Cross-sticking questions

ba dum tish

I'm going to be playing some of my first real gigs this summer, and a lot of the songs involve cross-sticking, so I want to make sure I have this down.

First of all, whenever I do cross-sticking, I do NOT flip the stick over beforehand. Is this something that I should definitely change? Does it really matter? Is it looked down upon by other serious musicians if you don't flip? I'm willing to change, I just want to know.

Also, when you're mid-song and going from regular backbeats on the snare to cross-sticking, how do you flip the stick around using only one hand? I've seen people do it before. Are there any good videos that show you how to do this?

Finally, I'd like to know how exactly you should grip the stick/position the stick on the snare during cross-sticking. Basically any tips to help me perfect this technique that I've been kind of lazy about really getting down over the years (I can pull it off fine, but I'm sure I could improve a lot).

If you guys have any advice or video resources that address cross-sticking, I would be grateful. Thanks.


Pioneer Member
My cross-stick usually depends on the snare I'm using. I don't flip my stick around, but found by moving the butt end closer to the center of the head (by an inch or more) I'm able to get the same effect. I have wood hoops on my main snare and that thing has one of the sharpest cracking cross-stick sounds I've ever heard.

I think as long as you are getting the sound you want, it doesn't really matter if you are flipping the stick around or not. Try experimenting by finding some different zones on the snare head. There is probably some mathematical principle behind it, but honestly just use your ears.


Platinum Member
To facilitate quick and reliable transitions from cross-stick to regular grip, make sure the back end of the stick remains underneath the part of your hand between the "heel" of your hand, and the knuckle of your pinky finger. If the stick lies underneath your fingers as you play cross-sticks, you'll have to adjust your grip at every transition.

While cross-sticking, pinch the stick with your thumb and the tip of your index finger and lift your whole hand. Keep your wrist in contact with the snare head at all times, and "fan" your middle, ring, and pinky fingers out flat. Your flattened fingers should lift up every time you play a cross stick note, and hit the head at the same time the stick hits the rim. This will "dry out" the sound somewhat, too, in a nice way.

If you play traditional, it's quite easy to flip the stick over and use the butt end on the rim, which imparts a sound that some prefer. If you play matched, you can hold the stick to the left of the hi-hat, and do a half twirl or half toss. If you don't want to switch, playing the butt end on the snare has a pretty fat sound you might like!