Crosshanded Disadvantages.

\o/

Senior Member
I've seen threads on playing open handed and people asking whether they should. I couldn't sleep last night and got to thinking that maybe it's a more efficient way to play and i might try it. The only thing weird about it i could think of (for me being left handed and playing my ride on the left) is that when playing hi-hat beats my left hand would hit the snare, yet i'd have to change and hit the snare with my right hand when playing the ride.

Are there any more disadvantages to playing open handed, and what actually is the point/advantage of playing crosshanded, cause i can't think of any?
 

\o/

Senior Member
That's more about why we play that way, the history of it. I'm thinking more of can anyone put an argument forward as to what the actual point of doing it is from a technical point of view. Is there anything limiting about open-handedness in terms of there are things you can't do with it that you can do cross handed...cause i can't think of any, and the crossing over just seems like a pointless complication at the moment. I'm just wondering if anyone knows otherwise, seeing as i'm new to drumming.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. If you are comfortable doing it one way, then I really see no point in switching.

The main advantage I see to openhanded playing is that you have the potential for greater independence. Your snare stick isn't trapped under your hats stick. To see how inconvenient crossed playing is, put your ride cymbal to your left, and try playing it with the right hand, and you will see what I mean. It makes as much sense to cross over to play the ride, as it does to cross over to play the hats.

In open playing, your hats, ride and snare are all close together and the left hand can play them without interfering with the movement of the right hand, which is playing snare, toms and crash.

If you are going to play open, do it completely and put your ride next to your hats and play both with your left hand. Some people play hats with the left hand and ride with the right. The only purpose of that is ambidexterity, which is fine if you want to do that, but the drawback is that you have to cross-train your right and left hands to play snare and hat/ride patterns. I'd rather stick to assigned hand roles and refine them.

The main advantage to crossed playing is simple custom and social inertia. If you have play other peoples' sets a lot. it is more convenient to adopt their style. There may be an advantage to leading with the right hand, but all that stuff is relative and you can adjust your playing without much trouble.
 

\o/

Senior Member
Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. If you are comfortable doing it one way, then I really see no point in switching.

The main advantage I see to openhanded playing is that you have the potential for greater independence. Your snare stick isn't trapped under your hats stick. To see how inconvenient crossed playing is, put your ride cymbal to your left, and try playing it with the right hand, and you will see what I mean. It makes as much sense to cross over to play the ride, as it does to cross over to play the hats.

In open playing, your hats, ride and snare are all close together and the left hand can play them without interfering with the movement of the right hand, which is playing snare, toms and crash.

If you are going to play open, do it completely and put your ride next to your hats and play both with your left hand. Some people play hats with the left hand and ride with the right. The only purpose of that is ambidexterity, which is fine if you want to do that, but the drawback is that you have to cross-train your right and left hands to play snare and hat/ride patterns. I'd rather stick to assigned hand roles and refine them.

The main advantage to crossed playing is simple custom and social inertia. If you have play other peoples' sets a lot. it is more convenient to adopt their style. There may be an advantage to leading with the right hand, but all that stuff is relative and you can adjust your playing without much trouble.
Hmm thanks very much. I think you might have just convinced me to give open a go with your 'try playing the ride with your furtherest away hand' typa comment. Cheers.
 

\o/

Senior Member
Another quick point, would anyone recommend me setting my kit up right-handed if i'm going to play open handed? I'm equally comfortable playing bass with either leg (i have a pretty big degree of ambidexterity - i do loads of stuff back to front and 'normally') so would it make more sense to play hats with my left (stronger hand) and snare with my right open handed, or keep it in my normal set up so i can practice crossed over as well? (if i play a righty kit and cross over it feels really wrong)
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Are there any more disadvantages to playing open handed, and what actually is the point/advantage of playing crosshanded, cause i can't think of any?
The major advantage of playing the normal way is that you don't have to re-learn how to play the drums to move your time pattern from the ride cymbal to the hi-hat. The major disadvantage of playing open-handed is that you have to re-learn how to play the drums to move your time pattern from the ride to the hi-hat.

I look at this kind of fiddling around with the instrument as a way of dodging the real work of learning to be a musician. There is so much other important stuff to work on.
 

\o/

Senior Member
The major advantage of playing the normal way is that you don't have to re-learn how to play the drums to move your time pattern from the ride cymbal to the hi-hat. The major disadvantage of playing open-handed is that you have to re-learn how to play the drums to move your time pattern from the ride to the hi-hat.

