Crosshanded Disadvantages.

8Mile

Platinum Member
Question for open-handed players: How do you handle lead-hand considerations when playing a fill around the drums from left to right? Do you switch to right-hand lead if you're playing a descending tom fill, for instance?
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Question for open-handed players: How do you handle lead-hand considerations when playing a fill around the drums from left to right? Do you switch to right-hand lead if you're playing a descending tom fill, for instance?
There are various ways to handle this. I may begin on the left hand, which means the fill starts a note sooner or later that it would if I started on the right hand. Or I may double up on the right hand. People who begin fills with their right hand do this same kind of thing, but in reverse.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
If it's a disadvantage it's a simple thing to change.

Let's say e.g. you want to have a hand going on the hi-hat while hitting some toms. Several solutions.

1) Get an x-hat or remote wire controlled hat and put it on the right side instead or in addition to the left one.
2) Put a tom or two on the left side.
3) Learn to play open handed for that situation.

This can be said for everything on the kit, depending on what you want to do. It's simply a case of adding stuff, moving stuff around or practicing a bit of independence. Each one is just as valid as the other.

My setup is pretty standard. I play crossed with traditional grip most of the time. I don't really feel limited and I like how it feels to cross and be able to close and work the snare's tonal variations with the traditional grip. For anyone who feels limited by that, they should simply change. I feel comfortable in the tradition, but there's absolutely no reason for anyone to choose that if they have different wants and/or needs. Do what you have to do in order to make music the way you want to.
 

treebot

Junior Member
I dont see any disadvantage, if there actually was a serious disadvantage to crossing open handed playing would be much more popular, here im only really seeing one person arguing pro open handed, and the examples of why its better are pretty poor and very exaggerated, also deathmetalcongo you said you started playing open handed, and never played cross, so your really not in a position to tell other people why its wrong, since you only play your way. I think the Carlock video was an amazing example, if your worried about speed or power crossing over, watch Deantoni Parks, then tell me its wrong and that how he would be better. The best technique is what works best for you. Just like all other techniques, its not how you do it, its that you do it. Practice makes perfect, pick what feels right and play
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
Lots of guys use some sort of "in between" method. The ride on the right, x or remote hat on right and regular hi hat on left does the trick for me.

It's all overrated. And it has no real musical basis in reality. Most of the arguments I hear are "it's unnatural" and " a baby wouldn't cross his arms why should you" Those arguments are irrelevant. What matters is: can you serve the music? If you have ever felt that playing cross handed inhibited your ability to serve the music then look into it. But don't get into it because of some high minded concept of ergonomics. Most musical instruments have "unnatural" moves in their technical lexicon. Is it "natural" to stick a violin under your neck?

And don't get into it to improve your technique. If you want a better left hand then get to work on the pad. Here's a little secret: it improved my left hand but not nearly as much as I had hoped. So don't buy into the hype about that either.

I spent 4 years playing left hand lead open handed, at Dom Famularo's urging. The truth is, I spent 4 years re-learning stuff that I could already play well. And I still sounded better playing righty lead. So, to me, I wasted 4 years and didn't improve my musical vocabulary much.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I dont see any disadvantage, if there actually was a serious disadvantage to crossing open handed playing would be much more popular, here im only really seeing one person arguing pro open handed, and the examples of why its better are pretty poor and very exaggerated, also deathmetalcongo you said you started playing open handed, and never played cross, so your really not in a position to tell other people why its wrong, since you only play your way. I think the Carlock video was an amazing example, if your worried about speed or power crossing over, watch Deantoni Parks, then tell me its wrong and that how he would be better. The best technique is what works best for you. Just like all other techniques, its not how you do it, its that you do it. Practice makes perfect, pick what feels right and play
The reason more people don't play open is because more people don't play open. It's simple custom. If you think crossing your sticks or hands to do things works well, then do that when you type your reply to this. Or when you eat. Or drive. Or play ride cymbal. The fact that crossed players play open whenever they play ride proves that they, too, see the advantages of playing open. I just do it all the time, not part of the time.

If you have something that works for you, then stick to it. But if you play like everyone else, you will sound like everyone else.
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
The reason more people don't play open is because more people don't play open. It's simple custom. If you think crossing your sticks or hands to do things works well, then do that when you type your reply to this. Or when you eat. Or drive. Or play ride cymbal. The fact that crossed players play open whenever they play ride proves that they, too, see the advantages of playing open. I just do it all the time, not part of the time.

If you have something that works for you, then stick to it. But if you play like everyone else, you will sound like everyone else.
DMC,sorry but that's just a terrible argument. More people don't drink Rye because more people don't drink rye. Huh??!!

People don't play open handed because its difficult to learn to lead with your non-dominate hand. Just because I reach over to my right to play my ride doesn't make me a convert to open handed playing, that's just where I keep my ride. Also I think its a bit pessimistic to say that ALL drummers with similar technique sound the same. Shoot. I wish. Does that mean I'll sound like Buddy and Louie just because I'm a trad player? Please let it be so, I'm getting quite tired pro practicing. :-D
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
The reason more people don't play open is because more people don't play open. It's simple custom. If you think crossing your sticks or hands to do things works well, then do that when you type your reply to this. Or when you eat. Or drive. Or play ride cymbal. The fact that crossed players play open whenever they play ride proves that they, too, see the advantages of playing open. I just do it all the time, not part of the time.

