Are some drum techniques universal truths?

aydee

Platinum Member
...

I was playing with myself today.

wait....

Playing around with techinques & exploring skills that are not really part of my repertoire, and this got me thinking and wondering....

I think all the great teachers will concur that there isn't one particular way of doing anything - and that there can be many paths to arrive at the same goal.
Most of them advise that you could use or develop technique that comes more naturally to you ( as long as you arent doing anything obviously stupid or harmful to yourself ) to get there.

However, in my little session with myself today, I arrived at some conclusions, which to me seem more like universal truth. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but these seem to mostly hold true :

1) Moeller is THE most relaxed way of playing the drums ( hands & feet )
2) Traditional grip gives you much better left hand development & control
3) Matched grip is always more powerful ( Vinnie 'the alien' excluded )
4) Heel Toe allows you play stuffz on the bass drum that you could only dream of

Would you agree?

disagree?

Are there any other absolute truths about drumming technique?



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WhoIsTony?

Member
I think "Moeller" is the most absolutely natural of all techniques.

I put it in quotes because I don't believe in calling it "Moeller" even though that is the universal term for it.
I don't call it "Moeller" because I was never taught what I call whip drop and discovered it on my own as a child and I personally think it is kind of silly to give one man credit for discovering a completely natural movement that every drummer will eventually find on their own if they play enough .....as opposed to something like heel/toe that is not a natural motion....I would consider slide very natural....another one I discovered on my own trying to emulate the sound of John Bonham as a kid ....but thats for another thread

calling that motion "Moeller technique" to me is sort of like me calling walking the "Tony two step"
most everyone will eventually walk barring some unfortunate situation.
just a personal thing.....although I have heard others agree

at my very first lesson my teacher asked me where I had learned "Moeller technique"
I had no idea what he was talking about.
he explained .
I had been doing it for years naturally.

I do understand that this is what is universally known as ...so when I teach it I always let the student know that they may hear this referred to as "Moeller"
I also never force the whip drop issue ...I just kind of guide it because I see it happening naturally in just about every student who has passion for the instrument .

but yes....definitely the most relaxed natural movement of kinetic energy.
I tell my students that if they look in the mirror while doing alternate whip drop motions their elbows should look like kinetic balls.


I also disagree with #3

my traditional grip ....as well as just about every player who plays traditional ....can be as powerful if not more powerful than matched.
Elvin Jones, Tony WIlliams, Art Blakey, Keith Carlock, Steve Jordan, Stewart Copeland, Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, Todd Sucherman, etc.... are all prove this theory to be quite flimsy .

often players not accustomed to the grip find it difficult to release power...but that is simply due to not having complete control of it.

someone with complete control of the grip can express equal the power of matched .....no question

back to playing with myself

:)
 

Grolubao

Senior Member
For me the only universal truth is playing relaxed. Thing is there are many levels of playing relaxed. I know many people that swear they are playing relaxed but they're not.

In my opinion Spivack's grip is the only one that gives you absolute relaxation whilst playing. I'm very analytical and I've compared many grips and this is my far the most relaxing one, by having the least amount of fingers in contact with the stick.

Apart from that the whipping motion is natural and for me another absolute truth, although I agree it shouldn't be called moeller
 

aydee

Platinum Member
I also disagree with #3

my traditional grip ....as well as just about every player who plays traditional ....can be as powerful if not more powerful than matched.
Elvin Jones, Tony WIlliams, Art Blakey, Keith Carlock, Steve Jordan, Stewart Copeland, Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, Todd Sucherman, etc.... are all prove this theory to be quite flimsy .
Great post, WIT.

Conceded that the guys who play it well seem to have no limitations, whatsoever. Btw, did you hear that Weckl's been complaining ( publlcally ) about the damage that he's done to his left hand because of playing trad. The muscle and tendons between his lower left thumb and index finger seem to be damaged beyond repair according to him.
Cant really tell from his playing, eh?

Spivack's grip is the only one that gives you absolute relaxation whilst playing. I'm very analytical and I've compared many grips and this is my far the most relaxing one, by having the least amount of fingers in contact with the stick.
Ya I tried that grip too, while playing with myself.and the sticks kept flying out of my hand. My old teacher from way back when, Sam Ulano would always way " Thats a good thing ! ". Alas, never really mastered it.


