Have you ever practiced dropping sticks?

DaleClark

Senior Member
I was just thinking of this. Back in my playing out days in college, If a stick broke, I would just flip to the other end and finish song. However, when I dropped a stick or one would break too far down, it was a clown show watching me quickly grab a new one. I had spare sticks on throne and a pair on floor tom leg. I was (and probably still am) terrible at grabbing new sticks. I've seen drummers live that grab new sticks flawlessly. I'm sure the more you play the better you get. Just curious, do pro drummers actually practice grabbing new sticks?
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
When I drop a stick, I’m hosed no matter where I put the spares.

I attended a clinic with Kenny Aronoff a few years ago. He places his spares in a bag hung from his snare. The spares are between his legs. Pretty logical, actually.

He said he’d been using a remote cable hi-hat near his ride cymbal and ‘cuz the spacing was tight he called the area “the Bermuda Triangle” cuz he lost so many sticks. That’s when he moved his stick bag from the floor tom to the snare.

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bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I attended a clinic with Kenny Aronoff a few years ago. He places his spares in a bag hung from his snare. The spares are between his legs. Pretty logical, actually.
That's the key: having spares where you can reach them quickly and easily. I use adjustable stick holders on my HH stand and next to the floor tom that put sticks at my fingertips. I don't even have to reach or look. I lower my hand and a stick is there. I might miss a backbeat or 3 or 4 ride/hat hits in the process, which is acceptable considering the alternative of fumbling for a stick.

Here's the floor tom holder, actually mounted to the rack leg:

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I also keep a secondary spare or two handy, so I can replace the ones in the holders when needed. Nothing worse than a spare that's not there!

Bermuda

PS - Gotta plug the product, it makes my job much easier!
 
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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I would keep extras on my HH stand also. If I dropped my left stick, there it was. If I dropped my right, I would put the left stick in my right hand then grab a new one. That way I could still keep time and hit the snare with one hand if needed.

FWIW at the end of the song I would grab the other new stick. I don't like the wrong stick in the wrong hand.
 

Frank

Gold Member
I use a stick holder on my HH stand. Never thought about having one on each side.

If I was playing in front of large crowds :) I would add a second. But since the *crowds* that come to our gigs can sometimes fit in my car, I'm not going to. Seriously, I don't actually lose sticks that much. Although, I play with a pretty lose grip, so when I lose one, I lose it. :)
 

Chollyred

Senior Member
I don't have to practice, I'm an expert at it! I keep a stick bag on my floor tom and can make the grab usually without missing a beat. For some reason, it's always the right hand stick. I don't remember ever dropping a left hand stick.
 

TMe

Senior Member
No one keeps sticks in their back pockets?
I keep a stick or two tucked in the back of my pants, accessible by my right hand. Years ago I practiced throwing sticks while playing, and grabbing sticks from behind my back.

When people start toying with my sticks, I point out that they might not be very hygienic because... and people leave my sticks alone. Bonus.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I'm one of those guys who has extra sticks, but I'm not real careful with em other than making sure they're in reach. Typically on top of the bass drum just loose, or often on the ground next to me.

Over the years I just stopped dropping sticks very much. It happened all the time at first and gradually tapered off. I might drop a stick once every 2 or 3 times playing out. The biggest thing for me is when I'm really tired, then I know I'll be dropping sticks. Sleep deprivation, at least for me, causes all kinds of clumsiness and losing sticks is one of the big ones. When I haven't had enough sleep, that's when I put two on top of the bass drum and 3 on the floor.

If I could be bothered to carry it, a little shelf or raised area to put sticks, set lists, etc might be nice. But half the reason I don't use those special stick holders is that I don't want to carry one around and I play on house/other kits quite often.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Oh yea, I almost forgot.

When I was younger and would drop more sticks, I used to make a makeshift stick holder with a new pair of sticks, and some gaffer tape.

You take the cardboard sleeve off the new pair of sticks, tape it pointing "up" against the nearest floor tom leg, close to the floor. Obviously, it fits a stick quite handily and it sticks up for you just to your right. Having that gaff tape handy, you can customize a nice free stick holder.
 

Alain Rieder

Silver Member
Yes, as a self taught beginner, I thought of spending a few minutes practicing dropping a stick to take another one.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I must be some kinda of progeny cause I don't have to practice dropping sticks=I'm real good at naturally LOL. So I got one of those adjustable bags and hang it on my high hat in a easy grab position-but more importantly learning to not drop the beat or groove and keep playing with one hand till you pick up a stick. The later really more important in my mind than where a reachable stick is. Initially I made a little bag of duct tape to hang on my tom to hold an extra pair but then got all fancy with a real one. I guess you could build a device witha little pedal/button to push so a stick would fly up from your bass or tom for you to grab-that would be fun to watch. OR maybe one up each sleeve and it can pop out when in need-though having two sticks on some mechanical device tied to my forearms doesn't sound fun-so go with pop outta da drum-just don't set it too strong that if you miss you/bandmate/audience gets a frontal lobotomy
 
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lsits

Gold Member
It happens to the best of drummers. Even the best of the best. Notice that he didn't get the right stick until the third time


With my 20" bass drum I can place a stick between the shell and one of the tension rods with the butt end toward me. If I'm using the 22" bass, the stick slides through and I have to rely on my floor tom mounted stick bag.
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
I haven't practised dropping, but I have dropped and recovered many times!
Stick bag on the floor tom (for right hand drops), plus a stick holder on the hihat stand (for left)
I like having one on the left as it also allows me to 'park' a LH stick for a moment to get a drink in a quieter part of a song while still playing with RH only.
 

Drifter in the Dark

Silver Member
Unfortunately, I have dropped more sticks than I care to admit! I usually drop the right one (hardly ever the left), and usually when I'm playing the hi-hat in cross-handed position. I'm glad to say that, since I've switched back to a smaller stick (Vic Firth 7A wood tip), I haven't been dropping them quite as much! Also, I recently got a small Vic Firth stick pouch to hang on my floor tom, so I'll always have a spare stick within reach if I need it. Honestly, just having it there helps tremendously from a psychological standpoint- It's always nice to know you have all the technical bits in place, and you can stop worrying about all that & just *play*!
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I drop them often enough without practicing it. :)

Seriously, though. You just have put them where it makes sense to you.

I hardly evr drop a stick. If it happnes often something isn't positioned right. If I do drop one, it's most likely in mi case, that I moved a bit sloppy and it got caught under the hi-hat.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The thing about practicing dropping sticks is...you know it's coming.

This gives me an idea for a drumstick product that randomly jumps out of your hand, for the sole purpose of working on picking up a new stick.
 
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