Four Stroke Roll Lead Hand?

P

Peedy

Guest
Factors:

1. I'm right handed.
2. I had surgery 7 years ago that left my right hand/arm even more dominant. The left side isn't weak, just behind.

My general question is, when you start rolls, rudiments and or grooves, which hand do you normally lead with? The weird thing for me is that even though my left arm is probably 20% behind my right (it even has lower BP), my rolls are way better when I start on my left. I can begin rudiments with my right hand but they're not going to be as crisp and clean with no caffeine.

Do you have a preference or is this not even an issue for "real" drummers? Any practice hints or techniques would be much appreciated.

Pete
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I lead right hand for the main notes....grace notes for a drag, three or four stroke roll are led with the left, unless the previous event or sticking forces me to lead the other way

being a marching drumming guy foundationaly, both of my hands are ready to go for either, but the above is what I "autopilot" to
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
The hand with which I lead when "starting, rolls, rudiments, or grooves" is dependent upon the rhythmic patterns that precede them. The upshot: Sometimes I lead with my right (dominant) hand, and other times I lead with my left hand. A well-conditioned player should be able to do both with automaticity. In a sense, I'm tempted to say "Do whatever works for you," but I'm not going to in this case. Instead, I'll suggest that you carry out exercises to foster ambidextrous command of your chops. Daily practice with Stick Control will render marvelous results if you're inclined to accept the challenge. Your time will be well invested.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
Listen to push pull and Mr Jones. Great advice from them. I would add however that you might do exercises utilizing your left to gain strength.
BTW......Simon Phillips is one of the best ambidextrous drummers around. As the story goes, he had a kit that favored the left side. He liked the way it looked and didn't want to change the set up so he played left handed in order to keep the kit the way it looked. He can now play left or right hand lead like second nature. Interesting eh?
 
P

Peedy

Guest
Listen to push pull and Mr Jones. Great advice from them. I would add however that you might do exercises utilizing your left to gain strength.
BTW......Simon Phillips is one of the best ambidextrous drummers around. As the story goes, he had a kit that favored the left side. He liked the way it looked and didn't want to change the set up so he played left handed in order to keep the kit the way it looked. He can now play left or right hand lead like second nature. Interesting eh?
My "Like" is evenly spread across responders. The thing is (and the primary reason for asking is) that the left is never going to be as good as the right. BP in the right is religiously 120/70 while the left is 95/55 because of the surgery. That ain't a-gonna change. On the upside, the left HAS gotten much better, especially as I took a three month cycle of lessons in Oct Nov and Dec of 2019, mostly working on limb independence.

In any case, it's back to rudiment practice I go.

Pete
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
My "Like" is evenly spread across responders. The thing is (and the primary reason for asking is) that the left is never going to be as good as the right. BP in the right is religiously 120/70 while the left is 95/55 because of the surgery. That ain't a-gonna change. On the upside, the left HAS gotten much better, especially as I took a three month cycle of lessons in Oct Nov and Dec of 2019, mostly working on limb independence.

In any case, it's back to rudiment practice I go.

Pete
Well then, you're doing what needs to be done and ARE going to get as good as you can. Best to you in your endeavor.
 
For the four-stroke roll I've always been more comfortable starting with my right hand (rlrL). It took me a long time to get the reverse direction comfortable at all. I haven't found any pattern with my students as far as which direction they prefer compared to their dominant hand. It seems random so far.

I'd also disagree that both hands need perfect balance in abilities (if this is about drum set). I'm sure it works for some people, but I've abandoned that concept and it has actually helped my playing. I just recognize that on the drum set my hands generally have different roles. My right hand has more speed and finesse for right hand patterns on cymbals, while my left hand more power for cranking consistent rim shots.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
Listen to push pull and Mr Jones. Great advice from them. I would add however that you might do exercises utilizing your left to gain strength.
BTW......Simon Phillips is one of the best ambidextrous drummers around. As the story goes, he had a kit that favored the left side. He liked the way it looked and didn't want to change the set up so he played left handed in order to keep the kit the way it looked. He can now play left or right hand lead like second nature. Interesting eh?
A “WOW” drummer! :D (y)
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Leading with the left will always condition it more, but in many ways it's harder to be precise with the limb that follows, so that may explain why it's easier to start with the left.

