So when I saw this gleaming and super modern looking piece of equipment at Sam Ash, I got excited.
First, let me explain in more detail the “problem” that this piece of equipment was created to solve.
The classic problem here? The crossing of one’s hands. And yes, I know that the “best” solution is actually to play open-handed, but let’s assume that you don’t have enough time to re-learn all of your groove playing in that manner.
I had a student who moved his hi hat away from his body and then uncrossed his hands that way. That is the concept; moving the hi hats forward and to the right of their “normal” position allows you to uncross your hands.
But, your left foot has to move too. The resulting position is decidedly awkward.
Here’s how the product is explained on the Gibraltar website:
“Gibraltar’s Ultra Adjust hi hat stand allows the player to position the stand in a comfortable leg playing position and independently position the hi hat cymbals for best playing placement. Gibraltar accomplished this utilizing the patented Ultra Adjust system. These two gearless positioning points give up to eight inches displacement for the upper stand section of the hi hat.”
The Gibraltar Ultra Adjust did allow me to position the hi hats in a great spot so that I could uncross my hands. It also allowed me to keep my left foot where I wanted.
BUT, more importantly, the motion of the hi hat stand is very sluggish. That is the Achilles heel of the product. Frankly, it’s a deal breaker for me. The first thing that has to work well for me is the actual function that the hi hat is supposed to serve. And that is action and response. I want to use the hats for “chik” sounds, splashes, and the standard open and close sounds.
Yes, I can do all those things, but not with ease. Making the hi hat open and close is laborious. I need to exert more physical energy to move the hi hat up and down than I would with a standard pedal. It’s slower; the response is sluggish.
Unfortunately, this means that the Ultra Adjust is a failure. It just doesn’t feel right at all.
A great idea….but the execution is not there.
Too bad. I really wanted it to work.
I STILL resist the notion that I should go into the shed and learn to play all of my grooves open handed.
I will continue to look for solutions.