Jazz Drummer’s Workshop

Stick Control Revisited

Part 3: 5/4 Variations

by Steve Fidyk

Welcome to the third installment in our series on drumset applications of George Lawrence Stone’s classic book Stick Control. The following variations utilize the “72 Single Beat Combinations” found on pages 5–7.

For starters, let’s begin by reading each Stick Control sticking pattern around the kit while swinging the 8th-note rhythms in 5/4. Below is Example 22 from page 5.

Stick Control revisited 1

Next, add the following bass drum and hi-hat rhythms to accompany the hands.
Stick Control revisited 2

Once you have control of the previous patterns, choose another example from Stick Control, and try reading the stickings as 8th-note triplets. Here’s Example 34 from page 6. As you practice reading the stickings in triplet form, play four measures of time between examples.

Stick Control revisited 3

Stick Control revisited 4

The next example mixes combinations of 8th-note triplets with 16th notes. This two-measure phrase utilizes Example 7 from page 5. As you practice moving from one subdivision (8th-note triplets) to another (16th notes), be sure to focus on the quarter-note pulse so the tempo remains consistent. Have fun working on these fill concepts, and experiment with each sticking and rhythmic combination. The goal is to come up with your own patterns based on the original written material.
Stick Control revisited 5For independence development in 5/4, try playing the following ostinatos with your left hand while swinging each R sticking from Stick Control.

Stick Control revisited 6

Here’s Example 54 from page 7 utilizing ostinato pattern A.

Stick Control revisited 7

Next, try playing ostinato pattern D while reading each R from Stick Control in triplet form. Below is Example 45 from page 6.

Stick Control revisited 8

You can also try playing the single-beat combinations with your feet, as quarter-note triplets, while reading each L sticking on the snare. Below is Example 4 from page 5.

Stick Control revisited 8a

Stick Control revisited 9

Finally, try swinging each L sticking on the snare while playing a polyrhythm of five over two between your ride cymbal and bass drum. Below is Example 3 from page 5.

Stick Control revisited 10

Steve Fidyk has performed with Terell Stafford, Tim Warfield, Dick Oatts, Doc Severinsen, Wayne Bergeron, Phil Wilson, and Maureen McGovern, and he’s a member of the jazz studies faculty at Temple University in Philadelphia. For more info, including how to sign up for lessons via Skype, visit stevefidyk.com.