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Cross Stick Crosstalk

Our July 11 Word for the Day, “Cross Stick,” drew a response from alert reader Josh Doyle, who cited a glossary in the August 2005 Modern Drummer that defined this playing technique as a “rimclick.” Modern Drummer’s particular concern was that it not be confused with “cross-sticking”, a process of crossing one hand over the other to move from drum to drum.

We’ll bow to Modern Drummer’s effort to precisely define this technique but want to point out that drumming terminology varies from location to location and from generation to generation. The term “cross stick” was possibly coined by studio and live sound engineers who were describing what they saw drummers do. As Modern Drummer points out, another common term is “side stick”. In the world of electronic drum kits Roland uses “cross stick” to describe the resulting sound (see the related Tech Tip of the Day), while Yamaha employs “side stick”, often abbreviated on their kits as “SStick”.

Now, does anyone want to join my crusade against the term “kick drum” for the bass drum? It confuses a playing technique (i.e., using a foot pedal) with a type of drum. We don’t call snare drums “stick drums”, do we? It also loses sight of the fact that most drum sets contain a full choir of voices: soprano (snare), alto (small tom), tenor (large tom), and bass (bass drum).

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