World's Fastest Drummer (WFD) / Extreme Sport Drumming Contests and the Drumometer
The Drumometer and the World's Fastest Drummer Contest go hand in hand as do extreme sport drumming and speed drumming. Indeed, without the Drumometer there would be no World's Fastest Drummer Contests! How else could you measure speeds that race up to and beyond 18 beats per second? And, although the WFD contests are lots of fun and can be profitable too (if you win!), make no mistake the Drumometer is a serious tool for use by serious drummers.
WFD & Extreme Sport Drumming Controversy
Ever since the first WFD contest was held, drummers have been divided into two camps: For and against. The drummers who are against the Drumometer and the WFD contests cite that drumming is not a sport and chops are not as important as musicality. They're also upset because they feel that practicing long hours to build chops is a waste of time that might be better spent learning to play musically. On all counts, I must disagree.
Drumming is basically a very physical activity that could very well qualify as a sport and the WFD contests simply provide a place for drummers to get together to test their chops in friendly competition and in a fun environment. Because of the educational information that is circulated during these contests, many of the contestants find that they come away learning a lot more about the proper practice of drum technique than before they came. Things they can take home with them that will help them for the rest of their drumming lives. I see this as a very positive thing for the education of our future up-and-coming drummers as well as seasoned players who may never have spent much time developing their chops properly.
As far as chops vs. musicality, playing musically is very important. Let's face it, what good is learning to play the drums at all if you're not going to be a musical drummer? However, learning to play musically is not a part of the WFD contests. This is something that drummers must learn on their own. The WFD is concerned with just one aspect of drumming and that is building chops, and chops are a critically important addition to any drummer's bag of tricks as they play a key role in creativity. What good is inventing some really cool groove or fill during a performance if you don't have the chops to execute it cleanly and accurately?
Unfortunately, there are many drummers out there, amateurs and pros, who are one-sided players. There are those who have lots of chops and no idea how to apply them musically, and there are those who can play musically but are severely limited in their creativity due to their lack of chops. My idea of a great drummer is to excel in all aspects of drumming including musicality, hand chops, foot chops, 4-way coordination, solid time, etc. (For more on this, I refer you to my article Eight Essentials of the Artist Drummer.)I love chops and I don't just say that because I have some. I've loved chops ever since I first saw Buddy Rich play drums. Although I've been playing since the 4th grade, I didn't start taking private lessons until junior high school. But it wasn't until high school, when I started studying with Joe Morello, that I understood exactly what was possible to do on a drumset. Although I'll always love Buddy's chops, Joe simply blew Buddy away and not just from a technical standpoint but musically as well. If one were to make a case that proves having great chops and the ability to play musicially can be a winning combination, I would submit Joe Morello as a prime example. Another of Joe's students, Danny Gottlieb, is also a well-known example of a drummer with chops who can also swing with the best of them.
I'm certain that the controversy between drummers who are for and against the Drumometer and the WFD will continue. All I can offer is my opinion. I feel that the WFD is providing a positive outlet for drummers who want to improve their chops and compare them against other drummers. As I said earlier, the WFD stresses the correct approach to practicing during these contests including playing with relaxed muscles and without tension. And this is very beneficial information for drummers who may not know the proper approach to technique and will wind up hurting themselves through practicing the wrong way. So, whenever drummers attend a WFD contest, they're not only having fun but are receiving some valuable education as well. And whether you win these competitions or not, it really doesn't matter. As I see it, everybody wins!
I did extensive testing with the Drumometer, which culminated in a comprehensive review, and I found it to be an extremely useful tool for developing chops. It can be used to measure the speed and control of your hands or feet when playing practically any rudiment or sticking pattern. Notice that I said speed and control. Speed is of no use unless it is controlled speed. And it is controlled speed that the Drumometer was designed to measure. Sloppy technique will not register correctly on the Drumometer. Click the above link for my complete review.
to WFD Rankings
Anybody can and should test their skill against the Drumometer. It's fun and educational. Check out the WFD competition when it comes to a location near you.
Official Rankings: Battle of the Hands
Check out the current Top 20 Fastest Hands in the World.
Official Rankings: Battle of the Feet
Check out the current Top 20 Fastest Feet in the World.
to Exclusive Video Clips of WFD Competitions
Summer NAMM 2003 International Fastest Drummer Competition
This contest, held in Nashville, began Friday, July 18, with "heats" continuing through Saturday. The top ten Fastest Hands and top ten Fastest Feet battled it out on Sunday for their share of prizes that totalled $10,000! Follow this link for details and video clips of the event.
NAMM 2004 International Fastest Drummer Competition
I decided to compete in this year's WFD competition in Anaheim, California running from January 16th through the 19th. My son Steve also competed. How did we do? Follow this link for the complete story in words, pictures, and video!
Champ Tiger Bill Hosts the World's Fastest Drummer Competition
at the NAMM Music and Sound Expo in Minneapolis
Tiger Bill promotes the NAMM WFD event and the Music and Sound Expo on TV.
to the WFD Family
Follow the links to the Web sites below and you'll discover that the winners of the WFD contests are musicians with much more going for themselves than strictly fast chops.
McAfee and The Drumometer
Boo started it all when he invented the Drumometer with some help from electrical engineer/drummer Craig Alan. Steve Fischer, who is the inventor of the DrumDial, currently hand builds every Drumdial and Drumometer in Tucson, Arizona.
Exclusive Video: Drumometer inventor Boo McAfee shows his original prototype.
Johnny was the first drummer in history to win the title of World's Fastest Drummer in the Guinness Book of Records as measured by the Drumometer.
Art came along and broke Johnny Rabb's record for the World's Fastest Drummer. Art held the title from April 23, 2001 through August 8, 2002.
Jotan broke Art Verdi's record on August 10, 2002 and went on to break his own record at the 2003 Winter NAMM in Anaheim, California.
Tim, aka DrumCanMan, holds the current record for the World's Fastest Feet! And he's no slowpoke with his hands either! Check the rankings link above.
Mike is the current holder of the fastest bare hands record and recently beat Jotan's matched grip single stroke record. Mike and Jotan continue to reach greater speeds by pushing each other in friendly competition!
The Tiger won the Fastest Hands competition at Winter NAMM 2004 and his son, Steve, became the youngest competitor ever to qualify for the finals. In addition, Tiger Bill became the 2nd person in history to play over 1,000 single strokes using his feet with an official Drumometer score of 1,011 at Winter NAMM 2004, just 19 strokes behind current foot Champ Tim Waterson.
Farmer: The World's Fastest Drummer?
For those of you who are into the SCARY MOVIE genre, check out this trailer for a film about Jason Farmer (aka the Freddy Krueger of Drumming). Warning: This trailer is NOT for the young or the squeamish! And don't watch it while eating!
Fastest Drummer, WFD, Extreme Sport Drumming,
Battle of the Hands, Battle of the Feet, and the WFD
icon are Trademarks (tm) and Service Marks (sm) of