Crosshanded Disadvantages.

Mark_S

Silver Member
I suppose hat height could be a factor in this particular debate?
Yes, if I have my hats far too low then my sticks will hit on some patterns, and it just feels uncomfortable.

I definitely think its worth learning open handed for some things, I just don't think there's anything inherently wrong with crossing on grooves where it doesn't cause a problem, especially if it feels good to the player. Some grooves just feel great that way (Tommy Igoe said something similar on one of his Groove Essentials DVD's).

Also I tend to notice some drummers position there hats closer to the snare than others, and some further forwards than others depending on how they sit at the kit (more straight on or more turned to the left). Having a double kick pedal obviously affects this too unless you have it on the left of the hats.

If the hats are too far from the snare and my hands begin to be on the same vertical plane or even crossed, then yes it does get uncomfortable, but I never let my set up get like that. When using my 14" hats and just single kick, the edge of the hats actually comes over the top of the snare slightly.

The way I have my hats, my hands are not crossed (my right hand is probably a couple of inches to the rigtht of my left hand). I've only seen drummers actually crossing their arms a couple of times when their hats are way over to the left (like a whole foot) and yes that does look very uncomfortable.

I guess with everything, experiment and adjust as neccessary (positioning), learn a new technique if neccessary (open handed), buy some new equipment if neccessary (remote speed hats).. whatever feels right to you.

This feels a bit like the matched / traditional debate.. I think it's one of those things where you have to think for yourself (shock horror) ;-)

Basically, I agree with 8mile. Much ado about nothing.
 
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sticks4drums

Guest
I did. I'm not really sure (apart from perhaps relieving the boredom) as to why you would do that. If he had different voices set up on either side of the kit it would make more musical sense but just a 'mirror'. I don't get it and I think only drummers would appreciate the technical aspect. Was that who he was aiming to impress?

If it was then fair enough he succeeded. He's a master of the instrument and has a capacity to lead with either hand that I can only envy. Shame that that ability is wasted (at least as demonstrated in this video).
Ouch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

\o/

Senior Member
I just wanted to get opinions and i certainly got lots of them!

I think i'm going to stick with my normal set up but learn some regular patterns open handed just to help with independence between hands and feet and to practice leading with different hands. Learning the same patterns open handed purely so you can do it open handed seems a waste of time if you can do them perfectly fine crossed - so aside from the independence advantages it could be a waste of valuable practice time.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
When I was young I used to enjoy seeing drummers theatrically lift their left hand and neatly lift their crossed over right hand out of the way to do it. Not hard to do but it looks cool to laypersons.
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
Ouch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh... I didn't really mean it to be an ouch. I guessed (because of the way the camera was set up) that he was trying only to demonstrate technique and not to fully exploit that technique in a musical way. So let me say again. He is a virtuoso and has a technical mastery that I can only envy.

But music is to be listened to I think and on that measure you have to say so what? More of a slight bruise and a full blown 'ouch' really.
 
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sticks4drums

Guest
Oh... I didn't really mean it to be an ouch. I guessed (because of the way the camera was set up) that he was trying only to demonstrate technique and not to fully exploit that technique in a musical way. So let me say again. He is a virtuoso and has a technical mastery that I can only envy.

But music is to be listened to I think and on that measure you have to say so what? More of a slight bruise and a full blown 'ouch' really.
That's OK. I just love the way he flows effortlessly with both hands, on both sides of the kit. I am a symmetrical kind of guy, so the kit appeals to me visually that way. After all, it is entertainment. I find him entertaining to watch. Don't like the music at all.
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
That's OK. I just love the way he flows effortlessly with both hands, on both sides of the kit. I am a symmetrical kind of guy, so the kit appeals to me visually that way. After all, it is entertainment. I find him entertaining to watch. Don't like the music at all.
I used to think that playing the drums was a bit like dancing or even a martial art and that watching the masters was fulfilling just on a visual level. A friend of mine (a true master of the instrument) has worked with dancers before and has remarked on the parallel as has (I seem to keep mentioning this player at the moment) Jon Hiseman. And Steve Gadd has said something about learning to tap dance when he was young being useful for drumming.

Polly's point about some movement just being elegant and beautiful to watch. Thomas Lang admitting that he uses the trad grip because it looks good. And of course the almost endless requests from players wanting to learn stick tricks. It all suggests that there is a considerable visual entertainment value going on here.

But... and I don't want to dismiss showmanship or any of that visually pleasing stuff but ultimately music has to be about the noise you make. Everything else must be secondary I think or we will all end up as cynical as Simon Cowell.

