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How to Play the Cross Stick Drum Technique

Learn how to play cross-stick from drum teacher Jason Gianni in this Howcast drum video.


Another technique you could use on the snare drum with a groove is something called a cross stick. And a cross stick is also known as rim click. But, not to be confused with a rim shot. Now a rim shot is a stroke on the snare drum where you use the full motion of your arm to strike the middle of the drum and the rim at that same time. But a cross stick is entirely different. A cross stick actually brings the sound of your snare down in dynamic. Now what we're talking about is now holding the opposite side of the stick. What you'll do is, flip the stick around so that there's about an inch back here and the tip is back here. You're going to hold it like that. What you'll do is, you'll lay your hand directly on the snare. What you want to aim for is about an inch of distance here between the tip and the rim. The fat portion or the back end or the butt end portion of the stick will be over the rim.

As you strike this, you're rolling back on the tip and sometimes you're bringing your hand off the drum if you're high enough on the stick. You're going back down on the drum with your fingertips striking the surface of the drum and it sounds something like this. [makes clicking noises]

What you're aiming for is a click sound or the sound of two pieces of wood striking together. Sort of the body of the snare at the same and the sound of the rim at the same time. Now the way this works in a groove is that you would basically just substitute whatever you're playing on the snare, or the snare pattern on two and four or other notes for the rim click. Now it sounds something like this on two and four. One, two, three, four. [plays music]

So remember our cross stick is going to bring down the dynamics of your groove especially in a rock situation. But using a cross stick is also going to work in styles such as jazz, a lot of Latin styles and a lot of reggae and Caribbean styles as well. So try some different variations and see what works for you.

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