Equal Opportunity Hands?

aydee

Platinum Member
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Hello fellow thigh-slappers!

I re-surface like a whale, once every so often in these here parts now, but random musings are my thing as some of you might know.. SO when when I muses, I shows up here;

If y'all could indulge me in a quick informal poll:

* If your good hand is 100% what % or how good is your other hand ?

* Could you also share what grip you usually play with and if you are a novice, mid-level or advanced player?

* Any helpful hints, exercises for working up your bad hand to equal your good hand might be helpful to me/others on this thread.

PS- ( sssssh! No feet/or independence talk here please )

Thank you.

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Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I'd say 50% - yes, really, that bad :(

As for my level, I'll say mid on the basis I don't fit either of the other two levels.

It's my own fault. Lack of any form of meaningful practice, painfully short on time, a sprinkling of laziness, & a big dollop of passage of time realisation.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Andy, didnt want to put too many categories. I suspect most would fit into the middle rung.. guys who can play/have played in bands/gigged a bit etc.

The advanced guys would be the the guys who can REALLY PLAY.. pro or am..

The Novices would be the pure hobbyists who also might be decent players.

Assuming you play matched grip, Andy..
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
You are like a whale lol. Coming up for some air before slipping below the surface and out of sight again.

My kind of poll Abe. I've been tackling this issue since I came back to drumming in late 2003.

I'm right handed, if my right is 100% my left is now about 95%. When I started working on my weak hand I'd put it at about 30%. It's taken me 11 years to get where I am equality-wise, but it's still not quite as effortless as my right (by comparison). At this point I think the muscles are really close to being on par, not quite, but the control centers in my brain are the things that still need a lot of time. Myelin layering and all that.

I use matched grip because it's much easier for me to get an even sound between hands, my goal.

At this point I am moving past "equality" exercises and moving on to the rudiments, right now the SSR. That should keep me busy for quite some time.
I started tackling it early on, but realized I need to get my hands equal before I could really gain any ground with it. So I put that on a shelf to work on my weaknesses, and now it's time to shed them. I'm also doing singles between my weak hand and kick drum. I'm up to 16th notes at 140 for like 45 minutes straight. That has helped my timing immensely.

I don't know that there's any shortcuts. All I know is I used the double shuffle (with a rimshot on 2 & 4) to induce burning in my left hand for many many hours over the years to whip my hand into shape. The shuffle with a backbeat is a killer exercise for a weak hand. It took a lot of discomfort in the form of burning pain to strengthen my weak hand. I loved every second of the burn too because I know that's the key for me.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Assuming you play matched grip, Andy..
You assume correctly, oh wise one of the deep.

My left hand is essentially a primary backbeat machine that occasionally follows the right when moving away from snare duties. It does some grace note stuff, & when it's feeling clever, it strikes out on it's own. In terms of ability to perform almost anything, it's the main limiting factor.

To me, equal hands is a signature component of a real drummer. It's a big differentiator. One day, maybe, I'll drag my lazy arse into doing something about the deficiency, although I suspect it's already too late.

I've been tackling this issue since I came back to drumming in late 2003.
Now that's the attitude & commitment I'm missing. Larry, I'm in awe :)
 

The Sloth

Member
My left hand is weaker because I play fewer notes with it, but I practice all rudiments with both hands leading. I want to be able to make music with all my limbs.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
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Leading with both hands is probably key, Larry. Something I didnt do much. I guess one finds ways to compensate and work with what one has to make the sounds one hears in our heads.

Here's a good one for you, Larry ( sorry I dont write music.. )

Paradiddles and paradiddle-diddles with the first accented note being a double..


... : ) Helps to do this with a click.. and not too fast in the begining. Ballbuster to keep it all even.

..
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Interesting topic, and one I'm struggling with these days. I've played at different levels throughout my life, so I'm not going to give a simple answer.

I started 40 years ago playing strictly traditional grip. I played kit and drum corp, and had pretty damned good chops. About ten years in, I switched to matched for ease of getting around a bigger kit. I played that way for decades, and honestly my left hand sucked. Maybe 60% of my right. I got tired of this, and about 12-13 years ago I started working really hard at developing my left. I played open-handed, used left-hand lead fills, etc, and I suppose I got it to about 95%. I was playing every weekend at the time, semi-pro income, almost-but-not-quite able to make a living from gigging.

