George Lawrence Stone - Stick Control

rstix

Member
Hi guys,

I'm trying to get my hands up to par with what my brain wants. One of my private drum instructors told me to delve into the George Stone Stick Control. I remember working out of this book a couple years ago but never got very far.

I left the book back home in connecticut, but I did stumble across a photocopied page called single beat combinations



I've been working with the met on 8th notes getting this up -
I usually play each bar twice even though it says play each one 20 times

My hands feel faster and stronger already (i've been doing this for 30-60 min every night the past week)

Should i buy this book again for all the other stuff in it or is this page the holy grail page kinda like exercise 33 out of Tim chapin book
 

cornelius

Silver Member
Re: George Lawrence Stone

Best way to practice this stuff:

Play each exercise for one minute, move right on to the next one (that first page will take you 24 mins).
Each day move up the metronome.
After a week, go on to the next page.
 

Arky

Platinum Member
Re: George Lawrence Stone

I'd buy it again.
The page you attached is probably the one that gets the most use but the other exercises are great, too.

Thanks for reminding me, I should use Stick Control more often.

What has been helpful to me when learning new exercises from SC is breaking the patterns/motions down. I would loop 4 or 8 notes to get a better handle with them, then move on to the next string of notes etc, then finally combine them. But that one mentioned page alone is enough of a challenge to keep one busy for a while if you want to get it smooth/at higher speed.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Re: George Lawrence Stone

Sure, you should buy it-- it's a $10 book, and you'll use it for the rest of your career. It's a huge bargain.
 

EvilDrummer

Senior Member
Re: George Lawrence Stone

Those first three pages only focus on singles doubles and triple strokes. (Paradiddles as well if you practice with two stick heights). They are important of course but they are in no way a means to a complete hand technique. I'd say get the whole book.

A tip is to start slow, 60-100 BPM (as eighth notes) and play all strokes as free strokes that start and stop above parallel stick position. After you get really comfortable with that, move on to faster speeds with lower stick heights as you get faster but always free strokes.

I don't think playing it 20 times is the best way to do it. Well at first maybe but once you get comfortable with the exercises I've found the best way (for me) it is to play through a whole page playing every exercise maybe 2-4 times. Start at 100 BPM and add 10 BPM every 5 minutes or so.

The cool thing is that you learn to switch between the patterns effortlessly and you practice all speeds. I practice it between 100-200 BPM.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
Re: George Lawrence Stone

Those first three pages only focus on singles doubles and triple strokes. (Paradiddles as well if you practice with two stick heights). They are important of course but they are in no way a means to a complete hand technique. I'd say get the whole book.

A tip is to start slow, 60-100 BPM (as eighth notes) and play all strokes as free strokes that start and stop above parallel stick position. After you get really comfortable with that, move on to faster speeds with lower stick heights as you get faster but always free strokes.

I don't think playing it 20 times is the best way to do it. Well at first maybe but once you get comfortable with the exercises I've found the best way (for me) it is to play through a whole page playing every exercise maybe 2-4 times. Start at 100 BPM and add 10 BPM every 5 minutes or so.

The cool thing is that you learn to switch between the patterns effortlessly and you practice all speeds. I practice it between 100-200 BPM.
Definitely get the book, Like Evil said there are other great exercises throughout.
Yeah, starting with the FreeStroke at 60 BPM is great... Stick heights should all be the same - not sure what you meant about a paradiddles with two stick heights - there are no accents anywhere in Stick Control...
But to get the most out of the book, you have to do as the author suggests - play each exercise 20 times - it's in bold letters twice in the book's preface. These are exercises to condition your muscles, the only way it will work is through heavy repetition. BTW, I was taught to play each exercise for one minute, it's easier to focus on your hands that way...
 

EvilDrummer

Senior Member
Re: George Lawrence Stone

Definitely get the book, Like Evil said there are other great exercises throughout.
Yeah, starting with the FreeStroke at 60 BPM is great... Stick heights should all be the same - not sure what you meant about a paradiddles with two stick heights - there are no accents anywhere in Stick Control...
But to get the most out of the book, you have to do as the author suggests - play each exercise 20 times - it's in bold letters twice in the book's preface. These are exercises to condition your muscles, the only way it will work is through heavy repetition. BTW, I was taught to play each exercise for one minute, it's easier to focus on your hands that way...
What I mean is if you play the paradiddle with two stick heights RLRR LRLL
(The bolds are accents and the other notes are taps) you practice the paradiddle. If you just play it with free strokes you are practicing doubles and singles. Also when playing below 100-110 BPM the stick starting position is above 90 degrees. Super important.

Playing every exercise 20 times or a minute each is great. Or play through every exercise as long as you need for it to become easy.

However when that is done and you know all of them I suggest to play through a page straight up and down maybe just playing every exercise 2 times or so and practice from 100 BPM to over 200 BPM (or your max) increasing by 10 BPM every 5 minutes or so. It's a different skill to switch between the exercises and also the technique changes as you play faster. The second stroke of a double or the two last strokes of a triple are played with mostly fingers while the first is mostly wrist. Still free strokes though.
 

ronyd

Silver Member
I was watching an interview with Alex Alcuna that other day. He was asked how he stays in shape and what's he practice regiment like. I almost feel of the chair when he replied "Stick Control.... I'm still on page 5 after 40 years". gotta love it
 

KASdutch

Junior Member
I'm self taught and not the most knowledgeable about technique so if you guys dont mind some clarification on the paradiddle thing would be nice. I always assumed that a paradiddle was rlrr or lrll regardless of where the accent is placed and that it is titled after the sticking not how that sticking is played.