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cornelius

Silver Member
I agree about Moeller - and yeah it is a very natural grip. Lots of players stumble on it, but like a lot of things, it can be helpful to define and recognize it and boil down the possibilities.

I'm not sure what you mean about Trad having better hand development but I can get as much control with the various Matched grips, as I can with Trad.

I also think Matched will give anyone more power. It's just how our bodies are made - there's no way my little thumb is going to absorb the same impact as my entire hand - especially over the long run. There are a lot of Trad players complaining about left hand pain these days...
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
...


1) Moeller is THE most relaxed way of playing the drums ( hands & feet )
2) Traditional grip gives you much better left hand development & control
3) Matched grip is always more powerful ( Vinnie 'the alien' excluded )
4) Heel Toe allows you play stuffz on the bass drum that you could only dream of

Would you agree?

disagree?

Are there any other absolute truths about drumming technique



...
#1. To me Moeller is only used for accenting, not all the time. So I get confused because you imply that Moeller is being utilized always. In my mind, Moeller is the whip. When you aren't whipping, you're not doing Moeller. That's my perception of Moeller anyway, not sure if it's "right". Anyone, feel free to correct me. And Moeller with the feet? I don't know what you're talking about. Can anyone verify that Moeller is used with the feet? How do you whip your ankle/foot? I admit I could be ignorant to this, I just never heard of it before.

#2. For some people not all. Some people, like me, don't like trad grip. If you asked me, I would say that to get the most even sound, used matched. But there are trad grip players who are perfectly even sounding. I just think it's harder to get there with trad than matched. JMO.

#3. No statement with the word always can be accurate. Everyone is different.

#4. Probably. I never really tried to develop it so I can't speak intelligently about it. But it seems to be the truest statement up there, IMO.

There are so many ways to work drumsticks and pedals. I don't know that any one universal truth could possibly apply to everyone. The world and the people in it are too diverse to pigeonhole.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
No statement with the word always can be accurate. Everyone is different.

The world and the people in it are too diverse to pigeonhole.
There are no absolutes!

Oh wait, that statement is an absolute. Now I'm confused.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
Great post, WIT.

Conceded that the guys who play it well seem to have no limitations, whatsoever. Btw, did you hear that Weckl's been complaining ( publlcally ) about the damage that he's done to his left hand because of playing trad. The muscle and tendons between his lower left thumb and index finger seem to be damaged beyond repair according to him.
Cant really tell from his playing, eh?



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I have heard this about Weckl

When I was studying with him he was attributing it somewhat to the years he spent using poor posture , in particular how he used to dip his left shoulder then compensate his stick angle with his wrist.
He has had many back surgeries for problems created by his playing posture.
He claims the ergonomics that Gruber turned him on to have remedied most of his pain.

It has been over a year since I spoke to him about this and it is possible that the diagnosis has changed.
But last August he was attributing his pain to the years of his wrist compensating for his poor posture.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
- there's no way my little thumb is going to absorb the same impact as my entire hand - especially over the long run. There are a lot of Trad players complaining about left hand pain these days...
I figure, if Dave Weckl, a great exponent of the trad grip, is complaining of long term damage to his left hand, the least one can conclude is that it isnt as powerful.

But like I said these are just personal feelings I experienced with a practice session dedicated to techniques which were out of my box. Im not a teacher or a technician.


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aydee

Platinum Member
I have heard this about Weckl

But last August he was attributing his pain to the years of his wrist compensating for his poor posture.
I think our posts crossed like ships in the night... well, there's our answer. Although, I do think the damage to his left hand is eventually due to the squeezing motion ( sorry, thats the best description I can muster... ) the grip requires. Im sure it must have been caused by poor posture to begin with.


There are no absolutes!
Of course there are, and I play em.

Yamaha absolute maple customs. Absolutely delicious drums!

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Coldhardsteel

Gold Member
I think the universal truths lie in the ideas that are expanded upon in each of the techniques. Moeller says relaxation, matched says a full quality of sound. Why can't you marry those things in how you play? We always tell young players to turn the wrist and maintain a fulcrum, why aren't those considered universal truths? Or maybe they are.
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
I'll add a "universal truth" of mine and see if it sticks...

