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  #1  
Old 08-14-2009, 12:56 PM
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Default Learning free stroke - technique checkup

dns

After playing for a number of years without proper hand technique, I recently decided to change this around. So I'm just getting started with the free stroke. I feel like I've gotten the basic stroke down (at slow tempos), and I want to make sure I'm doing it right. I recorded myself with my crap camera and made these gifs (pardon the messy background - that's my Line6 guitar amp, TD6, and ironing board ;))

Slowed down a tad:


Slowed down a bit further:


Look okay? I feel like I might be lifting my wrist a bit too high sometimes - you can see that the stick height isn't 100% identical from stroke to stroke. Also sometimes the stick ends up slipping down in my hand after a couple of strokes, I think I'm losing control of the fulcrum. Gonna work on these things plus speed while doing rudiments with a metronome, but does it look like I have the basic idea down?
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  #2  
Old 08-15-2009, 04:16 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

It looks good (and I am a total expert on the free stroke, I studied it with Dom Famularo). You are just a little stiff but that's going to go away with practice. I would say do the 2 to 50 a couple of times a week (or more if you like), and then move on to half and low strokes. Oh, one more thing: are you a rightie? In that case, lets check your weaker hand also. If it is significantly worse than your right, you should drill it heavily now. What I do for that type if situation is do the 2 to 50, but my strong hand stops counting at 6. that way, you end up with a four to one ratio between weak and strong hand. Just an idea for unbalanced practice.

Thanks for posting these vids!

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  #3  
Old 08-15-2009, 04:35 PM
donv donv is offline
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hissig Gompen View Post
dns

After playing for a number of years without proper hand technique, I recently decided to change this around. So I'm just getting started with the free stroke. I feel like I've gotten the basic stroke down (at slow tempos), and I want to make sure I'm doing it right. I recorded myself with my crap camera and made these gifs (pardon the messy background - that's my Line6 guitar amp, TD6, and ironing board ;))

Slowed down a tad:


Slowed down a bit further:


Look okay? I feel like I might be lifting my wrist a bit too high sometimes - you can see that the stick height isn't 100% identical from stroke to stroke. Also sometimes the stick ends up slipping down in my hand after a couple of strokes, I think I'm losing control of the fulcrum. Gonna work on these things plus speed while doing rudiments with a metronome, but does it look like I have the basic idea down?
I agree with Casper. I notice though that your shirt sleeve makes you look like you're maybe leaning too much into your stroke which could be causing you to tense up. This just might be a visual perspective thing though? What do you think Casper?
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Old 08-15-2009, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

What do you experts think of his thumb and index finger (the fulcrum) I think its a bit too 'around the stick'. But then again I'm certanly no expert. I'm also in a process of learning this technique.
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  #5  
Old 08-15-2009, 08:04 PM
ermghoti ermghoti is offline
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

^ Maybe. I thought you were starting to release your fingers a little early. You have the JoJo disc? It's pretty awesome for fundamentals, IMO.
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  #6  
Old 08-16-2009, 07:45 AM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

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Originally Posted by donv View Post
I agree with Casper. I notice though that your shirt sleeve makes you look like you're maybe leaning too much into your stroke which could be causing you to tense up. This just might be a visual perspective thing though? What do you think Casper?
It could be. I think it is okay...after a few thousand free strokes, those kins get worked out, in my experience. In fact, I find that (almost) endless repetition works really well for me. A teacher can tell you certain things, and guide you, but in the end, you must discover those things for yourself, otherwise, it is just stuff you know, and you don't have tome for that on the stage, to retrieve that. But the stuff you learned while playing for many hours, the same thing, over and over, that is just part of you once you have it...
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  #7  
Old 08-17-2009, 07:13 AM
Chrispb7 Chrispb7 is offline
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

Hi, i figured i'd post a small question in here so i don't have to start a whole new thread.

I just read Dom's book and something that popped out at me is the idea of muscle
memory. does this mean its bad to be doing fills, etc with just wrist, not free stroke?
I mean, i would do fills with freestroke but i'm still learning it, so should i just take some
time off from jamming out and get the free stroke down decently before jamming again?
or is it ok to use just wrists sometimes?
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  #8  
Old 08-17-2009, 07:58 AM
donv donv is offline
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrispb7 View Post
Hi, i figured i'd post a small question in here so i don't have to start a whole new thread.