If things have to be even depends a bit on what you want to do. Personally, I want to improvise and don't have to think about it. I also just enjoy that feeling of balance wether I need it or not. Many a traditional drummer will tell that it's not necessary.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
The thing is (and the primary reason for asking is) that the left is never going to be as good as the right. BP in the right is religiously 120/70 while the left is 95/55 because of the surgery. That ain't a-gonna change.
Don't fret over making your left hand "as good as" your right hand. Reasonable improvement is a less daunting goal, especially in light of your surgical history. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." That's the most any of us can achieve.
 
Last edited:

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
Regarding the “real” drummers comment..

I think real drummers are first busy with making music and not necessarily with wasting time on exercises that in most cases are not very productive..

Trying to play every groove both left and right handed is for example pretty useless..

Better try to play a groove with your normal leading hand and search for finesse, dynamics, groove, etc, which for most drummers is allready difficult enough..

In my opinion all technique exercises should have a musical purpose, otherwise, they are just a waste of time and therefore, like i said, useless..
 

Zaster

Well-known member
I find all these ideas about what hand should sort of “naturally” be better at or easier to use for a particular thing to be somewhat arbitrary when you look at what the same dominant hand is supposed to be in charge of on a different instrument. If you were a piano player then naturally you would start many rhythmic figures with your left hand while the right hand fills in with melodies in between which means your hands would be doing practically the exact opposite thing from a division of labor standpoint (i.e. starting a two-handed rhythm with the non-dominant hand.) On fretted instruments the situation would often be reversed again with the left hand managing the more complex fingerings, articulations etc with the right hand in a rhythmic, pulse-keeping role. I never understood that, why a left-handed player would desire the opposite configuration. In fact on piano there is no other configuration.
 
Last edited:

rebonn

Senior Member
Whatever feels right. Although when playing Fire by Hendrix, I have to jump in on the and with the right hand and kick after the 4 stroke so I lead with the right, ending with the left to be free with the right to accent the next beat.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
The left side isn't weak, just behind.
Interesting stuff. Did you suffer any neurological damage to the left side? The reason I ask is because, if not, then the lower blood pressure shouldn't really affect the way you play rudiments, at a comfortable pace. You might notice a difference if you were playing fast for a long stretch, since the muscles would be somewhat starved for oxygen at that point. But if you're not already out of breath, and haven't been racing along -- I would think that your hands will become more or less equal, after, say, 6 weeks of daily pad workouts.

But, if there is neurological damage, the difference would be noticeable all the time.

When I'm teaching, I use a page of exercises that forces the student to lead off of both hands. In this rudiment, the sticking is staggered, but each hand is technically performing a *double*. Always, the non-dominant direction tends to sound cleaner, once they get over the initial awkwardness. My guess is that the reason your 4 strokes are better off the left, is that your right hand is better able to snap down the stick on the last note, which gives it that "crispness" you're hearing. By contrast, when leading off the right, it's the left hand that must snap that last note.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Regarding the “real” drummers comment..

I think real drummers are first busy with making music and not necessarily with wasting time on exercises that in most cases are not very productive..

Trying to play every groove both left and right handed is for example pretty useless..

Better try to play a groove with your normal leading hand and search for finesse, dynamics, groove, etc, which for most drummers is allready difficult enough..

In my opinion all technique exercises should have a musical purpose, otherwise, they are just a waste of time and therefore, like i said, useless..
Agree. I've learned to accept dominance, especially since the conventional drumset, with its mechanical hihat and bass drum pedal, enforces a certain configuration on the player. Eg, try sitting down on a left-handed drumset (as a right handed player) and do a roll down the toms leading with your right (dominant) hand. You can't do it because of the sticking and the direction of travel to the next drum in the sequence. Putting that into context, it becomes useless to use left-hand leading (non-dominant) sticking on a drum roll down the toms on a right-handed kit. Why develop something that doesn't get used?

I've been playing off and on for 40+ years and don't recall if I've ever played the 4-stroke (the triplet version) starting with my non-dominant left hand.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I practice rolls leading with each hand. Often my left hand is on the snare so it is useful to play doubles, triples or quads with my left hand.
 
Top