Moeller Grips vs Stroke

Tiges

Well-known Member
You can be a phenomenal drummer without any formal lessons and having good technique doesn't make you an amazing drummer at all, but unless you have insane natural technique, playing from the forearm down has a tendency to cause RSI's and absolutely wreck your hands and arms.

All this crap about over-exaggerated movements isn't how I remember studying moeller at all. It was about using less energy, relaxing and playing pain free for life. As I've already said you can't play strict Moeller on a kit anyway.
Well put i agree with you totally.
 

jaymandude

Active Member
You can be a phenomenal drummer without any formal lessons and having good technique doesn't make you an amazing drummer at all, but unless you have insane natural technique, playing from the forearm down has a tendency to cause RSI's and absolutely wreck your hands and arms.

All this crap about over-exaggerated movements isn't how I remember studying moeller at all. It was about using less energy, relaxing and playing pain free for life. As I've already said you can't play strict Moeller on a kit anyway.
Thank you
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
As much power as the playing situation requires, surely?


That's really the bottom line for me - I throttle into Moeller when I need to slam but want to avoid feeling like I'm slamming in my old joints haha.

That's really it...I have no idea how this thread is getting "heated" - moeller is just a technique that we can use if we want like anything else.
 

jaymandude

Active Member
That's really the bottom line for me - I throttle into Moeller when I need to slam but want to avoid feeling like I'm slamming in my old joints haha.

That's really it...I have no idea how this thread is getting "heated" - moeller is just a technique that we can use if we want like anything else.
I “think” some folks are not in agreement about having to slowly practice some of the large movements that might be part of that technique.

I never ever use what I guess is called “ Moeller” technique, but I studied for about a year with Henry Adler in NYC, and I definitely practiced sone of the arm strokes that people here are talking about. I can see it’s benefit but I’m not gonna argue about it :).

Don’t like it? Don’t believe in it ? Fine :) pour me another glass of wine and pass the guacamole
 

planoranger

Junior Member
I “think” some folks are not in agreement about having to slowly practice some of the large movements that might be part of that technique.

I never ever use what I guess is called “ Moeller” technique, but I studied for about a year with Henry Adler in NYC, and I definitely practiced sone of the arm strokes that people here are talking about. I can see it’s benefit but I’m not gonna argue about it :).

Don’t like it? Don’t believe in it ? Fine :) pour me another glass of wine and pass the guacamole
^^^ +1
I don't use Moeller either. It's not "required" for the types of playing that I do. But, I certainly don't dismiss it out of hand either. Many great players (i.e., Steve Smith and Jim Chapin to name two) use it (or have used it). So, obviously it is a valid technique.

I do think, however, that many people are equating "large" movements with "exaggerated" movements. To me, a "large" movement is moving the hand or hand/arm combination a greater distance from its "normal" height but keeping the same hand shape and grip; "exaggerated" movement is overdoing it...almost like a caricature in a drawing. If my thought process is valid, then we all use "large" movements whether we want to admit it or not.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
That's really the bottom line for me - I throttle into Moeller when I need to slam but want to avoid feeling like I'm slamming in my old joints haha.

Pretty much-- I just never need to slam any more. Not sure I ever *needed* to... maybe when playing rock unmiked....

That's really it...I have no idea how this thread is getting "heated"

Not from me! People were just talking and then Larry suggested people were getting mad.

working on Moeller b/c Fred Sanford was using it at SCV, or Hardimon was using it at BD....

Ralph was never with BD, that I know of? Sanford and Bob Kalkoffen's thing (Ralph wasn't the technique guy) was basically the opposite of Moeller-- "low and flow." All my instructors were SCV guys, and they were always kind of scornful about the more high sticking lines.
 

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
I do think, however, that many people are equating "large" movements with "exaggerated" movements. To me, a "large" movement is moving the hand or hand/arm combination a greater distance from its "normal" height but keeping the same hand shape and grip; "exaggerated" movement is overdoing it...almost like a caricature in a drawing.
Thank you for putting into words what I couldnt.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
Ralph was never with BD, that I know of? Sanford and Bob Kalkoffen's thing (Ralph wasn't the technique guy) was basically the opposite of Moeller-- "low and flow." All my instructors were SCV guys, and they were always kind of scornful about the more high sticking lines.

