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Does anyone suffer from joint pain in their arms from playing Edrums?

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  • Does anyone suffer from joint pain in their arms from playing Edrums?

    Hi guys, a quick question. I have been playing my ATV artist kit quite a bit recently. I play the kit just like I would a real acoustic kit. I guess I’m a medium to heavy hitter. I have noticed I’ve started getting sharp pains in the front of my arm joints (not the elbow). I’ve been playing all my life and never really had a problem like this. I was just wondering if anyone else has experienced the same from playing edrums and does it pass over time or should I go and see my Doctor? Cheers.

  • #2
    No problems for a long time since pads switched from hard rubber to mesh

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by jay888bee View Post
      Hi guys, a quick question. I have been playing my ATV artist kit quite a bit recently. I play the kit just like I would a real acoustic kit. I guess I’m a medium to heavy hitter. I have noticed I’ve started getting sharp pains in the front of my arm joints (not the elbow). I’ve been playing all my life and never really had a problem like this. I was just wondering if anyone else has experienced the same from playing edrums and does it pass over time or should I go and see my Doctor? Cheers.
      If you don’t get the same problems on an akit then it’s probably overuse from having constant access to an ekit vs acoustic.

      Also if you are constantly playing downstrokes meaning you stop the rebound then maybe it’s more shock from an ekit because there is more bounce. You should play mostly free strokes in that case. Let the stick bounce back freely and only play downstrokes when it’s necessary to stop the stick if you need to play a ghost note after it.

      Comment


      • #4
        You post coincides with my having just watched a Modern Drummer video about drum ergonomics. Brandon goes into why you need to make sure you grip in such a way that you're not fighting the natural rebound of the sticks coming off the hit. Heads up - the other parts of this video series are behind the Modern Drummer paywall.

        http://52.20.94.27/article/october-2...m-positioning/

        Muscle and exercise specialist Brandon Green is the founder of Strata Internal Performance Center, and is the owner of the drummer-centric biomechanics and fitness website drum-mechanics.com.

        Ryan Bloom on YouTube is good also. I've stumbled across this just trying to learn more about how I should have the kit setup.
        Ludwig Accent 5 piece kit | UFO Drums ebridges, 3 ply mesh heads and rim protectors | Yamaha PCY135 on Ludwig stand with DIY hall effect sensor | Yamaha PCY155 ride | DIY Pintech 2 zone crashes with Goedrums piezo's - Myrk membranes| eDRUMin ED10 | Cantabile VST host | Superior Drummer and Jamstix kits | Alto TS115a monitors | IK ARC 3

        Comment


        • #5
          Sticks. It's [often | always ] sticks. You using hickory or oak? Get thee to maple. Maples flexes and soak up the vibes. [you don't need to buy expensive snake oil sticks]

          Flex: maple > hickory > oak

          And - obs - use the volume knob
          *** Never buy a module without MIDI IN ***
          Yamaha & Roland modules. DTX,TM-2, EC-10, EC10m, SP-404. Multi12. TrapKat. ControlPads. Octapad, SamplePad, Wavedrum. Handsonic. Dynacord RhythmStick. MPC. Paiste 2002/Signatures. Cajons. Djembes. Darbuka. Windsynth. MIDI Bass. Tenori-on. Zoom ARQ. Synths. Ukes.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by electrodrummer View Post
            Sticks. It's [often | always ] sticks. You using hickory or oak? Get thee to maple. Maples flexes and soak up the vibes. [you don't need to buy expensive snake oil sticks]

            Flex: maple > hickory > oak

            And - obs - use the volume knob
            Bad sticks with good technique is still not going to cause pain.

            Bad technique with good sticks will.

            So I don't agree.

            Comment


            • #7
              jay888bee,

              Originally posted by frankzappa View Post
              Also, if you are constantly playing downstrokes, meaning you stop the rebound, then maybe it's more shock from an ekit, because there is more bounce. You should play mostly free strokes in that case. Let the stick bounce back freely and only play downstrokes when it's necessary to stop the stick if you need to play a ghost note after it.
              ^ Seconding this.

              You may know all of this already, but it's so fundamental to pain issues that I'm going to ensure we are all on the same page.

              In the terminology I was taught, the downstroke described above is a control stroke. A control stroke starts as a full stroke, with the stick fully away from the drum, at approximately a right angle to the head. You throw the stick downward and just before it contacts the head, you release your grip / control over the stick. This stops the impact traveling into the hands and body. As the stick rebounds, you stop the stick (with a small hold in the fingers and wrist, and sometimes the arms) about an inch away from the head. So, the stick starts fully away from the head and ends, on rebound, only an inch away from the head; the stick does not return to its starting position at the end of the stroke. The key, as with much drumming technique, is you exert minimum control over the stick, both downward and on rebound / upward. I cannot emphasize enough that just before the point of impact with the head, you relax your grip on the stick, to avoid impact traveling directly into the hands and body.

