A drum teacher told me the full stroke was completely useless...

44Ronin

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Wrong section, sorry ! Whoops

Not my teacher but someone I live with, he saw me playing full stroke and criticised me about it as well as a few other parts of my playing that were related to the way his electronic drums were set up and uncomfortable for me to play on.

He commented on the full stroke...

"Why do you raise your wrists so far up".

"I've never see anyone do that".

"It's a waste of energy and time".

"It's redundant".

"None of the guys who get paid to play drums do that".


The argument got pretty heated between me and him. I tried to explain that practicing things in large exaggerated motion helps give control to finer movements, much like martial arts.

Among the exchange was that I pulled open the Alder book and showed him an example..... then he responded "I've been teaching for years, blah blah blah, I know what works for students, not some crap found in an old book". I pointed to a picture of Buddy Rich in several photos of full stroke position and said, "so your saying that he didn't know what he was doing?"

I angrily told him that he was being ignorant by dismissing something he doesn't know anything about, and I added "well how come you've been teaching for that long and you don't know about the full stroke? Since you don't know about it, how can you even understand whether it works or not?, I think you're being ignorant".
 

Coelacanth

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Sorry Ronin, but I gotta agree with your drum teacher, in some ways. It *is* a waste of effort, and the "arms raised high" drum-whacks seems more to be for the pleasing of the crowd than the conservation of energy and economy of motion of the drummer. I don't agree with the way he presented his opinion, though. It was more than a tad condescending, even though I think he's on the mark. You might be well advised to find a different teacher...and I bet you'll hear the same thing, although hopefully in a more positive manner. :)
 

44Ronin

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Sorry Ronin, but I gotta agree with your drum teacher, in some ways. It *is* a waste of effort, and the "arms raised high" drum-whacks seems more to be for the pleasing of the crowd than the conservation of energy and economy of motion of the drummer. I don't agree with the way he presented his opinion, though. It was more than a tad condescending, even though I think he's on the mark. You might be well advised to find a different teacher...and I bet you'll hear the same thing, although hopefully in a more positive manner. :)
He is not my teacher...rahter someone I have to live in the same residence with.

I'm talking wrist only movement...ala the full stroke done at slow speed to work on stick control. I am gathering the impression that you don't understand what I am talking about.
 

gnomey

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I once had a guy who claimed to have honourary uni degrees from America, write for drum mags, played for Stevie Wonder, know Steve Gadd + other top drummers and personally gave birth to Jesus say
"Why do you play with closed hats? No one in America plays with closed hats? If you went to America and did that people would laugh at you?"
Then proceeded to lecture me that the basic swing and rock beat were crap and that the only real way was to play in the spaces between the beats.

Not sure if this aids the discussion, this just seemed like a good thread to get this go off my chest so to speak.
 

Bongo Congo

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I once had a guy who claimed to have honourary uni degrees from America, write for drum mags, played for Stevie Wonder, know Steve Gadd + other top drummers and personally gave birth to Jesus say
"Why do you play with closed hats? No one in America plays with closed hats? If you went to America and did that people would laugh at you?"
Then proceeded to lecture me that the basic swing and rock beat were crap and that the only real way was to play in the spaces between the beats.

Not sure if this aids the discussion, this just seemed like a good thread to get this go off my chest so to speak.
LOL. I think we've met the same guy. In fact, I've met three or four of him over the years. :roll:

44Ronin, I don't know what to tell you, aside from encouraging you to continue to play drums, and do it in the way and the style that works for you. If there was one "perfect technique" that applied to every drummer in every genre, we'd all have long ago been replaced by robots. ;-) That's all I'm gonna say about it, and I know I'm gonna get an argument anyway.... but I'm thankful that drumming is an art form, and not a science.
 

BennyK

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Actually, Freddie Gruber emphasizes the exaggeration of arm movement as being integral to playing the note. In other words, the note played on the drum is only the end of the movement.His students are amongst the biggest names in the music world.He claims that the person should be playing the drum,not the stick.
 

Coelacanth

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Sorry Ronin, but I gotta agree with your drum teacher, in some ways. It *is* a waste of effort, and the "arms raised high" drum-whacks seems more to be for the pleasing of the crowd than the conservation of energy and economy of motion of the drummer. I don't agree with the way he presented his opinion, though. It was more than a tad condescending, even though I think he's on the mark. You might be well advised to find a different teacher...and I bet you'll hear the same thing, although hopefully in a more positive manner. :)
He is not my teacher...rahter someone I have to live in the same residence with.

