By Tiger Bill Meligari
Although backsticking was originally developed by drum corps drummers to add visual excitement to their performances, it looks just as cool when applied to the drum set. If you missed our previous lesson, Backsticking Speed Tricks – Part 1, click the link to check it out before working on this one. You’ll have a much easier time applying backsticking to the drum set after you’ve learned and practiced the basic technique on a single surface. If you’re good to go, let’s begin by looking at the first exercise in the music notation.
The added physical activity of moving around the drum set while backsticking has a tendency to create tension. To avoid this, it is critical to practice each exercise very slowly at first with the goal of staying loose and relaxed. Once you build this facility into your muscle memory, you’ll be on the road to executing backsticking up to speed without muscle tension.
The two exercises here use the same sticking patterns as those in Backsticking Speed Tricks – Part 1. The main difference is that we will be playing each backsticking (notated by the accents) on a tom. Although Exercise 1 uses the inefficient hand to hand sticking pattern that is harder to execute than the second exercise, don’t be tempted to skip it. Once you learn to play backsticking the hard way, you’ll find the more efficient sticking pattern in Exercise 2 much easy to play up to speed.
Once you can successfully play these two backsticking exercises cleanly and up to speed, work on them again with the stickings reversed. If you want to incorporate crossovers during your reverse sticking workout, which is where one hand crosses over another to strike a tom, then follow the floor tom and small mounted tom markings in the music notation. If you want to avoid crossovers during your backsticking workout, switch toms when using reversed sticking. By switching, I mean to replace the written floor tom with your small mounted tom and the written small tom with your floor tom. For a maximum workout, you should practice both with and without crossovers.
In addition to reversing the written sticking, the goal is to develop your own backsticking drills. Apply backsticking to the entire drum set including hi-hats, cymbals, cowbell, woodblock, etc. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it, like adding backsticking patterns to your brush technique. Incorporating backsticking into your favorite drum set patterns not only enhances your drum set skills but will increase the visual entertainment aspect of your performance, regardless of your style of music.
If you have questions on this lesson, leave a comment for me below.
Until next time: Have fun and stay loose!