Hand dilema

question to all.
When playing fast shuffles,train beats, and uptempo triplet based grooves,
my left hand tends to go numb,(I'm a lefty)while playing the hi-hat or the ride cymbal. To
the point where I have to tighten my ring and pinky fingers to keep the stick from flying off.
This only affects my left hand,and only occurs above 120 bpm. I keep my cymbals and drums low in height.
It's not a problem playing quater and eighth note grooves above 120, only
affects 16th note grooves and eighth note shuffles.Has anyone else had this problem? I've
seen doctors and physical therapists,and their conclusion is that I'm shaking the blood from my left hand as a result of repetitive motion? Am I freaking out over nothing or is there a definate problem? Duct taping the stick to my hand is the only safety net I have so far. Does anyone have any insght/advice for this? Any help would be appreciated!


Platinum Member
Find a qualified drum teacher to assess your grip/technique. Even one lesson will help tremendously if you can't afford full-time lessons.


Senior Member
Hi Russ,

I had similar problems a number of years ago and it was due to overuse. I made a few alterations in my technique (shifted more toward Moeller) and things improved dramatically. Do you have access to a vid camera? Even if the sound isn't there if we could see the motion you are using and a close-up of your grip, we might be able to offer more direct feedback. If you are gripping too tightly, you may be impeding the blood flow in that hand (which would feel like it was tingly or going to "sleep"), or contributing to a pinched nerve, which could result in the loss of feeling.

Based on what you said, if you are having trouble holding the stick, you need to stop playing for a while and let your hand recover. Tell your band what is going on and that you need to shift the selections just a little to avoid permanent injury. You definitely need to stop for a while, imho.

The fact that you aren't having any problems with quarters or 8ths may be indicative of improper articulation of swung or shuffle notes on the ride? Are you bouncing these notes or are you trying to sound them individually? If you aren't using bounce, you may be overloading the hand trying to play each individual note. Hopefully that makes sense.

Keep talking to your doctor and bring a practice pad and sticks to show him/her the actual motions you are using. Maybe get a reference for PT?


Senior Member
question to all.
Duct taping the stick to my hand is the only safety net I have so far.
Lol, duct tape? I'm sorry, i haven't heard of that before, that's actually really funny. It's good that you have come here to consult the great people here on DW so you don't let it get out of hand and you end up playing a gig with Mummy Hands of Duct Tape.

On a serious note, it seems that you should talk to a good teacher, and if he can't help you, your numb hands may just be a medical problem.

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Just recently I've had to deal with numb hands. Whenever I held them up, like on the steering wheel, they would begin to tingle, and I'd have to drop my hand so the blood would go back into it. You can imagine my initial freak out when it affected my playing!

Got with my chiropractor and we found out that my neck had gotten straight (there's supposed to be a curve to it) and that pinched a nerve which led down the shoulders to my arms. So, he put me on a therapy regimen and back/neck adjustments and it's gotten alot better.

But this goes to show that it could be anything affecting your hands. I would suggest a good teacher to see what you're doing, then seeing a chiropractor to see if there are nerves that are getting squished stopping the flow of blood and oxygen to your hands. The spinal cord is like a freeway so your brain can talk to the rest of your body. when you do certain things, like fast tempos, something is causing a traffic jam. So I'm thinking you need to clear up your technique so you can comfortably play at fast tempos, but then the chiropractor can see if your bad technique is actually pinching nerves off.
Thanks to all, I've talked to a reputable teacher and began a new regiment of hand conditioning.And saw a chiropractor(two back and one neck adjustment),and started
studying JoJo Mayers' Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer DVD.

The instructor gave me a good tip : he gave me a pair of Vic Firth SD "swinger" maple
sticks.They are alot fatter than the VF David Garabaldi "jam master" sticks I've been using.
And he has me focusing on propelling the stick (in moeller fashion) while maintaining the
most relaxed grip possible.Just singles and doubles for now.

So far this helps quite well, only a slight bout of numbness,during a band rehearsal.Again
a really fast tempo,but didnt really bother me too much only in the thumb and first finger,
and only at the fingertips.

He also mentioned about my "lefty ways".I play left handed, set up left handed. He advised the possibility of playing "open handed" and or training my right hand to be my
lead hand. I'm not ready for that commitment yet,but its a possibility. Again my thanks
for the advice/Ideas