Stick Grip Issue

x-pack

Junior Member
Hi

Recently I started drum lessons and have to say that i am genuinely enjoying it. However, the issue i've really started to notice is my left hand grip. The right is fine but I struggle to get a 'straight' vertical hit with the left. This isn't all the time but sometimes it's as though the stick is flailing round in a circular motion within my hand.

I've tried relaxing grip but when practicing rolls it becomes messy as I concentrate more on the kit than my hands (if you know what i mean). I get that other thing as well of sticks occasionally flying from from my hands but this appears to be a more common issue.

What am I doing wrong? It's kind of hard to explain the problem. I'm just hoping that someone can offer advice as this is really hindering my progress.

Thanks
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
Trying too hard. :D

That circular motion is what you eventually want to embody in your playing as a general rule; moving the sticks up and down mechanically in straight exaggerated lines is one thing but if you really think about it, there's a very slight elliptical flow going on there. Your weaker hand knows all this already.

What's going to advance you quicker is to keep on practicing, keep taking lessons and get that stroke down. Remember, you pull the sound OUT of the drum rather than beat it into it. :D
 

x-pack

Junior Member
Thankyou for your reply. 'Elliptical' - that's the word I was looking for :-D


I hear what you are saying. But think the reason it bothers me so much is that I get the sticks hitting each other quite a lot. It's really that which is ruining my fills. Hopefully practice will eventually iron out these problems. Just don't want to practice with a wrong grip or something.

I thought lessons might be boring but it's just spurring me on even more.
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
Thankyou for your reply. 'Elliptical' - that's the word I was looking for :-D


I hear what you are saying. But think the reason it bothers me so much is that I get the sticks hitting each other quite a lot. It's really that which is ruining my fills. Hopefully practice will eventually iron out these problems. Just don't want to practice with a wrong grip or something.

I thought lessons might be boring but it's just spurring me on even more.
Playing on a pad will help your rebounds, stick control and rudimental concepts. Playing on a drumset will help you develop the mobility to get between drums and cymbals. They are two separate entities and should be treated equally as important.
 

x-pack

Junior Member
A pad might be very useful to me then. But yes, finding the way around the kit also needs a lot of work. Maybe being to hard on myself. My teacher hasn't really pulled me up on it so probably just regular beginner teething problems?
 

moxman

Silver Member
I've never practiced on pillows.. only pads or my knee (ouch).. maybe hat boxes when I was a kid.
...but I heard of a guy here that practices on pillows every day (for years) and he has these bizarre muscles that stick out of his elbows.. apparently kind of freakish from what I've heard.

I think a practice pad and dedicated practice with 'Stick Control' (just the first page) should be enough to get your hand grip sorted out. Just think of your left as being the same as your right (if playing matched grip). If you're using traditional then, well practice..
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
A pad might be very useful to me then. But yes, finding the way around the kit also needs a lot of work. Maybe being to hard on myself. My teacher hasn't really pulled me up on it so probably just regular beginner teething problems?
More of a Karate thing actually. "Katas" are motions designed to give you a set of moves to draw from in a situation. So I would do some "katas" on the kit. Practice slowly, do four strikes per drum (or cymbals), moving about the kit and do your best to not interrupt the flow. That's what you want, flow.

Once you've established this motion then move on to three strokes per drum, then two... the odd stickings will mess with you at first because the "downbeat" changes hands every other time so in effect, each drum would see this pattern:

||: RLR LRL RLR LRL :||

And for the fours and twos, the trick to going backwards (lowest to highest drum) is to flip the sticking to LRLR (assuming you're a righty) so adding a LL on the final run down the toms (a "diddle" is the term) would flip that around with no break in continuity.
 

x-pack

Junior Member
Ah yes, I get the Karate thing. Did 5 years of it in my twenties.

Pretty much what i've been doing - plenty of repetition. Saw something somewhere that said don't practice when you play. It was along those lines anyway. Kind of stuck with me that one.

Thinking a pad would probably be worth picking up. Maybe a birthday present :)
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
Ah yes, I get the Karate thing. Did 5 years of it in my twenties.

Pretty much what i've been doing - plenty of repetition. Saw something somewhere that said don't practice when you play. It was along those lines anyway. Kind of stuck with me that one.

