Straight from the horse's mouth.

EarthRocker

Senior Member
Over the last few years I've been telling everyone who talks about it, that Buddy Rich did not use a finger technique to get his fast strokes. And yet legions of drummers on forums and Youtube claim they've figured out "Buddy Rich's hand technique." and when you read or watch it, it's fingers, fingers, fingers.

A friend of my shared a drum magazine article from way back, Mel Torme interviewing Buddy Rich - and I caught this bit about halfway through reading the interview.

Tormé: What about the lever action of your right hand when you play the cymbal?

Rich: I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t play with my fingers for one. You don’t get a sound with the fingers. Louie Bellson and Joe Morello are the true exponents of what they call finger control. But your fingers don’t control the stick, your hand controls the stick, and if you can’t use the wrist action then you don’t have stamina and power to play any given tempo for any length of time. You must have the benefit of your whole hand. That’s the same as walking—if you don’t use your ankles you limp quite a bit. The same flexibility applies. You use the leverage of your ankle for the pedal, and you use your wrist, not your fingers, to control all of the motion for the stick.

So there you have it. Buddy Rich's technique was not that fruity little finger twitch. And it wasn't Jojo Mayer's masturbation technique. It was good wrist motion.

P.S - here is the whole article so you can read for yourself. http://www.downbeat.com/default.asp?sect=stories&subsect=story_detail&sid=947
 
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WhoIsTony?

Member
fortunately for Buddy he gave this interview before people could just go to YouTube and watch anything he ever played on demand

if you watch this solo... or really any solo he ever played ... you can clearly see tons of fingers being used and that famous technique that Jojo breaks down in that one clinic video

I'll start the video where he uses the technique Jojo (and many others) describes...clearly 100% fingers.... then watch the rest of the solo for much more finger action ....loads of it actually.
sure he uses wrists a ton...we all do... but he also used finger control an awful lot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94DeieWZgTM&t=3m57s

check out this as well

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94DeieWZgTM&t=4m55s

sure looks like fingers to me right before he starts playing loud

so there you have it

yeah... I trust my and your eyes more than the horses mouth
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Sorry if this seems like a troll, but...

Is this really an argument that drummers have? Whether the foundation of Rich's technique was the wrist or the fingers? Seriously?

Forgive me if this is a gag and I've inadvertently been tricked. It's like asking "What is the foundation of a PB&J sandwich, the peanut butter or the jelly?"
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
Sorry if this seems like a troll, but...

Is this really an argument that drummers have? Whether the foundation of Rich's technique was the wrist or the fingers? Seriously?

Forgive me if this is a gag and I've inadvertently been tricked. It's like asking "What is the foundation of a PB&J sandwich, the peanut butter or the jelly?"
yes believe it or not this is a topic that drummers have been having heated discussions about for decades

not unlike Bonzos foot, Tony Williams ride technique , and all the Neil Peart / Ringo garbage thrown around

sad huh ?
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
yes believe it or not this is a topic that drummers have been having heated discussions about for decades

not unlike Bonzos foot, Tony Williams ride technique , and all the Neil Peart / Ringo garbage thrown around

sad huh ?
But... The wrist, palm, and fingers are all connected. How can this even be an argument?

What's the foundation of Orange, Red or Yellow? Or is this more of a metaphysical Chicken/Egg debate? How do I play?
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
But... The wrist, palm, and fingers are all connected. How can this even be an argument?

What's the foundation of Orange, Red or Yellow?
the argument would not exist if Buddy didn't constantly falsely claim that he did not use his fingers to manipulate the stick and that he only used his wrist

people use this ridiculous claim as a backup to this childish argument as if the footage of him controlling the stick with his fingers.... (the way every drummer has since drum sticks were whittled from branches).... didn't exist
 
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Mark_S

Silver Member
All the best drummers I've seen seem to use everything, including Buddy. I can't imagine anyone getting decent speed and feeling relaxed by not using their fulcrum, and keeping there fingers still or mashed up against their palm.

Looking at videos of Buddy, he is clearly using his fingers a lot of the time, even if just passively, and the stick is definitely moving in his fulcrum.

Maybe he meant he didn't get his speed by keeping his wrist still and just using his fingers? Though I've seen him do that too..
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
But... The wrist, palm, and fingers are all connected. How can this even be an argument? ....
Move your wrist and keep your fingers still.

Now move your fingers and keep your wrist still.

Connected yes. But independent movement is also possible.
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
...It's like asking "What is the foundation of a PB&J sandwich, the peanut butter or the jelly?"
My insufferable foodie and very good cook of an older brother has never been shy to let anyone know that the foundation of a good sandwich is the bread.

I do agree though, this seems a silly thing to argue outside of a roomful of inebriated drummers. I love to discuss technique probably more than the last drummer but I have moved on from Buddy and his angry ways.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
the argument would not exist if Buddy didn't constantly falsely claim that he did not use his fingers to control the stick and that he only used his wrist
I would imagine that the wrist was the subject of his cognitive emphasis, which dictated the speed and intensity of the stroke.

When I play guitar, I don't think in terms of finger position on the picking hand, I think in terms of wrist tension, and the fingers just 'do'. It would be maddening to think about them. Perhaps if I were playing a Chet Atkins piece, I'd have to think about it.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
I would imagine that the wrist was the subject of his cognitive emphasis, which dictated the speed and intensity of the stroke.

When I play guitar, I don't think in terms of finger position on the picking hand, I think in terms of wrist tension, and the fingers just 'do'. It would be maddening to think about them. Perhaps if I were playing a Chet Atkins piece, I'd have to think about it.
this is why I would usually choose a swift kick in the nuts over a technique discussion

should have taken the kick in the nuts today
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
BR wasn't exactly Einstein neither. He does admit he can't explain it.

Rich: I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t play with my fingers for one. You don’t get a sound with the fingers. Louie Bellson and Joe Morello are the true exponents of what they call finger control. But your fingers don’t control the stick, your hand controls the stick, and if you can’t use the wrist action then you don’t have stamina and power to play any given tempo for any length of time. You must have the benefit of your whole hand. That’s the same as walking—if you don’t use your ankles you limp quite a bit. The same flexibility applies. You use the leverage of your ankle for the pedal, and you use your wrist, not your fingers, to control all of the motion for the stick.

I agree w/BR, only... 'the whole hand' would included said finger action. Your fingers do in fact control the stick, and so do your hands.

What BR is hitting at is he doesn't play exclusively with his fingers, tho sidestepping reality that 'nobody plays exclusively with just their fingers'. It is easier to use more wrist action then finger, there's 5 fingers to each wrist, easier to manage a couple of wrists.

The most efficient technique involves both fingers and wrists. Predominantly using wrists I'll agree, it'll win the stamina argument, b/c its really difficult to integrate the transition between fingers and wrists throughout a night of playing.
 
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