German grip's fulcrum, middle or index finger?

Volentry

Senior Member
I watched Jojo Mayer's DVD as well as Dave Weckl's DVD. Both say there are two types of german grip, one has the fulcrum on the index finger while the other is on the middle finger. Jojo says the index finger fulcrum provides 'maximum transfer of power from the wrist', while the middle finger one provides 'finesse and finger control'. Dave said in his dvd that he used to play on the index, but switched to middle as it gives rebound while index does not. (something like that)

I've always played on the index (I think), and recently I've been trying to refine my hand technique before I learn any new stuff. Is it better to use the middle finger as a fulcrum or the index? Also what is the free stroke (gladstone technique) used with? Middle finger or index?
 

schist

Silver Member
Try both, and see what works best for you.

I used to be a index-finger fulcrum guy, but now play middle-finger fulcrum.
 
C

Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
..... Dave said in his dvd that he used to play on the index, but switched to middle as it gives rebound while index does not. (something like that)..
I think Weckl is an amazing player, but that statement was just stupid. The index finger fulcrum has been, and is, used by countless of the world's greatest drummers, so obviously, to dismiss it, is, well, like dismissing yourself. I think his move to middle finger was motivated by business considerations more than anything else. But either way, it was not very clever. And he is still fantastic, and always will be....loooove his playing.

The hand is a complex machine, and there often isn't one particular fulcrum, instead, the hand functions as a series of levers (not the same as the lever stroke, which I am not a big fan of). But coming purely from physics, your hand can function as a series of levers.

Now, regardless of where the actual movement is generated, I always juxtapose my thumb and index. The index can be on the stick, off the stick, on the stick with or without pressure....but it is always sitting opposite the thumb.

Does that help?

Casper
 

sciomako

Silver Member
I think Weckl is an amazing player, but that statement was just stupid. The index finger fulcrum has been, and is, used by countless of the world's greatest drummers, so obviously, to dismiss it, is, well, like dismissing yourself. I think his move to middle finger was motivated by business considerations more than anything else. But either way, it was not very clever. And he is still fantastic, and always will be....loooove his playing.

The hand is a complex machine, and there often isn't one particular fulcrum, instead, the hand functions as a series of levers (not the same as the lever stroke, which I am not a big fan of). But coming purely from physics, your hand can function as a series of levers.

Now, regardless of where the actual movement is generated, I always juxtapose my thumb and index. The index can be on the stick, off the stick, on the stick with or without pressure....but it is always sitting opposite the thumb.

Does that help?

Casper
I agree with Caper that many of Weckl's explanations in his DVDs are very misleading.

Interestingly I re-read some of the pages of Dom Famularo's "It's Your Move" last night and found that he mentions 2 grips: Control Grip and Power Grip. Although in his description he says the fulcrum used in both grips is on the index finger, I personally found that the fulcrum used in his Control Grip is sort of made up of the index finger and middle finger (together with the thumb, it forms a triangle). I'm wondering if this is what we all call the middle finger fulcrum.

Casper, you mentioned "lever stroke". Famularo also briefly describes something called the "Power Stroke". Is it the same as lever stroke?
 

theindian

Senior Member
I use the index finger fulcrum, but my left hand has a weird habit of switching to middle finger fulcrum at higher tempos. I only noticed it recently, and when I try to keep the fulcrum in place my left hand cant keep up, yet the right hand has no problem. Weird stuff.

Also, Casper could you elaborate on what you said about Weckyl being motivated by business in saying he used a middle finger fulcrum.
 
C

Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
I agree with Caper that many of Weckl's explanations in his DVDs are very misleading.

Interestingly I re-read some of the pages of Dom Famularo's "It's Your Move" last night and found that he mentions 2 grips: Control Grip and Power Grip. Although in his description he says the fulcrum used in both grips is on the index finger, I personally found that the fulcrum used in his Control Grip is sort of made up of the index finger and middle finger (together with the thumb, it forms a triangle). I'm wondering if this is what we all call the middle finger fulcrum.

