The Moeller Drum Method

by Geoff Hineman Google

The Moeller drum method was first promoted in the 1920s by Sanford Moeller. In the decades since its introduction, it has been used by snare drummers from a variety of genres including jazz, funk, metal and more. Players using the Moeller drum method often cite the ability to achieve greater power, speed and endurance while exerting minimal effort.

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History of the Moeller Drum Method

As a young man, Sanford Moeller marveled at the way Civil War drummers played. He noted their ability to play for hours with poor and mismatched equipment while avoiding fatigue and injury. He noticed that almost all of them employed the same grip and wrist action. He began to use these techniques in his own drumming and later taught the method to other drummers. In a short time, it became known as the Moeller drum method or the Moeller technique.

The Down Stroke

The Moeller drum method is composed of three different strokes and, as they say, it's all in the wrist. The first stroke is the down stroke. To achieve proper down stroke technique, you should employ a waving motion that pivots at the wrist. The arm comes down to a certain level and lets gravity take over so that the wrist makes a whipping or snapping motion as the drumstick hits the drumhead.

The Tap Stroke

The tap stroke is the second drum hit in the sequence. To execute the tap stroke, you let the stick hit the head a second time, almost in a bounce-like manner that follows the hit from the down stroke. This tap hit, because it is executed with much less force, will be quieter than the down stroke. Because the tap stroke relies on gravity and the rebound of the down stroke, it is the hit most subject to timing issues. The tap must be practiced with the down stroke to achieve perfect rhythm.

The Up Stroke

The up stroke is the last hit in the series and immediately follows the tap stroke. As less of a bounce and more of a controlled hit, the up stroke is achieved while the drummer is in the process of raising his hand. This is accomplished by bending the wrist so that it is at a lower angle than the forearm and hitting the drum head one last time. When done correctly with the down stroke and the tap, the effect is of triplets on each hit, providing three hits per arm swing.

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