There - now I've gone as said a cuss word. Shucks...
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
This thread is like debating how you make love to a woman. It's all individual, and however you make it work is OK. Myself I go open handed when I need to play hi hat and toms together. Or hi hat and a cymbal on my right together. Then your arms are truly crossed, not an ideal situation. When I play "crossed", my hands or arms really aren't crossed, so it's not limiting to me. Playing open handed should be practiced though, if only for the times when it really is better than crossing your arms.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
When I was young I used to enjoy seeing drummers theatrically lift their left hand and neatly lift their crossed over right hand out of the way to do it. Not hard to do but it looks cool to laypersons.
Agreed, it does look cool. I've also seen guitarists and keyboardists cross their hands over and it looks neat also. How come other musicians don't play like that as a standard way to play, though? Just drummers cross over to play.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Are you really comparing drummers crossing their sticks to a guitar player playing his
instrument completely crossed?
Yes, I am. No one types, eats, drives, uses tools or plays any other instrument in a crossed manner, except for brief instances. People do everything in life openhanded. Only drummers cross their hands or sticks - part of the time, at least. No one crosses over to play ride and I can't blame them!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Open handed does make more sense, for sure. It gives you more room to work without getting in your own way. I am so used to it by now, meaning working with the 2 hands in close proximity, that I am reluctant to jump ship at this point.

I do use open handed when it's really stupid to cross that far though. I have to try really hard not to get it backwards though lol. That always gets puzzled looks.

Martin, you started playing open handed from day 1, right? I'm curious, can you play crossed on the level that you can play open handed? Because I cannot play nearly as well open handed as I can crossed. I'm right handed, and my left hand can play my snare far better than my strong hand can, because I trained it to from day 1. With your left hand riding, which really is a strengthener, do you think you could finesse the snare equally as well with either hand?
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Open handed does make more sense, for sure. It gives you more room to work without getting in your own way. I am so used to it by now, meaning working with the 2 hands in close proximity, that I am reluctant to jump ship at this point.

I do use open handed when it's really stupid to cross that far though. I have to try really hard not to get it backwards though lol. That always gets puzzled looks.

Martin, you started playing open handed from day 1, right? I'm curious, can you play crossed on the level that you can play open handed? Because I cannot play nearly as well open handed as I can crossed. I'm right handed, and my left hand can play my snare far better than my strong hand can, because I trained it to from day 1. With your left hand riding, which really is a strengthener, do you think you could finesse the snare equally as well with either hand?
If crossed works well for you, then I don't think there's any reason to switch, unless you want ambidexterity. Given the limited amount of time I can devote to practice, ambidexterity isn't of much use to me. The advantages of open playing don't really make a huge difference (look at all the best players - they played crossed) and it isn't worth switching your entire approach to the set.

Yes, I started playing open handed from the get-go and I have never played crossed. A few times, I do use my right hand on the hats or ride, like if my left hand is on the ride and I want to mix things up by adding in hats. I play crossed about as much as a crossed player plays open - maybe just 1 or 2 percent of the time.

I am right handed also and I like having my dominant hand on the snare. Not only is it stronger than my left hand, but I have better control for single-handed rolls. I think it is advantageous to have one's dominant hand on the snare. A trade off is that my left hand is MUCH less dextrous on the snare than my dominant hand, simply because my left hand does not play the snare much.

As for the difference in strength between the dominant and non-dominant limbs, I suspect in most people, it amounts to very little. I think wear and tear on the dominant limb would be much more of a concern than relative strength. I think it helps avoid injury to have my non-dominant limb carry the more stressful workload in drumming.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I am right handed also and I like having my dominant hand on the snare. Not only is it stronger than my left hand, but I have better control for single-handed rolls. I think it is advantageous to have one's dominant hand on the snare. A trade off is that my left hand is MUCH less dextrous on the snare than my dominant hand, simply because my left hand does not play the snare much.
do you play jazz? I wouldn't want to swing the ride with my "weak" hand, so to me it's
consquent to have my ride placed on the right side, and therefore play my hihat with
the same hand, too.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
do you play jazz? I wouldn't want to swing the ride with my "weak" hand, so to me it's
consquent to have my ride placed on the right side, and therefore play my hihat with
the same hand, too.
I do play jazz, and I absolutely swing with my non-dominant (left) hand. In fact, sharing the load like that has kept away tendinitis in my right hand.

I've never had them scientifically measured, but my hands/arms seem to be of about equal strength, at least in terms of swinging 3-ounce drumsticks around.
 
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