Time passed. Lots of life changes occurred. I no longer have a regular practice space, I gig and record sporadically. My living arrangements are sparse at best. I've also been having some issues with my left hand. Pain, stiffness, and sluggishness, difficulty bending my index finger completely. I've found it easier to play traditional grip rather than matched, but there is still an effect, and I simply can't perform at the level I once could. I would say my left hand is currently at 70% of my right. My status these days probably falls closer to enthusiastic amateur than actual semi-pro.

The nice thing is that I still have all my years experience, my sense of taste and time, my ears, and a generally good feel that lots of drummers who can blow me away chops-wise don't have. And it's a good thing, because that's about all I have left to offer unless/until I can get the medical issues sorted out.
 

Jankowske

Senior Member
- 75%. My left hand's got about all of the feel but just not the speed of the right. Laaazyyy.

- Matched grip 90% of the time. Advanced, maybe? I think I can "really play", possibly even with caps.

- Hitting the practice pad, rapidly and often. Also learning proper traditional grip made my left a bit more coordinated.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
The nice thing is that I still have all my years experience, my sense of taste and time, my ears, and a generally good feel that lots of drummers who can blow me away chops-wise don't have.
Thats the essence of it right there, isn't it? Though I would argue that chops facilitate taste and restraint, assuming one has that to start with : )

My theory ( totally personal, of course ) is that time is infinite between two bars. As a drummer if my left hand is weak, it tends to fall into a default conditioning of playing the role of a backbeat - keeper, while the right hand is doing roughly twice the work.

To see players with equal facility on both demonstrates the difference, and I dont mean that chops-wise.. The drumset becomes more cohesive some how..

..and yet most of us are unequal and tend to justlfy it, partly because thats the way our brains are wired..?


- 75%. My left hand's got about all of the feel but just not the speed of the right. Laaazyyy.

- Matched grip 90% of the time. Advanced, maybe? I think I can "really play", possibly even with caps.

- Hitting the practice pad, rapidly and often. Also learning proper traditional grip made my left a bit more coordinated.
Would you say trad grip evens the hands out more than other grips.. or is it just the work you have put into it?

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toddbishop

Platinum Member
* If your good hand is 100% what % or how good is your other hand ?
On snare drum they're pretty evenly matched. On drum set they really do different things, and it's hard for me to compare them. They each do what I have them do about equally well.

* Could you also share what grip you usually play with and if you are a novice, mid-level or advanced player?
I play almost exclusively matched grip, and I'm an advanced player.

* Any helpful hints, exercises for working up your bad hand to equal your good hand might be helpful to me/others on this thread.
Easy: 1) Practice snare drum every day. 2) Stick Control, the whole book: LH lead exercises for twice as long as RH lead.
 

Galadrm

Senior Member
I find that my left hand has different advantages to my right, it can play really light and intricate ghost notes that my right couldn't, where as my right has a little bit more speed. Based on this I would say they are both 100%, about equal, just different in certain respects.

I play matched grip and am mid-level

My hints for getting the left hand up to standard is actually focus on it. Whatever you do with your right do with your left. Put in some extra practice going through the stick control exercises or practice playing the hi hat open handed. I think the biggest reason people struggle with their non dominant hand is because they don't actually focus on improving it in the first place.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
I'd say about 90-95%, though now I'm curious to sit down and figure out a way to better quantify it. And, like Todd said above, that's on SD and it's hard to judge on the kit because I have them do different things.

There are things I feel my weak hand does better than my strong one. For instance, I think my closed drags sound better with my LH playing the drag. But that's likely because I tend to play them that way a lot more than the other way around, especially on the drum kit.

I play matched the majority of the time, and I'm an advanced player.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
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Easy: 1) Practice snare drum every day. 2) Stick Control, the whole book: LH lead exercises for twice as long as RH lead.
That sounds about right.

I find that my left hand has different advantages to my right, it can play really light and intricate ghost notes that my right couldn't, where as my right has a little bit more speed. Based on this I would say they are both 100%, about equal, just different in certain respects.
I hear you but imagine the possibilities if you could ride a left side ride opening your right hand to throw in wonderful color and dynamics? : )


I'd say about 90-95%, though now I'm curious to sit down and figure out a way to better quantify it. And, like Todd said above, that's on SD and it's hard to judge on the kit because I have them do different things.

