Mike Mangini's WFD technique

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
See what MM's doing in this vid

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7TzWrKso4I

One of the posters (who is coppin a whuppin lol) said "all he's doing is locking up his arms and spazzing his muscles". That comment (if not his attitude) seems to be right from what I'm seeing.

Here's the question ... is there value in a drummer's practice routine for tensing up and going flat out like that? I've seen it done (and have done it in song endings) but I've never seen it endorsed. Would MM have done that as part of his usual routine or would he have simply added that approach for the competition, and the tensing up thing sits aside from his usual (superb) technique?

I'm wondering if that approach could be used in the latter part of a warmup routine - in the same way as they say that a way of relaxing your muscles is to tense the muscle and then let go.
 

MattRitter

Senior Member
I don't know if you get Modern Drummer magazine, but if you do, dig out the May 2007 issue. Mike describes his hand technique in 5 enumerated steps. It's too much for me to repeat here in detail, but essentially he is flexing the "upper arm and back muscles" to make his hand "shake" from the wrist. He doesn't mention whether or not he would advocate practicing this technique for use in musical situations. If anyone is interested, I'm sure Modern Drummer could send you a copy of the article for a small fee.
 

samthebeat

Silver Member
I feel the answer is in the sound its producing. This sounds like some sort of spazzy buzz roll to me. I dont see any practical musical value in it, thus would not spend my time practising it. When im looking at technique online, im allways studying drummers like Buddy, jojo, Vinnie etc.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
I think he calls it the shiver technique. the old thread and Matt would probably shine more light on this..

..Pol, et tu?


...
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
It looks like I have some kind of rep here lol

Seriously, ta for the replies - I completely forgot that other Mangini thread, thanks for the link, Jeff.

Matt, re: "essentially he is flexing the "upper arm and back muscles" to make his hand "shake" from the wrist" ... yes, it seems like what I did when I was young and trying to play as fast as possible ... until I read some books and magazines and spoke to people who, like Sam, saw little good use of the tension involved.

It seems to me that there's (at least) two ways of developing speed: stay relaxed and build up, or go like a bat out of hell and learn to relax more. The former approach seems more sane but I figure everything is good for you in the right dose - even arsenic (as found in almonds) is healthful if not overdone.

I've now tried doing this shiver twice in the last couple of days before playing properly and it seems to really relax me. So, Sam, maybe the point of it is not so much musical but as an exercise to facilitate regular techniques?
 

samthebeat

Silver Member
I know what you mean, for me there is so much to work on and not enough time to work on everything. I couldnt do this if tried anyways, so im not going die trying.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
I forgot all about that 2009 thread, but Jeff Almeyda sure nailed it. It's mostly wrist. But what surprised me was Tom Grosset's claim that his technique bore resemblance to Mangini's because Tom's to me seems a lot about wrist moving into fingers the faster he gets. Tom also does his runs with sticks much higher...and with a lot more MATCHED GRIP power than anything Mangini has displayed.

However, Jeff was also right to point out that he uses 2 different techniques. However, Mangini never dropped one for the other. Back when he competed with matched and traditional, his trad technique was standard issue wrist and fingers with sticks high off the pad, although not as high some of his competitors. When he set the trad grip record in 2003, he played it like a drum corps guy and it was something you would definitely use in any standard setting.

But, it was the shiver that turned Mangini into the unquestioned Michael Jordan of WFD...and I can understand why he used it. Still (as I have said many times, respect for Mangini aside) I don't see any practical application for the shiver. Nor was he the first to use it although I absolutely believe (as Jeff said) that he merely retrieved it from his massive physical and intellectual arsenal.

The first shiver guy was Jotan Afanador, who pretty much dominated WFD from 2002 to about 2004, and when Mike got into WFD he had a hard time getting past Jotan until he started shivering too. Then according to everyone he really studied the thing, videoed the motion, took it down to half speed...the whole breakdown. You can also bet he examined Jotan's motion too and found what the kink was so he could do the thing just a little better. Then he did it the way he planned it and won because Mike Mangini just doesn't lose when he wants something.

That's why guys like Tom and me laugh when we read this stuff about how a guy like that really doesn't care about the competition part of WFD. He cares alright. And with WFD comps back in business, eventually there are going to be more people than me taking his records because as time goes on that's just the nature of it. When not if that happens (probably during a DT break) you'll see Mike Mangini taking a month or so off to break down game film and figure out a way not to just beat me (on most days he can do that anyway) but to decimate me. On the day that happens I will merely bow and wave.

Then he will probably make one more glorious run to show everyone that he can run a 1300 high off the pads with power like Tom...and absolutely no push-pull which has now been officially ruled a compound technique that does not give you a world ranking. I also don't think he wants an asterik by his record and he's aware how people absolutely love how Tom especially runs in competition and how people respect Mangini as the undisputed king but scratch their head a bit when they see that shiver deal.

Then he will do that even if he has to play upside down with his eyelids, and he will succeed.

This is also why I believe the shiver for Mike is about nothing but the compartmentalized shard of his life that includes a little speed drumming contest...and probably nothing more.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Thanks Matt. I was hoping you'd join in ... lots of good info.

He does keep the sticks very low with that technique in that vid. Less distance to travel, so that's got to help, yes?

