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  #1  
Old 08-20-2018, 11:41 AM
HolyDiver HolyDiver is offline
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Default Weaker hand problem

I have been learning to play drums for a little over a year and as I progress into learning a bit more complicated stuff I noticed that I can't play something faster or implement deatils(like ghost notes) with my weaker(left) hand. It just feels unnatural,sounds sloppy and my hand gets tired really fast. I just can't find a way to relax it when I play faster. I already do some exercises to fix this but I would appriciate more advice on what to do to improve this. Maybe the problem,at least one part of it, is that I learn by myself from books and internet because I don't really have money for lessons.
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  #2  
Old 08-20-2018, 12:16 PM
Swissward Flamtacles Swissward Flamtacles is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

If you can't afford a teacher at the moment, you might try playing open handed for a change. Because you already know some grooves and what they should sound like you can teach your weak hand by comparing the motions to your dominant hand. It can also work the other way at times so that your dominant hand learns something new. A mirror can also be helpful to spot bad habits.

If you practice with a pad, you might like the Stick Technique book which has some exercises to isolate the hands and a section on the different strokes. Try to stay slow and precise! If you get tired and you can't relax, the problem might actually be in the fulcrum or a weird angle of your hands or arms (too loose in one place and overcompensating somewhere else for example).

But to find such small flaws without a teacher requires a lot of attention to detail. If you try to play too fast, everything just goes by in a blur and there's no chance to notice what could be improved.


Try the Bill Bachman and Bruce Becker videos on youtube - there is a lot of free content on hand technique! And maybe try to get a Skype lesson with a good teacher every once in a while!
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Old 08-20-2018, 02:44 PM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

Get a copy of Stick Control, by George L. Stone, for ~$10, and start working through at least the first 25 pages of it, playing the exercises starting with the left hand ~ twice as long as the one starting with the right. Practice in front of a mirror and make both hands look the same for technique and stick height.

That's it-- do that for 30-60 minutes a day until your hands have evened out in ability.
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Old 08-20-2018, 03:01 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

It took me a lot of years to get my weak hand on par with my strong hand. Its both strength and coordination. Ride with your weak hand, that helps whip it in shape. Brush your teeth with your weak hand. Set your kit up lefty and try playing it like that to force you to lead with your weak side. It's a lot of work.
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2018, 03:01 PM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

I know this sounds a little crazy, but you should try it. Start doing everything with your left hand that you normally do with your right hand. For instance, open doors, eating, brushing your teeth, etc. It will be difficult but maybe even writing. It will take a while, but you will start to notice improvement in your left hand.

I have been playing drums for over 60 years. Last year I started operating the computer mouse with my left hand. I have recently noticed improvement in my left hand ghost notes.



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Last edited by Hollywood Jim; 08-20-2018 at 03:12 PM.
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2018, 03:05 PM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

Besides just saying hours and hours of practice for many years, the short answer is use it as much as your dominant hand.

rudiments are the best thing you can do.. start with the easy ones, singles, doubles, paradiddles, inverted diddles, paradiddlediddles, flam taps, double paradiddlles etc.

I like rudiments that revers so I can do left hand lead as well. Play to a metronome, work on your technique, play in front of a mirror to see why it isn't as good as the right.

Most drummers have a weaker hand, and if they don't do pad work it is pretty easy to spot. Doing what I said above has made my ghost notes consistent, fast, and much improved.
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2018, 05:27 PM
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Merlin5 Merlin5 is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

Not much to add to the already great advice given. As mentioned, observe your dominant right hand and copy it, that's assuming you're confident that your right hand motions are correct and smooth. Try airsticking very slow strokes both separately and in unison and carefully observe as much detail as you can on each hand such as the motion, finger positions and fulcrum and how loose or tight you're gripping in each hand. The looser the better but without losing the fulcrum.

Do both hands look and move exactly the same. If not, make the needed corrections, however small, until they do. Above all, be patient and go slowly. Trees don't grow 10 foot tall overnight, but they do grow.
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:30 PM
eddypierce eddypierce is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
Get a copy of Stick Control, by George L. Stone, for ~$10, and start working through at least the first 25 pages of it, playing the exercises starting with the left hand ~ twice as long as the one starting with the right. Practice in front of a mirror and make both hands look the same for technique and stick height.