I just read Dom's book and something that popped out at me is the idea of muscle
memory. does this mean its bad to be doing fills, etc with just wrist, not free stroke?
I mean, i would do fills with freestroke but i'm still learning it, so should i just take some
time off from jamming out and get the free stroke down decently before jamming again?
or is it ok to use just wrists sometimes?
This is just my opinion, but I've found the best way to get something down is by playing. I would not quit jamming to "get something down."
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  #9  
Old 08-17-2009, 10:32 AM
JPW JPW is offline
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

When I jam I don't think about technique anyways. That's not what music is about. But if I notice I'm using free-stroke somewhere where I didn't used to I make a mental note and try to replicate it. That way I can push my new technique to new areas of playing. Eventually it will overtake most areas. Definitely don't stop playing.
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  #10  
Old 08-17-2009, 07:22 PM
Chrispb7 Chrispb7 is offline
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

alright awesome thanks guys.

Do you use freestroke for just about everything... including on the hi hat?
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  #11  
Old 08-18-2009, 03:00 AM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

Someone, please, correct me if I am wrong...

The stroke you are showing is really not something that you will use too, too often. It is what you might call the full stroke version o the "Free Stroke." You're really not going to find yourself using the full stroke for too many situations. Most of the time you will use shorter versions of this stroke.

What happens, however, when you practice "Free Stroke" with the full motion is that it will train your hands to the technique. You will learn the feel, and better understand how it works. It is helping you learn how to control the stick in a more efficient and effective way. This is a stepping stone to other strokes as well. For instance, the better you are at the free stroke, the faster you will be able to learn to execute the Moeller, and you will be more efficient with it.

The Free Stroke is the first step to help you learn to control your stick more effectively. And, at learning how to control rebound more Efficiently, which is your next step!.
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  #12  
Old 08-18-2009, 02:09 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrispb7 View Post
Hi, i figured i'd post a small question in here so i don't have to start a whole new thread.

I just read Dom's book and something that popped out at me is the idea of muscle
memory. does this mean its bad to be doing fills, etc with just wrist, not free stroke?
I mean, i would do fills with freestroke but i'm still learning it, so should i just take some
time off from jamming out and get the free stroke down decently before jamming again?
or is it ok to use just wrists sometimes?
The free stroke is generated from the wrist. At least in German position...so I am not clear what you are asking in the first half on your post.
No, keep playing! Never stop playing. Just notice how your playing benefits from your learning the stroke...
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  #13  
Old 08-26-2009, 01:21 AM
roboboticus roboboticus is offline
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

I've been introducing my hands to the free stroke as well, doing about what's shown above, and have a related question—

Being something of a beginner, I'm starting to work on rudiments, mostly single stroke rolls and double stroke rolls. I'm starting very slow, playing eighth-notes at 50 bpm (so, 100 eighth-notes per minute), in part to work slow enough to focus on my free-stroke.

Playing at such slow speeds, my hands spend a fair amount of time poised at the top of the catch, waiting for the next throw. What I'm wondering is if I should indeed be doing this, or if I should instead let my wrist hang in a relaxed position, then lift the stick in preparation for the upcoming free-stroke. I guess I wouldn't be carrying the stick back to it's original height on the rebound/catch, but just keeping loose enough to avoid choking the stick.

Thanks for any help :)
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  #14  
Old 08-26-2009, 10:36 AM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

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Originally Posted by roboboticus View Post
I've been introducing my hands to the free stroke as well, doing about what's shown above, and have a related question—

Being something of a beginner, I'm starting to work on rudiments, mostly single stroke rolls and double stroke rolls. I'm starting very slow, playing eighth-notes at 50 bpm (so, 100 eighth-notes per minute), in part to work slow enough to focus on my free-stroke.

