"Back Sticking"

By Bill Rotella

The Basics of Back Sticking

Back Sticking is a technique used for Flash Drumming, Showmanship, and Special effects. It also can be used to develope the fulcrum, and finger technique. It will also strengthen your grip on the sticks. The technique is not new, but some drummers have not been exposed to its benifits. It is used extensively in Drum Corps drumming. Some Rock drummers have used it in Showmanship in their soloing. I myself have used it in the above styles, and found it very benificial.

However you are holding the sticks, either Matched or Conventional, will remain the same. To execute a backstick, with the right hand, just open the fingers, and allow the butt of the drumstick to pivot at the Fulcrum, changing position with the tip of the stick.(see sketch 1)Your wrist will turn your hand slightly upward, to aid in hitting butt of stick on drum or pad. It is important that the butt hit at the same angle as the tip does, in the natural striking of the drum.

After stricking the butt, turn the wrist down, and pull the fingers into the palm of the hand, allowing tip of stick to hit pad or drum.(see sketch 2)

The left hand, if holding sticks matched grip.Do backstick as, you did for right hand stick. Conventional grip is handled differently. Turn left wrist down, at same time pulling 3rd and 4th fingers into palm of hand. Keep forefinger and second finger over drumstick.(see sketch 3) Turn wrist and open hand, to natural position to strike tip of drumstick, this will complete cycle of backsticking.(see sketch 4) Work on one hand at a time. until you have control of pivoting within the fulcrum

Then work on the opposite hand. You can practice the single strokes, alternating between tip and butt of stick. The single paradiddle can be worked on next. Backstick accents. Next try triplets, accent first beat of triplet, and let the accent be your backstick. A good accent reading book, will be great to work on, backstick all accents. Have fun with Backsticking

Here is a basic set of Back Sticking exercises. The "X" is the backstick. Sticking is notated in the first measure of each line. After working on this basic sheet, you can incorporate, Snare Drum Rudiments. Back Stick all the accents in rudiments. When playing Paradiddles, Single , Double, or Triple, Play Back Stick on the Accents. Lesson 25, Back Stick last note, the accent. Try playing Flams, by back sticking High note, keep tap down low.

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