Casper, you mentioned "lever stroke". Famularo also briefly describes something called the "Power Stroke". Is it the same as lever stroke?
Control and power grip refers to the stick resting in the first or second knuckle of the index, respectively. I call all grips that use juxtaposed thumb and index index finger fulcrum grips. It gets complicated trying to explain what finger touches who at what time, and I don't think it's needed. All I need to think about is the overall hand position and whether I grip the stick with the front or the back of the hand.

Casper
The power stroke is one lever stroke, but see Alex Luce for more on the lever stroke.
 
C

Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
...Casper could you elaborate on what you said about Weckyl being motivated by business in saying he used a middle finger fulcrum.
The index finger fulcrum is tried, tested, recommended, and like I said, used by hordes of drummers, plus taught by the absolute cream of teachers. So you can't sell it as the New Thing, Your New Thing.

So what to do? You can come up with another New Thing....and say the other thing produces no rebound....a little sad, and a wasted opportunity.

Casper
 

MattRitter

Senior Member
The index finger fulcrum is tried, tested, recommended, and like I said, used by hordes of drummers, plus taught by the absolute cream of teachers. So you can't sell it as the New Thing, Your New Thing.

So what to do? You can come up with another New Thing....and say the other thing produces no rebound....a little sad, and a wasted opportunity.

Casper
Not sure when you came to New york, or when you started drumming, or when you got really into hand technique, Casper...but there is a historical context that you seem to be unaware of. Let me try to explain...

About 15 years ago (I can't believe it's already been that long), Jim Chapin was still in very good health, and he was teaching private lessons in New York City about once per month. I was one of the people fortunate enough to study with him for a somewhat extended length of time. The very first thing he taught me was to get the index finger the heck out of the way and to use the middle finger as the fulcrum.

During this same period, Freddy Gruber was enjoying a resurgence in his career and fame by working as a "coach" to various legendary drummers - most notably Steve Smith, Dave Weckl, and Neil Peart. And what do you think he was teaching them? You got it - get the index finger the heck out of the way and use the middle finger as the fulcrum.

Up until this time, nearly everyone taught index finger fulcrum, and many of us had taken that to mean the index should be clamped tight like a vise! Obviously, we were wrong, and this caused us some problems. I personally developed pretty severe carpal tunnel syndrome. Greats like Weckl and Peart felt that it gave their drumming an overall stiffness that they were unhappy with.

So...a lot of people in the drumming community had misunderstood index finger fulcrum, and there was a large scale movement away from it altogether. Chapin was doing his private lessons and master classes, Freddy was lecturing to anyone who would listen, and Weckl was doing clinics on the stuff he was learning from Freddy...which he sincerely believed to be the holy grail! It was all pretty crazy. I was working at the Drummers Collective during that time, so I had a front row seat in the center of the whole thing. There was no way to avoid the middle finger fulcrum topic.

Of course, the error we all made was in thinking that we needed to eliminate the index finger completely to get the stick rebounding. In reality, all we needed to do was LOOSEN the index finger. We didn't realize that, so getting the index out of the way completely did give many of us a sense of rebound and relaxation that we had never experienced before. It even cleared up my carpal tunnel problems! Now...15 years later...I realize that rebound and relaxation can be achieved just fine with index finger fulcrum. In fact, I am currently revising my entire approach to be more based on index finger fulcrum again. For all we know, Weckl might be coming to the same realizations and making the same adjustments. I don't know. I'll tell you this, though - Weckl was not trying to sell anyone a bill of goods. That guy sincerely idolized Freddy Gruber, and he was thrilled to be learning something that gave his drumming a greater sense of looseness. And as I explained throughout this post, he was not alone. During that period, MANY drummers felt the same way about the issue of index finger fulcrum versus middle finger fulcrum...at least here in New York City. Weckl just happened to be the one who put it down on videotape.

