Playing fast single handed 16ths (Porcaro style)

Dignan

Silver Member
So I've been on a Jeff Porcaro kick lately, watching some old videos of his on youtube and trying to play along to some of his stuff. I'm having trouble keeping up with his 16th notes on the hi-hat. Think "I Keep Forgettin" by Michael McDonald or Peart on "Tom Sawyer." Now that's a solid groove.

Is he doing a moeller type stroke on this song? Here's a video I found. Jeff talks about his technique and grip at about 11:45 into the video. He also talks about his reasoning for this hihat pattern in the Michael McDonald song in this video.

How much does stick type matter for being able to execute a fast single handed 16th? I'm using a pair of ProMark TXR5AWs. They seem a little more sluggish (front balanced) than my Vic Firth 5As.

Does anyone have any suggestions on exercises to help with my single handed 16ths? I just can't keep it going for very long before it gets sloppy and my arm is tired. I'm sure it's just an economy of motion issue which my arm and hand haven't figured out yet. Any suggestions or recommended practice routines I could delve into?
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I think it was Tony who said you get every second note for free, you can steal a note on the upstroke.

After I read that I was able to teach myself but I also practiced it on the pad at slower tempos. Tommy igoe's DVD has an accent practice method that I put alot of time into. The faster I go I find the stick needs to stay low.

Practice:
RrrrRrrrRrRrRrRr
LlllLlllLlLlLlLl
 

denisri

Silver Member
I am very interested in the responses. I have working on right hand 16th grooves myself. I have been performing the song "Use me". I can play full song live no problem. Quarter note = 78 BPM. Now I am looking to increase to cover some fast Latin grooves....Also open to suggestion on option to reach say 90BPM. Thanks Denis
 

Dignan

Silver Member
The faster I go I find the stick needs to stay low.

Practice:
RrrrRrrrRrRrRrRr
LlllLlllLlLlLlLl

Thanks. Thats the kind of advice I need. I think I'm trying to play too hard with my strokes going too high. Not sure. I'll try the sticking exercises.
 

whitecatcafe

Senior Member
How much does stick type matter for being able to execute a fast single handed 16th? I'm using a pair of ProMark TXR5AWs. They seem a little more sluggish (front balanced) than my Vic Firth 5As.

Not sure about this. I use the Vic Firth Cindy Blackman model which is incredibly balanced and great for just about everything. It is the perfect weight, not too heavy and not too light. Like a beefed up 5A. The stick you use might have some affect.

I'm having trouble keeping up with his 16th notes on the hi-hat. Think "I Keep Forgettin" by Michael McDonald. Is he doing a moeller type stroke on this song?

Does anyone have any suggestions on exercises to help with my single handed 16ths? I just can't keep it going for very long before it gets sloppy and my arm is tired. I'm sure it's just an economy of motion issue which my arm and hand haven't figured out yet. Any suggestions or recommended practice routines I could delve into?

From what I recall, I think Porcaro was using Moeller to execute the fast sixteenths, using his wrist for the main beat.

I think you gave away a very important clue when you said "I can't keep it going on for very long before it gets sloppy and my arm is tired". My cover band wanted to play 'Suit and Tie' by Justin Timberlake last year for a series of gigs. I had to learn the song and be able to play fast sixteenths like the Porcaro stuff, but at 102 bpm (the song's tempo). What worked for me was working on endurance, because of the golden rule: Control + Endurance = Speed. I slowed down the song to about 90 bpm and made sure I was able to play the entire 4 minute song in a relaxed manner and with precise execution throughout. Once 90 was ok, I bumped up the tempo by 2 bpm, until I was able to play the song at tempo.

From the live videos, it looked like Timberlake's drummer was playing the sixteenths as Moeller twos, RrRrRrRr. I experimented with the twos as well as fours which would make it RrrrRrrrr. Either of them work well. The great thing about learning this was that I can now play any single handed sixteenth note pattern below 102 with a great amount of ease. I can also play fast hi hat patterns for samba grooves that really sound authentic. Also, the Moeller technique will help you with all aspects of your hand technique.

Try it out! Hope this helps!
 

Dignan

Silver Member
Whitecat and BillyRay,

Thanks for the advice and the video. I can execute the moeller stroke at slower speeds but once it gets fast it falls apart. I'll have to slowly work up the metronome I guess. Like anything else in drumming, it takes time.
 

whitecatcafe

Senior Member
I can execute the Moeller stroke at slower speeds but once it gets fast it falls apart.

