Monday, June 2, 2008

How to Strike the Drum Head Properly in a Press Roll

A drummer's kit, be it used in rock, jazz, swing, blues, or any other form of music is both extensive and expensive. Well over a dozen different size and make of drum can be used in any one performance given the drummer's need to produce different drum tones and pitches. The same drumming techniques can often be performed on different drums to result in a completely different tone. Typically the smaller a drum, the higher the pitch. In this guide you will be shown how to perform a press roll, also known as a buzz or crush roll, with particular emphasis on striking the drum head properly.

Things You’ll Need:
Drum Kit or Practice Pad

Performing A Press Roll and Striking The Drum Head Properly
Step 1:
Begin by sitting close to your drum. Make sure both the drum is angled toward you and you're sitting high enough to be able to strike the drum directly on the center with ease. If you're sitting too low your drumsticks will glance off the drum's rim.

Step 2:
Grip one drumstick in each hand. The sticks should protrude from the top of your hands. Grip them tightly between the first knuckle of your index finger and the pad of your thumb.

Step 3:
Hold your fists horizontal to the ground. Rather than your thumbs being at the top of your hands, the knuckles of your fists should be the highest points of the hands. You should only ever raise your stick about half a foot from the drum's surface when doing a press roll.

Step 4:
Aim your stick at the center of the drum. Rather than dropping your hand to strike the drum, push your hand downward at the wrist. The stick should impact and bounce from the drum a few times at blurring speed. If the stick bounces up high and slowly returns to the drum head then it means you're not holding the stick tightly enough or your wrist is too loose. Don't let the stick bounce anywhere across the drum head except in the center, if you do it will change the quality of the sound, making it seem flat.

Step 5:
Practice striking the drumhead, letting the stick bounce, and then stopping the stick by pressing it downward after impact.

Step 6:
Develop a rhythm, repeating the stroke continuously until you can do it reliably and comfortably. Then start practicing with your other hand until you're proficient with both hands.

Step 7:
Learn to alternate using one stick and then the other, striking the center of the drum head accurately with both. When this becomes comfortable, slowly increase the pace of the alternation and see how fast you can do this. When the drum sounds continuously with no break between strokes then you have mastered this technique.

Tips & Warnings
Though high paced, this drum technique has little to do with movement of the fingers and more with the hands and wrists. The stick should be gripped tightly, try to keep your wrists loose to allow the sticks to bounce more after striking the drum. Though this technique is not hard to pick up, it takes a great deal of practice to smoothly be incorporated into your repertoire. Though this technique can be performed on any drum, you might wish to use a snare drum when learning. The head of the drum is bound more tightly and you will find the stick bounces more easily. A practice pad will bounce your drumsticks like a regular drum, but makes very little noise, allowing you to practice without disturbing people living nearby.

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