I'm talking wrist only movement...ala the full stroke done at slow speed to work on stick control. I am gathering the impression that you don't understand what I am talking about.
Maybe, maybe not...but I got a pretty good idea based on this guy's comments to you. It wasn't lacking in descriptiveness, now was it?
 

Cymbalist

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Wrong section, sorry ! Whoops

Not my teacher but someone I live with, he saw me playing full stroke and criticised me about it as well as a few other parts of my playing that were related to the way his electronic drums were set up and uncomfortable for me to play on.

He commented on the full stroke...

"Why do you raise your wrists so far up".

"I've never see anyone do that".

"It's a waste of energy and time".

"It's redundant".

"None of the guys who get paid to play drums do that".


The argument got pretty heated between me and him. I tried to explain that practicing things in large exaggerated motion helps give control to finer movements, much like martial arts.

Among the exchange was that I pulled open the Alder book and showed him an example..... then he responded "I've been teaching for years, blah blah blah, I know what works for students, not some crap found in an old book". I pointed to a picture of Buddy Rich in several photos of full stroke position and said, "so your saying that he didn't know what he was doing?"

I angrily told him that he was being ignorant by dismissing something he doesn't know anything about, and I added "well how come you've been teaching for that long and you don't know about the full stroke? Since you don't know about it, how can you even understand whether it works or not?, I think you're being ignorant".
This guy does not know what he's talking about...Volume comes from stick height, not hitting the drum harder, which is, in fact, wasted energy...It takes much less energy to pick the stick up and let gravity work with you, than to smash the stick hard into the head...Guy's out of his mind....
 

Chunchunchun

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Of course there's some merit to it, when required! I'm not talking full arm hitting, just getting a bit more height and flick. I'd like to see a light jazz touch make my heavy crashes open up...
 

Cymbalist

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Of course there's some merit to it, when required! I'm not talking full arm hitting, just getting a bit more height and flick. I'd like to see a light jazz touch make my heavy crashes open up...
Right, a bit more height...Technique is technique; it has nothing to do with style of music...The same technique will work whether one is playing classical, jazz or heavy metal...
 

Coelacanth

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I think more wrist-whip gives the same volume benefits as stick height. I've seen many a drummer play plenty loud without requiring stick height.
 

Cymbalist

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I think more wrist-whip gives the same volume benefits as stick height. I've seen many a drummer play plenty loud without requiring stick height.
Oh, you can get volume, just as you can with pounding the crap out of a drum, its just not very energy-efficient/ergonomic...
 

Coelacanth

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I think more wrist-whip gives the same volume benefits as stick height. I've seen many a drummer play plenty loud without requiring stick height.
Oh, you can get volume, its just not very energy-efficient/ergonomic...
I'd have to debate that...the best drummers I've seen, past and modern, it seems the only thing that's moving is their wrists (and the sticks). You don't see height nearly as much. A flick of the wrist is a lot more efficient/ergonomic than raising up your entire forearm, I would imagine...
 

BennyK

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Its about the space between the notes, not the volume of the "hit".I sense you fellows missed the point. Max Weinberg on Conan is fun to watch using this method. Upstroke. Sort of tossing the note between your limbs, where the note is using you, much the same as ping pong.
Anyway, its another viewpoint, and like I said, check out Mr. Grubers list of students for validation.
 

Cymbalist

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I think more wrist-whip gives the same volume benefits as stick height. I've seen many a drummer play plenty loud without requiring stick height.
Oh, you can get volume, its just not very energy-efficient/ergonomic...
I'd have to debate that...the best drummers I've seen, past and modern, it seems the only thing that's moving is their wrists (and the sticks). You don't see height nearly as much. A flick of the wrist is a lot more efficient/ergonomic than raising up your entire forearm, I would imagine...
Would you say Joe Morello falls into that category? I'm probably somewhat biased, having studied and worked with him for many years, but I'd argue (and suspect he would argue) that "flicking the wrist" alone" without arms, is not as energy efficient. With arms involved, gravity is helping you more rather than you having to put in the energy via repeated muscular action...Think of dropping a ball from a great height; the ball will keep bouncing until all the energy put into it is released...The higher the ball, the more energy....He would always advocate "fingers, wrists, arms", in that order when increasing dynamic level/volume...And controlling the bounce...Not that his approach is the only valid approach, but it works pretty well for him and many others. ;) Gruber essentially espouses the same approach from what I gathered in a brief chat with him several years ago...
 