There are things I feel my weak hand does better than my strong one. For instance, I think my closed drags sound better with my LH playing the drag. But that's likely because I tend to play them that way a lot more than the other way around, especially on the drum kit.

I play matched the majority of the time, and I'm an advanced player.
I know you’re very solid on technique, Boomka. Therefore, question; I hear so many people justify the different roles of the two hands ( specially with a trad grip, which is understandable.. ) but hand on your heart, would you prefer that your left could do all that your right does? Buddy’s left did, I think..

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Anon La Ply

Renegade
Hi Abe. Nice to see you spouting forth ...

About 50% but my left ghosts, drags and sweeps better. Matched grip with sticks, trad with brushes.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
I know you’re very solid on technique, Boomka. Therefore, question; I hear so many people justify the different roles of the two hands ( specially with a trad grip, which is understandable.. ) but hand on your heart, would you prefer that your left could do all that your right does? Buddy’s left did, I think..
Sure, it'd make a lot of things much easier, I'm sure. That said, as I've said elsewhere, I just don't see what all the concern is about when some players choose to set up and play in a way which favours the RH for a lot of the heavy-lifting and movement around the kit. Obviously we work to make the LH obey our commands, but there's no harm in going with what nature gave you.

What is it that Buster Bailey used to say? "Hang in there and watch the left hand!" It's the oldest problem in the book.

Regarding Buddy, there were things he did predominantly with his RH and things he did more with his LH. His stickings were primarily RH lead when he played solos and he never bothered to set up his kit to ride with his LH or play the HH with the LH. When he played the BD and a cymbal, he largely did it RH/RF and not the other way around. His LH rarely came across to play the Floor Tom unless he was deliberately playing crossovers in solos, etc. And when he would play those famous accents followed by multiple quiet notes on the other hand, it was always the left doing the multiple notes using his fingers. He never played that stuff the other way around that I've ever seen.

Perhaps his LH was as capable as his RH, but he certainly favoured his RH to a certain degree in a set up and approach.

You'd have to ask him how it *felt* to him, though.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
One thing I found out in my weak hand quest for strength is that the better I got with my weak hand, the better my ideas were. So my rhythmic ideas were developing right along, directly proportional to my weak hand facility, almost without me even trying. It's like my brain knows what I can and can't handle, so any increase in facility automatically came with new ways to use it. Like my brain freed up those ideas when it knew my weak hand had the capability to play them. That's how it seems anyway. Pretty cool side benefit I didn't expect. Facility comes complete with new ideas. I wouldn't have guessed that.

So I'm finding that the more technique I earn, and I do earn it, it burns...the easier drumming is. The rhythmic ideas flow out easier and of course the execution is easier as I gain more facility. I work really hard at practice conditioning the smaller muscles, so when I gig, I can play drums with minimal expenditure of energy, with the goal of playing drums as relaxed as I possibly can, with a ton of headroom. I think great hands will always be in my top goals. It's the key to church for me.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Hi Abe. Nice to see you spouting forth ...

About 50% but my left ghosts, drags and sweeps better. Matched grip with sticks, trad with brushes.
Ello' Lass!!! Thats me, the lout that spouts without a doubt..I think your left is more than 50 listen to your discography over the years.. Do you think Keith Moon had a preference?

but there's no harm in going with what nature gave you.
Thanks. This has got me thinking of players like Justin Tyson ( Now v/s Now )https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtXcB7AlSHs or some of the modern players or even the gospel players. I know I said no feet on this thread but these guys are in constant motion with all 4 limbs. It maybe a stylistic thing, but it does require all limbs to be more or less on par.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I know you’re very solid on technique, Boomka. Therefore, question; I hear so many people justify the different roles of the two hands ( specially with a trad grip, which is understandable.. ) but hand on your heart, would you prefer that your left could do all that your right does?
I'll answer this, too, since I agree with Boomka:

No, I really don't care-- gross ambidexterity where I can sound like Elvin with either hand on the ride cymbal is not something I aspire to. I mean, sure, if it was cost free, but it isn't-- it takes time. There may be some small benefit to it, but there's more benefit to learning to do something I can't do, that is also new content.

That being said, playing exercises/etudes on the snare drum, I can lead as well with my left hand as I can with my right, and my right doesn't sound stronger. But playing creatively is a different thing.
 
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