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Old 02-22-2018, 09:26 AM
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blinky blinky is offline
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Default Too many fingers in left hand???

Hi fellow drummers,
I've been working on hand technique for two years now, (drumset player for 42 years) and like lots of other drummers I have difficulties with my left hand. I have a good teacher, I have read most threads on the subject, but can't find anything that helps me. So here I go. The problem is the grip I think, wrist is loose enough, but my grip don't feel natural, sometimes too loose and sometimes too tight almost cramped, ring and pinkie is worst. And it feels like I have too many fingers fighting over the same space, forcing me to constantly changing my grip slightly which in turn makes it even more difficult to relax my hand. I practice the freestroke everyday, always tight from the start of each practice session but eventually loosening up after maybe 5 minutes or so. I also play slow 8 on a hand, 100-120 bpm, trying to get my left hand to copy my right and get a bouncy relaxed feel. In other areas I'm working my left hand as much as I can , computer mouse , opening doors etc. Never ever getting much better even after all those hours of deliberate practice. This is starting to wear on me, any help would be much appreciated.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:45 AM
martianmambo martianmambo is offline
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Default Re: Too many fingers in left hand???

Would you mind showing us a video of your left hand doing some freestrokes, some rudiments, and then some freeplaying on the pad? It's easier to dissect the problem visually.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:02 AM
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Default Re: Too many fingers in left hand???

Well, I have never made a video, but I can try, but you would probably not see anything that my teacher wouldn't have seen. It's more how it feels than how it looks.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:40 AM
martianmambo martianmambo is offline
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Default Re: Too many fingers in left hand???

Are your shoulders relaxed when you play? What about your jaw? And is your posture comfortable? Have you tried doing some breathing/relaxation/meditation exercises before you practice? If you've tried many remedies to solve the tension in your hand but nothing's worked, then it might not be your hand that's the source of your problem.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:46 AM
AndeeT AndeeT is offline
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Default Re: Too many fingers in left hand???

My left is the same. You aren't alone. Here's what I do to help;

1. Set up a mirror in front of you while you practice. It is amazing how we think our hands are 'matched', and the are not. The mirror wont lie!

2. On point number 1., see this video;

https://youtu.be/C56MMPMZ_cE


3. play unsion strokes. 8 on a hand is awesome but unisons force your left to compare itself to te right even more. When you play unisons, focus your attention on your left hand.

4. Finger control in french position. Do some French finger contol excercises. It will really give you a good fulcrum between index and thumb. Even better; isolate the fingers, i,e. play the stroke with only the index, then only the middle, e.t.c.

5. play constant 8th notes on your hand and then play random groupings of diddles on your left, phrased as 16th notes. Do this for a few bars/minutes,then switch hands.


Good luck!
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:48 AM
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Odd-Arne Oseberg Odd-Arne Oseberg is offline
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Default Re: Too many fingers in left hand???

Certainly practice every technique and motion. I'm a trad player, but I've beeen practicing my matched a lot lately and French grip finger technique as well as working on the jazz ride and similar patterns exposed a lot.

Now, in terms of progress, never forget how much mileage that right hand probably has over that left.

I'd also double check angles as well as the height of your hand.
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:30 PM
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mrfingers mrfingers is offline
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Default Re: Too many fingers in left hand???

How do your rudiments sound? Can you do decent rolls? Is this just about how your hands look and not about how well you sound? I ask because this matching problem is never an issue with trad grip. Coming from trad and learning matched I have your same problem: both hands don’t feel the same but I can still fly around my kit and play rudiments as well matched grip-wise. The sounds are the same with either grip, so now I worry more about the sound vs the look of matching.
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Old 02-22-2018, 03:05 PM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: Too many fingers in left hand???

My left hand feels like a boat anchor.. I can play pretty fast, and my rudiments sound decent. As I get faster I notice.

Mirror playing and using a phone to video yourself will help a TON. I have noticed a ton of stuff watching myself play in videos. my left hand is often about an inch lower than my right, which makes a different bounce, which changes how I use my wrist/fingers etc. I also notice my left hand comes down at a bit of an angle making me work harder for the hits.... I am working on fixing this.


The hardest part is how forced it feels. It naturally wants to do something different so I am constantly telling myself to high "STRAIGHT DOWN" . As someone who has played for 20+ years and plays blast beats quite often, I find it funny how weird it feels.

I do lots of exercises that use more left than right... RllRllRllRll or even things like jazz independence exercises to build it..

Try doing your rudiments, singles, doubles, all left hand lead accenting the left.. it feels WEIRD... only because your right is so much more developed. Trust me that in time it will start working. Start playing your hats with the left and snare with the right etc.... It will get there.

Your right has had all the accents, leads, touch, and focus for 42 years, It makes sense your left has to catch up.
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Old 02-22-2018, 03:34 PM
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Merlin5 Merlin5 is offline
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Default Re: Too many fingers in left hand???

I've been working on the exact same left hand issue for a long time. I also go between my hand being either too loose or tightening up. Recently I've pretty much solved it though I always have to focus on keeping it relaxed. I always use my right hand as my benchmark to compare my left hand against.

Here's the thing. The stick needs to 'breathe' in your hand. What I mean is, the fingers needs to open up as the hand pulls back but never completely leaving the stick. It's about throwing the stick down as though you're trying to shake water or mud off your hand. It's like a seesaw motion where the stick is freed up inside the hand rather than being 'gripped' so to speak, but the hand just supports and guides the stick. I don't know if that's making much sense to you but I find it's really keeping my strokes loose yet controlled. It's allowing gravity to come into play rather than physically placing the stroke. By throwing the stick down in this way you start to feel the weight of the stick pretty much just falling onto the drum. I keep my index finger away from gripping but use the rest of my fingers as a cradle to support and guide. It's all about letting go really. I'm particularly conscious about not letting my pinky come away completely and keeping my thumb in place.

You should also experiment with how far up or down your hand is on the stick, i.e, towards the butt or perhaps further up. This can make a big difference in much the same way as where you would place your right foot on the bass drum pedal.
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Old 02-22-2018, 04:48 PM
toddbishop toddbishop is online now
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Default Re: Too many fingers in left hand???

Hard/impossible to say without seeing you play. Clearly you need to try something different-- maybe way more attentive practice, maybe another technique altogether. It sounds like you're following all the internet lore about drumming technique-- I've had a number of students like that, and they were all missing the boat for playing actual normal snare drum stuff on a snare drum. The thing technique is supposed to be for.

I think whatever else you do, you need to be able to execute a clean basic wrist technique-- a controlled but relaxed "German" grip, no finger, no arm, no use of rebound, stick heights between 2-7", with high velocity strokes-- fast individual strokes regardless of the volume or tempo. Using the level system of full/down/tap/up strokes, with no extra lift at the beginning of the stroke. Do that 60-90 minutes a day with Stick Control (not just the first three pages), along with some accents studies, in front of a mirror for a couple of months and see what it does.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Too many fingers in left hand???

Thanks all,
I do most of what you're suggesting already though, use a mirror, play left hand lead, play unisons, using the gravity of the stick etc. I suppose it's the mileage like some of you said. Some days I get frustrated and think that my hard work should have paid off just a little bit more than it has done. I think I'll start play open handed a bit, maybe go through the Carmine Appice book open handed. And keep at it, mostly it's rewarding, but there are days...
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