Coelacanth

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I think more wrist-whip gives the same volume benefits as stick height. I've seen many a drummer play plenty loud without requiring stick height.
Oh, you can get volume, its just not very energy-efficient/ergonomic...
I'd have to debate that...the best drummers I've seen, past and modern, it seems the only thing that's moving is their wrists (and the sticks). You don't see height nearly as much. A flick of the wrist is a lot more efficient/ergonomic than raising up your entire forearm, I would imagine...
Would you say Joe Morello falls into that category? I'm probably somewhat biased, having studied and worked with him for many years, but I'd argue (and suspect he would argue) that "flicking the wrist" alone" without arms, is not as energy efficient. With arms involved, gravity is helping you more rather than you having to put in the energy via repeated muscular action...Think of dropping a ball from a great height; the ball will keep bouncing until all the energy put into it is released...The higher the ball, the more energy....He would always advocate "fingers, wrists, arms", in that order when increasing dynamic level/volume...And controlling the bounce...Not that his approach is the only valid approach, but it works pretty well for him and many others. ;) Gruber essentially espouses the same approach from what I gathered in a brief chat with him several years ago...
Gravity sure does play a role...as much for DROPPING the ball as for LIFTING it. ;)
 

cornelius

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The Full Stroke is great to practice, because like you said, the exaggerated motions help you to learn the technique properly. It's the same thing as playing slowly - you can't play faster - cleanly - if you haven't played slowly first. It would be the same thing as your friend seeing you practicing a groove at 1/4=50 and saying "what are you doing, there aren't any songs on the radio at that slow tempo".

If one plays the Free Stroke properly, the only way to learn it is with a Full Stroke. With the Full Stroke you learn the motions, but most importantly, you learn rebound. After a while the sticks just fly off of the drums and you're letting the sticks do all of the work. From there you can apply that technique with Half and Low strokes. The Free Stroke (Full) is a great warm-up because it really stretches those muscles in your arms, so you'll have all of those "gears" ready to go when your adrenaline gets going on a gig. If played properly, the Full Stroke is the opposite of wasted motion. I'm not sure what kind of Full Stroke you were playing when your friend commented (Free, Moeller...), but there is also merit to playing the Full Stroke for the Moeller Stroke, too.

The truth of the matter is, everyone uses Full Strokes to some degree, most people just don't realize it when they're in the middle of a song. It might look strange to see someone deconstructing that motion and playing it on a practice pad, but when you're on a gig that requires volume, or accents - your body will respond easily because you have the motions down from actually practicing it.
 

xFrenzy

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The description you're giving doesn't give me a really specific dea of what you mean...but here's a way to make everyone happy.
 
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chilidog

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Wrong section, sorry ! Whoops

Not my teacher but someone I live with, he saw me playing full stroke and criticised me about it as well as a few other parts of my playing that were related to the way his electronic drums were set up and uncomfortable for me to play on.

He commented on the full stroke...

"Why do you raise your wrists so far up".

"I've never see anyone do that".

"It's a waste of energy and time".

"It's redundant".

"None of the guys who get paid to play drums do that".


The argument got pretty heated between me and him. I tried to explain that practicing things in large exaggerated motion helps give control to finer movements, much like martial arts.

Among the exchange was that I pulled open the Alder book and showed him an example..... then he responded "I've been teaching for years, blah blah blah, I know what works for students, not some crap found in an old book". I pointed to a picture of Buddy Rich in several photos of full stroke position and said, "so your saying that he didn't know what he was doing?"

I angrily told him that he was being ignorant by dismissing something he doesn't know anything about, and I added "well how come you've been teaching for that long and you don't know about the full stroke? Since you don't know about it, how can you even understand whether it works or not?, I think you're being ignorant".
This guy does not know what he's talking about...Volume comes from stick height, not hitting the drum harder, which is, in fact, wasted energy...It takes much less energy to pick the stick up and let gravity work with you, than to smash the stick hard into the head...Guy's out of his mind....
 


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