Drum Technique

Drum Lessons in Harrow, London

Drum Stick Grip

Almost everything that is important with regard to drumming technique centres around how to correctly, or best hold the stick.  The less your wrist, arm and musculoskeletal system feels pressure or stress, the better your technique.  The worst machines are those that spew out smoke, noise and produce little with lots of effort.  The same is true for drum stick grip, the less you do, the more you get out of your technique.  This is called the principle of economy and efficiency.

There are two major drum stick grips

  1. Match grip
  2. Traditional

Matched grip means exactly that, you hold the right and left stick in the exact same way.  The grip can be in between the index and thumb, middle finger and thumb, or gripped with the little finger, usually called ‘the back of the hand’.  More on this later.

German grip is one way of holding your sticks and forms one of the ways drummers Match Grip their sticks.  First find the balance or fulcrum point with your thumb and index finger and other fingers resting on the bottom of the stick.  Your hands are placed with the palms facing downward and you can therefore play with more power.

French Grip is another way of holding the sticks Matched Grip.  This is where the thumbs are on top, and the fulcrum or balance point, again is made up of the thumb, and index finger.  The other fingers rest under the stick.  This technique is suited to more subtle and finesse type playing.

American grip as tradition will tell us, is a system that takes the best of both worlds; the power of the German and the subtlety of the French.  So, this is where the hands are at a 45 degree angle, that is, between palms down (German) and hand turned upwards where the thumb is on top (French).

With the German, French and American matched grip method, you will notice your sticks being angled differently when you play.  Typically the German technique is about 90 degrees or that your sticks form a triangle shape.  The French technique usually forms a parallel relationship.  The American technique usually forms a 45 degree angle or the sticks form a different, sharper angled triangle.

Watch this video by Dave Weckl

Traditional grip has its inception in the days of military drumming when the snare was worn around the hips and necessitated a special way of holding the sticks.  The left hand holds the stick in a ‘cradle’ position.  This involves placing the stick between the second and third finger (that is if the first finger is the index, or pointing finger).  The fulcrum or balance point should be in the V, situated between the thumb and index finger.

Traditional grip is used by military and jazz drummers.  Here is another video by Dave Weckl

Learn drum stick grip and technique with West London Drum Tutor, Drum Lessons in Harrow, Greater London, UK

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