You need to identify the tempo in BPM where it falls apart. Let's say this tempo is 85 bpm. So, bring the metronome down to 75 bpm. Point is, you need to bring the metronome and work your way up. Play the exercise at 75 for 10 - 15 minutes. If you can do this in a relaxed manner for 15 minutes, and play it soft, medium loud and loud, you will have gained control over it. Always remember: Control + Endurance = Speed. Then start increasing the BPM, by 1 or 2 bpm (nothing more) and do this all over again. Just keep repeating this until you reach the desired goal tempo. You will get there with patience and focused methodical practice.

I'll have to slowly work up the metronome I guess.

Absolutely!
 

Dignan

Silver Member
You need to identify the tempo in BPM where it falls apart. Let's say this tempo is 85 bpm. So, bring the metronome down to 75 bpm. Point is, you need to bring the metronome and work your way up. Play the exercise at 75 for 10 - 15 minutes. If you can do this in a relaxed manner for 15 minutes, and play it soft, medium loud and loud, you will have gained control over it. Always remember: Control + Endurance = Speed. Then start increasing the BPM, by 1 or 2 bpm (nothing more) and do this all over again. Just keep repeating this until you reach the desired goal tempo. You will get there with patience and focused methodical practice.



Absolutely!

Thanks again. If I can find time between taking care of children and doing things around the house I'll try identify my threshold bpm today and start working on this.
 

Dignan

Silver Member
Had time to do a quick video. This is me on my silent practice kit (it's nap time). Metronome was set to 70. Criticism/advice/suggestions welcome.

Video

I got this up to about 80 before I felt it was getting sloppy at length. So that's my practice point to start at I think. My other question: is it better to play these in a French grip or American. You'll notice I start out doing it in french (thumb up) and switch to American/German (palm down). I did that on purpose to see if there was any perceptible change in efficiency.
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
Had time to do a quick video. This is me on my silent practice kit (it's nap time). Metronome was set to 70. Criticism/advice/suggestions welcome.

Video

I got this up to about 80 before I felt it was getting sloppy at length. So that's my practice point to start at I think. My other question: is it better to play these in a French grip or American. You'll notice I start out doing it in french (thumb up) and switch to American/German (palm down). I did that on purpose to see if there was any perceptible change in efficiency.


Looks good; I would recommend the palm-down approach. At this point it's just practice and pushing more into the "musical realm" rather than keeping up with a metronome. Musical integration will allow you to transcend the technical aspect of your motion, and you'll grow better.

Use your back two fingers more as well.
 

Power Tom

Senior Member
Had time to do a quick video. This is me on my silent practice kit (it's nap time). Metronome was set to 70. Criticism/advice/suggestions welcome.

Video

I got this up to about 80 before I felt it was getting sloppy at length. So that's my practice point to start at I think. My other question: is it better to play these in a French grip or American. You'll notice I start out doing it in french (thumb up) and switch to American/German (palm down). I did that on purpose to see if there was any perceptible change in efficiency.

Looks like a good technique to me. When you start playing with your thumb on top, you have a collapsed fulcrum. That will destroy all your speed and control.

When you are playing palm down, you are all wrists and not much fingers just as BillRay pointed out. I had exactly the same issue and struggled for years to play Tom Sawyer all the way through too:)

Single stroke roll exercises / pull push technique / you tube vids on all this stuff really helps. Mike Mikalcawotsit has a good one: http://youtu.be/oe52djVtaQQ

The amount of pros that recommend doing that daily finger strength exercise is unreal.

Dave Weckl changed his finger technique after studying with Freddy Gruber and after watching it, I sat down at the kit and tried it. Couldn't believe it, the drums sounded much better. he simply relaxed his thumb and forefinger and gripped a bit more with the next one back. You get more volume, tone and more stick rebound.
 

Dignan

Silver Member
Looks like a good technique to me. When you start playing with your thumb on top, you have a collapsed fulcrum. That will destroy all your speed and control.

When you are playing palm down, you are all wrists and not much fingers just as BillRay pointed out. I had exactly the same issue and struggled for years to play Tom Sawyer all the way through too:)

Single stroke roll exercises / pull push technique / you tube vids on all this stuff really helps. Mike Mikalcawotsit has a good one: http://youtu.be/oe52djVtaQQ

The amount of pros that recommend doing that daily finger strength exercise is unreal.