              When the control stroke is executed properly, a small amount of impact travels into the body, but less than you might think. If you maintain a tight hold over the stick, then yes, over time, this is likely to cause pain and damage. The key to avoid pain and damage is to exert only minimum control over the stick when required. At all other times the grip returns to loose and relaxed.

              Why use control strokes?

              Control strokes are necessary when following a loud stoke with quiet strokes, as frankzappa described. There are many figures that require this. The classic paradiddle, when played with accents on each stroke after the diddle, is one such example:

              Code:
              ^    ^  
              RLRR LRLL
              
              ^ = control stroke
              All other strokes are taps.

              Free strokes (or full strokes in the terminology I learned) are where the stick starts fully away from the head (at approximately a right angle to the head) and ends fully away from the head. You throw the stick downward during the downstroke and the upstroke is all rebound. Thus, you don't pull the stick upward. Rather, rebound carries the stick upward and back to the starting position, so all you need do is get out of the way of the rebound, which means relaxing control / grip over the stick. At the end of the upstroke, you apply the minimum hold required to stop the stick once it is fully away from the drum, and then you return to a loose and relaxed grip (the resting position).

              Taps are just that; drop the stick and pick it up again. The stick starts about an inch away from the head. You open your hand and drop the stick, literally; it's not a throw, but rather you let go of the stick and drop it to the head. When the stick contacts the head, you pick the stick up with a small closing motion of the hand. The stick ends where it started, an inch off the head, and the grip returns to a relaxed state.

              If you are executing these strokes correctly, they should not cause pain and damage. Equipment (sticks, drums, cymbals, etc.) is rarely the cause of the kind of the pain you describe. Technique is usually the culprit. Note, I include kit setup as part of technique. As the body ages, it becomes less capable of dealing with impact and it's possible you sustained an injury you are unaware of. Even without injury, your body's changing needs may require different technique than you are using now. This has happened to me many times during my drumming life. Do some analysis of your technique and setup, and see if this sheds any light. If you continue experiencing pain, see a doctor.

              Final suggestion, do not play through pain. In other words, don't keep playing, thinking you are building endurance. Pain is your body's way of indicating damage or impending damage. Thus, when you experience pain, stop playing. If it's not feasible to stop (because you're on a gig), then alter your playing to stop the pain. This may mean finishing the gig with only one hand or no hands at all. It's better that than risk permanent damage to your body.
              Last edited by TangTheHump; 09-28-20, 05:12 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TangTheHump View Post
                jay888bee,



                ^ Seconding this.

                You may know all of this already, but it's so fundamental to pain issues that I'm going to ensure we are all on the same page.

                In the terminology I was taught, the downstroke described above is a control stroke. A control stroke starts as a full stroke, with the stick fully away from the drum, at approximately a right angle to the head. You throw the stick downward and just before it contacts the head, you release your grip / control over the stick. This stops the impact traveling into the hands and body. As the stick rebounds, you stop the stick (with a small hold in the fingers and wrist, and sometimes the arms) about an inch away from the head. So, the stick starts fully away from the head and ends, on rebound, only an inch away from the head; the stick does not return to its starting position at the end of the stroke. The key, as with much drumming technique, is you exert minimum control over the stick, both downward and on rebound / upward. I cannot emphasize enough that just before the point of impact with the head, you relax your grip on the stick, to avoid impact traveling directly into the hands and body.

                When the control stroke is executed properly, a small amount of impact travels into the body, but less than you might think. If you maintain a tight hold over the stick, then yes, over time, this is likely to cause pain and damage. The key to avoid pain and damage is to exert only minimum control over the stick when required. At all other times the grip returns to loose and relaxed.

                Why use control strokes?

                Control strokes are necessary when following a loud stoke with quiet strokes, as frankzappa described. There are many figures that require this. The classic paradiddle, when played with accents on each stroke after the diddle, is one such example:

                Code:
                ^ ^
                RLRR LRLL
                
                ^ = control stroke
                All other strokes are taps.

                Free strokes (or full strokes in the terminology I learned) are where the stick starts fully away from the head (at approximately a right angle to the head) and ends fully away from the head. You throw the stick downward during the downstroke and the upstroke is all rebound. Thus, you don't pull the stick upward. Rather, rebound carries the stick upward and back to the starting position, so all you need do is get out of the way of the rebound, which means relaxing control / grip over the stick. At the end of the upstroke, you apply the minimum hold required to stop the stick once it is fully away from the drum, and then you return to a loose and relaxed grip (the resting position).

                Taps are just that; drop the stick and pick it up again. The stick starts about an inch away from the head. You open your hand and drop the stick, literally; it's not a throw, but rather you let go of the stick and drop it to the head. When the stick contacts the head, you pick the stick up with a small closing motion of the hand. The stick ends where it started, an inch off the head, and the grip returns to a relaxed state.

