Mazur on Moeller

Supernoodle

Senior Member
I love strong opinions... however people from different disciplines seem to be talking past each other, as in technique for drumset vs. rudimental/competitive drumming,


To me Moeller these days means not so much arm movement but finger control for taps after an accent. That's how Jim Chapin played his snare lines in 'Advanced Techniques...' so incredibly fast and clean.

Mazur seems to be more of a 'no bounce' kind of player. He has some very interesting things to say though:


 
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8Mile

Platinum Member
Ken Mazur was a big part of my early years of drumming, completely unbeknownst to him. My first big influence on drums was a friend from high school who played in a drum corps led by Mazur. He had learned the whole "no bounce" technique and taught it to me. I can't say I was ever very good at it, but that's how I played drum set, too. I worked religiously out of that orange Mazur book. I may still have it packed up somewhere, but I haven't been able to find it.

Anyway, I think I gained some valuable things from learning that style, but in the end, it didn't adapt well to playing drum set. I had to relearn my hand technique many years later to loosen up. Ken Mazur remains, to my mind, the greatest rudimental snare drummer ever. Nobody is more opinionated than Mazur, but he's very respected as a legend, even by those who don't agree with everything he says. But I agree with the OP that rudimental drumming and drum set playing are just not the same thing. Ken even sort of addresses that in the Moeller video.

The funny thing is that I still can't play without curling my pinky finger on my left hand. Even after changing everything about how I hold the sticks, that part won't go away!
 

newoldie

Silver Member
I can't imagine playing on the drum set using that technique- it looks so stiff that it would seem impossible to pull off except on a marching or standing snare.
I'm inspired watching Joe Morello or Dave Weckyl gracefully move around the drums, and with the same power, if needed.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I can't imagine playing on the drum set using that technique- it looks so stiff that it would seem impossible to pull off except on a marching or standing snare.
I'm inspired watching Joe Morello or Dave Weckyl gracefully move around the drums, and with the same power, if needed.
yeah, Weckl and Morello are my two faves as far as hand technique and getting around the set. I just wish there was video of Billy Gladstone playing. I heard even Buddy Rich believed Gladstone had the best hands ever.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Um....like I literally can’t think of anything good to say about this guy. Playing “through” the drumhead? That’s fine at low volumes. It sounds like crap on a timpani or floor tom played loudly. And bashing on Moeller? There’s a reason Moeller technique and things like it have survived for hundreds of years. That’s not all there is to drumming, and I don’t even do much Moeller, but it’s in my technique bag when I need it. And some of the absolutely best, most legit technical stuff comes straight out of that old-school rudimental field drum tradition. Those guys knew what they were doing. Frank Arsenault, Billy Gladstone, George Lawrence Stone....these guys had absolutely incredible hands, and their techniques WORKED. Who is this Kevlar-head doofus? LOL
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Kind of a 70s drum corps time capsule there. The way he's playing is a kind of extreme version of the style I learned from students of Fred Sanford and Bob Kalkoffen-- who basically invented modern corps drumming. I don’t think any corps plays that way any more, and the technique is absolutely wrong for anything outside of corps, so I don’t know what to take from that.

Corps technique is for playing corps repertoire at corps tempos, while making 5-12 snare drummers look the same and sound like one guy. The guy isn't participating in the activity any more, so his opinions about what technique they should be using are kind of meaningless.
 
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Timmy

Well-known member
Kind of a 70s drum corps time capsule there. The way he's playing is a kind of extreme version of the style I learned from students of Fred Sanford and Bob Kalkoffen-- who basically invented modern corps drumming. I don’t think any corps plays that way any more, and the technique is absolutely wrong for anything outside of corps, so I don’t know what to take from that.

Corps technique is for playing corps repertoire at corps tempos, while making 5-12 snare drummers look the same and sound like one guy. Outside of that framework, opinions about technique are meaningless.
Exactly. 'Line' playing is completely different than 'kit' playing.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Or any other playing. And is it even line playing if no lines play it?

I watched some more of his videos, and want to caution anybody looking for technique advice from them. A) the guy knows nothing about music or musical technique, B) everything he says that sounds like it could apply to technique generally, does not apply to technique generally. He's really just talking about drum corps snare drumming circa 1950-1980.

Apart from that, that is just the ugliest looking and sounding technique I've ever seen. Watching him play is painful. I knew one guy in SCV who sounded like that. I watched him do his solo at nationals and I thought he was joking. He won the solo competition the year after that, but it was the worst drumming I had ever seen.