I look at this kind of fiddling around with the instrument as a way of dodging the real work of learning to be a musician. There is so much other important stuff to work on.
I'm not trying to dodge any work, in fact that hadn't come into my mind at all. It was just bourne out of looking at it and thinking that logically crossing over makes no sense. And for a beginner like myself there's not an awful lot to relearn.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I'm not trying to dodge any work, in fact that hadn't come into my mind at all. It was just bourne out of looking at it and thinking that logically crossing over makes no sense. And for a beginner like myself there's not an awful lot to relearn.
Sorry, I wasn't accusing you in particular of anything. It's a thing a lot of people do instinctively when they're new to something- they look for work-arounds for things that don't make immediate sense to them, instead of just doing the work. Many smart people before you dealt with the same issue and arrived at a consensus for the most effective way of doing things- with a handful of exceptions, all of the greatest drummers play the hi-hat the usual "crossed" way. When in doubt, do what everybody good does.
 

Fox622003

Gold Member
I'm not trying to dodge any work, in fact that hadn't come into my mind at all. It was just bourne out of looking at it and thinking that logically crossing over makes no sense. And for a beginner like myself there's not an awful lot to relearn.
Yep, I agree. I think it actually benefits you a lot to train your hands for both roles. Because it's not only about time keeping/groove playing, when it comes to fills, or less common beats, you can easily adapt and have more possibilities to play them.
As a beginner, you might want to play hats open handed, and ride open handed, but in a regular set up, so as I mentioned above, you'll be switching roles when you switch your riding cymbal, which will contribute to much more even and equally capable hands.


Fox.
 

Fox622003

Gold Member
Sorry, I wasn't accusing you in particular of anything. It's a thing a lot of people do instinctively when they're new to something- they look for work-arounds for things that don't make immediate sense to them, instead of just doing the work. Many smart people before you dealt with the same issue and arrived at a consensus for the most effective way of doing things- with a handful of exceptions, all of the greatest drummers play the hi-hat the usual "crossed" way. When in doubt, do what everybody good does.
That's true, but also, Thomas Lang admitted to play traditional for years and becoming very proficient in it just for the looks pretty much. I hope this doesn't turn into another "traditional vs. matched" thread. Besides, most pros may play like that, because that's how it sounds best, but having the skill of both hands at an equal level tightens up fills, hand coordination, and let's you chose how to approach certain part. Whereas if you've never practiced open-handed playing, you're gonna be stuck with just one way of doing things.


Fox.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
That's true, but also, Thomas Lang admitted to play traditional for years and becoming very proficient in it just for the looks pretty much. I hope this doesn't turn into another "traditional vs. matched" thread.
That's quite a bit different than this- those are both well-established techniques each used by large numbers of the best musicians. Anyway, the OP asked for opinions.

Besides, most pros may play like that, because that's how it sounds best, but having the skill of both hands at an equal level tightens up fills, hand coordination, and let's you chose how to approach certain part.
Yes, of course- I wasn't arguing in favor of weak left hands.

Whereas if you've never practiced open-handed playing, you're gonna be stuck with just one way of doing things.
It didn't prove to be much of a hindrance for people like- well, how many of the tens of thousands of good, great, excellent, and world class drummers of the last ~80 years do you want me to name?
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
I like the idea of learning open handed so I can play the toms more easily as part of a groove, then it's just a matter of choosing which feels right for any particular groove. I think how it feels has a lot to do with it. For some grooves, I love the feeling of crossing, but it obviously doesn't work very well if you need to use more of the kit and can't get to it.

I imagine it strengthens the left hand a lot too improving general playing and left hand lead.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
The major advantage of playing the normal way is that you don't have to re-learn how to play the drums to move your time pattern from the ride cymbal to the hi-hat. The major disadvantage of playing open-handed is that you have to re-learn how to play the drums to move your time pattern from the ride to the hi-hat.

I look at this kind of fiddling around with the instrument as a way of dodging the real work of learning to be a musician. There is so much other important stuff to work on.
As for the first paragraph: I think the best way to play open handed is to use the same hand for hats and ride (in my case, the left hand). Agreed, it is a dumb idea to play hats with one hand and ride with the other. You might want to know that I and many other open-handed players support assigned hand roles. Taking that criticism away, I am hard-pressed to find any disadvantage at all to open hand playing, except for playing other peoples' kits.

As for the second paragraph: Why, ahem, are you even wasting your time here then? The trap set is such a new, upstart instrument, barely 100 years old. There is no "right" and "wrong" way to play such a green instrument. Indeed, all drummers were open-handed until the hardware limitations of the trap set forced the unnatural, awkward and highly limiting practice of crossed playing. Even crossed players now put their ride on the right, to enjoy the benefits of open-handed playing. I really can't blame them one bit.
 

