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Nomenclature and Toms

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Home Forums Extreme Hands Makeover Discussion Nomenclature and Toms

This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Andrew Andrew 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #3148 Score: 0
    Profile photo of Andrew
    0 pts

    Hi Bill,

    I am a week into the EHM (doing roughly a week per step) and am loving the relaxed feeling my hands now have playing free strokes. I have been reading your helpful answers on for many years and decided it was finally time to come over here. Wish I had done so a long time ago 🙂

    I have a couple of questions;

    Firstly, the technique we are building upon at the start of the EHM, the free stroke, is that also known as Gladstone technique? I have heard other drummers speak of Gladstone and it sounds similar to what I am doing at the start of EHM, but I have never been able to find an in-depth explanation of Gladstone to be able to really understand if this is the case.

    Secondly, is it possible to build the free stroke to a point where it works well on even low tuned floor toms? I have been trying free-strokes from step 1 EHM all over the kit, in addition to the practice pad.

    I find that snares and cymbals react in a similar way to the free stroke on the pad, but the low floor tom (tuned as low as it will go) just sucks up all of the energy, so if I am starting past vertical in the up position, the rebound only brings it to half of its original height. Other toms are not as bad, but they still don’t reach back to past vertical.

    Playing in metal bands, I would ideally like to be able to play on the low and other toms, the same figures I would be playing on the snare, i.e. fast and loud single strokes. I have heard other drummers say they try to play German all wrists on toms to achieve this. This would obviously be a very different technique to what the EHM is teaching us.

    Should I still focus on those other techniques, even though I am pretty sure the EHM is designed to undo all of the very German/down-stroke-up-stroke/wrist playing that got on in those situations?



  • #3149 Score: 0
    Profile photo of
    0 pts

    I’m curious what Bill will say, I have been playing the marimba a lot, and there is no natural rebound, like what you are talking about with your low tuned toms. Even though there is no natural rebound to play a free stroke, since I started the EHM I have noticed a considerable amount of relaxation in my wrists and arms to the point where it feels like the mallets are bouncing up on their own, even though I know they’re not.

    Other teachers I have had always recommended starting students on snare drum for a while so they can get used to the feeling of natural rebound and can replicate that on other instruments like timpani, mallets, etc. (artificial rebound).

    As far as German grip, I would think that even without the natural rebound of the drum, you still want finger control to play fast, so changing to German grip doesn’t seem like it would help with fast and loud single strokes, but again, I’m curious what Bill will say. Good luck!

  • #3150 Score: 0
    Profile photo of Andrew
    0 pts

    Cheers Alissa,

    Thats very interesting what you say about marimba (never had a chance to play one of those and I didn’t realise it was a low-rebounding surface).

    A few more weeks into the EHM, I am also starting to experience what you say, i.e my hands feel like the are bouncing up more and more on their own.

    Like Pavlov pressing a button to get the dogs salivating, it’s like the EHM conditions us to get those hands coming back up!

  • #3157 Score: 0
    Profile photo of Bill Bachman
    Bill Bachman
    3 pts

    Dangit! Why wasn’t I alerted to this post! It’s supposed to email me when something new drops in. So, sorry for lagging…

    I strongly dislike the use of people’s names to describe technique. You can’t build a house with 1 tool, so somebody’s name shouldn’t possibly be a descriptor of any 1 thing. Certainly when Stone, Gladstone or Moeller played they didn’t use just 1 technique. A famous drummer once gave the advice to “check out Stone, Gladstone & Moeller and choose the technique that works for you.” Well if Stone is the free stroke guy, Gladstone the 4 basic strokes guy and Moeller the whipped accent guy, (I’m not even sure those are all the correct attributions), then you’re still out of luck choosing any one of them. The whole thing is maddening and just ends up in futile debates & arguments. On the cyberwebs I’ve even now seen people referring to “Bachman technique.” What on earth is that? (besides an overarching hodge-podge of useful tools for various jobs). I shut that one down as fast as I could. I have unique methods and terminology for sure, but there’s no original technique here. Please let us just use descriptive terms! Rant over…

    Your floor tom or marimba shouldn’t react and rebound like your snare or ride cymbal, so you will have to wrist it out more. (And please don’t go to German grip, there’s nothing that the wrists can do in German that they can’t do every bit as well in American. And American leaves you set up infinitely better for finger use among other things–don’t get me started.) The idea is to use the free stroke to train rebound, flow and finger control so that however much or little is applicable to the surface you’re playing on, you’ll take advantage of every bit of it. People who swear by their pad feeling just like their loose snare or tom and get a moon gel pad end up stiff and choked forever. Your wrists will naturally develop from “manning it out” on surfaces that don’t rebound much, so don’t focus too much there. Strength is easy to develop, finesse not so much.

    Alissa, love your marimba and as a percussionist always take advantage of however much or little rebound is available to you!

    Thanks for the kind words guys, I’m smiling & fuzzy inside to hear of your progress. Spread the word!

  • #3160 Score: 0
    Profile photo of Andrew
    0 pts

    Cheers Bill, no problem for the lag. I am onto step 6 now and still reaping the benefits. I will take your advice on American grip and toms. Thank you.

    Fair enough about naming things. I am a stickler for it, as you might tell :-).

    Still, it must give a nice ego boost to hear about the ‘Bachman technique’!

  • #3193 Score: 0
    Profile photo of Andrew
    0 pts

    Thought I’d check back in. I’ve only progressed to step 7 by now (took a break from hands to focus on feet), but again, I’m seeing massive benefits.

    The EHM is the only thing that actually bridges the ability gap between left and right hands, I have found. Usually, when I work on hand technique, both my hands get better by the same amount, so the left is always lagging. But now, the EHM is letting my left play catch-up! I think a lot is to do with French grip and finger control…

    …talking of which, I think you poked the bear when you said don’t go German :-). After doing the French EHM stuff, and seeing all the lovely things it did to my American grip, my brain thought ‘Well, if I go all the other way, my wrists will be better in American, right?”.

    Well, I don’t know if thats the case, but what I did find is that, even all the way out in German, all the French finger finesse stuff I practiced made my German grip immeadiately better! I was focusing on wrist strokes in German, but it just goes to show how important fingers are, regardless of our type of grip.

    Of course, I am sticking mainly with American, don’t worry 🙂

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