Stick Control

Charles Prosser

New Member
Pages 5-7 of George Stone's Stick Control book show 72 Single Beat Combination exercises. These each consist of 2 measures of 8th notes, each one played with either the right stick or the left stick. There are 16 notes in each exercise and 2 choices of sticking for each note. So there are 2^16 or 65,536 such exercises possible. I'm curious why George Stone chose these 72 exercises of the 65,536 possible. Are these the best ones for developing stick control? Are practicing the others less ideal or possibly detrimental to developing stick control?

It appears George Stone defines an ordered list of the 16 possible 4 sticking 'primitives' (eg RLRL, LRLR, RRLL, LLRR, etc), and pairs each one with itself, and with each one lower in the list, with some variations and exceptions. It would be possible to generate exercises by randomly picking and combining 4 of the primitives.

I appreciate any constructive thoughts or comments.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
There are no detrimental stickings.

SC stays within certain parameters to not get silly and it's all pretty organized as much of it is just variations of previous things to fit with the next rhythms. It covers the fundamentals.

There are a million ways to interpret stick control. To get started check out this guy. https://www.youtube.com/c/MattPatella/search?query=stick control

Master Studies I and II by Joe Morello takes it a few steps further.
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
Do you really want to buy a book with 65,000 exercises in it?
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
Add in accents and diddles/buzzes, and page 1 is all you ever need.
And Flams and Drags but yes the page is pretty classic.

To the OP, I can guarantee you that Mr. Stone would have looked at you cross-eyed if you asked him that question. He picked the basic stickings that come up when considering basic singles and doubles and went from there.
 

eddypierce

Senior Member
So there are 2^16 or 65,536 such exercises possible. I'm curious why George Stone chose these 72 exercises of the 65,536 possible. Are these the best ones for developing stick control?
Master percussionist Bob Becker comments upon this in his blurb for the newest edition of Stick Control (the relevant part is in the second paragraph, but I quote the whole thing because some people may like reading all of it):

"George Lawrence Stone’s Stick Control first appeared in 1935. With a terse two-page introduction followed by a mere 21 pages of what he called 'practice rhythms.' Stone unleashed a new and powerful method of technical development for all styles of drumming. The 'How to Practice' page alone is worth the price of the book, and, although he never uses the word 'exercise', he explains clearly how to use his 'conditioners' in a progressive and ambidextrous calisthenic routine, leading to speed, endurance, power and precision.

"On the first three pages, Stone lists 72 sixteen-stroke phrases he calls 'Single Beat Combinations.' Carefully chosen from the 216 = 65,536 permutations possible using only right and/or left hand single strokes, these figures define a comprehensive approach to freedom and flexibility with sticking. The 192 'Flam Beats' paved the way for the wrist and finger stroke control styles of Wilcoxon and Morello, and continue to be among the most effective and challenging practice patterns I know."

More of these can be found here: https://stonepercussionbooks.com/what-drummers-say.html

Incidentally I don't know why Becker refers to "a mere 21 pages" when the book is close to 50 pages.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Done right, that’s an excellent idea. An app that keeps time for you, notices mistakes and tells you about them, keeps you from spending too much time on any one thing at once, etc..

Except if the person writing the app doesn't know anything about playing the drums, or what anyone should be practicing, or how, or for how long. Which I think is the case with basically 100% of apps-- I think what we're seeing here is exactly the level of musical understanding behind all of these things.

I'm glad he's doing some kind of due diligence, asking about "detrimental" sticking patterns, but this... I'd be surprised if he even owns a pair of sticks. It's all numbers and coding issues.

Pages 5-7 of George Stone's Stick Control book show 72 Single Beat Combination exercises. These each consist of 2 measures of 8th notes, each one played with either the right stick or the left stick. There are 16 notes in each exercise and 2 choices of sticking for each note. So there are 2^16 or 65,536 such exercises possible. I'm curious why George Stone chose these 72 exercises of the 65,536 possible. Are these the best ones for developing stick control? Are practicing the others less ideal or possibly detrimental to developing stick control?

It appears George Stone defines an ordered list of the 16 possible 4 sticking 'primitives' (eg RLRL, LRLR, RRLL, LLRR, etc), and pairs each one with itself, and with each one lower in the list, with some variations and exceptions. It would be possible to generate exercises by randomly picking and combining 4 of the primitives.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Except if the person writing the app doesn't know anything about playing the drums, or what anyone should be practicing, or how, or for how long. Which I think is the case with basically 100% of apps-- I think what we're seeing here is exactly the level of musical understanding behind all of these things.

I'm glad he's doing some kind of due diligence, asking about "detrimental" sticking patterns, but this... I'd be surprised if he even owns a pair of sticks. It's all numbers and coding issues.

I hear you. A great app must have great teachers and players behind it, or it’s not going to be great.
 
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