, it's great to hear more!

James
 

legobeast

Member
So glad to know that if I am a talentless weakling, I can still mix it with the best of them, giving enough leg(and hand!)work! Watch out Steve Gadd!
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
tanzania. wow! that's pretty exotic compared to where i live.

about playing singles, it's hard to make them sound even, but to even them out i practice single stroke rolls as triplets. every three strokes i accent with my other hand so i'm playing

RlrLrlRlrLrlRlrLrl...

once i get that sounding even, i take off the accents and just try to play as evenly as i can, still thinking triplets in my head. i think by constantly alternating like that you can eventually clean up an uneven sounding single stroke roll.

i used to have problems tensing up on the hats too, but now when i'm playing a fast song i try to really think about relaxing my right hand. that helps. i also try not to hit so hard on the hats. the hats really cut through the mix anyway so you don't need to hit them all that hard to make a good sound.
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
I personally am not a big believer in the whole "talent" thing. Okay there are some people that are at advantages for drumming but I reckon that as long as you're not seriously physically disabled, there's no reason you can't achieve whatever you want in terms of drumming as long as you stick at it enough. In fact imo the whole idea of "talent" I reckon is pretty elitist tbh "you'll never be as good as me because i'm more talented!" sort of thing. I think strength is quite important in terms of it. I'll give it this:

Strength 30%
Technique 20%
Talent big fat 0%
Practice 50%
 

legobeast

Member
Heh Dairyairman,
Thanks for the notes on the single. Will try that out.

Must admit, however, that the consensus on talent being unimportant really surprises me.

There are so many pastimes where I am pretty certain that even if I killed myself with practise, I would never be as good as the 'greats'

People are equal, yeh, but some people are more equal than others, no?!

I have the sense that I am not naturally gifted with drums, but at the same time, I can hear rhythm, and am sure that that helps quite a lot.

Ask ten people to clap a slightly tricky rhythm - some will get it and others will not.

Obviously application is massively important, and I'm sure that you can go a long way on pure application. However, that is not to say that talent will not ultimately separate some from others. I am convinced it will.

Practise may get more marks, but talent deserves more than 0!

No one out there agree with this?!
 

ccutler69

Member
Heh Dairyairman,
Thanks for the notes on the single. Will try that out.

Must admit, however, that the consensus on talent being unimportant really surprises me.

There are so many pastimes where I am pretty certain that even if I killed myself with practise, I would never be as good as the 'greats'

People are equal, yeh, but some people are more equal than others, no?!

I have the sense that I am not naturally gifted with drums, but at the same time, I can hear rhythm, and am sure that that helps quite a lot.

Ask ten people to clap a slightly tricky rhythm - some will get it and others will not.

Obviously application is massively important, and I'm sure that you can go a long way on pure application. However, that is not to say that talent will not ultimately separate some from others. I am convinced it will.

Practise may get more marks, but talent deserves more than 0!

No one out there agree with this?!
Obviously some guys have a head start in terms of physical gifts, like coordination.

But don't tell yourself you can never achieve what someone else has because unless you want to be Buddy Rich etc. then all you have to do put in the hours of practice.

Some kid probably sees a local act and thinks that drummer is amazingly talented and he could never be as good as him. The local act drummer sees a true professional drummer and thinks he could never be as good as him. The professional drummer sees guys like Gadd, Tony, Elvin and pretty much knows he could never be as good but it doesnt mean he stops practicing and trying to improve.
 

FunkyLover999

Junior Member
One teacher I had used to say to me: fast and wrong is WRONG, slow and right is RIGHT !


I also remember him saying: don´t waste your intelligence in inventing excuses and/or conceptual nonsense trying to explain your lack of work... drumming is basically not a talkative kind of thing.. but a neuro-muscular development of body movements...less speak and more practice.

Speed comes from economy of movements that allows saving energy. Make sure to have the laws of physics working for you and not the opposite way. Steve Smith´s explanation about this issue in "Drumset Technique" might come in handy, Jojo Mayer speaks about this too in his "Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer" DVD.


About "the Greats"... man those people have inmense natural abillity AND practice the hell out; in a way more oriented, focused and disciplined manner than most of us do... also: they were there to hit the spot at the right time in the right place.

I think it´s a combination of preparation and opportunity... so, be prepared !



