I may have been doing it wrong all this time..

Mark_S

Silver Member
For years and years, if I play too much I've been getting odd pains mostly in my right hand, most notably my wrist and the back (top side) of my hand. My hand would sometimes get really tired playing the hi-hat and moeller would seem "jarring" on my wrist if I over-did the motion, especially on my not so bouncy electric kit hi-hat, and then when I went to fill it would hurt and oddly, the slower the fill the worse it would be especially when my hand was tiring on the hats, so sometimes just a single hit with my right hand quickly off the hats would be bad. Crazy right?

Today I sat down for the millionth time and tried to work out what was going on. Even working on the free stroke hadn't fixed it.

I just played the hats and thought, why is it uncomfortable? Then I "released" something and suddenly it was a lot more comfortable.... I think my pinky and maybe middle finger has constantly been trying to grasp the stick the whole time to keep it in a certain place across the palm. Even if I wasn't actually holding the stick against my palm I think I was tensing.

My sticks feel a bit less controlled now (though that will probably fix with time), the butt of the stick is nearer my wrist and it seems my finger tips are more controlling the stick rather than further up my fingers and sometimes my pinky doesn't quite reach, and its like my fulcrum is doing more work (in fact for rockier stuff I'm automatically reverting to a more triangular fulcrum between first and second finger).

It's so odd... It might not be the correct fix but something has certainly changed so I'll keep on experimenting for the next couple of weeks and see how band practises go.

I honestly thought about giving up so many times because of this, and now I may.. just may have fixed it.. finally. What's funny is nobody has ever spotted it because it really isn't obvious, it's not like I'm grasping the stick like a cave man.

Will post again when I'm sure and played on an A-Kit a few times.

PS, this is me doing the guru competition thing [yeah I know its rubbish but I only had a few hours to prepare ;-)]. I can sort of see on my right hand that I'm grasping a little with my pinky even though it looks loose (and its a slowly gentle piece so this wasn't really causing me any issue) : -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoVrWg2uxEs
 
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Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
It is really obvious to me what is happening here. You are gripping the sticks with your last three fingers. I can tell because your index finger sticks out when you play.
It seems like your left hand has a more correct grip. As though you are playing German grip with your left hand and French grip with your right hand.
The better way is to grip the stick between your thumb and the second knuckle of your index finger. Then the last three fingers are free to control the stick rebound.

I'm sure a good teacher or someone else on this forum can help you.

Check out Bill Bachman's videos and training method.


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mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
I concur with Jim's diagnosis. Those last three fingers are there to "help" control your stick, not to "completely" control you stick.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Ditto on the German grip. There are so many different ways to hold the sticks, adn they all have different purposes/strengths.

- French grip or timpani grip is when your palms are perpendicular to the drum head and you are mostly using your fingers to control the sticks. This is great for lighter and faster playing as it uses the smaller muscles in your hands.

- German grip is when you palms are parallel to the drum head and the grip is hardest on you back three fingers, using the writst to complete the strokes. This gives you more power than French, but is much slower. This is the most common grip for Moeller

- American grip is sort of a hybrid, where the sticks are at a 45-90 degeree angle and tries to combine the power of the German grip with the fluidity of the French grip.


There is no right way to grip, it's going to depend on what you are playing. The pain in your hand might be from playing too hard with French grip, since French grip is using smaller hand muscles and isn't meant for hard playing. You probably wouldn't want to use a German grip for your right hand as you wouldn't be able to get the same speed.

I play traditional grip, but my teacher always taught me to grip the right hand with my thumb and index finger, but have the other three fingers relaxed under the stick, ready to support it.

Try messing around with different grips on a practice pad just doing some rudiments and see if you can pinpoint what's causing the pain.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I don't mean to beat this to death.... LOL

But try this.
Hold the drum stick with your last three fingers. Then open up your thumb and fore finger so they are not touching the stick. Now play the drums like this. Do you feel that pain in your right hand?

I think you may be over taxing your last three fingers and your wrist by not properly utilizing the German or American style grip.
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KamaK

Platinum Member
PS, this is me doing the guru competition thing [yeah I know its rubbish but I only had a few hours to prepare ;-)]. I can sort of see on my right hand that I'm grasping a little with my pinky even though it looks loose (and its a slowly gentle piece so this wasn't really causing me any issue) : -
While I'm not necessarily the last person on the board that should be giving grip advice, I did spend 2 month doing BillB's drumworkout.com "Complete Hands Makeover" and found his grip-building approach to be a huge help. So I guess my advice is to give his site a shot and see if it helps. For me, the $20 resolved a lot of aggravation, and makes me wish I had leveraged the site earlier in my learning.
 

Brian

Gold Member
I didn't watch the video, however I will say this:

I don't see a problem with playing with the last three fingers, as long as it's not SOLELY that way...it should be a choice and an option, but it probably shouldn't be the only technique, either.

My index comes off the stick sometimes, if it feels good.

If you don't believe me, check out Vinnie Colaiuta and some of his stuff..or Tony Williams....etc. It can work.
 

moxman

Silver Member
Yes.. my 'American' grip usage is pretty versatile depending on what I'm playing.. usually cradling the stick around the middle finger fulcrum; sometimes leaning towards the first finger for fine fingertip control or rocking back towards the back fingers for more power.. but it's a subtle shift. The main thing is to not choke the stick..
Sometimes I even revert to German grip for marching drum style playing.. and a few weeks ago I found myself playing French grip on a hihat shuffle pattern (which I never do) - but it felt totally natural. I guess my point is, that it doesn't have to be one grip for all; they all have their uses.
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
I'm already subscribed on Bill's site, I started that before I had the realisation (just a few days ago).

I can't believe how bad it feels when I switch to my old grip while playing now. The bad thing is, since I've been playing like that for around 15 years my right wrist seems susceptible to tendinitis (I'm going to get it properly checked soon.. I can't really take a break from playing right now though as have a big charity gig in a month with the new band I'm in, but hopefully with the corrected grip and some lighter sticks I won't aggravate it further).

It's upsetting as I'm sure I could have progressed so much further, but I've been at this glass ceiling for years and now I finally understand why.

Oddly its my electric kit that made me realise more than anything as the shock from the rebound of those pads was really doing my wrists in and the hi-hat seemed somehow unforgiving too. Not from a tight grip as such (as you can see from the video), just a wrong / awkward grip. Be interesting to see how things go when I finally get on the acoustic kit on Friday.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I'm already subscribed on Bill's site, I started that before I had the realisation (just a few days ago).

Be interesting to see how things go when I finally get on the acoustic kit on Friday.
Awesome! Let us know how Bill's site works out for you in the long term.
 

Ruok

Silver Member
Perhaps you might benefit from Zildjian's Anti-Vibe drumsticks. I have never used them myself, but they are supposed to help ease the shock going through your hands, especially on electronic kits.
 
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