R hand technique, downward motion=downbeats bad idea?

Rock Salad

Silver Member
I'm working on groups of three and shuffly rhythms R hand. The rest of my body, probably through habituation, wants my R hand to be moving downward on downbeat and up on upbeat, or in swing 4/4, down on 1 and 3 and up on 2 and 4. Most of the instructional videos and many performance videos show players using an upward motion finger snap for downbeat (or 1 and 3) and down strokes for the upbeat (or 2 and 4.)
Can you think of any reason not to continue to try both until one settles in and becomes just natural? Or is the throw down on & or 2 and 4 an essential part of catching correct feel for the beats?
I would try to do the first motion, smoothed out-- it doesn't need to be that exaggerated.

With that second motion-- right now you're accenting the 1 and 3 only-- the last note of the spangalang rhythm. That's not really desirable most of the time. If you're going to use that motion, I would try to accent the first note of the rhythm as well: SPANG a LANG. So at least you'll be making a strong quarter note pulse.
you're not playing downbeats in the first one you're playing upbeats

listen to Max or Tony who get into these situations...
where the upbeat becomes the downbeat because tempo becomes so fast there's no time to think only to keep on keeping on
(or as a local bandleader once said to me "If we get lost meet at the bar")
I think is what happens (like everyone I been there) backwards "flipped" just to keep up +/-
Max on introducing Johnny Griffin
Idris live "devil In My Den" Ahmad on yt
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you're not playing downbeats in the first one you're playing upbeats
I believe I said that in the video?

I using these grouping in a rock & roll context, so big quarters especially on the one are important.
Thanks for replies! I will definitely keep at the finger/up on the one motion also. I'm glad there's no reason not to do the other, it feels smoother for rock
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on the verge of a Polarity shift

Tempo-wise you mean? That playing on the bell sounds like that sort of downward on the downbeat. Got to be nearly impossible to do at this tempo!
Tempo-wise you mean?
Where 'the hand falls' on the "2 or 4" or "1 and 3" get's flipped/
might not be relevant to what you're trying to describe
you say Rock/ was thinking/ what happens to in fast Jazz.

But I do like the word "Polarity-Shift"
I'm keeping that one/
I using these grouping in a rock & roll context, so big quarters especially on the one are important.
what's the rock song/ you're applying this with/to/
what's the rock song/ you're applying this with/to/
We play originals. It's not in any song yet but we are jamming it out here and there. I slide in some sixteenth groups of threes in some songs sometimes, especially when I go to the bell it sounds kinda Copeland
I try to keep all the notes even, especially the four beats in the bar.
Accenting 1 & 3 or 2 & 4 sounds ‘lumpy’ to me - doesn’t flow smoothly.

The only exception might be a quick country or rockabilly beat played on closed hihat - accenting the off beats 2 & 4 counters the bass drum playing on 1 & 3.
I'm gonna speak in broad terms here because there are always little nuances that can be tweaked, and there are "exceptions" to almost every rule.

Having said that...

You've basically got 2 different patterns here, resulting in 2 different sounds, and having 2 different common applications.

Your first pattern is essentially downstroke-tap-upstroke. The resulting sound is loud-soft-soft.

Your second pattern is essentially tap-upstroke-downstroke. The resulting sound is soft-soft-loud.

So...which one is right? Well, which one is right FOR WHAT? If you want loud-soft-soft, then go with pattern #1. If you want soft-soft-loud, then go with pattern #2.

If you're trying to play the classic jazz ride cymbal pattern, then your best bet is pattern #1. It will result in the 2 and 4 being accented. In jazz, that is virtually always stylistically preferable to accenting the 1 and 3. Now, by the way, this doesn't mean you need to go nuts with the accenting. It can be subtle, much subtler than your video example. But generally speaking, the first pattern you demonstrated is indeed a typical jazz ride pattern.

On the other hand, if you're trying to play some sort of rock 'n' roll hi-hat pattern, and you want soft-soft-loud, then use pattern #2. This is not uncommon at all. You'll frequently see pattern #2 with that final downstroke played against the edge of the hi-hat with the shank of the stick.

One final point that's worth mentioning is speed. I think you'll find that pattern #1 is much easier to play fast than pattern #2. And there's a very good reason for that. In both patterns, we essentially have 3 notes in a row. If you wanna do those 3 notes fast, then it certainly makes sense to have the "throw" (the downstroke) be at the beginning of the 3-note phrase. That throw generates inertia that carries you through the 3 notes. It's much harder to play the phrase fast when you're physically doing the "throw" on the last note of the phrase instead of the first. This is another reason that pattern #1 is often used in jazz. Jazz is sometimes blazingly fast (as heard in the Max Roach video posted above).

I hope this input helps. In a nutshell, you've got 2 totally different patterns, each one with different characteristics. My advice would be to master both of them. Enjoy the process.
I hope my response doesn't come off as being a jerk, because I don't mean to be, but my thought is, who cares?? I mean, play whatever feels comfortable and produces the sound you want to hear.

I guess I never thought of drumming in the way you are thinking about it. I've only ever thought about technique if I wasn't able to play what I wanted to play. Now that I analyze it, I never REALLY thought about technique then, either. I just kept practicing and trying until I could play what I was picturing in my head.
Maybe I need work on the concept side? Like counting out loud while doing the throw on two? I just have such a strong association to downstroke on the one.
Anyway thanks for your replies, I'll keep working at both, hopefully be able to incorporate eventually
Maybe I need work on the concept side? Like counting out loud while doing the throw on two? I just have such a strong association to downstroke on the one.

Here's an idea for you:

Count "1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &" out loud in a continuous cycle.

While doing that, play your pattern #1 starting on beat 1 and beat 3. So it'll end up being like this 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &...

Next, practice starting pattern #1 on the "& of 1" and the "& of 3." It'll end up being like this 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &...

Then, start on 2 and 4 (this is basically the jazz ride pattern). It'll be 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 &...

Finally, start on the "& of 2" and the "& of 4," which will give you 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2...

When you can comfortably do all of that, start working on the exact same exercise using your pattern #2.

***After you can do everything described above on a practice pad or something, move it over to the hi-hat or ride cymbal. Now put the bass drum on 1 and 3, and use your free hand to play the snare on 2 and 4.

I have a feeling that a few weeks of this process will change your drumming in numerous ways. It'll improve your hand technique, your coordination, your ability to start phrases in different parts of the measure, your ability to hear accents in different parts of the measure, and so on, and so on.

If you try it, let us know how it goes after a few weeks. Have fun!
I'll try it. I'll give most anything a try. That is really fast to be trying to say out loud 1 + 2 + especially swung. I'll let you know if that helps me feel upstokes on down beats.