Learning free stroke - technique checkup

Hissig Gompen

Senior Member
dns

After playing for a number of years without proper hand technique, I recently decided to change this around. So I'm just getting started with the free stroke. I feel like I've gotten the basic stroke down (at slow tempos), and I want to make sure I'm doing it right. I recorded myself with my crap camera and made these gifs (pardon the messy background - that's my Line6 guitar amp, TD6, and ironing board ;))

Slowed down a tad:


Slowed down a bit further:


Look okay? I feel like I might be lifting my wrist a bit too high sometimes - you can see that the stick height isn't 100% identical from stroke to stroke. Also sometimes the stick ends up slipping down in my hand after a couple of strokes, I think I'm losing control of the fulcrum. Gonna work on these things plus speed while doing rudiments with a metronome, but does it look like I have the basic idea down?
 
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Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
It looks good (and I am a total expert on the free stroke, I studied it with Dom Famularo). You are just a little stiff but that's going to go away with practice. I would say do the 2 to 50 a couple of times a week (or more if you like), and then move on to half and low strokes. Oh, one more thing: are you a rightie? In that case, lets check your weaker hand also. If it is significantly worse than your right, you should drill it heavily now. What I do for that type if situation is do the 2 to 50, but my strong hand stops counting at 6. that way, you end up with a four to one ratio between weak and strong hand. Just an idea for unbalanced practice.

Thanks for posting these vids!

Casper
 

donv

Silver Member
dns

After playing for a number of years without proper hand technique, I recently decided to change this around. So I'm just getting started with the free stroke. I feel like I've gotten the basic stroke down (at slow tempos), and I want to make sure I'm doing it right. I recorded myself with my crap camera and made these gifs (pardon the messy background - that's my Line6 guitar amp, TD6, and ironing board ;))

Slowed down a tad:


Slowed down a bit further:


Look okay? I feel like I might be lifting my wrist a bit too high sometimes - you can see that the stick height isn't 100% identical from stroke to stroke. Also sometimes the stick ends up slipping down in my hand after a couple of strokes, I think I'm losing control of the fulcrum. Gonna work on these things plus speed while doing rudiments with a metronome, but does it look like I have the basic idea down?
I agree with Casper. I notice though that your shirt sleeve makes you look like you're maybe leaning too much into your stroke which could be causing you to tense up. This just might be a visual perspective thing though? What do you think Casper?
 

JPW

Silver Member
What do you experts think of his thumb and index finger (the fulcrum) I think its a bit too 'around the stick'. But then again I'm certanly no expert. I'm also in a process of learning this technique.
 

ermghoti

Silver Member
^ Maybe. I thought you were starting to release your fingers a little early. You have the JoJo disc? It's pretty awesome for fundamentals, IMO.
 
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Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
I agree with Casper. I notice though that your shirt sleeve makes you look like you're maybe leaning too much into your stroke which could be causing you to tense up. This just might be a visual perspective thing though? What do you think Casper?
It could be. I think it is okay...after a few thousand free strokes, those kins get worked out, in my experience. In fact, I find that (almost) endless repetition works really well for me. A teacher can tell you certain things, and guide you, but in the end, you must discover those things for yourself, otherwise, it is just stuff you know, and you don't have tome for that on the stage, to retrieve that. But the stuff you learned while playing for many hours, the same thing, over and over, that is just part of you once you have it...
Casper
 

Chrispb7

Member
Hi, i figured i'd post a small question in here so i don't have to start a whole new thread.

I just read Dom's book and something that popped out at me is the idea of muscle
memory. does this mean its bad to be doing fills, etc with just wrist, not free stroke?
I mean, i would do fills with freestroke but i'm still learning it, so should i just take some
time off from jamming out and get the free stroke down decently before jamming again?
or is it ok to use just wrists sometimes?
 

donv

Silver Member
Hi, i figured i'd post a small question in here so i don't have to start a whole new thread.

I just read Dom's book and something that popped out at me is the idea of muscle
memory. does this mean its bad to be doing fills, etc with just wrist, not free stroke?
I mean, i would do fills with freestroke but i'm still learning it, so should i just take some
time off from jamming out and get the free stroke down decently before jamming again?
or is it ok to use just wrists sometimes?
This is just my opinion, but I've found the best way to get something down is by playing. I would not quit jamming to "get something down."
 

JPW

Silver Member
When I jam I don't think about technique anyways. That's not what music is about. But if I notice I'm using free-stroke somewhere where I didn't used to I make a mental note and try to replicate it. That way I can push my new technique to new areas of playing. Eventually it will overtake most areas. Definitely don't stop playing.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
Someone, please, correct me if I am wrong...

