Two Grooves, Keep Your Hands Low

Happy New Year from Austin, Texas, and my nifty new rehearsal studio. I finally found a great room (Music Lab) where I can put allllll of my drums and percussion equipment, including my vintage Fibes and my cool little Gretsch Catalina Club Street kit.


Here’s two short clips for you to demonstrate something I’ve spent a fair amount of time on over the past few years: keeping my hands low, until I need to unleash. The economy of movement saves energy, reduces travel distance, and gives me more control over dynamics than I’ve had in previous years.


Clip #1 is straight 4/4 groove on the Gretsch kit, something simple but fun to play. I end it with a 6-stroke roll (RLLRRL), played low to maximize rebound and volume control.

Clip #2 is on the Fibes kit, a 5/4 funk groove with a few Cobham-inspired licks thrown in. It’s a louder kit, obviously, so the hands are coming up a little higher than with the Gretsch groove, but the idea is still the same: use the least amount of energy to get the most out of what you’re playing.

I use a lot of wrist snapping and finger squeezing to get the snap and precision that help keep things flowing. The reserves volume is always there if I need it, but at 60, I do find that conserving energy helps me get through the night without cramping my hands and losing my breath!


I hope you enjoy these samples, and when you’re practicing, try keeping your hands low to the drums during timekeeping and fills. I use a lot of last-second velocity to bring the stick down quick and then pull it back, as gravity isn’t quite able to do the job alone.


Here’s hoping 2020 gives you everything you want in music in more, and as always, thanks for checking things out. There will be many more such clips coming, so please check back or subscribe to the blog. See ya!

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