German, French, American Grip? Need Help Choosing and Understanding

aaajn

Silver Member
Background, had a nasty case of tendonitis this past winter, took months to heal and still bugs me from time to time but I am able to play again without issues. The problem was, as others may have seen is that I had a death grip on the stick, I play traditional and the injury was on the matched grip (Right) side. I talked with my old drum teacher back in Seattle and he suggested Tommy Igoe's Great Hands for a Lifetime. I spend a lot of time now visualizing the fulcrum and practicing rudiments as relaxed as possible. It really helped.

I know you can spend a lifetime working out your grip, and a subtle change, almost imperceptible can have great consequences, positive or negative. In the TI video, it appears to me that he leans more toward a German grip, hands closer to parallel with the drum head as opposed to French, hands or palms facing each other. He does make a point to call it the American grip, a hybrid between French and German.

My problem is drift. Since finger control provides a lot of velocity with a lot less energy, I am having trouble staying in one position, French, German or American.

Question: Is this drift back and forth bad? Sloppy? Should I even worry about it? I am curious to hear if anybody else had revelations and enlightenment on the subject. The reason I ask is that I finally realized that learning about this little stuff makes huge differences in my playing.

Appreciate any thoughts on the topic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matched_grip
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
Question: Is this drift back and forth bad? Sloppy? Should I even worry about it?
Does it sound and/or feel bad and/or sloppy? If not, don't worry about it. Different grip names were devised just so that people could talk about them and other people would know what they mean. In reality the grip changes constantly when you're playing around the kit or even just on the snare drum.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
I don't think the drift is bad as long as the mechanics are sound in every position. My grip changes constantly for playing different surfaces, for getting different levels of power or finesse, or because of sound. Play a ride cymbal with a German Grip and then in a French Grip and listen to the difference, for instance.

We're basically working with two motions: Turning a door knob, and waving goodbye, but there is a sort of continuum of hand holds (grips) employing these that can be very useful.
 
When I first started learning matched grip I had a hard time with French position. It bugged me so much, I beat it into the ground, and now it's the only way I can play. All the basic rudiments, grooves, anything I play on the kit, I play in French grip. I was told a while back that you were suppose to play your hi-hats and snare in German grip, but I've tried it, and it's no longer comfortable me.

I guess it doesn't really matter because I have the speed and comfort in French grip that gets me by. But it still makes me feel kinda' under mind when I can't use certain grips.
 

Coldhardsteel

Gold Member
The only thing that drifting grip causes is inconsistency, which as far as I've seen or experienced does nothing harmful to you, but it can lead to other problems in your grip. If you pay attention to how your grip drifts while you play and keep a mental note of exactly how it drifts, you could use that information to decide which style is more naturally comfortable for you and begin training yourself to use it.
 

aaajn

Silver Member
Does it sound and/or feel bad and/or sloppy? If not, don't worry about it. Different grip names were devised just so that people could talk about them and other people would know what they mean. In reality the grip changes constantly when you're playing around the kit or even just on the snare drum.
It does change the sound. It requires a fair amount of concentration to keep the hands balanced so my speed keep up. Also, there is a balance between French and German and tension. It alternates, sometimes palms down are relaxed if I am on the Snare, Palms facing on the ride and hat.

I would like to get to the point where it doesn't even register a thought but becomes tacit. (I think that's the word) Like starting a car or walking.
 
Top