The stroke you are showing is really not something that you will use too, too often. It is what you might call the full stroke version o the "Free Stroke." You're really not going to find yourself using the full stroke for too many situations. Most of the time you will use shorter versions of this stroke.

What happens, however, when you practice "Free Stroke" with the full motion is that it will train your hands to the technique. You will learn the feel, and better understand how it works. It is helping you learn how to control the stick in a more efficient and effective way. This is a stepping stone to other strokes as well. For instance, the better you are at the free stroke, the faster you will be able to learn to execute the Moeller, and you will be more efficient with it.

The Free Stroke is the first step to help you learn to control your stick more effectively. And, at learning how to control rebound more Efficiently, which is your next step!.
 
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Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
Hi, i figured i'd post a small question in here so i don't have to start a whole new thread.

I just read Dom's book and something that popped out at me is the idea of muscle
memory. does this mean its bad to be doing fills, etc with just wrist, not free stroke?
I mean, i would do fills with freestroke but i'm still learning it, so should i just take some
time off from jamming out and get the free stroke down decently before jamming again?
or is it ok to use just wrists sometimes?
The free stroke is generated from the wrist. At least in German position...so I am not clear what you are asking in the first half on your post.
No, keep playing! Never stop playing. Just notice how your playing benefits from your learning the stroke...
 

roboboticus

Junior Member
I've been introducing my hands to the free stroke as well, doing about what's shown above, and have a related question—

Being something of a beginner, I'm starting to work on rudiments, mostly single stroke rolls and double stroke rolls. I'm starting very slow, playing eighth-notes at 50 bpm (so, 100 eighth-notes per minute), in part to work slow enough to focus on my free-stroke.

Playing at such slow speeds, my hands spend a fair amount of time poised at the top of the catch, waiting for the next throw. What I'm wondering is if I should indeed be doing this, or if I should instead let my wrist hang in a relaxed position, then lift the stick in preparation for the upcoming free-stroke. I guess I wouldn't be carrying the stick back to it's original height on the rebound/catch, but just keeping loose enough to avoid choking the stick.

Thanks for any help :)
 

JPW

Silver Member
I've been introducing my hands to the free stroke as well, doing about what's shown above, and have a related question—

Being something of a beginner, I'm starting to work on rudiments, mostly single stroke rolls and double stroke rolls. I'm starting very slow, playing eighth-notes at 50 bpm (so, 100 eighth-notes per minute), in part to work slow enough to focus on my free-stroke.

Playing at such slow speeds, my hands spend a fair amount of time poised at the top of the catch, waiting for the next throw. What I'm wondering is if I should indeed be doing this, or if I should instead let my wrist hang in a relaxed position, then lift the stick in preparation for the upcoming free-stroke. I guess I wouldn't be carrying the stick back to it's original height on the rebound/catch, but just keeping loose enough to avoid choking the stick.

Thanks for any help :)
No never lift in preparation to a free-stroke. You should always "think down" and the rebound should lift your wrist to the proper height.
 

MCS

Member
No never lift in preparation to a free-stroke. You should always "think down" and the rebound should lift your wrist to the proper height.
Apart from on the first stroke of course, then you always have to lift the stick.

Actually I've found when teaching that what most students struggle with is not the down part of the motion, but the up part as they have trouble follwing the stick back to it's original height. Spending some time looking at the mechanics of tracking the rebound is never wasted in my opinion.
 

ShaunStruwig

Junior Member
Hi, i figured i'd post a small question in here so i don't have to start a whole new thread.

I just read Dom's book and something that popped out at me is the idea of muscle
memory. does this mean its bad to be doing fills, etc with just wrist, not free stroke?
I mean, i would do fills with freestroke but i'm still learning it, so should i just take some
time off from jamming out and get the free stroke down decently before jamming again?
or is it ok to use just wrists sometimes?
Don't stop playing or jamming using your wrists, but don't try use the free stroke technique while jamming separate the two! The idea with the free stroke is you practice it and build muscle memory and eventually it will just happen with out you having to think about it. Hope that helps!
 

JPW

Silver Member
How long does the free stroke technique take to work into your playing? I practice this for 1 hour everyday?
If you mean you can free stroke everything, it depends on what tempo you are doing most of your playing. And also it depends how developed your hand were before you started practicing the free stroke. So quite hard to say. Even if you practice 1 hours or 4 hours it depends how you are practicing it. But even if you don't do clean free strokes every storke, practicing it will also help those non-free stroke tempos.
 
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44Ronin

Guest
Someone, please, correct me if I am wrong...

The stroke you are showing is really not something that you will use too, too often. It is what you might call the full stroke version o the "Free Stroke." You're really not going to find yourself using the full stroke for too many situations. Most of the time you will use shorter versions of this stroke.
That's obviously it. You need to practice the relaxation in exaggeration to get comfortable when speed up.
 
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