If you have something that works for you, then stick to it. But if you play like everyone else, you will sound like everyone else.
I don't mean to sound hostile, but why do you keep ignoring what all the cross handed players are saying? You don't seem to want to listen or accept that they find it perfectly comfortable. Unless you are suggesting they are dim-witted or lieing? Which I'm sure you aren't.

Your argument about crossing to type on a keyboard or whatever does not hold water. You are suggesting actually crossing the hands or arms which playing the hi-hat crossed does not do. PLUS the hi-hat is usually a lot higher than the snare, so nothing is getting in the way. A keyboard is not split onto two heights, if it was I'm sure it'd be perfectly easy.

The hands are next to eachother on the horizontal plane when playing the hi-hat and NOT CROSSED. The right stick does cross the path of the left stick YES, but that's all. It's a bit like occasionally riding the left crash cymbal. I have it pretty much right above my snare and then further back. My left hand is never in the way.. why? Because the cymbal is way up high.

Also regarding the ride cymbal, assuming there's a crash cymbal already in front of you (as said in the previous paragraph), it'd surely have to be way over to the left, further than the hats, which obviously would be uncomfortable because then you really would have to cross your hands.

There's a lot of players than can play both ways, so why do they often still play crossed if it's so uncomfortable?

EDIT: Also if it is to stick to the custom we'd all play traditional grip too..
 

treebot

Junior Member
"The reason more people don't play open is because more people don't play open. It's simple custom. If you think crossing your sticks or hands to do things works well, then do that when you type your reply to this. Or when you eat. Or drive. Or play ride cymbal. The fact that crossed players play open whenever they play ride proves that they, too, see the advantages of playing open. I just do it all the time, not part of the time.

If you have something that works for you, then stick to it. But if you play like everyone else, you will sound like everyone else."


no offense but this is a rather ignorant response, typing on a computer and driving are completely irrelevant to playing drums. apples to oranges, its just like people who are right handed shooting left when playing hockey, its because its something completely different and you have to do what feels right. And if playing cross handed made everyone sound the same how do we have a world of different sounding drummers... Everyone plays violin the same, do they all sound the same? your really stretching your argument for open handed playing. The reason people dont play open is because they dont want to, everyone knows about it, your not the only one in the world who has tried, your attitude is very bizarre to me. And if you didnt notice Keith Carlock plays his main ride on his left above his hi-hat. Your argument is very narrow minded, if you like it thats cool, dont tell others they are wrong or following trends. The ride on the right does not mean people see the advantage of open, it just means they play the ride on the right, I dont think in terms of only "open" or "crossed" I play whats comfortable, and will continue to do so, and improve my abilities with both hands, playing my hi-hat strictly left handed would be a huge handicap to me, I also find its very uncomfortable for my left arm, I also cant get above my cymbal as well to play the bell of the hi-hat or with the tips of my sticks as well as with my right, I find it much much more uncomfortable after prolonged playing. If you like it better thats good for you, but if your reasoning is that you dont cross your hands when you type, I believe your doing it for all the wrong reasons.
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
Ok, here is a pic to show that the hands are not remotely crossed (sorry about half of my face looking gormlessly at the camera). Normally I'd be even less "crossed" than this, but I had my 13" hats on and the double pedal which shifts my hi-hat further to the left.



To me this is very comfortable. I can have my hand french or german (or american) grip depending on what I'm doing and it pretty much stays where it is. If you look where my arms are, they are pretty relaxed either side of me, no reaching.

For me this works just fine. If a groove comes along where I need to learn to play open handed... I'll get an x-hat ;-) Or learn to lead that groove playing with my left hand. Simples.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Your left stick is trapped under your right stick, because your sticks are crossing. Two things cannot occupy the same space at once, so one stick must be restrained under the other.

If you're OK with that (and most players are) then keep doing it. Hands or sticks, not much difference.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
"The reason more people don't play open is because more people don't play open. It's simple custom. If you think crossing your sticks or hands to do things works well, then do that when you type your reply to this. Or when you eat. Or drive. Or play ride cymbal. The fact that crossed players play open whenever they play ride proves that they, too, see the advantages of playing open. I just do it all the time, not part of the time.

