Originally Posted by Mad About Drums
But Simon Phillips, who's totally ambidextrous on the drums ...
He's been a hero of mine since very early in my playing and that part of his playing always really stood out for me, but it was more a fascination than something I wanted to achieve myself. Until the last few years, that is.
Now I'm always on the lookout for an opportunity to play open-handed (which would be all the time if I were ambitious enough). As I said before, I don't really practice anything until I see some compelling reason, but I happened to stumble into the realization that my time is straighter when I lead with the left because of it's lesser ability and lack of familiarity with that role. I get a completely different sound to my groove by switching left/right roles; my 8th note ride patterns are straighter and my backbeats sit on top of the beat more. I think it's a nifty trick to switch it up for certain songs, or parts of songs, and open-handed playing opens up the rest of the kit for the right hand to get around on; the oft-cited advantage in the on-going and never-ending open-handed debate. Another fun trick I discovered (though I'm sure I'm not the first) while working ghosts strokes with my right hand is how easy and alluring that floor tom is just sitting there ... makes for a great accent with cymbal hits and moving some of those ghosts over from the snare can make for some really cool faux double bass parts or just floor/kick interplay. Sky's the limit on that one.
If getting your left to the same place as your right is the goal, I can't think of a better way of getting there than playing open-handed / left hand lead, as IDDrummer also pointed out. Time on the pad working things out and concentrating on developing muscles and muscle memory is great, but combine that with playing left hand lead on the kit could only be better.
And as MAD mentioned, it's about how it gets applied musically in the end. Technique is important and unavoidable, but it's still just a means to a musical end. Or, maybe not ... maybe for some the technique IS the end. But if that's the case and the goal really is to get your left and your right equal, then why stop at your hands? Why not set up your whole kit lefty and master that? As much as I like air drumming as a lefty - and I do a lot, I'm not ashamed to say! - I'm not about to start setting up my kit that way.