Increasing drum hand speed/chops

RambleOn

Junior Member
I have been trying to build my drum hand speed/chops for quite a while now and have seen minimal success, if any at all. I have been learning the 40 rudiments in hopes of improving my speed, but to no avail. What is an effective practicing method? Should I just continue learning the rudiments? Ramble on.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Lots of answers, here's mine: Speed follows control. Control is easier to work on.

OTOH, sometimes you have to push through a barrier, who cares if it's sloppy at first, you can't let that stop you when you have to push through a barrier. So control mostly, and sheer effort at others.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I second that. Control begets speed.

Have someone check your technique. It may be worth a 1-time lesson with a teacher other than the one you're seeing. It isn't that they'll tell you anything different, but that what they're saying might get through to you in a new and more constructive manner.

If you're a performing musician, I also echo the above sentiment. Working on control allows you to sacrifice quality for speed. This can be useful in a pinch.
 

v.zarate

Gold Member
great post!

i also wanna increase my speed a bit.

now ill patiently wait to hear what everyone else will say.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
40 BPM for however it takes to get it perfect. Then 60 BPM, etc. I have been to a lot of clinics with the pros and they all say start slow and gradually get faster. Do not rush
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
There are too many things that could be hindering you, it's pretty much impossible to advise. Even if we could see your playing in a video, it's not the same as being able to correct you as you're playing. Get with a teacher ASAP (Bill Bachman has a great series of videos and does Skype lessons -- look him up).

That said, there are some things to think about as you try to build speed. First, resist the urge to tense up. Bounce the stick off the head; don't just "hit the drum faster". Second, the faster you play, the more you'll need to rely on your fingers to bounce the stick, rather your than wrists, so it's important that your pinky fingers not stick out, and that the fulcrum (pivot point) is between the pad of your thumb and the first crease of your index finger. Finally, to develop your fingers, it will help to work them out individually. Check out Technique Patterns by Gary Chaffee to see what I mean.

But if you want to just take the advice of some dude on the internet...

Find the first page of Stick Control (search for an image of it), and practice that page on a practice pad with the metronome set first to 80, then 100, then 120, and then 140. Play each exercise 20 times every day (about 20 minutes of practice). Bounce those sticks, keep the right and left stick "heights" even, and play each note with equal volume (no accenting). If you're not considerably faster after a couple weeks of that...
 

geezer

Senior Member
Mike Johnson had a 10 day workout for speed article that came out last year (there's videos for it on Youtube too) - I use components of it as my warm up and it's really sharpened up my consistency when playing at speed.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
You may be expecting results too soon.
Video tape yourself playing. One year later video tape yourself again and see if you are playing faster and better.

I was not playing for about 40 years. I now have been playing for one hour every week for the last two years. Not practicing but just playing in a band.
I have realized that I am much better than I was two years ago. Better control, faster and more articulate.

I may hit a wall and not improve anymore but I don't think it works that way. The more you play the better you will play. But it feels like a slow process.

.
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
I have been working with a new teacher lately, a concert percussionist with amazing chops and musicianship.

First lesson, I sit down in front of the pad and hold the stick the way I normally do. Before I even play a note he catches a few issues with my R hand technique that may be hindering my playing. It has been some work to do but I have been working on changing my R hand grip. Felt a bit awkward at first but it is starting to feel very right and I am starting to notice the improvement in my playing.

My point here is that you really won't notice certain problems in your playing. You'll need the advice of a good, experience teacher to help you. Once you know what you have to do then you're halfway there.
 

Drumsinhisheart

Silver Member
Some of the fastest drummers have never had a lesson. Some of the most educated drummers are not the fastest. While speed comes with practice, it is also a matter of genetics - type A or type A and B fast twitch muscles. Some people have them, some do not.

I tend to think the most important thing to have as a musician is your own 'voice' at your instrument and for drummers, being musical and creative within that voice.

Just play. Enjoy the instrument. Find your voice. Great speed may not be part of that voice. Or, maybe it will break through the way some kids just hit growth spurts and you'll be blazing around the set when it counts.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
What I did was play a whole lot of Three Camps, fast, with brushes. Before that, like for my first 20 years of playing professionally, I just assumed that I was "naturally" not a very fast player, and lived with that limitation. It turns out you just have to work at it.

What I would do:
- Download the Snare Science Three Camps pdf from this page.
- Check yourself to make sure you've got a nice-looking flat-wristed "German" grip going.
- Learn the piece, and then play it 5-10 times every day. Do push yourself on the tempo.
- Play the taps pretty low (3-4") and the accents maybe 5-6"; don't exaggerate the dynamics, and don't play hard.
- Practice in front of a mirror, watch for weird motions, and correct them as you go.
- You can do it with brushes or sticks. I think you'll see more dramatic results if you use brushes.
- You can also do Stick Control, ex. 1-12 on pages 8 and 10, playing each exercise 4-8 times.
 

Skrivarna

Senior Member
Must admit I'm not much for pure speed. It might be because I suck at it, but also because I don't think that speed in itself makes much musical sense. On the other hand speed can be a valid tool and increased control is is definitely something to strive for.

My story is this: I haven't practiced technique for many years, just flailing away at the kit to random Spotify playlists is much more fun. But some time ago I wrote an Android app (Rude), as an engineering exercise that proved to be a drum technique exercise as well. Rudiments were still boring though. Long story short: I just implemented a few classic pattern sequences like the Stone killers and my take on Sonny/Tommy Igoes warmup. Haven't had so much fun at the practice pad. Ever.

As the new app is just published (at Google Play) it's definitely a work in progress. So any comments are more than welcome. And if you have ideas for other rudiment sequences that I could add just let me know.

Now I head back to my pad!
 

Skrivarna

Senior Member
What I did was play a whole lot of Three Camps, fast, with brushes.
...
- You can also do Stick Control, ex. 1-12 on pages 8 and 10, playing each exercise 4-8 times.
Excellent advice. The stick control exercises is already covered, but I'll add the Three Camps as well.

Haven't tried playing these with brushes, but a soft pillow also works well for the control.
 
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