Dave Weckl changed his finger technique after studying with Freddy Gruber and after watching it, I sat down at the kit and tried it. Couldn't believe it, the drums sounded much better. he simply relaxed his thumb and forefinger and gripped a bit more with the next one back. You get more volume, tone and more stick rebound.

Thanks. I'll look at this after work today. I'd really like to be able to play Tom Sawyer or Keep Forgettin all the way through without having to think about the hihat part.
 

Dave_Major

Silver Member
All good advice so far.

I have worked on this for years and it is such an awesome groove concept to have down. Anything by Bill Withers, Jeff Porcaro and a british guy called Ash Soan are great fun and super sexy grooves.

I'll also add that it takes time to build up the muscles and speed but try working on your single stroke roll as well will help your ability to get this going.

I don't think those guys mentioned do anything special. Some guys always have the pumping motion but some of porcaro's grooves are super silky and without that accent.
Also metal guys blasting are often doing no accented 16ths with one hand.

Check out Jojo's dvd for speed building exercises or the stone killer from Master Studies 1.

D
 

Dignan

Silver Member
All good advice so far.

I have worked on this for years and it is such an awesome groove concept to have down. Anything by Bill Withers, Jeff Porcaro and a british guy called Ash Soan are great fun and super sexy grooves.

I'll also add that it takes time to build up the muscles and speed but try working on your single stroke roll as well will help your ability to get this going.

I don't think those guys mentioned do anything special. Some guys always have the pumping motion but some of porcaro's grooves are super silky and without that accent.
Also metal guys blasting are often doing no accented 16ths with one hand.

Check out Jojo's dvd for speed building exercises or the stone killer from Master Studies 1.

D

Thanks Dave. I'll try to check some of those other drummers out. I don't have Jojo's speed building dvd so I'll see if I can snag that on ebay or something.

I might be doing something wrong with my technique. While I can't confirm it is related to practicing single hand 16ths, I woke up this morning and my elbow was in pain. Feels like I jacked it against a wall or someone hit it with a bat. Again, not certain its drumming related as I was also in the gym yesterday. The moeller technique utilizes both wrist and elbow action, correct? Or am I doing it wrong?
 

denisri

Silver Member
More input on this topic...I have recently been working right 16 note grooves. Started at being able to play musically grooves at quarter note equal to 70BPM...6 months later I am at 82BPM perhaps little higher with simple grooves.
I am finding it's Everthing in unsion(arm, wrist, fingers) with more of of focus on wrist and use of back fingers( to limit fly back).At less in my case the strokes need to be small and light with right hand position very low. I am dying to push outside of rock/ blues ....My goal is 100BPM for latin grooves.
Welcome comments..Thanks Denis
 

ronyd

Silver Member
I think it was Tony who said you get every second note for free, you can steal a note on the upstroke.

After I read that I was able to teach myself but I also practiced it on the pad at slower tempos. Tommy igoe's DVD has an accent practice method that I put alot of time into. The faster I go I find the stick needs to stay low.

Practice:
RrrrRrrrRrRrRrRr
LlllLlllLlLlLlLl

+1. this is a big thing Dom Famularo insists on, pullling the free note on the upstroke.
 

TheDrumster

Senior Member
So I've been on a Jeff Porcaro kick lately, watching some old videos of his on youtube and trying to play along to some of his stuff. I'm having trouble keeping up with his 16th notes on the hi-hat. Think "I Keep Forgettin" by Michael McDonald or Peart on "Tom Sawyer." Now that's a solid groove.

Is he doing a moeller type stroke on this song? Here's a video I found. Jeff talks about his technique and grip at about 11:45 into the video. He also talks about his reasoning for this hihat pattern in the Michael McDonald song in this video.

How much does stick type matter for being able to execute a fast single handed 16th? I'm using a pair of ProMark TXR5AWs. They seem a little more sluggish (front balanced) than my Vic Firth 5As.

Does anyone have any suggestions on exercises to help with my single handed 16ths? I just can't keep it going for very long before it gets sloppy and my arm is tired. I'm sure it's just an economy of motion issue which my arm and hand haven't figured out yet. Any suggestions or recommended practice routines I could delve into?

Maybe this will help ;)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR_x_vrSZBM
 
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