Yopps

Senior Member
As for the first paragraph: I think the best way to play open handed is to use the same hand for hats and ride (in my case, the left hand). Agreed, it is a dumb idea to play hats with one hand and ride with the other. You might want to know that I and many other open-handed players support assigned hand roles. Taking that criticism away, I am hard-pressed to find any disadvantage at all to open hand playing, except for playing other peoples' kits.

As for the second paragraph: Why, ahem, are you even wasting your time here then? The trap set is such a new, upstart instrument, barely 100 years old. There is no "right" and "wrong" way to play such a green instrument. Indeed, all drummers were open-handed until the hardware limitations of the trap set forced the unnatural, awkward and highly limiting practice of crossed playing. Even crossed players now put their ride on the right, to enjoy the benefits of open-handed playing. I really can't blame them one bit.


Why? I'm an open hander and always have my right hand go from snare to ride when the time comes. Never had any issues with that. Playing open handed gives you better rack tom and cymbal access I think.
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
In my opinion crossing over is a huge limitation, and you never know how limited you are until you no longer have to cross. Yes, many great drummers have done just fine like that over the last 80 or so years since the invention of the normal hi hat stand, but so what? For centuries people got around just fine on horses too.

Playing open handed is certainly good for development of the weaker left hand, but many probably don't want to spend a portion of their lives relearning how to play the same stuff with their more awkward hand leading. Plus, playing open handed with the hats to the left will still necessitate crossing over for many patterns so you're still quite limited after all. And a cable hat to the right of the floor tom option leaves your left hand practically unable to access the hats at all, once again putting a major limitation on the possibilities (and never mind the fact that all traditional cable hats lag and drag).

I've found centering the hi hats using a remote (or at least moving them to right enough that the hands are uncrossed) to be the answer, this way both hands can move between the hats and snare unencumbered. Everything you play now is instantly easier and there are thousands of new musical possibilities. (Plus it's easier not having to hold one arm up higher than the other to reach the hats which are normally higher than the snare).

Don't fear change, center the hats in order to set your hands totally free from all crossing & enjoy the ease of playing with your natural hand leading and the thousands of new musical possibilities. That's my take on it!
 
S

sticks4drums

Guest
In my opinion crossing over is a huge limitation, and you never know how limited you are until you no longer have to cross. Yes, many great drummers have done just fine like that over the last 80 or so years since the invention of the normal hi hat stand, but so what? For centuries people got around just fine on horses too.

Playing open handed is certainly good for development of the weaker left hand, but many probably don't want to spend a portion of their lives relearning how to play the same stuff with their more awkward hand leading. Plus, playing open handed with the hats to the left will still necessitate crossing over for many patterns so you're still quite limited after all. And a cable hat to the right of the floor tom option leaves your left hand practically unable to access the hats at all, once again putting a major limitation on the possibilities (and never mind the fact that all traditional cable hats lag and drag).

I've found centering the hi hats using a remote (or at least moving them to right enough that the hands are uncrossed) to be the answer, this way both hands can move between the hats and snare unencumbered. Everything you play now is instantly easier and there are thousands of new musical possibilities. (Plus it's easier not having to hold one arm up higher than the other to reach the hats which are normally higher than the snare).

Don't fear change, center the hats in order to set your hands totally free from all crossing & enjoy the ease of playing with your natural hand leading and the thousands of new musical possibilities. That's my take on it!
But centering the hats will interfere with my long tom rolls. :)
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Indeed, all drummers were open-handed until the hardware limitations of the trap set forced the unnatural, awkward and highly limiting practice of crossed playing.
It's funny, I'm having a hard time detecting the limitation that is so obvious to you. Where you see unnatural, awkward, limited drumming, I see the greatest musicians in the world. Really, if you want an unorthodox technique to be accepted, you need to show some results- so far I just see a few mavericks like Cobham and Lenny White, along with some younger chops guys. I don't see a revolution there, and I don't know of any field in the world where you throw out overwhelmingly successful and accepted practices just on somebody's unproven claim of having something new and improved.
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
Here's a good video showing what it really looks like when a person plays the hihat with the right hand. It often seems that the open handed enthusiasts dislike the idea of right hand crossing over but don't really understand the reality of it.

http://www.drummerworld.com/Videos/keithcarlockdvdsolo.html

The first words I'd use to describe Keith's stick work aren't "uncomfortable", "constrained", "limited" or "disadvantageous".
 
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