Fast Stick Drumming Techniques

Good drumming techniques will make you a fast and efficient drummer like nothing else. You can practice for days on end with wrong technique and still not be able to do what one hour of practice with proper techniques will let you accomplish in terms of speed and efficiency. (By efficiency I mean using the least amount of muscle energy as possible.)

This lesson depends on drumming techniques discussed in the previous drum lesson. Therefore, you might want to review it first if you haven’t done so already.

The key to fast stick technique is the bounce. Once you hit the drum, the stick will naturally bounce off the head. Let it do so. Once the stick is up, push it back down, but never pull up. Let the bounce bring the stick back up and do half the work for you. To push down on the stick, you’ll have to pull your arm up first, but you won’t have to force the stick up with you, it will do so on its own.

If you’re holding the stick correctly, it will pivot nicely around your index finger as it bounces up, and will also be easy to push down. Don’t hold the stick too firmly, or it will not pivot up. Ideally, you should hold it just tightly enough to prevent it from flying out of your hand.

You can’t pull your arm up high when playing fast because long motions take time. So just use small movements of your forearm, wrist, and fingers. The previous lesson mentioned that volume is a function of stick height, and consequently, to play fast you have to sacrifice some volume.

Now, go to your drums and practice this technique with a single stroke roll by alternating the hands left, right, left, right… Start practicing slowly, and bring your speed up while paying attention to proper technique.

Once you have this technique down, try playing a roll as fast as you can. You’ll find that you can only sustain maximum speed for a short period of time. But that’s fine, as those ultra fast rolls are useful for performing drum fills, which don’t last long.

Tuning your drums tightly will make the drum heads bouncy. So if you’re having trouble bouncing the sticks, tightening the lugs will make things easier.

The next suggested drum technique lesson is about the double stroke roll.


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