Just curious.

Also eighth notes at 60bpm? Do you mean sixteenths or should I really be getting into this at a much slower pace than I am?
 

cornelius

Silver Member
I'm self taught and not the most knowledgeable about technique so if you guys dont mind some clarification on the paradiddle thing would be nice. I always assumed that a paradiddle was rlrr or lrll regardless of where the accent is placed and that it is titled after the sticking not how that sticking is played.

Just curious.

Also eighth notes at 60bpm? Do you mean sixteenths or should I really be getting into this at a much slower pace than I am?
Hey no prob - good questions... I'm still not sure what Evil was referring to with the accented Paradiddles - maybe he was referring to the traditional definition of a Paradiddle, which does have an accent on the first beat. But for our purposes with Stick Control, you don't play the paradiddles with an accent. All stick heights are the same. It's difficult to cleanly play paradiddles without the accent - it takes a lot of control (hence the title "Stick Control"). On page one of the book, #5, 6,7 and 8 are all paradiddles, they're just permutated by a beat. When you get them all down without the accent, then add accents (Stone's ''Accents and Rebounds" is great for this).

As far as tempo - play them as written, which are eighth notes - nice and slow!
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
It's all good to have fun fun with Stick Control, those are all best done with rebounding free strokes. Remember that there are a lot of other techniques and skills that you won't come across just using those stickings though.
 

EvilDrummer

Senior Member
I'm still not sure what Evil was referring to with the accented Paradiddles - maybe he was referring to the traditional definition of a Paradiddle, which does have an accent on the first beat. But for our purposes with Stick Control, you don't play the paradiddles with an accent. All stick heights are the same.
Yep, a paradiddle with accents and taps is a different skill altogether. Playing a paradiddle without accents as free strokes is basically just practicing single and double strokes. (Even if you are playing the sticking of a paradiddle).

Not saying you should practice stick control with accents. I'm trying to explain that if you only practice the first 3 pages of stick control you are only practicing singles doubles and triple strokes. For that it's great but when I hear people saying I've practiced the first 3 pages of stick control for 40 years I just think they could done something better with their time. The first 3 pages are overhyped as some sort of holy grail for hand technique, it's a good exercise but it doesn't deserve that much hype.
 

brady

Platinum Member
Yep, a paradiddle with accents and taps is a different skill altogether. Playing a paradiddle without accents as free strokes is basically just practicing single and double strokes. (Even if you are playing the sticking of a paradiddle).

Not saying you should practice stick control with accents. I'm trying to explain that if you only practice the first 3 pages of stick control you are only practicing singles doubles and triple strokes. For that it's great but when I hear people saying I've practiced the first 3 pages of stick control for 40 years I just think they could done something better with their time. The first 3 pages are overhyped as some sort of holy grail for hand technique, it's a good exercise but it doesn't deserve that much hype.
I agree.

There are definitely more productive things we could do with our drumming practice than Stick Control for hours (or years). Sometimes, I'm almost overwhelmed with all that I want to get in a practice session or even in a week.

However, going through Stick Control fairly recently with my feet has helped a lot with strength and coordination. It has also helped my "latin feet" play more relaxed. So Stick Control certainly does have it's place.

But once I get that coordination down, I move on to other things that are more applicable to what I'm trying to accomplish. I may only revisit it occasionally to dust off the chops, so to speak.

This was actually one of my issues I had with a previous instructor. He would prescribe these random Stick Control type of exercises that seemed complicated just for the sake of being complicated. He never covered how to make it in a groove or fill or how to apply it to the kit at all. I kept wanting to cover a few things from some books I had but I was stuck doing these bizarre combinations of L's and R's for no apparent reason.

So, yes. Stick Control certainly has it's place but it isn't the end all, be all of technique.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
...I'm trying to explain that if you only practice the first 3 pages of stick control you are only practicing singles doubles and triple strokes. For that it's great but when I hear people saying I've practiced the first 3 pages of stick control for 40 years I just think they could done something better with their time. The first 3 pages are overhyped as some sort of holy grail for hand technique, it's a good exercise but it doesn't deserve that much hype.
That sums it up well. After getting into Freestroke, the first 3 pages made sense to me in a much different way, but I think guys get way into that section. Similar to ''Syncopation'', there are unlimited ways to apply the exercises. but that gets away from Stone's original concept, it's just a starting point to get your hands in a good place, before tackling what's next.

IMO, Stone's "Accents and Rebounds" is also a great study becuase now you're getting into various stick heights, which is what it's all about. Now you're trasitioned to playing a stream of notes to playing phrases and melodies...

Also, Like brady said, too many instructors/players get bogged down in a myriad of ways to play Stick Control - IMO, first go through the book as Stone intended... then you can get into more esoteric study...
 

mandrew

Gold Member
should you buy it? Right now! It is indispensable, but not the end of all drumming. I use it along with other material, like Wilcoxon solos (since that what I am into).
 
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