I hope that gives you a clearer picture of what was going on at the time that Weckl formulated his ideas about middle finger fulcrum.

Continued luck with your own drumming.
 
C

Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
Not sure when you came to New york, or when you started drumming, or when you got really into hand technique, Casper...but there is a historical context that you seem to be unaware of. Let me try to explain...

About 15 years ago (I can't believe it's already been that long), Jim Chapin was still in very good health, and he was teaching private lessons in New York City about once per month. I was one of the people fortunate enough to study with him for a somewhat extended length of time. The very first thing he taught me was to get the index finger the heck out of the way and to use the middle finger as the fulcrum.

During this same period, Freddy Gruber was enjoying a resurgence in his career and fame by working as a "coach" to various legendary drummers - most notably Steve Smith, Dave Weckl, and Neil Peart. And what do you think he was teaching them? You got it - get the index finger the heck out of the way and use the middle finger as the fulcrum.

Up until this time, nearly everyone taught index finger fulcrum, and many of us had taken that to mean the index should be clamped tight like a vise! Obviously, we were wrong, and this caused us some problems. I personally developed pretty severe carpal tunnel syndrome. Greats like Weckl and Peart felt that it gave their drumming an overall stiffness that they were unhappy with.

So...a lot of people in the drumming community had misunderstood index finger fulcrum, and there was a large scale movement away from it altogether. Chapin was doing his private lessons and master classes, Freddy was lecturing to anyone who would listen, and Weckl was doing clinics on the stuff he was learning from Freddy...which he sincerely believed to be the holy grail! It was all pretty crazy. I was working at the Drummers Collective during that time, so I had a front row seat in the center of the whole thing. There was no way to avoid the middle finger fulcrum topic.

Of course, the error we all made was in thinking that we needed to eliminate the index finger completely to get the stick rebounding. In reality, all we needed to do was LOOSEN the index finger. We didn't realize that, so getting the index out of the way completely did give many of us a sense of rebound and relaxation that we had never experienced before. It even cleared up my carpal tunnel problems! Now...15 years later...I realize that rebound and relaxation can be achieved just fine with index finger fulcrum. In fact, I am currently revising my entire approach to be more based on index finger fulcrum again. For all we know, Weckl might be coming to the same realizations and making the same adjustments. I don't know. I'll tell you this, though - Weckl was not trying to sell anyone a bill of goods. That guy sincerely idolized Freddy Gruber, and he was thrilled to be learning something that gave his drumming a greater sense of looseness. And as I explained throughout this post, he was not alone. During that period, MANY drummers felt the same way about the issue of index finger fulcrum versus middle finger fulcrum...at least here in New York City. Weckl just happened to be the one who put it down on videotape.

I hope that gives you a clearer picture of what was going on at the time that Weckl formulated his ideas about middle finger fulcrum.

Continued luck with your own drumming.
Very interesting, Matt, thank you for that run down! I have learned, as you know, most of my hand technique from Dom Famularo, starting in 2003. And of course, he teaches exclusively index finger fulcrum, with the caveat you also touch on, and which I want to stress again: it really means index and thumb juxtaposed, and the index exerting from zero to some pressure.

Anyway, I completely understand the "craziness" you describe. 15 years ago, however, is a long time, and the Weckl tape is much more recent than that. In my book, the greater you are, and Weckl is great, the better you have to weigh your words. Speaking for something works most of the time, and Steve Smith is an excellent example: he explains on video how the stick should be an "extension of the arm" etc. I think it looks strange and unnatural, but hey, it works for him, and he is not knocking any technique, just promoting the gruber method. Fine!

Weckl chose another way, and now we have to clear up the confusion. The Steve Smith middle finger fulcrum may prosper or be forgotten, but it hasn't antagonized anyone or anything, and that is the kind of grace I admire in a master of his caliber. Same thing with JoJo. Notice how careful and sober his language is.

