Originally Posted by kernond
I believe I may be able to help you understand the mechanics of that technique so, here goes...
First, the most important aspect of this technique is the upstroke. Without a strong and fast upstroke you can forget it. You can sort of do it using only your fingers but, you will only be able to play it at a low volume and, you won't have the ability to move the stick to other parts of your kit because you simply won't have the lift that's created by a strong upstroke.
Secondly, timing is extremely important! Every component of the technique has to fall at a very specific point in time. To master this technique you will have to practice slowly at first. You can't just flail the stick around and expect it to eventually just happen.
Let's look at the components and where they have to fall on a rhythmic timeline. Think of the timeline as a one-beat measure of sixteenth-notes counted as "1 e and a".
Note: these instructions are for the matched grip.
Component A is the downstroke (occurs at "1"):
Starting from a STICK UP position, let the stick FALL to the drumhead naturally. Do not push the stick downward. If you do, you will have a very hard time achieving an even sound between the notes. There is no real effort required to do this...let it fall. (You may want to practice this component without sticks by holding your hand in the STICK UP position while maintaining light pressure at the fulcrum. If you are relaxed, you'll notice that the fingers are naturally close to your palms. Now relax the muscles that are holding your wrist up and let the hand fall naturally. Remember to maintain the fulcrum and don't drop your entire forearm. Only your hand should drop, turning at the wrist. I cannot emphasize enough that there is no real effort in this movement. Also note that, IF YOU ARE RELAXED, the wrist will naturally rise a little.)
Component B is the finger-stroke (occurs at "and"):
Okay, the first note has been played and the stick is rebounding. Play the second note using your FINGERS ONLY. There should be no other movements or efforts made. The wrist is at rest and your forearm muscles are relaxed, waiting to explode during the next Component. This relaxed state is extremely important because any tension will stifle the next (and most important) Component. I'm sure by now you realize that we've simply performed a basic Double Stroke. That's all this technique is...a series of Double Strokes. The catch is that you have to remove the time gap between the Doubles. Otherwise, your just playing a shuffle pattern. There is only one thing that can remove this time gap...Upstroke to the Rescue!
Component C is the all-important Upstroke (occurs at "a"):
This is the key to performing this technique and this is where all of the actual work is done. This is where you will make your strongest muscle contraction using the muscles located further up the forearm. The wrist is a hinge. There are muscles around your wrist but, they are used to control the trajectory that the turning wrist will follow. The real workhorse muscles are located up the forearm near the elbow. Think of the hinges on a door. You wouldn't go to open a door by pulling on the hinges would you? Of course not, you would apply force to the opposite end (the door knob) because there is better leverage meaning, less work to achieve the same or greater results. This is important to understand because, when you perform your upstroke, if you focus on pulling up from the wrist area, you will cause tension and that's a good way to go nowhere fast. Having said that, when you perform the upstroke, do it with a strong SNAPPING movement that returns the stick to the UP position. It must be quick and with good form. If you are relaxed and using the correct muscles, the wrist will naturally drop a little.
NOW, those are the components of this technique. Let's zoom out a little to get a bigger picture of what's going on. Looking at where each component falls on our rhythmic timeline, we see that the count is:
"1 - and a"
Extending this to a 4-beat measure we get:
"1 - and a 2 - and a 3 - and a 4 - and a"
That is the timing needed when PRACTICING this technique. Obviously, when playing at faster tempos you don't want to be so mechanical about things. However, at this stage you will have to be this mechanical until it becomes embedded in your mind what happens and when it should happen, rhythmically speaking.
A good exercise to help with the timing of the upstroke is:
Play the technique as described in one hand. In the other hand, play the last sixteenth-note of each beat. There will be hand-to-hand action between the two hands at that last note of each beat because the upstroke in the one hand should happen at the same time as the downstroke in the other hand. This will help you focus on the proper timing of the upstroke. However, as you get faster with this technique, you will probably abandon this exercise because its purpose will have been exhausted. Use this to simply help you with the timing.
Anyway, I hope this helps someone. It's solid information and it is precisely how I learned the technique. Good Luck!