Those of you who frequent this blog know that I’m not in the habit of reviewing products that are “gimmicky.” I simply am not impressed by them. However, I am in the habit of reviewing ideas that are ingenious and often so incredibly simple, you wish you would have thought of them yourself. Such is the instance with ToneAlly, winner of the Editor’s Choice Award at NAMM 2019. This device provides the user with a friendly device that is guaranteed to positively affect their stick height and striking precision.
According to their website “’ToneAlly’ is the world’s first percussion teaching tool which focuses on the vertical movement of the drum stick. ‘ToneAlly’ trains your drum stroke to follow the correct trajectory, something that would normally take many years of practice to develop.” Dom Famularo, drumming’s global educator touts the benefits of the product. He said “It guides you to be aware of muscle memory for your hands and teaches accuracy. I wish I had this when I was first learning!”
I had the choice of testing out the ToneAlly Design 5. The device comes with three columns with spacing in between that is designed to support multiple grips, both matched and traditional. It also includes a rubber pad insert for a responsive striking surface. The pad is removable so you can place the device on a snare drum for more of a realistic feel. The curved shape of the base fits right up against the rim. An insert with exercises is also included. The Design 5 is well made. The solid wood construction and appearance show that there is a lot of pride that goes into constructing this product.
Grabbing a pair of sticks I immediately felt the challenge of maintaining an even stick height between both hands and it reminded me of my marching days on the snare line. It was also difficult not to hit the side of the columns. Staring out slow, as we should in all things drumming, it took intentional movements to maintain any level of precision which I assume over time will develop muscle memory. I also tried to play in between each column with slightly modified the grips. This heightened the challenge but I imagine would keep things fresh.
Despite the difficulty I had when I first started after spending about 15 minutes I was able to play a double stroke roll (very slowly) between the columns. Obviously the more you practice the better you get. The Design 5 could be incorporated into your practice routine and take it to the next level. Clearly the ToneAlly is a viable tool that given time, will help improve your trajectory.
I echo Dom’s sentiment. I wish I had this when I was first learning. I know I’m going to spend some time with it. The benefits will be felt both on a stand alone snare and on the drum set.
For more information, or to order this product, go to: https://www.toneally.co.uk/