Traditional Grip....what the hell am I doing wrong....

SquadLeader

Gold Member
I've been struggling of late with a sore hand and decided that I would give traditional grip a go.

I didn't expect it to be perfectly natural immediately, but did expect that I would be able to get by.

And I sort of can...when playing the snare.

However, when it comes to moving from snare to toms the stick position is all wrong and feels like I would have to be a contortionist to twist my arm into a position where the stick would strike the head.

And the situation is even worse with cymbals...I am at a total loss as to how one can actually strike a cymbal in any way, shape or form, with left hand using traditional grip.

Seem to be spending time at the kit just completely bemused on this at the moment?

Anyone got a phenomenal tip which would help here?
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I play 99% traditional.

Learning traditional generally requires some guidance. Different muscles and movements that require way more time to learn properly.

If you only want to play traditional you have to set the whole kit up a bit for that.

I do a lot of Moeller, but around the toms or any fast consistent and louder strokes it's rotation all the way. It's all about controlling the stick at the fulcrum with the thumb. If you've never played trad before you have a lot of conditioning work to do with the basic rotation. For full strokes you have to open up the grip, but still play with the wrist, not the thumb.

For softer stuff and doubles it's the index finger and the index finger is also what controls the stick after a cymbal hit. Just do a whip and stop the stick with the index finger right after impact.

Yes, Weckl plays traditional only and clearly has his rack toms set up for that.
 

Traditional Grip

Senior Member
Hey! Thanks for the shout out! J/k

Traditional Grip will treat you well! You just have to practice it alot and get used to the feel.

I would start on a pad. Practice your rudiments, especially singles, doubles, Flams, and paradiddles, at all different speeds.

Start out slow and increase as you feel comfortable. In a short about of time it will feel natural and you will know all of the intricate finger movements without even thinking about it.

There's no official "School" of trad. grip, so develop your own ways of manipulating the sticks, watch guys like Stanton Moore, Steve Gadd, Jojo Mayer, and Steve Smith, all who have mastered the grip in their own ways.

I prefer to do it very loose, with really only the thumb holding the stick and the rest of the fingers just for control. But that may not be your preference and you will be able to use loose and tight grips with lots of practice.

Anyways, I love Trad. I play Trad 99% of the time. So watch the masters, practice on a pad and start moving around the kit when you feel comfortable with it.

Godspeed!
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
Anyone got a phenomenal tip which would help here?
Not what I'd class as being a phenomenal tip, but extend your arm straight out in front of you holding stick (traditional grip). Now, picturing your hand as being the centre crown or motion wheel of the clock hand movement, 12 o'clock being directly ahead of the hand on your extended arm, you want the end of your stick pointing to hour two (approx) on the clock face just like a clock hand.

It's going to take a little getting used to as well as some work on your part to control the stick at this angle, however, this will help aid you in attacking the toms and cymbals with power and control without having to overcompensate through reach. What you don't want to do is form a 90° angle between your extended arm and stick shaft.

Challenging to relay though words, but hopefully you understand the jest of what I'm describing.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Thank you everyone....it's largely as I thought, more practice practice practice required.

It feels VERY comfortable playing snare with it. And I really have a better grip on the hi hat side of things when my left arm isn't getting in the way (I've always struggled crossing hands on the hi hat/snare play using matched grip).

Given I'm playing punk it's all probably 95% snare anyhow....in fact I turned up to a gig recently where the 'shell kit' was simply bass and snare...no toms...and we did the gig anyway....no-one noticed :)

I intend to persevere....fortunately I have Edrums at home meaning I can practice long until, hopefully, it begins to feel a little more natural.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
I'm not a Buddy Rich fan, but here's a video that exemplifies the benefits of applying traditional grip to drum kit playing.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I think it just takes a while to get used to.

I started with Trad, and when I tried switching to matched/timpani grip, I had trouble figuring out how to hit things as well.

I used a pad and just practiced my rudiments until I felt more comfortable with by hands.


