In terms of holding the sticks, there are a few different grip points to consider. The Moeller book teaches it from the back fingers (little finger grip). Murray Spivack’s technique teaches the fulcrum between the thumb and middle finder. For most beginners I find that the easiest fulcrum to teach and learn is between the thumb and the index finger.
So what is this thing we drummers call “fulcrum.” For starters, it’s a term that has gained enough attention to warrant a wikipedia entry. Basically, the fulcrum is the support which enables a lever to pivot. It’s an engineering term that has been adapted by drummers to notate the area of the grip that acts as a hinge to enable the sticks to pivot. Although a fulcrum can exists on different part of the stick, each stick has an optimal area that yields the most rebound for each stroke. I go into more detail on that optimal balance point in the video below as well as a few other details I like to point out when teaching beginners how to hold their drumsticks.
I wanted to work on something unique that brought in my interest in tango music. Tango Crash is a tango, electro fusion outfit that’s based in Berlin and performs mostly in Europe and South America. They have been developing their sound that includes electronics mixed with piano, drums, trumpet, cello and bandoneón since the late 90s. Since dissecting this track I certainly have a greater appreciation for them. Thanks to my drummer friend Tim De Ramos for helping me make this video!
I’ve also posted my performance with only the drums:
I heard about the The Drum Wallet while attending NAMM and was really interested in checking this product out!
The Drum Wallet is a simple muffling device for the snare drum that enables the user to apply the muffle or remove it on the fly. Having the capability of snare tone management on the fly appeals to me since I like to play songs that cover more than one style.
Installing The Drum Wallet on the snare drum was pretty easy. The product shipped with a short list of directions for application which I followed without any issues.
The Drum Wallet design is simple but clever. It’s simply modeled after a wallet (we’ve all used one to muffle a snare drum). The wallet is attached to velcro straps which get threaded around the snare drum’s tension rods. There is a wide sleeve attached to the wallet that enables a drummer to use a drum stick to manage the application on the fly. The fact that you can quickly lift The Drum Wallet on or off the snare drum is brilliant. When the wallet is placed on the snare drum it does a good job of muffling the drum’s tones without completely drowning the natural sound of the instrument. (Like the zero rings sometimes do.)
I was curious to see just how quickly I could add and remove the wallet on the fly. I attached The Drum Wallet to the left side of my snare drum and then immediately started playing while the camera was rolling. I attempted adding and removing the muffling device using both traditional and matched grips–all while keeping time. My first try was a little rough (as seen below). I soon realized that placing the wallet onto the drum takes slightly more coordination than removing it. Once I got the feel for that it was smooth sailing for both grips!
I’ve since taken The Drum Wallet with me on a few gigs and really like the flexibility of having multiple sounds for the snare drum. I’m also looking forward to using it in the studio. You can purchase one on Amazon or on The Drum Wallet’s website. For more information you can check out thedrumwallet.com.
I got to experience my first California NAMM show at the Anaheim convention center this past weekend and boy did it live up to the hype. It’s fitting that the convention center is right next door to Disneyland because NAMM is a disney experience for musicians and gearheads alike.
I was advised to download the NAMM app and the have a plan of attack so right after getting my badge I headed directly to the Sabian booth (more like a fortress) to check out their new big and ugly collection of cymbals. These cymbals are all 22 inches and above and they are some mean looking cymbal machines! These dark and dry cymbals are perfect for jazz drummers. They have the look and feel of the Meinl sand rides but are bigger and uglier! Some of them even have burn marks! I really loved the feel of the HH King ride! Sabian’s booth looked amazing and I think they hit a home run by bringing their hand hammer master Charlie Brown out with them to demonstrate that entire hand hammering process! Check out Sabian’s A&R Chris Stankee giving the low down on these:
Paiste’s new line PSTX line of cymbals also caught my attention. These special effects cymbals actually sounded good with just hitting them with my hands. These cymbals would make a good fit with a hybrid acoustic\electric kit as they are more metallic sounding than most effects cymbals I’ve played. They also added hi-hats to this line which were kinda weird to play but sounded very cool-especially when closing the hats together with the pedal. Check out Paiste’s Andrew Shreve’s demo.
Another product that caught attention was the Overtone Labs Tune-Bot. This product has been around for a at least a few years but what was interesting is that Pearl is now selling it as one of their products. It’s a pretty cool product that I think has great value in the studio especially when you want each lug tone to be matched. Check out the demo given by Glen Caruba:
Another highlight was Rotodrum. This Italian based company makes an extremely versatile and innovative line of drums. Inventor Riccardo Martinazzi engineered a drumming system that enables the drummer to change the drum tones very quickly by adjusting the position of the top and bottom heads. This means you can change sounds of any drum on the fly. Pretty cool. Perhaps the best innovation about these drums is that you can place the mic directly between the batter and resonate head. They also make a three headed snare drum which gives you endless sonic capabilities.
Rounding out some of the other highlights for me in the custom drum category was getting a chance to play a birch Sakae kit, the beauty of the new maple Craviotto timbales, and the great tone of the Brazilian based Odery drums.