Regards
 
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techristian

Senior Member
The next important thing for you to do is to start working with real musicians. If you are worrying about fast rolls with one hand, you already have more chops than you need, but do you know how to incorporate them into music ??

Dan
 

Stoney

Senior Member
If you really are worried about speed then I'd suggest practicing your singles or whatever with a metronome. You can hear (and see) your progress this way. Also you'll know if your getting fatigued and slowing down or not. Do a video diary of yourself also if you wish. It can be encouraging.
When I was really anal about all this I would have a chart with bmp speeds that I would tick off when I reached them. Like reaching for a goal. Once I reached it I would aim for the next one. Also don't be too eager to move up to the next one. Play the same bpm but for longer! It's very important to do it in baby steps and possibly you're getting frustrated because you're running before you can walk?
My best advice though would be to not get too bogged down by it and just get out there and play. Speed will come with time!
Also I've never once heard a "one handed roll" that wasn't part of a drum solo. It's pretty pointless really but good luck with it.
 
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willieboy_sf

Senior Member
Three comments.

1. If you don't already have it, then you should get the book "Stick Control." It's been around since the 1930's. It will help a lot.

2. You need a good teacher to evaluate your technique.

3. With regard to talent, I read quotes from Elvin Jones and Tony Williams where they each explained that, for a period of about 8-10 years, they practiced around 8 hours a day. Each of them has an enormous amount of natural "talent," but they still needed to practice like maniacs to get where they got. Think about that.
 

legobeast

Member
Guilt Overkill!

Oh no! So much really useful advice and so many areas where I realize I have stuff to put right!

8 hours a day practice for 8-10 years. Well, I will never go there, so not too much guilt about that one - unless I get fired from my job, that is! (now there's a thought!)

Fast and wrong is wrong. Yeh, I am pretty guilty of that one, and definitely force things sometimes. Actually, this is where there metronome goal stuff can be a problem. With some of the rudiments, the internal pressure to get to the next level can be so great, that you end up convincing yourself that you really can manage that new higher level (when in actual fact you cannot, without forcing it).

Play with musicians! Heh, what a suggestion! That's what drums are for, after all, innit? Guilty there again, as I have not been able to do that yet. Not so easy where I live, but I need to make more effort.

Someone raised the point about expectations. That is really so important. I can see that the main drivers for progress will be practise and dedication, but the speed of progress will be in proportion to those. However, it's obviously not possible for all of us to do all the drumming we would really love to, so expectations should be kept in proportion.

Great feedback, however, so thanks to all those who have contributed to this thread. Really helpful.

I'll pass on the updates once I've:

Read Stick Control
Practised 8 hours a day at least for one day of one year
Fixed my metronome chart to the bedroom wall
Replaced the TV with a metronome
Replaced the garden gnome with a TV (in the garden)
Fixed the laws of physics to work for me (at least for when I'm holding drums sticks)
Developed the mental aptitude to think RlrLrlRlrL triplets whilst singing 'Yellow Submarine'
Found some other musicians!

Tongue in cheek, of course! You gotta smile!

Thanks for some great thoughts.

James
 

grooveweapon

Senior Member
Talent: 0% Talent isn't a good way to measure anything really. You can call someone talented at any given concept but it doesn't say anything about how they got there or how long it took them. Some people think that talent means that they have a "path of least resistance" to being successful...but factor in a less rigorous practice schedule, and you could have one less talented guy who practices more, getting better much faster.

Practice: 30-40% Practice is key with gaining speed, but like someone said before, you can't measure practice just by quantity...it is also about quality. If you practice things that are counterproductive to good technique you might be hurting yourself (a lot of people spend the first few years of drumming doing this).

Technique: 30-40% Technique is a product of practice but a pretty important concept associated with speed. A lot of people have a built in basic sense of groove but they lack the technique to play quickly because that comes with time.

