Who Has (and Hasn't) Worked Their Way through Stick Control?

multijd

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I was away from drumming for several years and came back to it around 3 years ago, and after jamming with some work buddies off and on for a couple years, about a year ago I went on eBay and bought Stick Control and it has been a huge help, first just getting me back to where I had been 12 years ago, and then soon sailing right past that mark.

I have not worked through even the first quarter of this book and it does seem like overkill, maybe. I'm not sure, but maybe, maybe about 500 exercises in there? I don't like to go through a lot at once though. I usually pick one exercise and stay at it a while, just zone out on it, sort of meditating.

I'd like to finish the book but I don't want to rush through it.
Youre unlocking the key! The consistency really pays off. Good luck!
 

m_anderson

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Stick Control and Podemski were the first two books my drum teacher told me to get. I remember my drum teacher saying "Stick Control is boring, but you have to do it." I have three copies. It's still boring, and I still do it.
 

Ian S

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Youre unlocking the key! The consistency really pays off. Good luck!
Thanks! The key is certainly the goal. I feel like my body learns better when I practice in a meditative way, so one at a time, rather than multiple exercises in a sitting. And actually when I said a quarter of the book, I realized that's nowhere near accurate, I've only worked through a few exercises on most of those pages, so really only a few in total so far, and it's been several months. So yeah, slow and steady..
 

Rock Salad

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I have the book. I also am still on the first page. Like you have been more with Wilcoxon now that that first page has got me started. I like accents, and rests so that's probably why.
There's still time though (hopefully)
 

cornelius

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If you practice just a little bit everyday - a page a week - you'll get through it in a year. Just chipping away at the book as a supplement to other lessons/playing - you'll notice the benefits.
 

Deafmoon

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Stick Control, Accents and Rebounds, Master Studies 1 & 2...all are great for balance, dexterity and chops building. But, they are all a means to an end. What the heck does that mean? Here’s an example. Take Buddy Rich playing a single stroke roll. He can play it evenly with both hands or many times we saw him play singles mixed hand. Meaning 2’s,3’s,4’s, 5’s in the left hand with the right hand accenting wherever he felt the melody. Technically there were doubles and triple strokes and so on, but he made it all sound like a continuous roll. Take Tony and his use of the rudiments in his quasi Alan Dawson ritual. He was so good at making them sound like a continuous roll that he had the brass balls to open sets with him just warming up to this on the drums in front of the crowd before he kicked off the tune. Thats why all those books I mentioned are so good, they enable you to create with your hands whatever you are thinking. And believe me, you are so far removed from thinking R and L hand strokes in those moments that if you haven’t gone through some of these books, you will never be as fluid on the drums as you could be.
 

Stixkubwa

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After someone mentioned Stick Control on another thread, I remembered my drum teacher holding that book up years ago and saying in effect, "If you think what you're doing now is tough, this book is next!"

Well, "next" never came, and I'm not sure why. I don't remember quitting drum lessons, but after awhile I just no longer took them. My teacher and I remained close. I worked part-time in the music store where his studio was and filled in for him teaching his students when he needed time off. I even took over from him as drummer after he quit one band and joined another. But the lessons stopped before I started in on Stick Control.

My guess is that my teacher had never worked his way through the exercises in that book and realized that he was in no position to teach them. He was a decent weekend warrior drummer, but not a great drummer. He knew enough to know that mastering Stick Control was the next step, but not enough to insist on trying to guide me through it.

Anyway, today (over 50 years later) I finally looked at Stick Control. It's available online in pdf. My impression was that the first few pages aren't that daunting. In fact, I can pretty much sightread them. I also immediately understood their rationale. It's to mix up sticking patterns in order to get drummers comfortable playing things every which way. This is a good idea.

But after the first few pages I found myself thinking, WTF? Not only can't I sightread many of the later exercises, I also have to pause and try to figure out exactly what they entail before even trying them slowly. Anyone who has worked their way through the entire book must have phenomenal hands.

Then of course there's an addendum suggesting ways to transfer the exercises to drum set playing by mixing up feet and hands too. Anyone who has done much of that must be a phenomenal drum set player.

So I'm curious: How many of you have worked your way through all the exercises vs. how many have either skipped them all or only mastered some of them? I'd guess that conservatory graduates have done them all while a few weekend warriors haven't bothered with any of them, but I don't know so I'm asking.