I thought Hardimon worked with Scott Johnson for a bit in the late 80's early 90's...or maybe just wrote for them? I might be getting my era's mixed up

but I do remember talkigin to Scott at many clinics in the 90's, and he referred to their exaggerated strokes as "based in Moeller"...more o the ones they used for big vis moments, not 9" or 12"accent heights
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I thought Hardimon worked with Scott Johnson for a bit in the late 80's early 90's...or maybe just wrote for them? I might be getting my era's mixed up

but I do remember talkigin to Scott at many clinics in the 90's, and he referred to their exaggerated strokes as "based in Moeller"...more o the ones they used for big vis moments, not 9" or 12"accent heights

That could be a later thing, maybe kevlar influenced-- my whole time in corps they (and the corps I was in, all the instructors were former SCV) were doing the thing Sanford/Kalkoffen devised in the early 70s. They had a whole doctrine worked up.

I think Ralph mostly was doing the writing, and running the entire section, but I could be wrong. When I was in in '86 Kalkoffen was doing snares, along with Alan Kristensen, my old instructor who was quoted in that piece, and nothing had changed dramatically.
 
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toddbishop

Platinum Member
So I am curious, what is your definition of a physically complex stroke vs a simple stroke?

A simple stroke would be a straight linear wrist stroke with a closed hand, a complex stroke would be a stroke involving fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder, in a complex motion.

Using a physically complex stroke when a simple stroke is preferable.

For instance, when playing anything 1-6" off the drum, or many things 6-16" off the drum.
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
That could be a later thing, maybe kevlar influenced-- my whole time in corps they (and the corps I was in, all the instructors were former SCV) were doing the thing Sanford/Kalkoffen devised in the early 70s:


They had a whole doctrine on it.

I think Ralph mostly was doing the writing, and running the entire section, but I could be wrong. When I was in in '86 Kalkoffen was doing snares, along with Alan Kristensen, my old instructor who was quoted in that piece, and nothing had changed dramatically.

yeah, I think Ralph was consulting/writing more than teching in anything that I knew of.

my biggest influences in writing and teaching have been Marty Hurley, John Wooten, James Campbell, Thom Hannum, Colin McNutt and Mike McIntosh....also not a lot of "Moeller" guys in that group either. Campbell actually took lessons from Markovitch, so he might be the closest to a "Moeller" guy, but the Cavaliers never really used that technique that I remember

and I also think - as some have alluded to in this thread - that the idea of "Moeller technique" gets misused, misquoted and misrepresented a lot. I have had quite a few (older) judges comment on my use of Moeller technique with my drumline, ,and I am like "what?. I don't use Moeller"
 

jaymandude

Active Member
A simple stroke would be a straight linear wrist stroke with a closed hand, a complex stroke would be a stroke involving fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder, in a complex motion.



For instance, when playing anything 1-6" off the drum, or many things 6-16" off the drum.
I don’t teach a lot right now, but For about six years I had maybe 8 to 10 students per week at the high school and college level. And my answer to the question about simple vs complex is very similar to Todd’s excellent answer. But I’m coming to it from another place.

So much speed and relaxation AND TONE can be achieved if people understand that the smaller strokes are really just tap strokes, just dropping the stick.

My big beef with drum corps guys that I saw that wanted set stuff, or the high school kids coming out of some Drumline, was that “everything “. was a stroke. And the way I learned is that everything doesn’t need to be that, the grace note on a flam is not a stroke to me for example. Or the grace notes in a ruff. It’s a very mechanical way of playing to me, and holy shit, I used to have to wear earplugs to all the lessons because these corps guys woukd just attack the snare drum like it owed them money.

Again, just my opinion.
 

Alex Luce

Pro Drummer
A simple stroke would be a straight linear wrist stroke with a closed hand, a complex stroke would be a stroke involving fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder, in a complex motion.



For instance, when playing anything 1-6" off the drum, or many things 6-16" off the drum.
So when you do a simple stroke with just your wrist, you aren't supposed to move any other part of your arm?
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
It’s a very mechanical way of playing to me, and holy shit, I used to have to wear earplugs to all the lessons because these corps guys woukd just attack the snare drum like it owed them money.