Would I be right in guessing that there's an unofficial comp going on too - the fastest drummer with a practical technique? (which would equal the fastest drummer on the bandstand).

MM is such a smart and driven guy. He strikes me as someone who'd be exhausting to be around lol
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Thanks Matt. I was hoping you'd join in ... lots of good info.

He does keep the sticks very low with that technique in that vid. Less distance to travel, so that's got to help, yes?

Would I be right in guessing that there's an unofficial comp going on too - the fastest drummer with a practical technique? (which would equal the fastest drummer on the bandstand).

MM is such a smart and driven guy. He strikes me as someone who'd be exhausting to be around lol
Yep Polly, you called it. With the new WFD revival has come a drumset made entirely of pads connected to one big drumometer which will measure cumulative drumset speed. I assume that you will see it probably by the next NAMM Championship. However, the one pad with singles will always be the primary measuring stick and the main record.

Mangini to me seems almost (if not) genius level. His brain races around the clock and his intensity is scary. He's also the most organized drummer I've ever seen.

As for the shiver record vs. a more traditional style record, I doubt that one will happen. The WFD guys just concluded a major argument about the push pull technique, so I would think it will be peace and harmony for a while. Besides only Jotan and Mangini have really mastered this shiver thing enough to get to the top anyway. So it's not like a big movement has formed around the technique like has ocurred with push-pull which has in fact become a very popular technique and one deserving its own special category.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I hadn't thought about so much a full kit speed record but now that I know, it makes sense.

Your comment "Tom also does his runs with sticks much higher...and with a lot more MATCHED GRIP power than anything Mangini has displayed" suggests that you guys are also analysing the quality of the stokes as well as the speed, which makes sense given that you're all serious drumologists, so to speak. No doubt you're also checking out how even everyone's stokes are as well.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
I hadn't thought about so much a full kit speed record but now that I know, it makes sense.

Your comment "Tom also does his runs with sticks much higher...and with a lot more MATCHED GRIP power than anything Mangini has displayed" suggests that you guys are also analysing the quality of the stokes as well as the speed, which makes sense given that you're all serious drumologists, so to speak. No doubt you're also checking out how even everyone's stokes are as well.
Well when you're flying to set a record, sometimes emotion takes over control and it gets sloppier than it should. Sometimes I look at my 1132 from that comp (over 3 years ago) and can barely stand to watch, because that last 20 seconds was as bad as anything I had ever performed in competition. Had I kept the form of the first 20 seconds it would have been a 1200+ run. But I guess that's why it's hard.

As for the high sticks some of us take pride in that and feel you should look good while you're winning, performing the good way as one would do when they're playing their best on a real drum. When I was 15-16 I probably took all that too seriously and was not routinely cracking 1100 for trad grip. There is one comp video back then where you can see me do this 1086 run and can see the sticks absurdly high off the pad to where they're almost vertical. I thought it was the greatest thing I had ever done. Then I got off the stool all smiling and Art Verdi, Seth Davis or somebody said Man why do you do that? Afterwards I considered that question and lowered my sticks just enough to always be in the running for a world record.

That's what made me such a fan of Tom's stroke. It's amazing how he plays around just under 1200 while his sticks are so high and pretty. And of course we're going to pay attention to stuff like that because we're single stroke geeks or we wouldn't have been involved. It's our favorite rudiment. We respect it and love watching the ones that look extra nice.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Thanks Matt - interesting to see the underlying dynamics in the comp. Gives me a new perspective on the scene.

Playing pretty has never been on my radar but is something I should try harder to get down. To me, it means the groove heard is a reflection of the groove within the player, who's basically "dancing inside" rather than the groove being put together as an act of intent (hope this makes sense).

As a side comp, you could always have a few judges with cards like in the Olympics, scoring the attractiveness of the contestants' strokes :)

Seriously, big fan of single strokes here. They're at the heart of drumming IMO - where it all started.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Playing pretty has never been on my radar but is something I should try harder to get down. To me, it means the groove heard is a reflection of the groove within the player, who's basically "dancing inside" rather than the groove being put together as an act of intent (hope this makes sense).
.
But you know Polly, we had this discussion about brush strokes where there absolutely can be seen and heard the correlation between outward stroke beauty and the internalizing factors. I also feel those things play a larger more generalized role. I can't ever recall a pretty player who sounded bad. Can you? On the other side of it I've seen those uglier choppy ones range from the human hacksaw garage band player all the way up to Elvin Jones. Definitely a mixed bag there for sure.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
But you know Polly, we had this discussion about brush strokes where there absolutely can be seen and heard the correlation between outward stroke beauty and the internalizing factors. I also feel those things play a larger more generalized role. I can't ever recall a pretty player who sounded bad. Can you? On the other side of it I've seen those uglier choppy ones range from the human hacksaw garage band player all the way up to Elvin Jones. Definitely a mixed bag there for sure.
Nope, never heard a player with attractive strokes sound bad.

Guess it stands to reason, if someone has attractive strokes they will have control, guaranteed. Interesting thing ... some of the greats who played ugly. I enjoy it when a drummer looks like they couldn't possibly be able to control the things they do - like Elvin. When they play it seems like a succession of flukes, yet they pull it off it every time.
 
Top