Also, for those of you who have either dabbled in or mastered the exercises, I'm curious to know how helpful you think they are. It's obvious to me that they can't hurt, but I have to wonder if there's much payoff from mastering complex mixtures of 16th notes and triplets with different sticking patterns and oddly interspersed rests. Surely these don't come up in the real world very often, but maybe some drummers use them.

I'm just wondering about a next level I never rose to, as well as contemplating calling up the pdf and actually practicing some of those exercises myself.
I have never worked my way through the whole book. However, for me the repetiveness of the different exercise variations help to build up stamina and “muscle memory” of sticking. Unfortunately or fortunately I have just encountered Jim Chaplin in YouTube and the Moeller Technique he espouses now consumes much of my practice endeavour.
 

Fredthered

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It really should be considered the bible for every drummer. It was one of the first books that my first teacher had me play through (not the odd time sticking at first).. 55 years later I still use it every other day (alternating with Accents & Rebounds). The point of this book is not sight reading. The point is control through repetition, hence the "repeat each exercise 20 times" bit (or you can also do each exercise for a minute instead with a clock instead of counting 20X)....I would suggest using your feet as well and always using a metronome (at least when using this book)....For a next level challenge check out Stone's Accents & Rebounds and Joe Morello's Master Studies I & II
 

James@beatbalance

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I've just started working on it, after....many years as a drummer. I'm using it in conjunction with a metronome app that gives me loads of feedback (I'm consistently rushing, still) and goes silent when I am playing in time. I'm finding it really meditative, which is great while we're in lockdown here in the UK! I reckon if you can do the first few pages, solidly, with a six year old running in and shouting "you're doing really well, Daddy!", you can do pretty much anything.
 

Monday317

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After someone mentioned Stick Control on another thread, I remembered my drum teacher holding that book up years ago and saying in effect, "If you think what you're doing now is tough, this book is next!"

Well, "next" never came, and I'm not sure why. I don't remember quitting drum lessons, but after awhile I just no longer took them. My teacher and I remained close. I worked part-time in the music store where his studio was and filled in for him teaching his students when he needed time off. I even took over from him as drummer after he quit one band and joined another. But the lessons stopped before I started in on Stick Control.

My guess is that my teacher had never worked his way through the exercises in that book and realized that he was in no position to teach them. He was a decent weekend warrior drummer, but not a great drummer. He knew enough to know that mastering Stick Control was the next step, but not enough to insist on trying to guide me through it.

Anyway, today (over 50 years later) I finally looked at Stick Control. It's available online in pdf. My impression was that the first few pages aren't that daunting. In fact, I can pretty much sightread them. I also immediately understood their rationale. It's to mix up sticking patterns in order to get drummers comfortable playing things every which way. This is a good idea.

But after the first few pages I found myself thinking, WTF? Not only can't I sightread many of the later exercises, I also have to pause and try to figure out exactly what they entail before even trying them slowly. Anyone who has worked their way through the entire book must have phenomenal hands.

Then of course there's an addendum suggesting ways to transfer the exercises to drum set playing by mixing up feet and hands too. Anyone who has done much of that must be a phenomenal drum set player.

So I'm curious: How many of you have worked your way through all the exercises vs. how many have either skipped them all or only mastered some of them? I'd guess that conservatory graduates have done them all while a few weekend warriors haven't bothered with any of them, but I don't know so I'm asking.

Also, for those of you who have either dabbled in or mastered the exercises, I'm curious to know how helpful you think they are. It's obvious to me that they can't hurt, but I have to wonder if there's much payoff from mastering complex mixtures of 16th notes and triplets with different sticking patterns and oddly interspersed rests. Surely these don't come up in the real world very often, but maybe some drummers use them.

I'm just wondering about a next level I never rose to, as well as contemplating calling up the pdf and actually practicing some of those exercises myself.
I recently referenced Stick Control, but am not likely to be the only one. It's really the Genesis of drumming Bibles; if you can't master the first two pages, quit and try bass guitar.

On the other hand, if drumline, professional jazz, or orchestral percussion is a goal for you, then yes--you’ll need to master the whole book. Not an easy task of course, however you music will probably pay your bills.
 