Some years ago wrote an analysis of Mazur's ridiculous prize-winning snare drum solo Lazer Beam, if anyone is interested.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
There is more than one Ken Mazur so have been looking for this one. Here is playing some Big Band stuff-you can tell it's him. I wish he would play acoustic drums and I've heard e-kits that sounded better-though they didn't have all the lights LOL. Dang that stiff left hand sort of reminds me of me being a stiff death grip-though I'm working on it.
 
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Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I’ve told this story once or twice here, but I’m going to tell it again, because....I have almost zero musical respect for a LOT of what goes on in drum corps drumming, marching band, etc. these days....

When I was in college in Dallas, I happened to be around during a rehearsal of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, whose timpanist was the Texas All-State first chair snare drummer. I saw this kid work out on the pad, he had fast hands, although I’ve seen faster for sure.
He had the big timpani solo in Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis, a really loud, bombastic solo. When he hit the drums, he used the same touch as he would have on a Kevlar-head marching snare cranked into the stratosphere. And it, predictably, was the worst-sounding timpani tone I have ever heard, in my entire life. By far, the worst.
Now, he was a nice kid, and I have nothing against him as a person. My questions are:

1. why didn’t his percussion teacher teach him better than that?
2. why didn’t his own EARS teach him better?
For me personally, if I’m playing loud on a timpani, low-tuned floor tom, etc., I AUTOMATICALLY relax my grip and let the stick rebound freely, maybe even giving it some slight extra lift at really high volumes. It just happens without thinking about it.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
There is more than one Ken Mazur so have been looking for this one. Here is playing some Big Band stuff-you can tell it's him
I mean...it wasn’t terrible. He’s definitely not killing those pads like he was that practice pad in the first video.
I gotta say, though....I think the dude has some kind of mild-to-moderate personality disorder. Not that he’s a bad person or anything, just that...maybe he’s on the autism spectrum. I don’t know. Just throwing that out there.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
All those guys play drum set like that. Most of them. It's not good.

Nothing against him personally, he's just talking about something that is not music, and where he tries to talk about music, he overreaches.
 

Timmy

Well-known member
Or any other playing. And is it even line playing if no lines play it?

I watched some more of his videos, and want to caution anybody looking for technique advice from them. A) the guy knows nothing about music or musical technique, B) everything he says that sounds like it could apply to technique generally, does not apply to technique generally. He's really just talking about drum corps snare drumming circa 1950-1980.

Apart from that, that is just the ugliest looking and sounding technique I've ever seen. Watching him play is painful. I knew one guy in SCV who sounded like that. I watched him do his solo at nationals and I thought he was joking. He won the solo competition the year after that, but it was the worst drumming I had ever seen.

Some years ago wrote an analysis of Mazur's ridiculous prize-winning snare drum solo Lazer Beam, if anyone is interested.
I know who you are talking about. I met him when I was in the corps. I think his first name was Robbie.?
 

Timmy

Well-known member
All those guys play drum set like that. Most of them. It's not good.

Nothing against him personally, he's just talking about something that is not music, and where he tries to talk about music, he overreaches.
I was like that. lol Was the hardest thing to apply what I learned. I mean, I had chops out the arse, but, on the kit, I SUCKED!
 

Supernoodle

Senior Member
His idea of playing low taps 'through the head' may have relevance for playing ghosts notes. Those are much better with "bone" on the stick, i.e. full control, not using bounce or just fleshy parts of your hand.

In another video he says "arm" players have an advantage over "wrist" guys! I quite like the way his playing looks, very powerful/articulate, especially flam work. And he obviously managed to keep this up for decades and still loves to play that way...
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
His idea of playing low taps 'through the head' may have relevance for playing ghosts notes. Those are much better with "bone" on the stick, i.e. full control, not using bounce or just fleshy parts of your hand.
The rudimental style Mazur preaches was heavily focused on things like grace note heights on flams. And very powerful, VERY open double stroke rolls without relying on bounce. When my corps buddies who learned from him were teaching me, I was always confused because drum set players don't play flams like that. And with good reason. But in competitive rudimental drumming at that time, if you didn't get the accent to grace note ratio or note spacing between them exactly right, you got docked on your score by the judges.

Again, I don't think this stuff has much application on the drum set. But in his rudimental prime, Ken was a monster. He looms over rudimental drumming the way someone like Buddy does over drum set. If you're genuinely interested, it's worth reading up about his innovations. He's crazy-opinionated (similar to Buddy) and turns a lot of people off. He has a big problem with modern corps judging and the emphasis on visual aesthetics over the competitive rudimental difficulty. He hates Kevlar. He's as old-school as it gets. But don't underestimate his significance, regardless of how he comes across.
 
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