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SpinaDude

Getting Back Behind the Kit

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Life hasn't been exactly what I'd call easy for the past few years.  So playing my drums hasn't been a priority.  On top of that I wasn't in a mental state to do it and do it right.  I walked past my kit every day and hadn't really had any inclination to play.  I was honestly starting to wonder if I would again.  Had my interests changed that much?  No.  But I just wasn't feeling it.

Things change.

After playing (poorly) maybe three times in the past two years my friend Kyle asks me to put a band together to play in the school talent show.  He's a teacher and I'm a sort of full time sub.  Anyway, K-8 school, which limits what's acceptable to play...and there's no way I'm playing 21 Pilots, which was his idea along with Green Day's She.  21 Pilots, I'm sorry, is just shit.  I don't just hate it, it's genuine shit.  Normally I just relegate things to what I like and don't like...I don't qualify music as good or bad.  In my book those are words implying fact and gauging music is an opinion.  But good lord, 21 Pilots is pure shit.    

Sorry, tangent.

 I just don;t have the chops for She...the BPM is just too damn high.   After arguing for a week and a half with the rest of the "band" we finally agree on Song 2 by Blur and Happy by Pharrell Williams.  And I'm terrified I 'm going to embarrass myself.

I start with padwork trying to build myself back up and I'm getting a pain in my hands.  IN the palm between the thumb and forefinger.  It gets to the point where I can;t hold the sticks anymore.  Not because I can't tolerate the pain, but because I'm losing all strength in my fulcrum.  Thumb and forefinger are going dead.  Has anyone ever experienced this before?  I'm thinking it's a tendon issue. tendons that need to be stretched.  I'm only thinking that because as I kept working for 90 minutes to 2 hours a day for the next few days it got progressively better.  It's not perfect, but it's much better.  Does anyone have any advice for me on this?

I managed to finally get back onto the kit after 4 days of this.  I struggled at first, jumping right into the new material.  I;d learned the songs, but playing them on a pad and making them work on the kit are 2 very different things.  It wasn't happening, despite how easy both tracks are.  Before I could get too frustrated, I went back to old songs I knew, songs where the muscle memory would come back naturally.  I started with the first song I ever learned, Rock and Roll Hell by Kiss.  I moved into some Tesla and Armored Saint, some Alice in Chains and Godsmack.  I hit Hyperdrive with the DTP...and it's really starting to come together.  My hands are good and I'm finally playing well.

Back to Song 2 and Happy.  And I nailed them.  It felt so good.  And man oh man, dis the Meridian;s sound great.  I'd forgotten how beautiful they are.

I brought my kit to Kyle's house a few days later and I was on.  I mean really on.  Right in the pocket.  I know neither one of these tracks are difficult (though Happy does require a bit of finesse to cop that feel) but I was really happy with it.  For me it was a huge step forward.  We haven't played with the full band yet...that's next week.  But it feels great to be doing it.  I haven;t played with a full band in over 25 years.  If it goes well at the talent show we may do a benefit concert for the school.  I can;t imagine coming up with a list of songs they'll agree on, but I still hope we can make it happen.

Anyway, any advice on the hand pain would be appreciated. 

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Honestly, dude, I think that's just part of jumping back into it at full speed.  Take it easy.  If you feel fatigue, then back off.  Eventually you'll be able to push through the fatigue, but give it some time before you do that.  Things will come back to you slowly.  I started playing regularly again a little over a year ago.  The guys who asked me to play knew I was rusty, so I've just been doing the basics and getting by.  I really just have to keep time for the guys and know the structure anyway.  It's all Top 40 pop crap, so I sympathize with your disdain for playing music you don't like.  At this point, I don't even care that I've learned a few Bieber songs.  It's just fun to play again.  Also, I accidentally made a few songs slightly metal when trying for a hip-hop feel, so it's become more entertaining for me.  I've had a 5 piece set up.  The band is in for a surprise tomorrow because I set the 10-piece up last night.

Anyway, back to the aches and pains... I still occasionally get flare-ups in my right leg from my government health care exasperated Achilles tendonitis injury from 15 years ago.  I just take it easy and let it rest.  It'll go back to normal quickly.  I've had a few issues with hand and arm cramps playing some of the faster stuff, especially after playing one song several times so the band could play it better as a whole.  These instances happen less frequently now.  I don't think you have too much to worry about at the moment.  Just don't push yourself to hard.  Maybe switch to playing 1/8 notes instead of 1/16 notes to give yourself a break but still be able to finish the song/rehearsal.  Obviously you'd want to play it full speed by the time you perform.  Do what you can until you feel fatigue and slow it down before you get to absolute failure.  It's frustrating, but just be patient with yourself and you'll build back up.