Playing at such slow speeds, my hands spend a fair amount of time poised at the top of the catch, waiting for the next throw. What I'm wondering is if I should indeed be doing this, or if I should instead let my wrist hang in a relaxed position, then lift the stick in preparation for the upcoming free-stroke. I guess I wouldn't be carrying the stick back to it's original height on the rebound/catch, but just keeping loose enough to avoid choking the stick.

Thanks for any help :)
No never lift in preparation to a free-stroke. You should always "think down" and the rebound should lift your wrist to the proper height.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:09 AM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

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Originally Posted by JPW View Post
No never lift in preparation to a free-stroke. You should always "think down" and the rebound should lift your wrist to the proper height.
Apart from on the first stroke of course, then you always have to lift the stick.

Actually I've found when teaching that what most students struggle with is not the down part of the motion, but the up part as they have trouble follwing the stick back to it's original height. Spending some time looking at the mechanics of tracking the rebound is never wasted in my opinion.
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  #16  
Old 08-26-2009, 09:04 PM
roboboticus roboboticus is offline
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

Cool. Thanks, guys.
That 2-50 exercise is great! I'm no where near 50 yet :)
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  #17  
Old 12-07-2009, 11:58 AM
ShaunStruwig ShaunStruwig is offline
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrispb7 View Post
Hi, i figured i'd post a small question in here so i don't have to start a whole new thread.

I just read Dom's book and something that popped out at me is the idea of muscle
memory. does this mean its bad to be doing fills, etc with just wrist, not free stroke?
I mean, i would do fills with freestroke but i'm still learning it, so should i just take some
time off from jamming out and get the free stroke down decently before jamming again?
or is it ok to use just wrists sometimes?
Don't stop playing or jamming using your wrists, but don't try use the free stroke technique while jamming separate the two! The idea with the free stroke is you practice it and build muscle memory and eventually it will just happen with out you having to think about it. Hope that helps!
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  #18  
Old 12-07-2009, 12:02 PM
ShaunStruwig ShaunStruwig is offline
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

How long does the free stroke technique take to work into your playing? I practice this for 1 hour everyday?
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  #19  
Old 12-07-2009, 12:12 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

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Originally Posted by ShaunStruwig View Post
How long does the free stroke technique take to work into your playing? I practice this for 1 hour everyday?
If you mean you can free stroke everything, it depends on what tempo you are doing most of your playing. And also it depends how developed your hand were before you started practicing the free stroke. So quite hard to say. Even if you practice 1 hours or 4 hours it depends how you are practicing it. But even if you don't do clean free strokes every storke, practicing it will also help those non-free stroke tempos.
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:53 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

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Originally Posted by ChipJohns View Post
Someone, please, correct me if I am wrong...

The stroke you are showing is really not something that you will use too, too often. It is what you might call the full stroke version o the "Free Stroke." You're really not going to find yourself using the full stroke for too many situations. Most of the time you will use shorter versions of this stroke.
That's obviously it. You need to practice the relaxation in exaggeration to get comfortable when speed up.
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  #21  
Old 12-07-2009, 04:16 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

how did you make this GIF :):):)
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  #22  
Old 12-08-2009, 05:52 AM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

Something like gifninja. Take your pick.

http://www.google.com/search?q=video...ient=firefox-a
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  #23  
Old 12-08-2009, 07:01 AM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

I actually used Camtasia but it's probably overkill for something this small.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:27 AM
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  #24  
Old 12-08-2009, 01:43 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

Hm, I always understood the free stroke just as a way to learn stick rebound and then link that to your fingers. Using the free stroke in playing seems quite impractical, you can't go very fast when you have to throw the stick down with every stroke. Also, the free stroke won't be very effective on low-tuned toms where there's not much rebound.

So thus far, I've only used free stroke as a way to learn stick rebound and in real playing I just use a loose wrist stroke with some fingers.
When I play this I can feel the stick vibrating in my hands as if I was playing free strokes. The "hollow" echo sound is also present.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:49 PM
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Hm, I always understood the free stroke just as a way to learn stick rebound and then link that to your fingers. Using the free stroke in playing seems quite impractical, you can't go very fast when you have to throw the stick down with every stroke. Also, the free stroke won't be very effective on low-tuned toms where there's not much rebound.

