Dropping sticks.

The Tank

Member
I played a show today, and although I played well, there was only one problem.

I dropped a stick about 5-6 times (not even kidding).

I've never even come close to dropping sticks that many times before. In fact, it's rare that I'll even drop a stick once in rehearsal. And I play lots of shows and probably only ever dropped a stick 1 or 2 times during a gig. I have no idea what happened today, it just felt like a freak fest. At the end of our set there was tons of sticks just laying all over the stage and my stick bag was empty.

It could have had to do with the fact that I've never been as sweaty as I was today while playing because it was so hot where I was playing. I was literally so sweaty that you could wring my shirt out after the set. My sticks became dark they got so wet with my sweat. But I tend to drop sticks not because of a loose grip but because while I'm moving around on the kit I'll accidentally hit it against something and it will fall out.

Man, I'm just so annoyed about this. Maybe I wouldn't be if I wasn't so bad at pulling out a new one during a song. Anyone else have similar experiences?
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I almost never drop my sticks when I play.

However! Last week I was playing on a backline setup, (not my drum set). I was in a hurry and I did not adjust anything before playing.
The cymbals and toms were not positioned where I like them. My right stick hit the cymbal wrong several times and several times the stick flew out of my hand,
but I caught it each time before it hit the ground. Very scary.

I never really thought about it too much. But I learned that the drums and cymbals need to be right where you expect them to be.
Otherwise you risk knocking a stick out of your hand. I plan on being more careful from now on.


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bud7h4

Silver Member
It happens to me when I set up differently. I'll miss a cymbal and lose the stick because I was obviously expecting contact and there was only air. Or accidentally catch the edge of a cymbal on the upstroke. I've seen the pros do that one. But I can't make too many excuses because I have always had a problem letting sticks go. On a bad day it's actually a hazard to those around me.
 

octatonic

Senior Member
My teacher always said dropping sticks isn't that much of a problem- it means you are probably being pretty loose with the sticks, which is good.

He used to say you want to be almost dropping them most of the time, any looser and they will fall out of your hand- just 1% tighter than that and you are golden.

What is a worse situation is gripping so tight that you aren't loose and relaxed.
 

Brian

Gold Member
great point by Gwetchdrummer and I studied with someone who gave similar advice. I generally practice with the mindset of being as loose as possible, just before the point of dropping them. Also, dropping sticks is going to happen, especially if you have these habits.

Having the finger control to not let them get away is the key, at least in my eyes. I'm still working on it...progress...I might get a miss-sticking or drop here and there, but the overall feel and tone is more important than being near 100% flawless yet too stiff/rigid.


Also, I tend to get drops occasionally when fatigued. That's my guess as to at least part of the OP's Tank's problems. You might want to up your potassium, sodium, electrolyte and perhaps stretch for a few minutes if you get a chance.
 

No Me Metro

Member
My instructor also told me dropping sticks is not necessarily a bad thing. He commented that I was "going for it" and "playing looser" on material that I was still learning.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Have to agree with most here.

There might be things to look at, but as we always try to stay loose and get used to a setup the margins get smaller.

I used to get my left stick caught under the hi-hat.

These days it's rare, but it's usually the right hand on some improvised fill around the kit.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I totally agree that "playing loose" is a necessity. But that said, I also think that 5 or 6 stick drops per session is well and truly excessive too.

It goes way past "loose" and delves further into the territory of "lack of control". Just like being too rigid is not desirable. Limited control over your actions is not a good place to be either.

There's a happy medium somewhere in the middle that I reckon is in danger of being over looked here.

Hopefully your last gig was an anomaly. Just be conscious of the need to exercise control......as well as the need to avoid rigidity and stay loose.

Aim for that middle ground and you'll be golden.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
I usually drop like 1 night when practicing.. last night i dropped 3.. 2 flew about 10 ft.. the third landed on a crash and just sat there... Mocking me..... I hold my sticks pretty loose, so if i catch the underside of a cymbal they are gone..
 

Joseph Naccarato

Junior Member
Hello everyone. New to the forums and loving all the fantastic drum discussions!

Curious to know what technique everyone's developed to recover from a dropped stick (and try to look nonchalant). In other words, how best to be prepared for a dropped stick?

I like to keep my spare sticks in a cup attached to the HiHat stand. If I drop my left stick, I simply take a new one with my left. But losing my right is a bit more problematic, since I would need to first shift my left stick to my right hand and then pick a new stick with my left.

