A discussion on the benefits of open handed drumming for left handed drummers

Open6505

New member
So I'm a Multi-Instrumentalist(guitar, bass, drums, keys), and I play the guitar and bass left handed. However, playing drums left handed has felt weird to me mostly because of tom placement and the fact that I feel most comfortable playing the foot parts(double bass and hats) right handed. I didn't know that open-handed was a thing, and I thought I was insane for playing that way. Then I started watching Simon Phillips and Shawn Drover. I also try traditional grip from time to time. This setup works best for me. It also allows me to play on any kit i want, cause its not too much of an issue to cross to play the ride(i do have my ride on the left of my kit so i don't have to cross). So, am I wrong? Drums aren't my main instrument and I took them up for writing purposes mostly, but most right handed cross players look at me like i'm insane for playing open.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
There was a time when dinosaurs roamed the land...before MTV and parents taking kids to concerts at age 13-14 was considered "normal"...

When a kid alone in their room only had their ears and *gasp* Mickey Dolenz playing that completely ass-backwards Gretsch kit on the Monkees TV show to help them begin their drumming journey...

When a left-handed kid set his kit up like Ringo because no one was there to show him there was another way to do it...

The left hand naturally went to the hi hat and the (dominant) right hand went to the snare. And....he played...and played...and played....and smiled and smiled and smiled in ignorant bliss, never knowing it as "wrong".

They were good days back then....

Lol.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
So I'm a Multi-Instrumentalist(guitar, bass, drums, keys), and I play the guitar and bass left handed. However, playing drums left handed has felt weird.
I'm in a similar position, but grew up in a musical family of righties.... My father had to make the decision, buy me left handed gear, or hand me down the right handed gear he had already invested in.

When I began learning drums, I kept the set up right handed, because I'm a social player. No need to reset stuff when working with other normal drummers. No need for handedness confusion/conversion during instruction, etc.

Would love to hear your stuff.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Try playing a song with constant, two-handed 16ths on the hi-hat, and the snare on 2 and 4 -- and get back to us.

You're only approaching the instrument for writing, and that's of course fine, but there's a real hurdle when you're trying to duplicate specific drum parts. I'm NOT saying you should play cross-handed; instead I'm saying that learning both ways has the fewest limitations.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
When I see a drummer playing open handed or left handed I don't think he or she is insane. As long as he or she has good technique and plays well, I think it is great. I wish I could play open handed.

The only issue is how many changes that you need to make before you can play on a right handed drum set up. If you attend a jam and you have to move the ride cymbal to the left side, and or the floor tom and hi hat to the left side, no big deal. If you have to rearrange the entire drum kit, then that "could be" an issue. If you come to my jam I'll let you move anything you need to move. But I have been to some jams where the drummer whines and cries when something is moved. There are some real idiot cry baby drummers out there.

.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
... but most right handed cross players look at me like i'm insane for playing open.
The dumb look on their face is them wishing they could play open handed too. I practice it all the time, but only make marginal progress. There are no limits to playing open handed, but sure is with cross stick!
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
The dumb look on their face is them wishing they could play open handed too. I practice it all the time, but only make marginal progress. There are no limits to playing open handed, but sure is with cross stick!
Someone once told me......

"You only need to play opposite-handed well enough to cover the tempo for the duration between when you drop your stick, and when you retrieve a new one."
 

Rochelle Rochelle

Senior Member
I approached playing open-handed on a completely right-handed setup as only solving one problem- the hi-hat. I would still have had to play the bass drum with my much weaker right foot and play the ride cymbal and ride the floor tom with my weaker right hand. And that just wasn't really doable for me.
 

Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member
...I didn't know that open-handed was a thing, and I thought I was insane for playing that way. Then I started watching Simon Phillips ...
There have been many players in History doing it, but the firsts that started popularizing it were Billy Cobhan and Lenny White. Billy was originally right handed and Lenny left handed. Simon Phillips is like the second generation of that, also originally right handed...your case would be like Lenny White.

Nothing wrong...
 
Last edited:

KEEF

Senior Member
I've been working solidly on trying to get my left hand up to speed to play open handed - complete ambidexterity is the holy grail for drummers imo,
and as others have said - no rules to follow. Left handed,right handed, centre hats, two rides, whatever does it for ya!!
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I'm a mainly a right handed crosses player, but I practice left handd to and do both crossed and open in both. A this point in the game for me it's useful for balancing thingds and just feeling comfortable playing what I hear.

There are no rules. That goes for your setup also. Only real reason to comply a little but is if you played shared kits a lot.

Outdated and ignorant people are everywhere. In some environments it can be hard to ignore them, but you're not insame, they however might be, or just simply stupid. How wonderful music is, musicians can sadly be just as close minded as anyone else. You're often dealing with very low level narcissistic traits then, so there's little you can do.

Just do your thing and have fun.

It's music. How does it feel and sound? That should be the only consern.



 
Top