You shouldn't have to change too much on the kit, but if you have anything at an extreme angle that only works for matched grip, you may have to change it.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I play traditional grip.
I go to a lot of open mic jams. Most other drummers have their rack toms angled down in front, angled facing toward the drummer.
And it's almost impossible for me to hit these toms with any kind of power with my left hand. The rack toms on my personal kit are much more flat.

And on my personal drum set, my crash cymbals on my left side need to be set up in a specific manner for my left hand.

.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I'm not a Buddy Rich fan, but here's a video that exemplifies the benefits of applying traditional grip to drum kit playing.
Except, all that clip exemplifies is how rigid, uncompromising and set in his ways he could be when he set his mind to it. Rather than use it as an opportunity to show what's possible, it's nothing more than a piss poor attempt to discredit a perfectly viable way of doing something.....I'm sure even Buddy could have seen how feeble his argument was if someone ever bothered to call him on it too.
 
G

Ghostnote

Guest
If I were to switch to traditional grip full time I would have to change how I set up my kit. My snare would be higher and I would probably angle it away from myself. My rack tom would be lower and angled to one side a bit. The crash over my hi hat would have to change as well.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Except, all that clip exemplifies is how rigid, uncompromising and set in his ways he could be when he set his mind to it. Rather than use it as an opportunity to show what's possible, it's nothing more than a piss poor attempt to discredit a perfectly viable way of doing something.....I'm sure even Buddy could have seen how feeble his argument was if someone ever bothered to call him on it too.
Agreed. I've often looked at that clip and thought the same thing.
 

mrfingers

Senior Member
The really great thing about playing trad, for me anyway, is that I don't have to try to match my rt. hand grip!
I use the shoulder of the stick -swipe down motion for strategically placed cymbals on my left. Splash cymbals work well with that left hand motion.
My 2 up toms are almost flat, with a slight tilt towards me to keep me making rim shots, FT set lower than my snare for more power strokes with the left hand.
I use a fanning technique for a lot of snare work so hitting toms with power is problematic for me too. Since coming off a TIA stroke 2 mo. ago, my shoulders are still trying to remember how to deal with rolls down the toms, but I'm getting there!
....and younger drummers remain mystified by my trad grip playing!
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Agreed. I've often looked at that clip and thought the same thing.
Indeed.

Given there are numerous examples of Buddy showing exemplary use of matched grip around the kit.......like this one that took me all of 5 seconds to find https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SpZxi4N9tM......I have no idea why he didn't put a semblance of thought into that argument before presenting it the way he did.
And I have even less idea why his thoughts on the matter seem to be presented as gospel when it's abundantly clear that even Buddy himself didn't buy into his own spiel. His actions in this clip and many others, are living proof of it.


But back to the OP, practise and repetition mate. Like everything new, it takes time to become familiar. More time to become comfortable. And even more time again, to become fluent.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
Except, all that clip exemplifies is how rigid, uncompromising and set in his ways he could be when he set his mind to it. Rather than use it as an opportunity to show what's possible, it's nothing more than a piss poor attempt to discredit a perfectly viable way of doing something.....I'm sure even Buddy could have seen how feeble his argument was if someone ever bothered to call him on it too.
I won't even get started, because if I do I won't stop until I run the tank dry. :)
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
Just one point I'll bring up that I don't think anyone else has yet.

When I taught myself to play traditional, one of the most important parts was practicing 'winding up' for big, loud backbeats on the snare - something which I became very good at up until the point I switched (permanently) back to matched grip.

Once you develop the motions for hitting nice strong, loud rimshots, this will give you a bit more flexibility and strength in the muscles needed to move around the kit.

But you will also need to practice just left-hand only, moving around the kit, 4, 2 or 1 hit per drum (as per Virgil Donati's power drumming video). Focus on power, accuracy and a 'quality' stroke and rebound, don't worry about speed.

I played traditional grip for about six years before moving back to matched. It got to the point where it was too much work to maintain and improve technically with the grip so I took the opportunity to 'start over' with matched, and to be honest, I have never looked back. Just my 2 cents.
 
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