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Old 04-19-2013, 05:39 AM
Paramac66 Paramac66 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7
Default Re: Hand technique concepts - Jojo Mayer vs. Bill Bachman?

Hi SEVNT7, I know what you mean when you say Bill is Stiff and I can agree with you.. I also can see why people are defending him saying he's not stiff... You're talking about that real loose Jack Dejohnette, Elvin Jones, Tony looseness that Bill doesn't possess..Bill is real good but you're spot on with what you're saying. What you're observing is a much more subtle difference and it's hard to see unless one knows both worlds or at least the bebop technique world.. I know this personally because I didn't get into that looseness until I was in my 30s and started checking out the be bop guys and then the 60s guys I mentioned.. It's hard to see and know that looseness you're describing.. Personally I had to have it pointed out to me over and over by guys like Ralph Peterson, Ian Froman and others and prior to that, I had pretty dam good technique but not that looseness swinging technique, touch, finesse, loose open sound you're talking about..

Originally Posted by SEVNT7 View Post
"Bachman is not stiff I can tell you that. The number one thing he teaches is having loose hands.

"The reason it looks stiff I think is because of two things. He uses more wrist then fingers when playing slower which means the butt of the stick is closer to his palm but it never ever touches the palm except for when playing downstrokes.

The second reason it looks stiff is because of the strict stick heights on accents, downstrokes and taps." Evil Drummer

"His shoulders and sound are what I'm talking about. His elbows are almost always held out from his side ( Shoulder tightness). His wrists are not straight at impact. His arms are going downhill at impact, past parallel to the ground. All things that are signs and causes of tightness or rigidity. These types of habits also make sound ridged and very hard to flow and swing relaxed". SEVNT7

I stand by this original posts. I even said, "Bachman is good". I like Bill Bachman. I just think Jojo's approach is better for Drum Set, Swinging and Endurance. The tightness and stiffness I point to is not in his hands, it's in his shoulders. By holding your elbows out to your side, away from your body, you have to use your shoulder, neck and upper back muscles to keep your arms (elbows) away from your body. This causes unnecessary tension. When not using shoulders and upper arms to motivate the stick to the drumhead, your elbow should be relaxed by your side, not held out away from your body. Bachman almost always has a set point away from his body with his elbows, weather he is using "Moeller" type arm motions or not. When he Does use "Moeller" his elbows do not complete there path to his side to relax after initial whip stroke, but stop short to his set point away from his body. That also causes stiffness in the "Moeller" tradition. Stiff is stiff.

I see this elbow set out position problematic and coming from two basic areas.

1- "Modern Corp Technique" which is, what Bill's approach is.
2- Snare, too close to the body

"His wrists are not straight? What do you mean, like in german grip? He avoids german grip because it's a disadvantageous grip for finger use (only grip he doesn't recommend practicing). Is that what you are saying?

"His arms are going downhill because at downstrokes bill advocates that the stick should point down and not parallel to the drum so the stick doesn't bounce back as much. He wants to stop the stick as fast as possible so he can play loose taps as fast as possible in between downstrokes, up and full strokes. Really there is nothing about bills technique that doesn't make sense to me. It looks stiff but it's very loose." Evil Drummer

"Are you aware that he's adding the arm motion wherever it makes sense? That is, to reduce impact on the wrists and save energy at higher to super high playing speed? Did you ever check out one of his improvisations? Well my ears couldn't make out anything 'rigid' - quite the opposite, he has an unbelievably easy and relaxed flow.

That arm motion you're talking of is exactly what has helped me the last few days... to get the 6-stroke roll @ 130 bpm (32nd notes). Do I feel like I'm playing in a smart way, utilizing all motions that make sense (including the pumping arm motion so your upper body is contributing to the playing and actually reducing the stress on the wrists)? Yes.

Subscribe to his new project for a single month, check out a few of his videos, play along to this and you'll see for yourself whether Bill's 'philosophy' makes sense.

Also, his tight thumb grip (leaving no gap between the thumb and index finger) makes perfect sense, too - providing more control over the stick, to help controlling rebound and/or stopping the stick whenever needed. Personally I haven't identified anything in Bill's technique that doesn't make sense - admittedly, I'm not too sophisticated in drumming, with my 2.5 yrs into it but I'm sure others can confirm what I'm saying. " Arky

His wrists do not come to a flush angle with his arm for many reasons.

1- His arms are angled down at impact. Snare too low.
2- His elbows are held out to there side.
3- More wrist pronation than arm turn
4- His elbows do not relax or finish to his side after the whip stroke "Moeller"

Jim Chapin was very adamant about several things that are in relation to these issues. Everything must stay relaxed from then neck down, including the shoulders. Wrist pronation is unnecessary and causes undo tension in the forearms. Fingers in "German" position DO work well . But you have to be able to open your hand naturally, when your hand and arm are down. (Ala Gordy Knudson, Open close/push-pull techniques) This does not work if you have the hand and arm positions described above.
Also, just because you are not always going to use a "Moeller" style technique all the time, these principles in relation to tightness and stiffness still apply.

Having your hand in "American" grip in my opinion is one of the biggest causes of undo tension. The closed gap idea with the forefinger and thumb ("Iron Thumb" Jim Chapin ) for control, comes from necessity, not choice. As there is nothing on top of the stick like the thumb in "French" grip., I Say HOOEY. If you use "German" grip with your arm angle correct, snare height at least as high as your belt line, extend your hand away from your arm plane, your fingers can be used very easily, and your whole hand is on top of the stick. This means no necessity to hold, or squeeze the thumb and forefinger. Jojo's video show this.

As to Bill's actual playing, I like it. He is a great and superior Corp player. But on a drum set it sounds to stiff to me. I can't do some of the Corp stuff that he does, but then again I don't really practice that stuff. Neil Peart also sounds stiff to me and does not swing ( Buddy Rich Memorial Concert vids) Have you seen these. I like Neil's work with Rush. But he sounds like a High School kid with good time when he plays Jazz or Blues Shuffles. He too is from the school of holding the elbows out to the side, peculiar.

I am a Drum Set Player and Teacher by trade. Iv'e been playing drums for 41 years and been teaching for over 30 years. I am also a "Moeller" expert ???, well, that's for someone else to say. Iv'e been studying "Moeller" since High School and I'm 53, That's a while.

I know this is not a "Moeller" thread. But the principles it teaches are universal in getting the sticks to do what you want them to do, WITHOUT tension and tightness.

I think Bachman's teaching methods are great. and his approach to rudiments is cool. But I want to learn from a guy that sounds and plays relaxed and free of tension, that's Jojo. I also think Tommy Igoe's approach to over all playing is more natural and relaxed. Have you guys heard him play Swing?

I am not here to make enemies, I'm here to try to learn and help when I can. No offense ever meant or implied......have a Great Drumming Day .......T Moran (SEVNT7)
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