Any thoughts on this?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Hello everyone. New to the forums and loving all the fantastic drum discussions!

Curious to know what technique everyone's developed to recover from a dropped stick (and try to look nonchalant). In other words, how best to be prepared for a dropped stick?

I like to keep my spare sticks in a cup attached to the HiHat stand. If I drop my left stick, I simply take a new one with my left. But losing my right is a bit more problematic, since I would need to first shift my left stick to my right hand and then pick a new stick with my left.

Any thoughts on this?
The main thing is to laugh it off. Don't worry about it. How you handle the drop trumps the drop. If you beat yourself up or you go all negative, you lose.

How do I best prepare? Just having a stick nearby. Stick drops are like snowflakes, no 2 are alike lol.

Welcome to the forum. There's drinks over there :)
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
I used to lose my sticks a lot when younger ;
I cured it with three/four solutions.
1 - lighter sticks (I'm now on basic 5A).
2 - less beer.
3 - better cymbal placement, I tend to have large moves, and now my cymbals are maybe a bit high - but I never get my sticks caught under.
4 - play and play and play.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I use to never drop my sticks but now with arthritis in my hands I drop them quite often-I expect to put my eye out or perform a frontal lobotomy with a flyin' stick any day now.
 

FreDrummer

Silver Member
I played a show today, and although I played well, there was only one problem.

I dropped a stick about 5-6 times (not even kidding).

...But I tend to drop sticks not because of a loose grip but because while I'm moving around on the kit I'll accidentally hit it against something and it will fall out.

Man, I'm just so annoyed about this. Maybe I wouldn't be if I wasn't so bad at pulling out a new one during a song. Anyone else have similar experiences?
Don't sweat it (see what I did there?). I did have a similar experience to yours recently. I'm not a stick-dropper, and I use stickwax to maintain a not-too-slick, not-too-sticky feel, but I had a gig a while back where I dropped 4-5 sticks, and it was always like you, running into something unintentionally as I moved around the kit. I was like, "whaaattt???"

Just chalk it up to a bad night for now (stick-dropping wise). Come to think about it, we played this weekend and I did not drop a single stick!
 

tcspears

Gold Member
The key is a loose grip and paying attention. I rarely drop a stick, but when I do it's from an unfamiliar rebound. Meaning that I was going for the floor tom and hit the ride instead, or a cowbell got in the way, et cetera.

If you were tired and sweaty, then it may be that your aim was off and you were hitting the wrong spots on the drums. Since the rebound was different than you were expecting, that's when you dropped the sticks.

I think the key is to have a loose, relaxed grip, and to always stay calm and focused on your technique, stick height, aim, and the like.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I use to never drop my sticks but now with arthritis in my hands I drop them quite often-I expect to put my eye out or perform a frontal lobotomy with a flyin' stick any day now.
Yeah, I hear ya.
I'm 66 and I wonder how long I have before my playing starts to go down hill............


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The Tank

Member
The first 2 replies on here kind of tell my story. It was mostly due to my cymbals being placed too close to me so on some upstrokes they'd get caught on it and fall out of my hand. Next time I gotta keep my cymbals further away. Again, I've never even come close to dropping this many sticks in any case. I've played lots of shows in my life and only dropped a stick during 2 of them, and during those times only once each show. This time it was 5 times. Really aggravating but I cant see this happening ever again.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
...Really aggravating but I cant see this happening ever again.
Oh, you're such an optimist!

Like most drummers, I've been known to drop sticks here and there. I only keep a stick bag on my floor tom so if I drop my right stick, no problem. If I drop my left, then it gets my right stick while my right hand fishes out another. It's not a big deal to temporarily keep things going with one hand while reloading. It's just another calamity to power through, like missing a change, or fighting through a train wreck, or whatever. Recovery is an art in itself that can sometimes be even more entertaining and impressive than if no mistake was made. Seriously.

And like others here have said, it's usually a cymbal or tom in too close and/or up too high so I'll get snagged while on the upswing. If you're in a hurry to get set up on stage, perhaps with the added stage lighting glare, it's easy to miss something being out of place and you don't realize it until you've tossed out a couple sticks in random directions.

It's happened and if given enough opportunity, will likely happen again. A cool recovery is the key.
 
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