The Drumometer is accepted by Guinness World Records and the WFD World's Fastest Drummer Extreme Sport Drumming organization as the official device used to determine the World's Fastest Drummer.WFD World's Fastest Drummer Extreme Sport Drumming describes the sporting event that utilizes the Drumometer.
The primary goal of most WFD competitions is to determine who can play the most single strokes in sixty seconds. According to author Josh Davis, "the Drumometer uncovered a deep well of competitiveness." After experimenting with various WFD competition formats in the southern United States, the event achieved international prominence when respected studio and clinic drummer Johnny Rabb became the first person to break 1,000 single strokes in 60 seconds, claiming the title World's Fastest Hands and recognition from the record keepers at Guinness. McAfee and Alan then officially sanctioned their events and copyrighted the phrase World's Fastest Drummer. This was followed by ads in Drum! and Modern Drummer magazines touting Rabb's accomplishment and their Drumometer device. Subsequently they created new classes of speed drumming: fastest feet (for two-footed bass drumming), bare hands, and tag team, among others. Drumometer orders then followed, and the race to best Rabb's feats began. Musical genres - death metal, country, jazz, screamo - have since battled for dominance in the various categories.
Early stars of the event in addition to Rabb included a veteran jazz drummer named Art Verdi (first person to break 1100 single strokes), Jotan Afanador, the first drummer to regularly perform near 1200 single strokes in one minute, and Canadian Tim Waterson, the first person to score over 1000 single strokes on a bass drum, and the first identifiable personality of the bass drum division.
In 2001 WFD acquired its most recognizable competitor when Steve Vai drummer and Berklee College of Music professor Mike Mangini joined its ranks. Initially Mangini was hard pressed to surpass Afanador, but eventually became the first drummer to surpass 1200 single strokes in one minute, and has since dominated the sport, holding several world records at any given time including fastest hands (matched and traditional grip) and a 15 minute bass drum endurance record.
Beginning in 2002 WFD world championships became a biannual affair (winter and summer), and were permanently stationed at National Association of Music Merchants conventions beginning in 2003. With the retirements of Rabb and others from active competition, the sport witnessed a new era of second generation personalities. These included Matt Smith, who at 16 became the youngest WFD champion, and two bass drum competitors Tim Yeung and Mike Machine Mallais. Yeung (a star of metal drumming) was instrumental in popularizing the sport within that genre, while Mallais demolished all the existing bass drum world records at the Winter 2007 world championships. Along with Waterson, they helped usher a new found popularity in the bass drum division.
WFD events have not been without controversy. From the beginning, drummers were divided into positive and negative camps. WFD detractors contend that musical instruments should not be used as tools for sport and depreciate musicality, while defenders cite the quest for technical excellence, and its innocence as a non musical exercise. It's no more than the fastest drummers having a friendly home run contest like the baseball players used to have, said Art Verdi. As of 2007 these issues have yet to be decided conclusively.