                If you are executing these strokes correctly, they should not cause pain and damage. Equipment (sticks, drums, cymbals, etc.) is rarely the cause of the kind of the pain you describe. Technique is usually the culprit. Note, I include kit setup as part of technique. As the body ages, it becomes less capable of dealing with impact and it's possible you sustained an injury you are unaware of. Even without injury, your body's changing needs may require different technique than you are using now. This has happened to me many times during my drumming life. Do some analysis of your technique and setup, and see if this sheds any light. If you continue experiencing pain, see a doctor.

                Final suggestion, do not play through pain. In other words, don't keep playing, thinking you are building endurance. Pain is your body's way of indicating damage or impending damage. Thus, when you experience pain, stop playing. If it's not feasible to stop (because you're on a gig), then alter your playing to stop the pain. This may mean finishing the gig with only one hand or no hands at all. It's better that than risk permanent damage to your body.
                I want to add that the tap is actually a free stroke too, it just starts and stops at a lower height.

                I like to describe playing drums as bouncing 4 basketballs at the same time. Would you agree with that analogy? That’s how it feels to me at least. Mostly free strokes and the feet as well. I don’t like to bury either, it’s the same thing as choking the stick IMO.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by electrodrummer View Post
                  Electrodrummer; wrote:
                  Sticks. It's (often | always) sticks. You using hickory or oak? Get thee to maple. Maple flexes and soaks up the vibes. (snip) Flex: maple > hickory > oak. And, obviously, use the volume knob.

                  Frankzappa wrote:
                  Bad sticks with good technique is still not going to cause pain. Bad technique with good sticks will. So I don't agree.
                  I suspect sticks are unlikely the cause of pain jay888bee describes. However, I'll undo this notion somewhat. If jay888bee is playing super heavy, super loud music with extremely light sticks, this may cause the body to work unnecessarily hard, which could cause pain and damage. If you're overworking to play the music, it's almost impossible to maintain a relaxed grip, so we're back to technique issues. Sticks are part of the setup aspect of technique and it's important to choose appropriate sticks for the job at hand.

                  For backbeat oriented music, especially if the music is loud, I recommend a heaver stick, though not overly heavy. E-drums can get louder without heavier sticks, but a common mindset when faced with loud music is to play somewhat harder, and heavier sticks help ease this burden.

                  Electrodrummer makes a great point when reminding: "Use the volume knob." Yes, indeed! This is an advantage e-drums have over their acoustic counterparts. If you need to be louder and your amplifier is already at maximum output, provided your gain stages are optimized throughout the signal chain, than it's time to get a louder amplifier! And if your existing amplifier is capable of playing louder, remember to use this. I've often found myself hitting e-drums harder, trying to get more volume, and then I remember: "Gee, no need to hit harder; just turn up the volume knob!" Remembering to let the amplifier work for you can save huge wear on the body.
                  Last edited by TangTheHump; 09-28-20, 05:50 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by electrodrummer View Post
                    Sticks. It's [often | always ] sticks. You using hickory or oak? Get thee to maple. Maples flexes and soak up the vibes.
                    ^^This. Maple sticks! OMG, I didn't know they could make that much of a difference. I got the Vater Sugar Maples, the Super Jazz for lighter playing, and a pair of 5As for regular work, and it made all the difference. There's something about maple that absorbs the bounce and makes your strokes both more regular, and less fatiguing on mesh heads. (Regular technique admonitions still apply.)
                    Last edited by monospace; 09-28-20, 11:57 PM.
                    Module: TD-9v2. Kick: KD-8, pedal: Iron Cobra with KAT Silent Strike beater. Hats: VH-10 with Tama Swivel hi-hat stand. Snare: PD-120. Toms: 3 x PD-80R. Crashes: CY-12RC, CY-14. Ride: CY-15R. Aux: BT-1.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by frankzappa View Post
                      I want to add that the tap is actually a free stroke too, it just starts and stops at a lower height. I like to describe playing drums as bouncing 4 basketballs at the same time. Would you agree with that analogy? That's how it feels to me at least. Mostly free strokes and the feet as well. I don't like to bury either, it's the same thing as choking the stick IMO.
                      To me, a tap is quite different from a free stroke (or what I called a full stroke), even if the full stroke starts from low height. A full stroke has the phases throw, release, rebound / follow, catch, and release. Conversely, a tap has the phases drop and pickup. There is no throw and the pickup doesn't involve much (if any) rebound. Taps are one of the few strokes that do not involve rebound. When played rapidly, especially with a strong leading stroke, taps tend to morph into other, small, rebound-oriented strokes. So sorry to disagree, but I do not think of free strokes / full strokes and tap strokes as variations of the same stroke.

