The Trouble with "Faster Hands" in Isolation.

So it's official. The 80/20 Drummer is "selling out". At least a little. I put a contact form on the website asking for feedback, and a comment I get frequently is people want to increase their hand and foot speed. So I'm currently testing a Fast Hands video to see if there's enough interest to go into production. You can be sure that I won't approach it the way others do - I'll try to find a way to make people better players under the auspices of giving them "faster hands" if it kills me.

What's my problem with faster hands?

I found two great video examples.

Here's a guy with faster hands than mine. (Skip to 0:13)

Pretty impressive, right? So, just for fun, I went to his YouTube channel to see how he applies those blazing single strokes to his playing. He should be a beast, right?

Ummmm, not-so-much, it turns out. (Start at 0:37)



So this is my customer base. People who want faster hands because they think it will make them better, when really what they need to improve is their time and feel, then - and only then - the pipeline between their ideas and limbs: the "upload speed" of their vocabulary - the true secret to "faster hands".

I think most people who Think they want faster hands want to be able to play stuff like this.

Skip to to the 1:15 mark if you're short on time.

Trust me, single strokes are the far and away the least important reason Tony Royster sounds the way he does. In fact, someone with far less technique than tony could transcribe this solo and play it to about 85% proficiency.

Don't believe me? Check this out.

Skip to 1:30

This is a transcription of an Eric Harland solo. Though she does an admirable job and will someday be a great player, it's clear she doesn't have the same technical facility as Eric.

But if you think I'm disparaging her, I'm not. In fact, just the opposite. With her amazing achievement, she proves raw hand speed is the least important part of executing a great drum solo. She did what all good players do - focused on the most important tools to learn that solo, and double paradiddles on pillows wasn't one of them.

Like the spike after the touchdown, faster hands will get you the "ooh aah" factor once you've taken care of business, but it's meaningless without the touchdown.

Stay tuned folks. 80/20 will attempt to deconstruct the real way to play impressive solos.