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Author Topic: EXP In Action  (Read 1622 times)

DrumWagon

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EXP In Action
« on: August 08, 2013, 10:06:45 PM »

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:
http://edoctorsmith.blogspot.com/2013/05/from-drummstick-to-zendrum-exp-part-1.html
http://edoctorsmith.blogspot.com/2013/07/from-drummstick-to-exp-part-2.html

Regards,
-darin
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 10:07:34 PM by DrumWagon »
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JimmyTheSaint

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Re: EXP In Action
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2013, 01:24:56 AM »

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.
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Inspector 109

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Re: EXP In Action
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2013, 05:00:44 AM »

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.
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JimmyTheSaint

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Re: EXP In Action
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 06:18:54 AM »

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.
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Inspector 109

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Re: EXP In Action
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 06:46:44 AM »

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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JimmyTheSaint

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Re: EXP In Action
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2013, 07:15:22 AM »

Can you comment on how you find the ZX on the lap compares with the LT on the lap?

I'd love to see how Huston Singletary plays the LT on a stand--is there a video? I like it on a stand, too. Since discussing with you about buying a second LT for a side-by-side configuration, I've thought it might be better to put a Zap to the side of a centered LT. Since it's off to the side it would be one-handed and then its more compact layout would be an advantage.

Yes, I see ultimately you just have to try them all and give them enough playing time to see what's going to work out the best for a given situation.
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Inspector 109

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Re: EXP In Action
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 09:21:19 AM »

I'll ask Huston what he thinks about the video.
A ZAP is definitely a close grouping of 19.
I have a Zebrawood ZAP2 here that's even closer!
(25 in a square grid)
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David Haney
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DrumWagon

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Re: EXP In Action
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2013, 11:41:21 AM »

It's probably worth pointing out that Eric wears his Zendrum completely vertical.  That eliminates any "support" concerns and allows him to reach many triggers merely by rotating his wrist.  The denseness of triggers in the lower portion of the EXP pairs very well with that technique.
In contrast, I usually have my ZX nearly horizontal and am usually moving my hands along the edges, with far more arm movements.  Everybody is different of course, and case in point -- our techniques could probably not be any more polar opposites than they are.

I also do sit down with the ZX in my lap for a couple tunes where I'm doing more "traditional" hand percussion.  It certainly takes a different technique and I find I can only do it for a short while as the way my wrists must bend causes discomfort.  If I angle the ZX away from me a bit this goes away, but not without incurring the risk of it sliding off my lap.

Everybody's approach is different and that one of the things I love about the Zendrum(s).  There's always something new to learn or be inspired by.
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Inspector 109

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Re: EXP In Action
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2013, 01:10:36 PM »

To me at least, the ZX is easier to keep in your lap than an LT.
Following Darin's point, I find that I tend to play less palm down that way and more with fingertips, instead.
Sometimes that helps me for simple focused tracks in the studio. I even use acoustic kick and hihat foot chik occasionally.

The straplocks on the LT were originally for going around your waist to hold it in place on your lap...
Once again, for the paras and quads at Shepherd Spinal Center who still have the very first LT prototype there.

It surprised me at first how well John played LT slung with a strap across his shoulder. But it's John- and I should know better by now!

Personally I've never been able to figure out playing  LT or ZAP as well as I do ZX.
I'm a large human with big hands, I actually like having more space between triggers so I don't have to be as precise.
John is an even bigger guy than me, but he's got palm/shaft/tip fingerdrumming techniques that really work great on the LT and now the EXP.

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David Haney
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JimmyTheSaint

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Re: EXP In Action
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2013, 11:31:41 PM »

How do you orient the ZX on your lap? With the long row of eight pads on the belly side, or away from you? It seems to me if the eight pads are on the belly side, then you'd be limited to accessing them with thumbs only.
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Inspector 109

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Re: EXP In Action
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2013, 05:24:08 AM »

Beveled edge away from me, same as I would with an LT.
That lets your hands and wrists have a natural, relaxed bend.
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David Haney
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DrumWagon

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Re: EXP In Action
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2013, 01:41:59 PM »

There are no rules, this guy uses the LT totally backwards:
http://createdigitalmusic.com/2013/07/down-with-sequencers-the-age-of-glass-finger-drums-through-their-beats-live-videos/

Go with what works for you, and never stop experimenting!
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JimmyTheSaint

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Re: EXP In Action
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2013, 08:33:29 PM »

Nice find, I love it, lots of video.  I somehow missed them on YouTube. Despite the tilt, by putting the beveled edges toward his body, Nick seems to have substantially sacrificed using the ten pads along those edges. To each his own and if it works it works, of course,  but I think there's a comfortable way to discuss with people how they arrived at one way rather than another way--the better to "steal" techniques from them! For example, he's working his right hand far harder than necessary for the music he's playing. Personally, I'd really like to one-hand my LT while the other hand comps on keyboard.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 08:45:51 PM by JimmyTheSaint »
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