Friday, June 1, 2012

Zildjian SDMJO John Riley Stick/Mallet

For me the Zildjian SDMJO John Riley stick/mallets are a perfect addition to my stick bag for the rare times when I need to use it (cymbal crescendos, tom tom patterns and some songs like Ahmad Jamal's version of Poinciana.)

Physically, the felt on the mallet end is pretty dense, giving these a nice dynamic range from very soft (P or PP) all the way to FFF. The drumstick tips are not sharply pointed and have never put dents in my heads.

Even with the mallet end, there is a good balance when used as drumsticks. They just feel good (I play traditional grip when holding them as sticks, but use them matched grip as mallets.)

Another use is to tame down wild, trashy new cymbals. This mainly applies to very thin jazz cymbals, which require play-in time. If you want to hasten the play-in process, mallet rolls is a common trick many of us use. This entails taking a pair of these mallets and rolling them around the cymbal for 20 minutes per day for a week or so. Start at the outside edge and work your way towards the bell, going around the circumference of the cymbal.

Like I said, I rarely use these in live situations, but I do practice with them, and definitely use them to tame some cymbals as described. The pair I own go into a special stick bag along with my normal stick and brush models, and some other sticks that I infrequently use. This bag is for playing in situations where I need to be prepared for anything - like when someone calls Harlem Nocturne.

I mentioned a few songs above - here they are, plus one more by Nina Simone, to demonstrate how mallets can be used in a live playing situation.

Let your imagination run wild!

No comments: