Can we talk about the "following" hand?

AndeeT

Senior Member
OK, so I will preface this by saying; if you haven't already watched your hands in a mirror or on video, while you play the drums, I implore you to try and do this at your next practice. It is immensely insightful!

Doing this really got me looking at what I thought was my "weak" hand (in my case, my left). But it has changed how I think about my hands and I am now beginning to think that strong vs. weak hands are poor descriptions, and really, we should be thinking about lead vs. "following", hand, instead of "weak".

The reason being; as I watched my hands in the mirror I can see that my left hand has trouble reacting to accents that the right hand plays, when the right hand is playing improvised accents in a string of notes. I was amazed that when I switched to leading the rhythm with my left hand, my new 'following' (right, 'strong') hand had exactly the same trouble of following the left hand, when the left hand was playing different accents! In effect, my left wasn't any weaker; he had just always been demoted to the "follower" role.

We see the terms 'left hand/right hand lead' talked about all the time, but we never seem to discuss what a 'following' hand should be doing, or even the notion of the following hand; we just give it a sort of negative connotation of 'weak' hand. This post is for all those poor, maligned, following hands!

I guess what I am saying is that yes, most of us are probably dominant left or right, but in the context of drum rolls, the 'following' hand has a certain role to play (akin to the 'following' partner in ballroom dancing). That role is equally hard for either either hand, wether it be your dominant or non-dominant hand.

Can we talk about the 'following' hand ?
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Gee this really got me to thinking.

Saturday night I was playing live with a band. I was playing some southern rock and 60’s rock. On most songs I noticed that my left hand was doing all of the work. I could play the ride cymbal or hi hat with my right hand, or totally stop playing with my right hand and the sound of the drum part did not change a great deal. The bass drum and snare drum was driving the song.

My left hand can’t play as fast as my right hand, but my left hand was driving the song and doing much more work than my right hand. Weak hand - strong hand? Maybe this thinking is not useful. They are both doing different jobs. They have different responsibilities.

So I might be agreeing with you, depending on what song you are playing there is no weak hand – strong hand. But there is a leading hand and a following hand. But it changes all the time. I think it is totally dependent on what song you are playing, or should I say what type of rhythm pattern and groove you are playing.


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60's Drummer

Senior Member
Gee this really got me to thinking.

Saturday night I was playing live with a band. I was playing some southern rock and 60’s rock. On most songs I noticed that my left hand was doing all of the work. I could play the ride cymbal or hi hat with my right hand, or totally stop playing with my right hand and the sound of the drum part did not change a great deal. The bass drum and snare drum was driving the song.
...
Played a laid back gig one night while my wife was traveling long distance by herself and i kept my flip fone on vibrate on my hip, and when a call came while playing i answered keeping the bass and snare going ...

A fan just happened to be videoing that segment, and days later i got my butt chewed out when my mates figured out what i'd been doing behind their backs ..
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
It is funny the words that get used-- they all center around able/not able, correct/ill-mannered, clean/dirty-- since the left hand is the one most cultures use to clean their butts with: right/left, droit/gauche, destra/sinistra, rechts... I don't know what 'links' suggests in German-- weak, poo-y, or leftover, probably...
 

mrfingers

Senior Member
It's a brain-hemisphere thing I think we're talking about here, where one side communicates with the other. We train the 2 for certain tasks and when we switch things around we get some confusion and occasionally, an eye-opening, "a-ha!" moment.
I'm learning more matched grip, coming from trad, and noticed better, cleaner double strokes when started with the left, learning hand. Always thought my dominant right would do this... Anything learned new with my left hand translates well to either matched or trad grip, no matter which did it first. I can start any fill with my left using matched much easier than with trad.(and end with the wrong hand, of course.)
 
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