The Inverted 9 Stroke Roll

The Inverted 9 Stroke Roll

The Inverted 9 Stroke Roll

This highly useful rudiment inversion came about by necessity, like many inventions. I was working on some 32nd note soloing ideas and I had a few I liked. Unfortunately, the stickings were tricky and I was having trouble coming out of the phrases and landing on “1” (or other places, like the “and” of “1” etc…) with my right hand. Like many of you right-handed drummers, I like to land on my right hand when I come out of fills so I can go back the groove more easily.

I concocted this sticking to allow this to happen, and I’m finding it very useful in my playing. Because I’m a righty, the more useful version of this is shown in example #1, which begins on the left hand and ends on the right. However, some of you may find #2 (which is the reverse sticking, beginning on the right hand) more suited to your needs.

There are two examples on the PDF/worksheet of how to use this sticking (presented as #’s 3 and 4). Example #3 is a groove idea, while example #4 shows a paradiddle combination that uses the inverted 9 stroke roll to land on your right hand as you go back to the groove.

Here’s the PDF: The Inverted 9 Stroke Roll

Write me or comment to let me know what you think.

The Secret Of Drumming

imageIn one of my lessons with John Riley, I asked him about talent. I have often thought about whether there is such a thing. Many drummers-to-be ask me about this too, wondering if they have enough talent to make it worth their while to try playing.

Honestly, I’ve never thought I was particularly talented. But I work really hard, I’ve always sought guidance and I’m really excited and passionate about drumming. I believe that these are the keys.

When I first wanted to play drums, I found a local teacher who put me on the right track with learning to read, working on technique and developing independence. I practiced a lot. The more I practiced, under this guidance, the faster I got better, so I practiced more. That continued. This cycle informed my opinion of talent.

It was that hard work with the proper guidance that allowed me to become a good drummer. The hard work was fueled by passion. This part is kind of unexplainable. You are either passionate about something or you are not. I was (and still am) passionate. When I was a teen and started listening to Led Zeppelin and RUSH, I heard drumming that excited me. I can’t explain why, but I was so passionate about what I heard that I had to find out how to do it. This passion drove the work. I became a drummer.

This continued through many stages. I would get excited by different drummers and different styles of music. Then I would dive into those musical waters, transcribing and learning that type of drumming.

This cycle continues to this very day. I have a new band I’m working on and I am inspired by the music to create great drum parts. Sometimes the drum parts I hear in my head require a coordination I don’t have yet. So, I have something new to work on. But it is the music and passion that inspire the practice.

So the cycle works like this:

Passion + Guidance + Hard Work/Practice =Drumming Proficiency

So back to my lesson with John Riley. I asked him if there was a gift that allows one to be good. John replied that the gift is merely the ability to have the focus to do the work required to acquire skill. So I had a gift, but the gift wasn’t some secret innate ability to be a good drummer. The gift was the ability to lock myself in a room for hours on end and practice.

So, that’s the secret. There is none.

Now, go practice.

66 Measure Weak Hand Single Stroke Endurance Exercise

Weak Hand Exercise IllustrationThis three page monster exercise, inspired by a similar idea in Joe Morello’s “Master Studies 2,” is a killer, and the title describes it’s purpose. I’ve been working on single strokes lately, and as usual, I want to share my methods with you.

I did not write the sticking on the exercise sheets because once you understand the pattern, you really don’t need to see the stockings on paper. There would be a lot of L’s and R’s on the paper clogging up your mental energy. Not necessary. Here’s how it works. Throughout the entire exercise, your weak hand plays 16th notes. That never stops. When you get to Exercise #2, you begin to add your stronger hand to create 32nd notes. With each exercise, you add an additional 32nd note with the stronger hand.

As you progress through the pages, you will be playing a single stroke roll and that roll is held longer and longer until the end where you reach two full measures of 32nd notes.

Just for clarity, here are exercises #11 and #12 so you can see exactly how this plays out (assume the left hand is your weaker hand):


Work with a metronome, and be careful! If you feel pain, don’t push through it. We don’t want any drumming injures….

Here’s the exercise as a PDF: Weak Hand Single Stroke Training Exercise

Quotes Every Drummer Must Read 1

BIO_Mini-Bios_0_Theodore-Roosevelt_151070_SF_HD_768x432-16x9Theodore Roosevelt must have been talking about leadership in the quote below, but every drummer in pursuit of their art form will relate to the thought. In fact, any artist will understand the idea of battling against the pull of the “normal” and striving to do something different. I stumbled upon this through my readings of an entrepreneurial business author, John Warillow, but no matter the source–read on for inspiration.

  It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.   –Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

Titan Drumsticks from Vic Firth

It was with great anticipation that I opened the box that had arrived from The Vic Firth Company. As a matter of full disclosure, I am an official endorser of their products, but I promise to tell it to you straight anyway. That’s what this column “GearHead” is all about—telling you the truth about products we try.

The idea behind non-wood sticks has always been to find a way to make sticks last longer. I was excited because the idea of having a stick that would stand up to a pounding better than wood was enticing.Titan Drumsticks After all, what drummer wouldn’t want an indestructible stick? Well, truth be told, The Vic Firth Company does not claim that the Titan is indestructible. In fact, when I was asking the good folks over there about these sticks, they made certain to tell me that they were not indestructible. The claim is that they are just much more durable than ordinary wood sticks.

That alone, if the sticks sound and feel good, would make these worth the price of admission.

The durability is real. I’ve been using the Titans in my rock band, MANCIE, where heavy hitting is required. After the first two hours of this kind of playing, the sticks are hardly scratched and I’m confident that they’re going to last a long time. My test is going to be to see just how long this one pair of Titans lasts under the hard hitting of my rock playing.

The other benefits are pitch pairing and weight pairing perfection. Because of the carbon fiber composite that Titans are made of, the manufacturing is completely controlled. Every stick is exactly the same. Every single Titan stick that Vic Firth makes weighs exactly the same and has the exact same pitch. That is kind of revelatory in and of itself. Imagine a stick bag full of Titans–you could just reach in a pull out any two random Titans and they will feel the same and sound the same. You could not do that with wood. Pretty impressive.

What about feel? These sticks don’t feel artificial. They feel like “real” sticks. Titans feel good in your hands, the balance feels right and they respond and bounce the way you would expect regular sticks to respond. Check!

And the sound? The drum sounds I could pull out of my kits with the Titans were just as good what I could create with wood. I couldn’t get one of my prized jazz ride cymbals to sound great, but these are not jazz sticks, so I don’t think that is a fair expectation on my part.

I give these a thumbs up for rock playing. I’ll write again in a few months to let you know how these sticks are holding up. In the meantime, check out this video to see what Jojo Mayer, Dave Elitch, Cliff Almond and others say about Titan drum sticks.