Discuss drumming technique here
By KB123

I know there are a bunch of topics about hand care/pain on here but I was hoping to post my unique problems and see if anyone can help.

I am a fairly new drummer with the Djembe with absolutely no traditional training. I really enjoy playing but man do I pay for it later. I play with a church group so I end up playing for between 1-2 hours. I will admit that I play pretty hard, unfortunately it is necessary to be heard over the other instruments which can be pretty loud.

After (and during) playing my hands tend to bruise and swell pretty badly. I am trying to determine if what I am experiencing is normal for a new player in developing hand tolerance or if my technique is so bad that it is damaging my hands. After playing I cannot even come close to getting my wedding ring on. In fact I usually cannot get it back on for 2-3 days afterwards. After playing my hand does not even come close to closing, I cannot make a fist at all. Besides the swelling they come very tender pretty much all over. I am pretty miserable for a few days. It feels like someone beat them with a phonebook for a few hours. The pain usually lasts a few days before I have full range of motion in my hands again.

As for my drums I have 2. One is a traditional wood goat skin help with rope. I dont play this as much because it is not as loud and the goat skin gives wayy to much. I guess it needs to be tightened or possibly a new skin. I also have a synthetic with a new head that gets a much louder sound that I am forced to use.

It looks something like the brown drum in the middle in this picture:

http://images.craigslist.org/00000_32R0 ... 00x450.jpg

I do not play african style. I play a heavy hand base sound followed by a few slaps than back to the base. Very basic.

Anyone with any insight would really be great. It is hard to find instructional stuff on the style I play so I do the best I can. Thanks
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By Beerfola
Synthetic drums can sometimes have a pretty thin bearing edge that will lead to painful playing especially if your technique is poor. You might also ask the congregation if they can hear your drum when you play it less vigorously. You may have trouble hearing your own drum over the other instruments when in reality the audience can hear it just fine. The pain you describe is beyond what you should be experiencing in my opinion. How much fun could that possibly be?
By davidognomo
one thing: if you're hurting/bruising your knuckles, you're not playing right, and you should try to correct your hand position and the part of your hands that hit the skin and the bearing edge. There's plenty of videos on the net with real teachers explaining that.

For the swelling you can use hot water with salt. Dipping them in a bowl, or wetting a towel with the hot salted water and cover your hands with it. I got this tip from a Guinea-Bissau djembefola from the national ballet who said that was what he did to endure from one entire day of practice to the next. For the pain and the swelling.

That djembe is a Remo
By KB123
Hey guys, thanks for your responses. I have taken to wrapping my fingers with athletic tape. It helps with the pain but it does take away from that great slap sound you get when your knuckles hit the head.

Beerfola, I think what you said was right. The monitors are pretty loud so I end up playing much louder just to hear myself. I have taken to Micing the drum and being concious that just because I cant hear myself perfectly does not mean everyone else cant.

It is not even a question my technique is probablly horrible. I have had no formal training and I dont believe there to be any classes here in Southern NJ. I have been watching some YouTube videos and working on my technique though. I have come to find that strength in hitting the drum does not equal volume and clarity. Most times a lighter hit with proper technique not only give the best sound but the most volume. I am going to continue to work on it. If you guys have any online videos you recommend please pass them along.

Thanks for the help.