The fulcrum is the part of the grip that should never be compromised, regardless of whether it's trad or matched.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Here's one: The fulcrum is defined as the part of the stick where the direction changes. So it depends on where you put your hand. I like when people say, grab the stick at the fulcrum. Not to be confused with the balance point of the stick. There is a balance point of the stick, and some people like to make the fulcrum there or close to there, and others who hold the stick at the very back. And others who use all kinds of different positions on the stick depending on what tone/volume they are going for. When I have to play super quiet, since I hate rods, I grab the stick near the shoulder. You just can't play loud very easily when you have only 4" of stick protruding.
 

dazzlez

Senior Member
#1. To me Moeller is only used for accenting, not all the time. So I get confused because you imply that Moeller is being utilized always. In my mind, Moeller is the whip. When you aren't whipping, you're not doing Moeller. That's my perception of Moeller anyway, not sure if it's "right". Anyone, feel free to correct me. And Moeller with the feet? I don't know what you're talking about. Can anyone verify that Moeller is used with the feet? How do you whip your ankle/foot? I admit I could be ignorant to this, I just never heard of it before.
.
"Moeller with the feet" is what some people(jojo mayer) call the heel toe technique because it's the same idea. The whip is the first hit with the ball of the foot and then it's tap with your toe's once or twice just like with your hand. It's a bit different from the hands because the hits should be even. I personally think that you can use Moeller motion when playing without accent's with your hands as well. I don't know if it's correct to call it Moeller because he liked to accent but I definitely use the exact same motion but I just don't accent the whip and play it as soft as the taps really relaxed.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
"Moeller with the feet" is what some people(jojo mayer) call the heel toe technique because it's the same idea. The whip is the first hit with the ball of the foot and then it's tap with your toe's once or twice just like with your hand. It's a bit different from the hands because the hits should be even. I personally think that you can use Moeller motion when playing without accent's with your hands as well. I don't know if it's correct to call it Moeller because he liked to accent but I definitely use the exact same motion but I just don't accent the whip and play it as soft as the taps really relaxed.
OK this puts a different perspective on it, thanks.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
We play better when we listen to the overall piece and the band sound rather than mostly to our themselves worrying about drumming minutiae.

Even when you do everything wrong like I do and have two left hands and two left feet, if you listen well, play nicely with others (musically and personally) and have some imagination you can still be a functional band member.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
The most important universal truth in drumming is the free stroke. It is the most relaxed way of playing notes of the same volume. Realize that you cannot play a string of notes using whipping motion without involving accents. That means that probably over 80% of the actual strokes that you play on a drumset are free.

Logically, it must precede the whipping motion because one first must be able to control a single dynamic level before controlling two ( or more) dynamic levels. The Moeller stroke is used when playing two dynamic levels (accent and tap)

Bill Bachman once told me that everyone's free stroke looks the same once they master it. If that doesn't qualify as universal then I don't know what would,
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
...that there isn't one particular way of doing anything... you could use or develop technique that comes more naturally to you...



Are there any other absolute truths about drumming technique?
The absolute truth about technique is to use/develop what works for you... it's as simple as that, of course over the years you might/may try different technique(s), or your own variation of an existing technique, or mixing techniques together... it's whatever that's gonna make you sound good.

Grea's right, even a very average drummer like myself can sound good within a band, it has a lot to do with listening, feel, taste and creativity, not technique per say, technique is a tool to express yourself and teach your body limbs to execute whatever your brain want them to do, even if it's technically "wrong", who cares, as long as it sounds good and fit the music.

My 2c on the subject...
 

JohnRick

Member
If traditional grip really was that powerful - why doesn't more people insist on playing it with both hands?

All together - matched grip has better reach, power and "symmetry". I see no reason to turn to the traditional grip if you haven't been forced to use it in a marching band/drum corps setting. Just watch the JoJo Mayer video, use matched grip and be happy.
The only "truth" I go by is that relaxation is the key to basically everything.
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
If traditional grip really was that powerful - why doesn't more people insist on playing it with both hands?

All together - matched grip has better reach, power and "symmetry". I see no reason to turn to the traditional grip if you haven't been forced to use it in a marching band/drum corps setting. Just watch the JoJo Mayer video, use matched grip and be happy.
The only "truth" I go by is that relaxation is the key to basically everything.
Maybe because, although you do have two hands, one is stronger than the other in many cases. Because of that, it's my belief that using different muscle groups on your weaker hand just might suit it better. At least this is the case with me. I am working on my matched grip more than my trad grip because I do feel as though matched grip does afford me more dexterity, but I've always got my trad grip to fall back on if needed.
 
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