Strength: 25% Strength of the appropriate muscles also comes from practice. I'm not talking about being a powerlifter. I'm saying that you have to develop the strength of certain muscles and then you have to maintain them with conditioning...by practicing often.
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
People are equal, yeh, but some people are more equal than others, no?!
I think Nick Griffin likes to think exactly the same thing. Yeah maybe there are things you wouldn't be so good at in but i think that's probably more to do with the fact that you're not interested in them rather than not being able to do it.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Legobeast, are your sticks touching your palms during your fastest playing? Real speed comes from the fingers and if your stick is crushed against your palm...perhaps you need to evaluate your technique. When I play fast singles, my stick is almost floating with very little of my skin on the stick, (just fingertips and fulcrum).
This could open up a can of worms. It is possible to play fast with just wrists, but to achieve real speed you need to do 50% of the work and let the rebound do the other 50%. That means allowing the stick to do it's thing without subtracting any energy from the rebound. Fast playing is all about controlling the bounce. I think most different techniques would agree on this point.
 

mcbike

Silver Member
i think an overlooked key to speed here is mental.
how come alot of drummers can play singles faster leading with their dominant hand than if they lead with their weak hand? it should be irrelevant right?

jojo mayer says the secret to playing fast is being able to think fast.

relaxation is a big part of it too.

alot of drummers already have the neccesary strength and possibly even the technique to play fast, but they don't have the relaxation and the mental ability to think fast.

the best way to break that is to practice so your mind no longer is in the equation and you are firing on muscle memory.

i reccomend secret weapons of the modern drummer by jojo mayer to anybody who wants to develop their speed.
 

legobeast

Member
More good points, except the comparison with Nick Griffin, which I will ignore!

A number of folks have mentioned the Secret Weapons DVD by Jojo Mayer. Mcbike mentioned it, and Larryace raised the issue about letting the sticks do the work, which Jojo makes a big thing out of on his DVD. Actually, I am lucky enough to have that. I didn't really get his ideas on practising the use of the fingers one at a time, and building up to using them altogether. Until, that was, that I somehow just noticed when trying to improve rudiments strokes (having somehow perhaps unconsciously taken in what he had been saying) that it was easier to free up the hand, pivot the stick and use the fingers to push the pivot movement along. Probably, I should try to go back to the DVD and work through that technique more systematically.

Grooveweapon,

Thanks a lot for those assessments. They pretty much sum up many of the contributors views, and those percentage values seem to make a lot of sense. I think that I do personally have a reasonable sense of groove, but see now that the speed thing will take a lot of work. Patience is clearly critical. Worthy of its own separate category, perhaps.

As mentioned, there have been a number of comments on Jojo Mayers DVD. Any other really useful resources for these kinds of things, that are perhaps not too heavy on the basic rudiments (in isolation from kit work and the overall aim of making music). Someone mentioned Stick Control, which has been around a long time. Who's that by?

Any other similarly valuable books/DVDs?

Cheers all. Off to the pad now!
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
More good points, except the comparison with Nick Griffin, which I will ignore!
okay maybe not Nick Griffin but i'm just saying it's quite dangerous to start making sweeping comments like that saying certain people are better than others not through anything in their control.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
I think Nick Griffin likes to think exactly the same thing. Yeah maybe there are things you wouldn't be so good at in but i think that's probably more to do with the fact that you're not interested in them rather than not being able to do it.
i totally agree with you! i'll admit there might be a little bit of natural ability involved with drumming, but i really think drumming talent or aptitude has more to do with things like musical passion, being raised in musical environment, starting at a young age, ambition, motivation, and having a willingness to do whatever it takes to get somewhere.

being able to play fast definitely has something to do with technique, but i think there's more to it than that. i think it also has something to do with getting your brain programmed by constant practice and repetition to the point where you can do it quickly without thinking about it. i say that because i can play a reasonably fast single stroke roll with my drum sticks on a pad, but i can also play a fast, clean single stroke roll on a tabletop with my bare hands. or at least i can do that way, way faster and cleaner than any of my non-drumming friends. the technique of playing bare handed is different than stick playing, but i believe you're calling on the same part of your brain to do it, which has been burned in by practice and repetition.
 

legobeast

Member
No worries Eddiehimself!

My point is more that people have different talents, and some of those may relate to rhythm and through that drumming. Heh, people are all great. I happen to be an English guy married to a fab African lady, so you could say that Nick Griffin is not exactly a big hero of mine!!!

Still, I totally agree with the overall thrust of the discussion, that the key is dedication. I need to find a lot of it from somewhere, coz there's a lot of catching up to do. Am really keen to do my best, though. Heh, THE DRUMS, what an absolutely cool instrument. If there was a god, I would absolutely thank him that I made the discovery a couple of years ago!

James
 
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