A plethora of questions about form

sbsdrums

Junior Member
Hello everybody on drummerworld forums! i have been coming here for a few months now to get tips on drumming and have searched various threads to help me with my playing. However, i have not found any threads that specifically deal with my problems and so have decided to become a member and post them.

Alright, first off i have been playing drums for a little over a year now and have just begun learning rudiments. I want to improve my speed and overall musicianship but i have a few questions. First, should i continue to play french grip or switch over to matched now that i am starting rudiments? Second, no matter how much i try, my hands are never perfectly "matched" because my pinky on my left hand digs into my ring finger more than my right (is this rare?). Do my fingers have to be exactly matched to produce an even sound?

I have purchased "stick control for the snare drummer" and "Tommy Igoe's great hands for a lifetime dvd" (after being advised to by a local drum teacher) and really want to dive in but i don't want to practice bad form and learn bad habits. Regrettably, i cannot afford a teacher right now and am wondering if i should try and work on my form without one. Will it do more harm than good?

Lastly, how important is posture? Should i play with my back straight always or do what is comfortable?

Any advice (especially related to the form/pinky debacle) would be greatly appreciated as i love drums and want to improve as a drummer. Thanks to everyone in advance!
 

Fiery

Silver Member
First off, you cannot switch from French grip to matched grip. French grip refers to either the right hand grip if you're playing traditional, or both hands if you're playing matched.
Second, no matter how you try, your hands will never ever be exactly the same. Just work on keeping them both even in sound and feel.

You can work without a teacher but be careful and apprehensive of how your body works. There is not a single proper form that works, as can be seen when looking at various drummers. Still it's a good idea to get a single lesson at least with a good teacher whenever you can, just to make sure you're not doing anything that could hurt you.
Also, check out Dom Famularo's video lessons at Vic Firth's site: http://www.vicfirth.com/education/drumset/domfamularo.php

Posture is as important as proper hand form in my opinion. Sitting with your back straight is what is comfortable. Leaning or slouching this way or that might seem more relaxed at the beginning, but you will definitely feel it after a while. If you get into the habit of always keeping a straight back (and not only when playing) you'll avoid a range of problems in the years to come.
 

zakhopper316

Silver Member
but you can switch between the german and french grip while your playing tho, i do it all the time, it gives you more endurance because it uses different muscles.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
Watch Tommy's video several times. The man is a master drummer and teacher. Print out the e-book and read it several times. Don't flit back and forth between different "methods". Just stick with Tommy's routines for at least the first year.

Many of your questions will be answered by then, either by Tommy in the the vid or by you in your voyage of self-discovery.

Always remember this. You are NOT working on your "form". You are working on your sound. The goal is not proper form but proper sound. Use your ears and listen to the the quality of what you are playing at all times.
 

jazzin'

Silver Member
Watch Tommy's video several times. The man is a master drummer and teacher. Print out the e-book and read it several times. Don't flit back and forth between different "methods". Just stick with Tommy's routines for at least the first year.

Many of your questions will be answered by then, either by Tommy in the the vid or by you in your voyage of self-discovery.

Always remember this. You are NOT working on your "form". You are working on your sound. The goal is not proper form but proper sound. Use your ears and listen to the the quality of what you are playing at all times.
This is the perfect answer. Practice will reveal most of the answers, and the proper technique/form is gained by focusing on your sound, clarity etc along with checking the even nature of your hand positioning.

I agree very strongly with Jeff that you should stick to just one method for at least the first year and if you are doing the Igoe thing, that will last you for a lot longer than that if you wish. Don't get up in the amount of stuff available as it can become overwhelming very quickly. The method is not nearly as important as focused, consistent, daily practice.

You could go through Stick Control or Igoe's thing and you will get the same kind of results. However, if you are just starting out, Igoe's thing with the video and his tips as well as the other people doing it will be very, very helpful if you're following along with the DVD exactly.

Good luck and always remember that it's only about the sound and being able to play what you hear when it comes down to it. Don't get overly caught up in the technical aspect of things. You need it but it will only come with consistent, repeated practice of the same material.
 

Toby_Jackson

Senior Member
First off, you cannot switch from French grip to matched grip. French grip refers to either the right hand grip if you're playing traditional, or both hands if you're playing matched.
Second, no matter how you try, your hands will never ever be exactly the same. Just work on keeping them both even in sound and feel.