                      Playing drums is like bouncing four basketballs at the same time? Indeed, there are times, especially when playing heel up, when it feels like you've got four items in continuous, bouncing motion! I agree! :-)

                      Regarding the bass drum, I not very good at bury the beater. I've always been a constant release player.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TangTheHump View Post

                        To me, a tap is quite different from a free stroke (or what I called a full stroke), even if the full stroke starts from low height. A full stroke has the phases throw, release, rebound / follow, catch, and release. Conversely, a tap has the phases drop and pickup. There is no throw and the pickup doesn't involve much (if any) rebound. Taps are one of the few strokes that do not involve rebound. When played rapidly, especially with a strong leading stroke, taps tend to morph into other, small, rebound-oriented strokes. So sorry to disagree, but I do not think of free strokes / full strokes and tap strokes as variations of the same stroke.
                        No need to apologise for disagreeing, without it there is no intelligent discussion.

                        I think of it in stick heights.
                        What do you call a free stroke with half the stick height? What about a quarter? How about an eight of the full stick height? At what stick height do you suddently change technique to a tap?

                        Also the free stroke you describe is not familiar to me. I didn't learn it the same way. To me it's just two motions, down up. The important thing is to start at the top position and end at the top with the minimum amount of energy wasted.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Great advice. Many thanks for your input everyone. I’ll see how it goes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I’ve been switching to ATV from metal cymbals and I noticed that the nerves around my fulcrum joint in my index fingers seem to be irritated. This was never a problem until I started playing rubber cymbals. I use Promark ActiveGrip which is hickory I believe and I get a lot of vibration back through the stick, especially on the ride. I’m sure technique is part of the problem and all this discussion prompted me to take Bill Bachman’s course on technique. I also just ordered a set of maple sticks to see if it helps.
                            PDP Concept Maple A2E with Bum Wraps; Pearl Crystal Beat Octobans; Jobeky AI dual-zone triggers; drum-tec Real Feel and Billy Blast Ballistech 3.0 mesh heads; ATV cymbals; Gibralter hardware; Offset double pedal; DW Remote hi-hat stands; Yamaha FC7; two eDRUMin10 devices; Alesis Strike Amp 8; Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen; Intel NUC with Windows 10 Pro; SD3

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Frankzappa,

                              Originally posted by frankzappa View Post
                              No need to apologise for disagreeing, without it there is no intelligent discussion.
                              Thanks! I appreciate respectful, intelligent discussion and debate, too. And indeed, I'm more than happy for someone to call out my ideas and/or provide new input and perspective. It's how we share and learn.


                              Originally posted by frankzappa View Post
                              I think of it in stick heights. What do you call a free stroke with half the stick height? What about a quarter? How about an eight of the full stick height? At what stick height do you suddenly change technique to a tap?
                              Regardless of stick height, to me, a free stroke is a free stroke. Exactly the same as a Moeller downstroke. There are low height, medium height, and full height Moeller downstrokes, but they are all the same stroke. Same with the free stroke / full stroke. It's the style and phases within the stroke that define the stroke. In the case of free stroke / full stroke these are: throw, release, rebound / follow, catch, and release. Each drummer may have different names for the phases within the stroke and some may combine phases into single names, but each phase is still there.

                              I switch to taps when either the volume and tempo call for this, or the mechanics of a given situation demand this. An example where switching to taps is required is the full Moeller stroke, from start to finish: downstroke, tap, upstroke. Another example where switching techniques is occurs (though not using taps) is certain rudiments require creating a note as you're setting up for the next downstroke. Therefore, you must execute a pullout stroke. I've seen this stroke called pull-away, pickup, pullout, and the Moeller upstroke, but it's all the same pullout stroke.

                              Originally posted by frankzappa View Post
                              Also the free stroke you describe is not familiar to me. I didn't learn it the same way. To me, it's just two motions, down up. The important thing is to start at the top position and end at the top with the minimum amount of energy wasted.
                              Yes, we are talking about the same stroke. The highest level phases are down and up, but there are additional sub-phases most drummers do automatically, once they have mastered the stroke. I break these phases down for new students, because it helps them understand what is going on.

                              For example, the down portion of the free stroke / full stroke encompasses: a throwing motion and just before impact with the head you release / relax the grip so the impact doesn't travel into you hand. I label these two phases throw and release. (side note. The word "release" may be confusing. I don't mean release and drop the stick. Rather, I mean relax the hold on the stick such that any further releasing of the grip causes the stick to fall. This is the minimum hold required to follow and control the stick.)

                              The up portion of the stroke starts with the grip already released. So, from a released state, the up portion of the stroke encompasses: follow (follow the rebounding stick upward while staying out of its way), catch (place a slight hold on the stick to stop it at its upright position, fully away from the head), and release (end the stroke in a relaxed state).

                              Comment

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