That's it-- do that for 30-60 minutes a day until your hands have evened out in ability.
I second this recommendation. Stick Control, if practiced properly, will work wonders. One variation you might want to try with the 1st three pages is to play each exercise for four bars, and then play another four bars of continuous 8th notes with just the left hand. The first three exercises on page five would look like this:

RLRL RLRL RLRL RLRL RLRL RLRL RLRL RLRL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL

LRLR LRLR LRLR LRLR LRLR LRLR LRLR LRLR LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL

RRLL RRLL RRLL RRLL RRLL RRLL RRLL RRLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL

LLRR LLRR LLRR LLRR LLRR LLRR LLRR LLRR LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL

This comes from a Joe Morello variation, but Morello would have you vamp for four bars on whatever hand ended the exercise, be it right or left. With this, you just always vamp with the left.
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Old 08-20-2018, 08:06 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin5 View Post
Not much to add to the already great advice given. As mentioned, observe your dominant right hand and copy it, that's assuming you're confident that your right hand motions are correct and smooth. Try airsticking very slow strokes both separately and in unison and carefully observe as much detail as you can on each hand such as the motion, finger positions and fulcrum and how loose or tight you're gripping in each hand. The looser the better but without losing the fulcrum.

Do both hands look and move exactly the same. If not, make the needed corrections, however small, until they do. Above all, be patient and go slowly. Trees don't grow 10 foot tall overnight, but they do grow.
This is exactly how I approached it. I was using a different technique with each hand. That was the first real step to getting equal for me.

It's personally validating to see that great drummers like our wizard Merlin did this too.

It's just common sense really.
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  #10  
Old 08-20-2018, 08:09 PM
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Odd-Arne Oseberg Odd-Arne Oseberg is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

A year isn't much, on any instrument, even if you practiced all day.

If you're right handed and play drumset that way you already have two quite dominant reasons why your right hand would be quite a bit more developed.

There are many ways to approach this.

For me personally, apart from leading all sorts of exercises left handed I also enjoy playing open handed a lot. Not necessarily appropriate a your stage, but it's an individual thing.

For ghost notes and observing your technique better, it's a good idea to just remove the right hand or move that to your leg or something else that's more quiet.
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  #11  
Old 08-21-2018, 07:56 AM
HolyDiver HolyDiver is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

Thank you for your help,I really appreciate your advices. I actually got the ''Stick controll'' book last week.
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  #12  
Old 08-21-2018, 02:55 PM
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mrfingers mrfingers is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

Ghost notes are “drop the stick” notes, drop and drag sometimes and not something to slam. Even a weak hand does these easier than a dominant hand which usually hits with more power. Try dropping the left stick for ghosts.
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  #13  
Old 08-21-2018, 05:49 PM
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Merlin5 Merlin5 is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

Thank you larryace. :)

By the way, best way to practise ghost notes?

In the dark. :D

*copyright Gavin Harrison *
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Last edited by Merlin5; 08-21-2018 at 06:21 PM.
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  #14  
Old 08-21-2018, 10:58 PM
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Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin5 View Post
Thank you larryace. :)

By the way, best way to practise ghost notes?

In the dark. :D

*copyright Gavin Harrison *
Correct answer is under a sheet.
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2018, 03:06 AM
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Merlin5 Merlin5 is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
Correct answer is under a sheet.
Lol yep, that's even better.
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  #16  
Old 08-22-2018, 03:09 PM
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MrPockets MrPockets is online now
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
Correct answer is under a sheet.
It wasn't me it was a spooky ghost!

Omn a serious note, here is a left hand exersize: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giQq5MsLnlA&t=34m14s
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  #17  
Old 08-22-2018, 06:57 PM
beatdat beatdat is offline
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Default Re: Weaker hand problem

Take Lesson One from Ted Reed's Syncopation and play all fifteen exercises straight through, no stopping, for one minute each.

But, and this is important, do it with both hands. If you do this, you'll both develop coordination with the weaker hand (when it plays the syncopation line) and develop endurance with the weaker hand (when it plays straight eighth notes). As great as playing through Stick Control is, playing through Lesson One of Syncopation this way kills two birds with one stone - not only are you developing endurance and coordination at the same time, you're also playing practical patterns between your hands while learning how to lead with each hand.

Also, consider using a practice pad with little to no rebound (such as the RTOM Moon Gel pad); it'll really help develop the forearm and wrist muscles that you need to strengthen your weaker hand.
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