Review: Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer Part 2

A Guide to Foot Technique 3 DVD-Set

by Jojo Mayer


We’re reviewing the 3 DVD-Set by Jojo Mayer Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer-Part 2 Foot Technique. Let’s check it out.


DVD 1:
(1 hour 43 mins – instruction plus drumming demos both with and without the band)
basic approach to foot technique
bass drum technique fundamentals
the heel down technique
the heel up technique
heel down vs. heel up
playing “in” vs. “out” of the bass drum
the pivot
bass drum hybrid techniques
double strokes
the constant release technique
exploding rebound – dislocated spring
the rocking motion
the swiveling technique
the heel toe technique
the mayer power slide technique
grouping exercises
the moeller pumping motion

Tiger Bill’s Take: I’ve known Jojo for many years and what I like about him is that he truly is a student of drum technique. He’s always learning and looking to improve, very much like myself. I got a kick out of Jojo’s intro where he says: “This video is about adapting hand techniques to the feet. This will give you the ability to execute anything you can do with your hands with your feet as well.”

Funny, that’s the same thing I said when I first released my book of double drum exercises back in 1978! Jojo’s approach to bass drum technique is very similar to mine in that he relates the feet to the same techniques he uses in his hands.

This section is an encyclopedia of the best bass drum exercises, including Jojo’s own variation. Although he demonstrates them on a single bass drum, they are also ideal for use on double bass.


DVD 2: (1 hour 20 mins – instruction plus drumming demos both with and without the band)
talk shop
history of bass drum pedals
anatomy of the bass drum pedal
adjusting of the bass drum pedal
bass drum and pedal set up
the perfect balance pedal
my secret weapon: the no friction approach
single vs. double pedal

Tiger Bill’s Take: Although this section contains a lot of information on the history of the drum pedal, it also includes critical information about the setup and adjustment of drum pedals that all drummers should be aware of in order to perform at their best.


DVD 3: (1 hour 40 mins – instruction plus drumming demos both with and without the band)
the hi hat
hi hat history
hi hat anatomy – set up and adjustment
basic hi hat technique
splashing technique
hybrid techniques for hi hat
double stroke hybrid technique for hi hat
control for playing slow, fast, and at low and high volumes
coordination control
managing beater flutter
the drum seat
seat height and posture
single stroke coordination
double stroke coordination

Tiger Bill’s Take: Jojo himself normally plays with a single bass drum and hi hat set up. In this section, he applies the bass drum techniques covered on Disc 1 to the hi hat and includes exercises you’ll to practice to develop the necessary coordination to smoothly work both feet together.


Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer Part 2: The Bottom Line

Since the release of Jojo’s first DVD on drum technique, he has gotten a lot of feedback from drummers who are worried that developing fast and powerful chops may not be worth all the effort. (Hey Jojo, welcome to my world!) I often hear the same thing from drummers and instructors who don’t quite get it.

To all those who worry about developing too many chops, here’s some advice from Jojo himself who (in the epilogue of his DVD) explains why we do what we do rather eloquently: “Great technical skill is mainly the ability to execute an expressed musical idea – no more, no less. Of course, to be able to execute these techniques you’ll have to practice them and that is a solitary and introspective process. The point of improving technique is not to have your life revolve around it but to set you free. Balance your physical endeavors with conceptual and emotional ones. Use these tools to free up your artistic expression. Let music lead you, not technique. Never forget to enjoy the pleasure that comes from creating music. And keep in mind when it comes to music, you won’t get good by just practicing but by playing.”

Jojo has done a great job on this DVD and I feel it will be of value to drummers of all ages and experience levels. The only thing I felt should have been included was written examples (either on-screen or as a PDF) of some of the exercises that he demonstrates.
While a good value at it’s retail price, you can get an even better deal by clicking on the image below:

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