So thus far, I've only used free stroke as a way to learn stick rebound and in real playing I just use a loose wrist stroke with some fingers.
That's just not true. Have you something to back that up? There's no reason why free stroke when performed correctly wouldn't be the fastest and energysaving way to play. And you do realize you don't have to play free strokes with full strokes, theres low and half versions of it too. I think most fast players play with the same priciple as how free stroke works they just don't call it the free stroke because they didn't learn it that way. Also, you can do free stroke without any rebound, but then you just have to work harder on the way up pulling the stick. But you'd have to do it anyways with any technique when playing without rebound. So, any theories how anything else would be better? =P
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:53 AM
ShaunStruwig ShaunStruwig is offline
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That's just not true. Have you something to back that up? There's no reason why free stroke when performed correctly wouldn't be the fastest and energysaving way to play. And you do realize you don't have to play free strokes with full strokes, theres low and half versions of it too. I think most fast players play with the same priciple as how free stroke works they just don't call it the free stroke because they didn't learn it that way. Also, you can do free stroke without any rebound, but then you just have to work harder on the way up pulling the stick. But you'd have to do it anyways with any technique when playing without rebound. So, any theories how anything else would be better? =P
4 playing on no rebound surfaces you do an exercise called the hot stove technique where you pull up as soon as you hit the surface! (like touchign a hot stove and getting burnt and quickly pulling up!) That helps develop playing on low rebound surfaces
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ShaunStruwig View Post
4 playing on no rebound surfaces you do an exercise called the hot stove technique where you pull up as soon as you hit the surface! (like touchign a hot stove and getting burnt and quickly pulling up!) That helps develop playing on low rebound surfaces
How is that different from free stroke though? =P
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  #28  
Old 12-11-2009, 05:58 AM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

The way I understand it, the essence of the free stroke is rebound. You're letting go of the stick so it can be "free" and bounce up, like in Figure 1 below.

If you're pulling the hand and/or stick back up, it's not really a free stroke, it's a full stroke (Figure 2). Now, the stick may be rebounding with the full stroke also, but your hand is doing one of three things on the way back up:

1. Absorbing the rebound (hard surface),
2. following the rebound of the stick back up (semi-hard surface), or
3. pulling the stick back up (soft surface).

As you know, the point of the free stroke is to let the stick do the work for you. So don't do a full stroke if a free stroke will do.

Does that make sense?

Regards,

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  #29  
Old 12-11-2009, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ShaunStruwig View Post
4 playing on no rebound surfaces you do an exercise called the hot stove technique where you pull up as soon as you hit the surface! (like touchign a hot stove and getting burnt and quickly pulling up!) That helps develop playing on low rebound surfaces
I call that an up stroke. You use it any time you go from low to high. To clear up the confusion a little, the free stroke can be any speed, height and volume. In practical playing, you can see the masters do it. Just slow down a tape of, say, Steve Gadd, and you will see his fingers unfurl as only the fulcrum holds the stick. Then it bounces back again. Other times, you will use different strokes, but the free stroke is a very fundamental stroke.

And of course, you can hit a drum many different ways....the free stroke just happens to work very well for a lot of people...

Casper
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:03 AM
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The way I understand it, the essence of the free stroke is rebound. You're letting go of the stick so it can be "free" and bounce up, like in Figure 1 below.

If you're pulling the hand and/or stick back up, it's not really a free stroke, it's a full stroke (Figure 2). Now, the stick may be rebounding with the full stroke also, but your hand is doing one of three things on the way back up:

1. Absorbing the rebound (hard surface),
2. following the rebound of the stick back up (semi-hard surface), or
3. pulling the stick back up (soft surface).

As you know, the point of the free stroke is to let the stick do the work for you. So don't do a full stroke if a free stroke will do.

