Help wanted - developing fast ride-playing!


Senior Member
I´ve been playing jazz and latin-jazz stuff for a while, and currently feel the need to be able to play fast ride-figures. The main thing I´m looking for is to be able to play three 16ths in a row very fast.
For example - If I were to plat the first, second and third 16th of every beat/quarter note at high tempos - how do I do it? I can get pretty fast (maybe around 130 bpm? I really don´t know, and that´s not the point - I just want to be able to play well at high tempos).
I use matched grip, mostly american possition. What should I practise to get better at this? I find that I really don´t move forward with this at the moment, so I need some advice!
Should I work on my french grip? (I see a lot of drummers with amazing right-hands playing with the french grip) Should I work on my fingers? Or what?
Thank you guys for the help.

PS: The stuff I´m talking about is for example Billy Ward in this clip:

I would really like to be able to play stuff like that - RELAXED like him.
Thank you for your help!


Silver Member
Much easier to play fast with the french grip. I would suggest doing sprints. Basically start out at, we'll say 80bpm for the moment; play along with the quarters, then just double it, go back to the original tempo of 80, then double it again, then double it again etc etc. Play the first time around for 16 bars then the second time around for 32.

I'm not sure if this will make any sense as I'm rushing, but, if it doesn't just ask. Good luck.

Just remember, that to play fast you simply have to put in the work. You put in the work and you'll see results. Simple as that.
a excercise we did in drumline back in the day (80's) to develop quick singles using french grip was a simple excercise of RLL triplets then RLLL the RLLLL all wile keeping your R at a steady beat of around 100bpm then work your way up to around 130+ bpm . then alternate the sticking, ex. LRR and so on. its a good workout for your fingers especially when we were on the quads. lol


Platinum Member
Find the technique that works for you. Most often I see drummers developing a sort of triple-stroke technique for uptempo ride patterns where basically the whole wrist only has to execute one of every three strokes and the other three come from the stick's rebound. It's difficult to master because you have to still be able to maintain control over the stick and the pattern. Other drummers like to use a finger technique where the back fingers pull on the butt end and execute the fast strokes. Some guys grip the stick from the back two or three fingers. It's entirely up to you and what feels most comfortable to you. If you wanted, you could take a shot at playing all the strokes individually with your wrist and see how far you could get.

There are a couple things to keep in mind, though. First, it's always got to be stressed that this takes time. Billy obviously has spent loads upon loads of time working on having a clean, consistent technique that works for him, and that's why he's so comfortable with it. Don't get discouraged if you don't get fast results. Second, when you're playing your ride patterns, consider the real life application. When you're playing with a band, will you really be playing a consistent pattern for five minutes? Now, personally, I do find it important to practice a technique for long periods of time consistently because that's how you become comfortable with it, BUT keep in mind that when you're actually playing you're more likely to change the pattern or rhythm occasionally. Don't be afraid to throw in a couple quarter notes or invert the pattern. This video has some great advice from Peter Erskine, who also has a great control over his uptempo riding.

Oh, and don't forget about your left hand either!! : )