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How To Twirl Drumsticks

Glen Sobel  /  UPDATED Apr 12, 2023

Want to have more showmanship as a drummer? Do you crave nothing more than to entertain the crowd, impress your friends, and keep yourself busy during simpler parts? Alice Cooper is known for putting on entertaining and wild live concerts, and stick tricks help drummer Glen Sobel put on a show from behind his drum kit!

But one word of caution before you start throwing crazy flourishes into your routine: don’t do this in the wrong place or wrong song (like a sad ballad)! With great power comes great responsibility, as they say.

1. Place the drumstick between your index and middle finger

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Your fulcrum point may be slightly different, but try to position it in your hand so you’re about halfway down the stick.

2. Use those two fingers to start rocking the stick back and forth

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Turn your palm toward you. By applying a bit of pressure on the stick between your second and third fingers, using your knuckles as a pivot point, the stick will start rocking back and forth.

3. Let the stick start rotating

how to twirl drumstick

Keep your fingers spread out and use the momentum from the rocking to let the stick start spinning.

Glen pulls off his stick twirls by placing the stick in a ‘cigar grip’ between your index and middle finger. Use your index finger to get the momentum going (watch the video to see how he balances it and wobbles it up and down) and the stick will start turning in a circle.

The key, of course, is incorporating this into a groove. First, get used to playing a single stroke while doing a twirl in between hits. Try it with both your right and left hand. This is easiest to do in a rock groove where the hi-hat hand is playing quarter notes.

You don’t want to interrupt the flow of the groove or have stick tricks mess up your playing. Your priority should always be to play the song well, so get comfortable before you start incorporating it into your drumming with other people. Stick tricks have a time and place, so be careful – only do it when it’s warranted.

If you want to do more with your right hand – or if you’re playing playing eighth notes – you can substitute your left hand to make room for the stick trick. When your right hand is busy, your left hand can play the notes your right hand would’ve been playing.

Try this stick twirl with double and single strokes and in hand foot combinations as well. You can even get both hands twirling at once!

Glen Sobel is currently the drummer for Alice Cooper. His work with Hollywood Vampires, Chris Impellitteri, Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson’s guitarist), Tony Macalpine, Gary Hoey, Warner Bros. recording act Beautiful Creatures (Ozzfest tour), and Cypress Hill has built his reputation as one of the top hard rock drummers in the world.

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