Does that make sense?
The way I understand it the full stroke just means stick height and doesn't really imply how the stroke is done. Essentially, like Casper said, if you have less rebound your free stroke gets more of that upstroke character. The way you think about it in your head is the same, your wrists just work a bit harder, so essentially it still is a free stroke.
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:42 PM
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The way I understand it the full stroke just means stick height and doesn't really imply how the stroke is done. Essentially, like Casper said, if you have less rebound your free stroke gets more of that upstroke character. The way you think about it in your head is the same, your wrists just work a bit harder, so essentially it still is a free stroke.
That is correct! Very well said.
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

Where can I find good instructional information like what you have displayed in this thread on using the free stoke with traditional grip?
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  #33  
Old 12-11-2009, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

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Originally Posted by Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan View Post
I would say do the 2 to 50 a couple of times a week (or more if you like), and then move on to half and low strokes.

Casper
Can you explain or provide a link regarding the 2-50 exercise? I'm lost!

Thanks!
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:13 PM
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The way I understand it the full stroke just means stick height and doesn't really imply how the stroke is done.
Yes, that is a really good point. And of course Casper is right, it could be an upstroke, it all depends on what came before.

But in the case of #1 in my example, how can you still call it a freestroke, when the stick is not being allowed to rebound?

Regards,

Alex
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:45 PM
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But in the case of #1 in my example, how can you still call it a freestroke, when the stick is not being allowed to rebound?
It's still a free stroke because you use the same muscles and nerves and the same mental image performing it. Only thing that is lacking is the amount of rebound. And there isn't really any surface that is completely without rebound except air, and even then you can use free stroke, it just feels a bit odd. To me free stroke is a way to perform a stroke, it doesn't matter how fast I'm playing, how much rebound I have or how high the stroke is performed or with how much force is put in to it. Ideally that is. When there's less rebound or not at all, then I will just pull my hand quickly up, but I'm still perfoming a free stroke in my mind.

I realize most people just check this think called "free stroke" out, play a little with it using full strokes and then just move on. Even on Jojo's DVD it was quite quickly explained and it wasn't really refered to that much after that. I rarely hear about people like Casper who have actually put huge amounts of time to really master it. Of course it can be hard to understand how it works if you only have played a little with it.

But let me just assure you that I can play full stroke free strokes on pillow. To me the definition of free stroke just says that you use _whatever rebound you get_ to your _advantage_. If you have none, then you just manually take your hand to the next position, what ever it is then. Unless free stroke is defined that way, you really couldn't do up or down strokes with it because any absorbing of rebound would mean it wasn't a free stroke anymore. Hence I define it like I did.
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Old 12-12-2009, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

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Originally Posted by JPW View Post
It's still a free stroke because you use the same muscles and nerves and the same mental image performing it. Only thing that is lacking is the amount of rebound.
I disagree. Free stoke means the stick is free to rebound back to the original position. If it can't rebound that far (on a pillow for example), you might have to help it somewhat but it's still a free stroke. If, on the other hand, the stick is not allowed to rebound, like in Alex Luce's example, it's no longer a free stoke but a control stroke.
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Old 12-12-2009, 05:52 PM
JPW JPW is offline
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

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Originally Posted by Fiery View Post
I disagree. Free stoke means the stick is free to rebound back to the original position. If it can't rebound that far (on a pillow for example), you might have to help it somewhat but it's still a free stroke. If, on the other hand, the stick is not allowed to rebound, like in Alex Luce's example, it's no longer a free stoke but a control stroke.
Of course when it's not allowed to rebound it's control or down stroke which ever you call it. But I understood Alex Luce saying that if we still use the same stick height like full stroke and we haven't got rebound on the surface played that it wouldn't be free stroke anymore (full strokes on a pillow). And that's what I disagreed on. Sorry if I misunderstood something that was being said.
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Old 12-12-2009, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

JPW, Alex Luce said "...when the stick is not being allowed to rebound..." so there seems to have been a slight misunderstanding, but all's clear now I believe.
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:04 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

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Originally Posted by Mr. Brownstone View Post
Can you explain or provide a link regarding the 2-50 exercise? I'm lost!

Thanks!
http://drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56252
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: Learning free stroke - technique checkup

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Originally Posted by hunterde View Post
Where can I find good instructional information like what you have displayed in this thread on using the free stoke with traditional grip?
Pop in your JoJo DVD....
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