You can work without a teacher but be careful and apprehensive of how your body works. There is not a single proper form that works, as can be seen when looking at various drummers. Still it's a good idea to get a single lesson at least with a good teacher whenever you can, just to make sure you're not doing anything that could hurt you.
Also, check out Dom Famularo's video lessons at Vic Firth's site: http://www.vicfirth.com/education/drumset/domfamularo.php

Posture is as important as proper hand form in my opinion. Sitting with your back straight is what is comfortable. Leaning or slouching this way or that might seem more relaxed at the beginning, but you will definitely feel it after a while. If you get into the habit of always keeping a straight back (and not only when playing) you'll avoid a range of problems in the years to come.
MAN, slow down, I'm not feeling any of this.

First off, to both you and the poster, Tommy Igoe is playing mainly German grip in his video (though I've certainly seen him employ other grips elsewhere) while he is playing matched (both hands), and when he is playing traditional (just his right hand). This makes sense from a drum-corps stand point. So, there we go, both German AND French grip can be played in both matched or traditional - to clarify, Matched and French are NOT mutually exclusive.

And to the poster I suggest that you do switch from French to German (matched) if you are going to be following Igoe's program.

Second - I would advise the poster to NOT be apprehensive about their technique - at least not unless they hit a technical "ceiling" after many years of development. Try to allign your grip and technique around the best information you can get (Igoe will give you loads I'm sure) but as other's have said, it's the SOUND that matters. There are pros making great music with at least a dozen different common grips - so don't obsess about it unless your having a specific difficulty hitting a crazy speed or using an advanced technical trick.

Summary - the only rules should it be it SOUNDS good and FEELS good.

You're right on all that Dom stuff is great - he's a real master and anyone can learn from watching those vids - RIP Jim Chapin.

And yet I'll disagree with you one more time. Posture is important, but come on, it's nowhere near as important as what your doing with your hands. And a lot of drummers who are really feeling the time are dancing and moving all around, not sitting straight up. Watch Brian Blade if you don't know what I mean. Straight's a nice place for balance if you're doing a lot of fancy footwork, but if I'm really digging the groove I am NOT holding to one posture. So beyond the basics of straight = good balance, good energy flow, don't kill your back leaning forward for 2 hours, yada yada, I really don't think it's very important thing to worry about. Certainly you could put much more thought and effort into your hand technique.

For the record, I HATE thrones with a back on them.
 

sbsdrums

Junior Member
Thanks for all the advice everyone! I have started Tommy Igoe's dvd and have another quick question:

I noticed everyone in the dvd, as well as many drummers i have seen on youtube, all have the same kind of pad. What type of pad is it, and is it worth it to purchase one? The pad i am currently using is much smaller and i put it directly on top of my snare
 

Monica McCoy

Senior Member
You could save a whole lot of trial and error by finding a qualified instructor. In order to develop sound technique, you really need a trained eye across from you.

It's safe to say if you've been playing a year and don't know rudiments, you've got some bad habits or problems with your form which will inhibit your speed. Again, teacher.

And yeah, you should ditch French grip. Ain't loud enough. Gotta whip the stick palms down. I'll use French grip on the ride or to get to a tom but it's not my standard grip.

Take lessons. You'll learn faster.
 

Alex Luce

Pro Drummer
No serious drumset player would "ditch" French grip. The reason you find yourself using French is because equipment placed to the side or slightly behind the drummer cannot be struck using German grip -- unless you rotate your torso. Why would you rotate your whole body to hit a floor tom or ride cymbal, when you can just rotate the forearm to use French grip?

The rotational action of French grip extends the reach of a drummer, while allowing the body to remain stationary.

Regards,

Alex

P.S. French grip can be plenty loud. I wouldn't use it to hit a rim shot, but you can really smack the crash cymbals with a nice circular arc.
 

Alex Luce

Pro Drummer
Second, no matter how much i try, my hands are never perfectly "matched" because my pinky on my left hand digs into my ring finger more than my right (is this rare?). Do my fingers have to be exactly matched to produce an even sound?
It's possible you are gripping (creating the fulcrum) in your left hand with your back fingers. This could cause the pinky finger to nudge up against the ring finger. If you are using a different fulcrum (e.g., index or middle finger) with your right hand, then, yes, you will NOT produce an even sound with both sticks.

Check out how you are gripping the sticks. Wherever the fulcrum is, if you're using matched grip (French or German) try to keep it the same in both hands. If you aren't sure what I am talking about, I am sure watching Tommy Igoe's video will help!

Regards,

Alex
 
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