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I was handed this book in 1969. To date, I have gotten to pg. 10. :) But don't forget Wilcoxon and Jim Chapin. Not to mention the Buddy Rich book...I believe really written by his friend Henry Adler. It would be interesting to know how many of these Mr. Gadd has gone through....I think I know how to get this info? Let me try.
 
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Stixkubwa

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I was handed this book in 1969. To date, I have gotten to pg. 20. :) But don't forget Wilcoxon and Jim Chapin. Not to mention the Buddy Rich book...I believe really written by his friend Henry Adler. It would be interesting to know who many of these Mr. Gadd has gone through....I think I know how to get this info? Let me try.
Hi my friend. The Buddy Rich/Henry Adler book has been with me since the late 1950s. I've only more recently found Jim Chapin and am now consumed with the Moeller. From experience, I wish I had discovered Moeller many years back and would urge any drummer to absorb and practice this technique.
 

halldorl

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I never made it past page 6. Always felt terribly guilty about it until I read an interview with Billy Cobham where he recommended the book, at least the first 5 pages since he never made it further!
Made feel a while lot better :)
 

hawker

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Hi my friend. The Buddy Rich/Henry Adler book has been with me since the late 1950s. I've only more recently found Jim Chapin and am now consumed with the Moeller. From experience, I wish I had discovered Moeller many years back and would urge any drummer to absorb and practice this technique.
Happy to hear you have something more to keep you occupied. We're the same age and guess we have both come to the conclusion that it's nice and fulfilling to keep getting better at your craft...but alas, it doesn't necessarily turn you into Buddy, Elvin, Gadd or Jeff Hamilton. Blessings!
 

drummerfriend

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I was introduced to SC around 1980 and then onto Accents and Rebounds (from there came the Master Studies books).

My teachers were 'old school'. Once done on the snare/pad, I was taught numerous ways to incorporate these into the set. This included bringing books such as (not the only) Syncopation into the mix.

After a certain point of proficiency, there is no end to these, just personal choice in terms of how far to take it and how much time to devote to material like this.

I still use these but they do not dominate my practice time. They are part of the plan along with a balanced dose of Wilcoxon and then other independence books such as New Breed.

For me and my own goals as a drummer/musician, this is what I find keeps me engaged and learning.
 

Stixkubwa

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Man... I always thought of working through that kind of material as the most tedious thing imaginable. I still kind of think the same thing, but as I've been watching more Youtube videos on drumming lately, I'm realizing that so much of the variations that are possible - so much of the "spice," has everything to do with sticking patterns. I try to practice basics concepts that I see in these videos but it's as if neural pathways in my brain don't really connect with this kind of thing as for too many years I've etched pathways in my brain by playing in simpler, more obvious ways. I can play pretty smooth singles, doubles and buzz rolls and I know my way around paradiddles, but I have a lot of difficulty with things like playing sticking patterns that are odd groupings of eight notes (or even groupings of triplets). It's like my brain just wants to square everything off. I really ought to buy this damn book and force myself to spend time with it...
A very down to earth and understandable reply resonating with my own endeavours over the years. Let's enjoy the art and craft of playing the drum kit.
 

Robert Albiston

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Stick Control was one of several books I worked through with my first teacher, I never went through the whole book. At various times my teacher would have me work through certain sections.

As an example of that, he had me work through the pages where they have all the different paradiddle permutations. Then when I was comfortable with that he had me apply certain ones to the drum set... once I started to get that down he showed me a bunch of Steve Gadd transcriptions which utilized many of the same permutations. He wanted me to see the link between the source material and what could be done with it.
I guess that is why that book is still considered a go to resource today.
Yes, I am finding that phrases are picked up in various places and have become foundations for the work and teaching by great drummers. An early Ted Reed is taught by Mel Brown in a fine clinic on YouTube and appears in an advanced online course on solo work. A little rudimentary sight reading is extremely helpful to some of us to imprint the foundations from which expression and innovative phrasing come. A bit of work yields those “ah-ha!” moments that puts really good stuff in our pockets.
 

langmick

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I was taught through this book many years ago by our drumline instructor, and Haskell Harr's, but really never proceeded past page 4 then. I haven't gone front-to-back yet, I think I'll do it. It's on my music stand right now. I remember hearing Vinny Appice say you only needed that first page to work on. He was right.

I did work through AASD front-to-back, then went back-to-front. There is some really unorthodox creative music in that book, Wilcoxon had some awesome ideas!
 


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