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EXP In Action

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I had a chance to see the EXP in action today with E. Doctor Smith's "Unidentified Flying Duo".

In short, I was simply mesmerized.  The economy of motion Eric is able to achieve was beautiful to behold.  It was an inspiration and has me seriously contemplating my own approach to the instrument.

If you're curious about the EXP and have not already seen it, I encourage you to check out Eric's write-up and review, in two parts here:


Having read the same article some time ago, I asked him how he thought the LT compared ergonomically, but he hasn't responded. I might ask the same question here. I don't see how the "traditional" ZenDrum shapes can offer better spinal ergonomics and less muscle tension and tendon straining than the LT. If you're willing to play from a sitting position or a snare stand mount, the LT offers greater low-tension access to more pads.

Inspector 109:
That made me laugh out loud Jimmy... I love it when somebody says "traditional" and Zendrum in the same sentence!
The really funny thing is that people said the same thing when we released the LT in 2000 and the ZAP in 2008.
There have never been rules as to how you hold or approach any of our instruments. I've seen some "unorthodox" artists just smoke on a Zendrum and defy any logic I could apply from my perspective.
Futureman has always flipped my ZX upside down and backwards and used my sound layout and acted like he'd played it his whole life.
(that's a humbling experience!) Kim and I made many prototypes for Futureman, most of which were more like the EXP than anything else.
Because John Emrich had a traditional hand-drumming technique developed that he could apply- we took on his challenge.
Doc Smith has been asking for this design for YEARS. If you've ever seen Doc's videos you know that guy can flat out PLAY.
John did the same thing wearing the LT with a strap- yes it was designed to be extremely adaptable, left or right handed, sitting, standing, stand mounted, tabletop, or laptop,
but the original intention was to fit inside the 18" rails of a wheelchair... but that's a whole different conversation.
John proved it could be just as impressive as a strap-worn ZX. It's all imagination and inspiration and then somebody's lightbulb went on.
I'm so glad Doc finally got what he needed!
Thanks to Darin for the post. EXP does make me rethink everything I know about my own playing, too.

By "traditional" I meant to have a briefer way of indicating the ZenDrum ZI, ZX, and EXP, and any other form factor that puts all the weight on one shoulder and requires strain for the hand on that side to access a lot of the pads. That's why I put "traditional" in quotes. Of course people can adapt their bodies to accommodate all kinds of less-than-ergonomic form factors and play beautifully. That doesn't mean they don't run a significantly higher risk of injury. Violin, for example, is particularly brutal, with no end of career-ending injuries; we only ever see the people who can flat out play. And piano music ed. focuses endlessly on techniques that use the body ergonomically rather than risk non-economies of motion that would re-mold posture to the instrument and work fingers against gravity instead of with it.

In the case of the ZenDrum, if the goal is to access more pads with more economy of motion--and you don't have a need to play standing--don't you agree that the LT's form factor is far more ergonomic and accommodating to a playing style that minimizes tension in the neck, shoulders, upper back, and left wrist? So I was very curious to get the opinion of a player who already likes to play sitting how in his opinion the LT compares to the "traditional" form factor. The only other people I've seen playing like pros perform standing, with one hand doing far less than it might because of its relation to the instrument and the need to use it for support.

Inspector 109:
I get what you're saying, but only those who have played all the different models could say for certain what the pros and cons are.
Doc has only played ZX and now EXP and his own original Drum Stick, but to my knowledge, not LT. In my opinion at least, the strap worn issues can be addressed by positioning properly for relaxed hand techniques. I play my ZX across my lap sometimes double overhand style.
It makes me play a little differently but not in a bad way. The fact that you can address the technique in whatever way seems comfortable is very different than something like violin or upright bass. Our friend Huston Singletary plays LT on a stand, and he's got a weird little tilt that seems to work well for him.


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