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Thank you Speedy.  It's been slowly improving to the point where I barely have the issue anymore.  Tonight's the gig, we'll see how it goes.  The songs are easy enough, and I've got them down well and with a good feel.  So that's at least a good thing.  My foot is still inconsistent, which is to be expected after such a hiatus.  It knows what it wants to do and some of the muscle memory is there...and then it spazzes out.  LOL  What can you do other than keep it simple at that point.

I'm hoping the sound system is working properly now.  It was a cluster at the rehearsal the other day.  No functioning monitors. That pissed me off.  And I'm simply not good enough to move through without that.  Any advice there?

   

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This post rings a few bell's for me. In 93 I got a job that injured my hands pretty good.[Industrial sandblasting for hours...A hard to operate hand control that injured both my hand's.

Ok here is what helps me.

1.Always stretch the wrist's like in illustration.

2.Learn to 'Guide' your stick's and use natural rebound instead of a 'death grip'. I barely hold them! You can also wrap your stick's, which will isolate the shock transferred to your hand's. Drummer's glove's further isolate shock.

3.A lighter stick will help also.Along with 'thin' cymbal's.

4.My hand's respond very well to ibuprofen.[But be care full how much and how often.

5.And finally. If your hands are sore, here is a pre-play pain reducer that feels great. Put Mineral oil all over your hands, then put them in the warmest water that is comfortable. Let them stay in the water at least 5 minute's. It washes off easily. TRY THIS!

Doin all this really helped me.At the time of the injury I was in a trio playing out, doin pretty good. [Starting to slowly get over 'NPS' lol] I up and sold my drum's without even tellin my band mate's......They were not too happy. 

At 58 I just do drum covers on youtube [martin vaccaro] now, and I just got a new digital 8 track recorder for hopefully some cool originals.[I record all the tracks]

You did the right thing and did not sell your kit.

Image result for wrist stretches

Edited by Mcfly
not finished

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So we went on last night.  It was far from perfect.  I had to adjust my technique  a lot (READ: ease up on how hard I hit) to accommodate the sound system weaknesses.  One of my own shortcomings is being able to find a groove when I'm not really laying into the kit.  

In the end it came together and I overcame the issues.  Even the couple of mistakes didn't hang me up and I pushed through pretty solidly.  We had at least three hundred people there, and a lot of them sought me out afterwords to pay a compliment which is nice.  You forget how easy it is to impress people who know nothing about drums!  LOL

The sound from my kit is what really sold it though.  I mean it REALLY filled the room.  Rich, thunderous sound.  I was so impressed with how it sounded.  And the Sledgehammer?  Oh my God.  It cut through everything...and I mean everything, ripping across the room like a voracious tiger.  What a beautiful instrument.

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On 2/23/2018 at 1:06 PM, SpinaDude said:

My foot is still inconsistent, which is to be expected after such a hiatus.  It knows what it wants to do and some of the muscle memory is there...and then it spazzes out.  LOL  What can you do other than keep it simple at that point.

Yeah, it takes a while to rebuild nerve endings for fine motor control.

On 2/23/2018 at 1:06 PM, SpinaDude said:

I'm hoping the sound system is working properly now.  It was a cluster at the rehearsal the other day.  No functioning monitors. That pissed me off.  And I'm simply not good enough to move through without that.  Any advice there?

With an older band, I got to the point where I could play the set straight through without needing to hear anyone.  They were originals, and I counted in for every song.  I don't know my current band's (cover) songs that well (they don't either), and we're all new at playing with each other, so I can't be that rigid yet.  Ideally, I'd like to get back to that level.  I hate relying on having to hear everyone perfectly all the time.  If I get to a gig and I can't hear them, I'll tell them after the first song and then it's on them to keep up.  Not ideal, but neither is losing one of your senses.

4 hours ago, SpinaDude said:

So we went on last night.  It was far from perfect.  I had to adjust my technique  a lot (READ: ease up on how hard I hit) to accommodate the sound system weaknesses.  One of my own shortcomings is being able to find a groove when I'm not really laying into the kit.

I have a similar problem.  I discovered, accidentally, that using lighter sticks allows me to lay into the kit.  The downside is finding lighter sticks which maintain a similar balance to my normal sticks.  They usually end up being shorter in length, which changes some things.

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