If you have something that works for you, then stick to it. But if you play like everyone else, you will sound like everyone else."


no offense but this is a rather ignorant response, typing on a computer and driving are completely irrelevant to playing drums. apples to oranges, its just like people who are right handed shooting left when playing hockey, its because its something completely different and you have to do what feels right. And if playing cross handed made everyone sound the same how do we have a world of different sounding drummers... Everyone plays violin the same, do they all sound the same? your really stretching your argument for open handed playing. The reason people dont play open is because they dont want to, everyone knows about it, your not the only one in the world who has tried, your attitude is very bizarre to me. And if you didnt notice Keith Carlock plays his main ride on his left above his hi-hat. Your argument is very narrow minded, if you like it thats cool, dont tell others they are wrong or following trends. The ride on the right does not mean people see the advantage of open, it just means they play the ride on the right, I dont think in terms of only "open" or "crossed" I play whats comfortable, and will continue to do so, and improve my abilities with both hands, playing my hi-hat strictly left handed would be a huge handicap to me, I also find its very uncomfortable for my left arm, I also cant get above my cymbal as well to play the bell of the hi-hat or with the tips of my sticks as well as with my right, I find it much much more uncomfortable after prolonged playing. If you like it better thats good for you, but if your reasoning is that you dont cross your hands when you type, I believe your doing it for all the wrong reasons.
No offense intended, therefore none taken, at your comments that "this is a rather ignorant response," "your attitude is very bizarre to me," "Your argument is very narrow minded" and "I believe your doing it for all the wrong reasons." I happen to think your arguments are well-informed, mainstream, broad-minded and correct for the majority. I just disagree with them.

I play violin a bit and there are several different ways to play, all of them legit. In India, they sit cross-legged with the violin pointing up from their laps. Works for them. Some people play the violin left-handed.

If trapping one of your sticks or hands under the other works for you, then by all means continue to do it. Most people play in this way, which I consider to be a handicap that most drummers overcome and go on to play much, much better than I can ever possibly hope to. I trust you enjoy playing open when you are on the ride, because it is a great feeling to play open - one that I and many others enjoy whenever we sit behind the set.

Typing, driving, eating, picking apples, picking oranges and playing all other instruments (except drums) are all different tasks - but they are all tasks that people do with two hands. With two open hands. Maybe they're on to something?
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
Your left stick is trapped under your right stick, because your sticks are crossing. Two things cannot occupy the same space at once, so one stick must be restrained under the other.

If you're OK with that (and most players are) then keep doing it. Hands or sticks, not much difference.
But it's not really, There's about 6 inches between the two, if not more. They can exist on the same vertical plane IF the horizontal plane is different, which it is (one is low, one is high).

Okay - I DO know what you're saying; if I went for a BIG accent where the wind up just happened to be on the downstroke of hitting my hi-hats, then yes it might cause a problem, but it hasn't really come up.

The biggest limitation is getting to the toms while keeping the groove going on the hats. My hats are hi enough that I can actually get to the toms with my left hand, but it's as awkward as hell. In those cases, which again are rare FOR ME, I would either use an x-hat (I have 2 sets of hats), learn the groove open handed (if I'm using the toms a lot in a groove then it's a 2 handed groove really), or... well that's it really.

But for the amount of times I do that, I don't worry about it. It's the exception instead of the rule.

For me, the pros: leading with my dominant hand, and being able to move that groove to the toms (while still peddaling the hi-hat if need be), ride cymbal or any other part of the kit (the majority of the kit is on my right) while still keeping the back-beat on the snare with my left, outways the cons. FOR ME... at least.

It could also be argued that keeping the back-beat going during a fill is a good thing to do a lot of the time, which would mean my right hand moving from the hats to the rest of the kit on my right, while my left hand just stays on the snare, doing some nice bounce doubles between 2 and 4 or something, you know what I mean.. So FOR ME that is another pro.

As with everything, your mileage may vary. Lets just have fun hitting the damn things in our own way ;-)
 

treebot

Junior Member
you dont type with drumsticks, maybe play with no sticks? :) just kidding, I get why open handed has advantages, but to me the most important thing is ambidexterity, so learning all ways is the best way to play. But your argument of being trapped under the hihat doesnt work for me, because I dont feel trapped at all, and I swing my arms like crazy, the best explanation ive seen so far is Dennis Chambers talking about Billy Cobham in this thread, there are also a lot of good points of why it still has disadvantages too http://bcwtj.forumotion.com/t840-dennis-chambers-on-billy-s-open-handed-playing

but for me I only play with one floor tom and one rack, so Dennis' point about reaching for extra floor toms doesnt matter to me. And the point made in the thread I linked about when your playing the snare with your right, you have to take your hand away from the snare to crash, which isnt something I like to do, though I do crash with both hands. Practice everything, play what works
 

treebot

Junior Member
I forgot to mention saying your narrow minded comes across more offensive then I intended and I do apologize for that, I just don't agree with some of the comparisons, I find this discussion very interested as Billy Cobham is one of my favourite drummers, along with a long list, and I am very interested in all different styles of playing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiF9jl2QHQ8

here is a cool example of Carlock rocking the ride on his left (and center and right..) but then again he's a freak.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I play open handeed just for the hell of it all the time. I also play simple beats with my left BD pedal just for fun.

Is it necessary. That really depends. There are several reasons to I do it. First it`s a more creative way to get into using those limbs more, and on more important thing is that since it`s not automatic, you have to really listen to what you`re doing. Also, if I`m going through a really long practice session, which they all tend to be, I have something to do while I give those other limbs a short rest.
 
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