Playing fast single handed 16ths (Porcaro style)

pinstripe

Active Member
Tacking this onto an old thread...

I've had a breakthrough with my one hand 16th notes after seeing this video:


He's doing Funky Drummer at just under 100 bpm and making the hats look easy. I noticed he uses an unusual grip with his index finger pointing down the stick, so I gave it a shot. Lo and behold, it worked. Somehow letting your fingertip control the stick from a point a couple inches away from the fulcrum helps to get the dribbling effect going. It's a feel thing where you transition from muscling it to doing something more like an oscillation.

I had been dogged by a "wall" at around 80 bpm but after messing around with this for the past few days, I'm now able to cruise along pretty well at 100 bpm and can do short sprints at 110 and even 120 bpm.

Possibly worth trying if you're working on your speed and the other tricks haven't panned out...

BTW, does anyone happen to know which Porcaro video is linked in the OP and whether it exists anywhere else? YouTube has taken it down with a note about copyright.
 

ColdFusion

Active Member
Oh yeah, I watched that Porcaro vid where he talked about this, two-handed vs. one-handed 16ths on the hats.

His grip was more standard, rather than the over top finger grip in the video you shared.
(I tried that index-finger grip myself and must admit the modified fulcrum does give you a rapid, rigid "bouncing" effect. It seems effective, as long as the notes you are making sound satisfyingly musical to you)

But should you choose to work your way up from your 80 bpm wall with a more standard grip, be patient with yourself. Developing clean single hand 16ths is rigorous and really can't be forced or rushed (pun?).

I like to play 16ths with one hand up to about 1/4= 105 bpm. This is like a dense funk feel. At 105 and above I start to incorporate my other hand for some notes. This way you can have that one-handed sound and still get a rest every bar.

And anyway there is kind of a sweet spot for this pattern in musical contexts. The tempo of your funky drummer vid was about 96. The tempo of Porcaro's examples were 104 for his two-handed pattern, and 102 for his single hand. Tom Sawyer was like 88-92 bpm.

So 120 bpm is smokin bro!
 

pinstripe

Active Member
Oh yeah, I watched that Porcaro vid where he talked about this, two-handed vs. one-handed 16ths on the hats.

His grip was more standard, rather than the over top finger grip in the video you shared.
(I tried that index-finger grip myself and must admit the modified fulcrum does give you a rapid, rigid "bouncing" effect. It seems effective, as long as the notes you are making sound satisfyingly musical to you)

But should you choose to work your way up from your 80 bpm wall with a more standard grip, be patient with yourself. Developing clean single hand 16ths is rigorous and really can't be forced or rushed (pun?).

I like to play 16ths with one hand up to about 1/4= 105 bpm. This is like a dense funk feel. At 105 and above I start to incorporate my other hand for some notes. This way you can have that one-handed sound and still get a rest every bar.

And anyway there is kind of a sweet spot for this pattern in musical contexts. The tempo of your funky drummer vid was about 96. The tempo of Porcaro's examples were 104 for his two-handed pattern, and 102 for his single hand. Tom Sawyer was like 88-92 bpm.

So 120 bpm is smokin bro!
I think this is probably the Porcaro video:


He talks about his grip at 6:15 and then gets into one vs. two handed sixteenths around 7:45. Like you say, he doesn't put his index finger on the top of the stick but instead has it on the side. But I do think he extends his finger more forward than is typical. He doesn't just immediately sort of hook it underneath.

Also, I checked out the Funky Drummer guy's video at quarter speed, and although his index finger points forward, it's actually resting on the side of the stick and not on top. At this point I'm thinking his grip is actually not all that different from Porcaro's. Anybody agree with this or am I seeing it wrong?

After messing around with this some more, I'm now able to get into the 100 to 105 bpm range with a normal grip. I can do it with index finger on top, index finger extended but on the side, or index finger hooked underneath. It's definitely easiest with my finger on top but now that I've got the feel, I can make it happen with any of them. It's the same basic rebound-momentum thing going on however I hold the stick.

And I will add that to me the feel is pretty loosey-goosey, not rigid, even with the finger on top. In fact, I would say the virtue of finger on top is exactly that it helps you stay loose at higher speeds. It's when you tighten up that everything falls apart but I get to that point later when my finger is on top.
 
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Bozozoid

Gold Member
I resorted to using two hands on James Gangs Walk away during the fast single handed hihat section but try as I might to duplicate the single handed feel it wasn't happening. I had to admit to myself that I was whimping out and being lazy so it was time for me to work on my hand speed which was a bit..! to get down using a degree of power. I got tired of being a corporate band whimp which was my inspiration for improvement.
 
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