Thinking a pad would probably be worth picking up. Maybe a birthday present :)
Read some Dan Millman. Body/Mind Mastery. It will unlock so much for you.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1577310942/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=35017225644&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18075126824630915020&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_llbtrmy12_b
 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
Playing on a pad will help your rebounds, stick control and rudimental concepts. Playing on a drumset will help you develop the mobility to get between drums and cymbals. They are two separate entities and should be treated equally as important.
Interesting quote. Makes sense, but I have read others on this forum confirm the exact opposite i.e. to get good on the snare/drumset you need to practice on the snare/drumset, including for rudiments and stick control exercises. I think the fear is that many pads have exaggerated rebound and/or the feel is different than a snare. Would you agree?
 

cornelius

Silver Member
Interesting quote. Makes sense, but I have read others on this forum confirm the exact opposite i.e. to get good on the snare/drumset you need to practice on the snare/drumset, including for rudiments and stick control exercises. I think the fear is that many pads have exaggerated rebound and/or the feel is different than a snare. Would you agree?
I agree with Bill Ray - The exaggerated rebound of a pad will allow you to gain good rebound technique. Drums and cymbals have different rebound qualities, so eventually you'll have to put time in on a snare and kit. But the pad will get you in the right direction.

There are certain technique things that I don't even practice or teach on a pad anymore, I go straight to a snare drum to save time. But I do have certain things that I will always shed/teach on a pad, that I know will pay dividends on the kit...
 

TheDrumster

Senior Member
Not sure if serious?
Indeed, I am.

I, too, had a somewhat "wobbly" left hand at higher tempos. Somehow, somewhere, I read about the hinged sticks and figured "what the hell." (I think it was a review coming out of NAMM.) I was very pleasantly surprised.

They force you into a (German) grip with a great fulcrum (between thumb and first finger), and require proper movement with your wrist and fingers. It's kind of like training wheels that get you to feel what the stroke should be like.

It's not the end all be all but for the price/reward it was a great tool, and I recommend it highly.
 

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
Indeed, I am.

I, too, had a somewhat "wobbly" left hand at higher tempos. Somehow, somewhere, I read about the hinged sticks and figured "what the hell." (I think it was a review coming out of NAMM.) I was very pleasantly surprised.

They force you into a (German) grip with a great fulcrum (between thumb and first finger), and require proper movement with your wrist and fingers. It's kind of like training wheels that get you to feel what the stroke should be like.

It's not the end all be all but for the price/reward it was a great tool, and I recommend it highly.
Ah cool. I've heard them slammed in various reviews. Perhaps from people assuming that you were supposed to play with them all the time rather than use them as a training aid.

I'm struggling speeding up my fingers on my left hand at the moment, perhaps these are worth a go.
 

TheDrumster

Senior Member
Ah cool. I've heard them slammed in various reviews. Perhaps from people assuming that you were supposed to play with them all the time rather than use them as a training aid.

I'm struggling speeding up my fingers on my left hand at the moment, perhaps these are worth a go.
I used it on a pad for a for about a month doing mostly singles and doubles. It helped a lot.

I'm really surprised it's not popular because the weak hand grip is a such common problem.

Let me know if it works for you.
 
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KamaK

Platinum Member
Hi

Recently I started drum lessons and have to say that i am genuinely enjoying it. However, the issue i've really started to notice is my left hand grip. The right is fine but I struggle to get a 'straight' vertical hit with the left. T
I had an almost identical experience when I was 3 months into taking lessons. I had no previous drum experience (line snare/marching band) and started on a kit playing eighth and sixteenth note grooves with little issue. When it came time for fills, I had no stick control and no dynamics.

4 months in, I started the online lessons here. My instructor had me work out everything playing on my drum throne (no rebound, like the pillow) and then move on to the practice pad. I concentrated on posture and grip (thumbprint on the stick). You can also throw a thick towel over your snare for the same 'pillow' effect so that you can work on your left foot in tandem.

After two weeks @ 2h/day , my hands started to come together on the pad. The next hurdle was to apply the technique to the drum set, as my left hand would revert to cave-man-mode about 5 minutes in to playing on the kit.

All in all, it took me 2 months to sort out, though I'm still a far cry from any of the more accomplished drummers that are on this board.

I guess my point is that taking a step backward, and learning line or marching snare or any other hand-technique, will likely be a huge help in the long run.
 
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