This right here. It’s a very limited/limiting way of playing. Granted, some people can adjust easily to more subtle genres like jazz combo work, orchestral playing, etc..

But many more REALLY struggle to do that.
 

eddypierce

Senior Member
my biggest influences in writing and teaching have been Marty Hurley, John Wooten, James Campbell, Thom Hannum, Colin McNutt and Mike McIntosh....also not a lot of "Moeller" guys in that group either. Campbell actually took lessons from Markovitch, so he might be the closest to a "Moeller" guy, but the Cavaliers never really used that technique that I remember

and I also think - as some have alluded to in this thread - that the idea of "Moeller technique" gets misused, misquoted and misrepresented a lot. I have had quite a few (older) judges comment on my use of Moeller technique with my drumline, ,and I am like "what?. I don't use Moeller"

For whatever it's worth, when I talked to Jim Chapin at PASIC in 1995 he specifically mentioned John Wooton as a marching percussionist who utilizes Moeller technique. In Wooton's books he discusses the use of a Moeller upstroke (although I don't think he calls it that), and mentions that the four or five stroke types that he uses (full, tap, control stroke, upstroke, multiple bounce stroke) were shown to him by Dom Famularo (a Chapin student). That said, Wooton doesn't really talk about a whipping motion with the downstroke (that I can recall, anyway), although the use of a Moeller upstroke almost forces someone to sort of whip the next accent after the upstroke. Another thing that Wooton does not seem to emphasize is "accepting the rebound" after a whipstroke so that the stick flies back, enabling a more flowing motion to a succession of strokes (it reminds me of something Chapin said to me: that both Jo Jones and Philly Joe Jones used the Moeller technique, except that "they didn't accept the rebound"). I imagine this is because of the precision needed in most drum corps music, where for a variety of reasons it's more desirable to keep the sticks low after an accent that's followed by a tap.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
So when you do a simple stroke with just your wrist, you aren't supposed to move any other part of your arm?

at least for me, a simple stroke doesn't need all of the other motion; there is movement behind my wrist, but it is residual. The only time I use the muscles from my elbow and back is to implement movement on drum set, tympani, and mallets. My wrists get me "up and down", my arms move me "horizontally".

I play metal and punk, and even in those situations, I don't use big huge motions because it is wasteful - to me - given the speeds that I am already playing. Even when I play funk, jazz, etc, big motion seems to be wasteful and "over the top."
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
For whatever it's worth, when I talked to Jim Chapin at PASIC in 1995 he specifically mentioned John Wooton as a marching percussionist who utilizes Moeller technique. In Wooton's books he discusses the use of a Moeller upstroke (although I don't think he calls it that), and mentions that the four or five stroke types that he uses (full, tap, control stroke, upstroke, multiple bounce stroke) were shown to him by Dom Famularo (a Chapin student). That said, Wooton doesn't really talk about a whipping motion with the downstroke (that I can recall, anyway), although the use of a Moeller upstroke almost forces someone to sort of whip the next accent after the upstroke. Another thing that Wooton does not seem to emphasize is "accepting the rebound" after a whipstroke so that the stick flies back, enabling a more flowing motion to a succession of strokes (it reminds me of something Chapin said to me: that both Jo Jones and Philly Joe Jones used the Moeller technique, except that "they didn't accept the rebound"). I imagine this is because of the precision needed in most drum corps music, where for a variety of reasons it's more desirable to keep the sticks low after an accent that's followed by a tap.

yeah....again, this all going into the category of people referencing aspects of Moeller, but not really using the full aspect of it.

I have come across many teachers, techs, judges who call ANY upward motion of the stick "Moeller" technique, when it isn't really. I think aspects of many specific technique styles blend into and form other ones. I have met amateur drummers who say they use a "Moeller whip"...and they are just playing from the wrist;

if you watch the late 80's early 90's Phantom Regiment drumlines, there is no blatantly evident use of any Moeller technique - because they are playing passages that are too fast for it to be truly used - but you can see and hear the strength and rebound interaction that using a Moeller influenced stroke in training and technique season builds
 
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