Strictly Technique

The Missing Stickings

12 Essential Patterns Not Included in Stick Control

by Mat Marucci

The inspiration for this article came from years of studying out of George Lawrence Stone’s Stick Control for the Snare Drummer. I’ve practiced that book over a dozen times in a variety of different ways, but I’ve noticed that there are some logical sticking combinations that Stone elected not to use. The most obvious omission is not having a left-hand-lead version of the last exercise of Single Beat Combinations. Many of my students have noticed this and subsequently added the missing variation.

Stick Control was based on the Arban manual, which is a classic technique method for trumpeters. Stone used eight single and double combinations, each with right- and left-hand-lead versions, as the basis for his sticking exercises. The eight combinations are RLRL/LRLR, RRLL/LLRR, RLRR/LRLL, RLLR/LRRL, RRLR/LLRR, RRRL/LLLR, RLLL/LRRR, and RRRR/LLLL. Then he juxtaposed those stickings by combining them. When I compiled the missing exercises, I used only those eight combinations, because to do otherwise would have produced an encyclopedia of stickings hundreds of pages long.

The following exercises are based on logical stickings that could have been included in the first three pages of Stick Control. I’ve made changes to the time signature. Instead of two measures of cut time, the examples are placed in one measure of 4/4, since 4/4 is more familiar, especially for younger students. This makes the exercises easier to read, and it helps you keep track of the twenty repetitions that Stone suggests.

Try practicing the stickings in this article the same way you would play the first three pages of Stick Control. I believe you will find some additional benefit from them. Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in obtaining additional stickings from the other sections.

12 Essential Patterns

12 Essential Patterns

Mat Marucci is an active performer, author, educator, and clinician. His latest book, Jazz Drumming Essentials and More, is available through Mel Bay. For more info, visit