Casper
 

MattRitter

Senior Member
Anyway, I completely understand the "craziness" you describe. 15 years ago, however, is a long time, and the Weckl tape is much more recent than that.
The Weckl tape actually came out in 2000, which is 10 years ago as of next week. 15 years ago, Weckl was actively studying with Freddy Gruber, and he was doing clinics on the info he was learning from Gruber. I remember this specifically. So, if all of that was happening in 1995, it makes perfect sense to me that Weckl would release a video about it in 2000 (especially since the writing and production on that video probably started a year or 2 earlier). I'm not trying to nitpick with you - I just think it's important to understand the timeline and historical context when discussing this stuff.
 

MattRitter

Senior Member
In my book, the greater you are, and Weckl is great, the better you have to weigh your words.
By the way, I do agree with you on this point. The reason I logged in here is because I wanted to express that I do think Weckl believed what he was saying to be completely true. He was not trying to make a buck by selling false information. He was studying with a very persuasive guru at the time, and he was in the throes of completely revamping his approach to drumming. In his specific case, the index finger fulcrum had prevented him from achieving stick rebound and loose relaxation. When he switched to middle finger fulcrum, it radically changed his experience of drumming, and he was enthusiastic to spread the word on what he had learned. What he didn't realize at the time was that index finger fulcrum wasn't actually the problem - his misapplication of it was the problem! I would not be surprised if he has since figured this out.
 
Last edited:
S

SickRick

Guest
Matt is absolutely correct on this one.

I remember when I went to study in LA back in 2000, everybody was crazy about the middle finger fulcrum (which was contrary to what I learned at LAMA from Ralph Humphrey). I saw Weckl very often back then and chatted with him a couple of times. A very good friend of mine even took some private lessons with Dave back then. Weckl was absolutely crazy for that new approach because it did wonders for his playing (just watch some old Weckl videos, he really does look pretty stiff on them compared to now).

I also ran into Steve Smith at that time and basically the same thing was going on with him.

At one concert of Weckl I even saw Freddy Gruber who came to see his student. I tried to arrange a lesson with Gruber, but he didn't accept private students...

Casper: I know that you call any grip index finger fulcrum that has the thumb and index opposite to each other. You would probably call my grip that way, allthough I absolutely think about it as middle finger fulcrum...
My index is just as loose as possible.

But like most other players, I do switch grips depending on what is needed.

Very nice topic btw.
 

Alex Luce

Pro Drummer
Hey Matt: Out here on the west coast, Murray Spivack was also a big middle finger fulcrum guy; going at least back to the early 80's, or maybe even before. IMHO, I think his insistence that the middle finger be used as the fulcrum was probably his greatest contribution to the theory of drumming technique.

Regards,

Alex
 
C

Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
By the way, I do agree with you on this point. The reason I logged in here is because I wanted to express that I do think Weckl believed what he was saying to be completely true. He was not trying to make a buck by selling false information. He was studying with a very persuasive guru at the time, and he was in the throes of completely revamping his approach to drumming. In his specific case, the index finger fulcrum had prevented him from achieving stick rebound and loose relaxation. When he switched to middle finger fulcrum, it radically changed his experience of drumming, and he was enthusiastic to spread the word on what he had learned. What he didn't realize at the time was that index finger fulcrum wasn't actually the problem - his misapplication of it was the problem! I would not be surprised if he has since figured this out.
I understand. Thanks for the added historical perspective. I wish I had been around at that time...or perhaps it is good I wasn't? Anyway, thanks again.
Casper
 
C

Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
...Casper: I know that you call any grip index finger fulcrum that has the thumb and index opposite to each other. You would probably call my grip that way, allthough I absolutely think about it as middle finger fulcrum...
My index is just as loose as possible.
I think it is very useful to distinguish between index opposite thumb versus middle opposite thumb. That way we have a way of describing the position of the hand. I also think it makes amazing technical sense to keep the overall position the same for all, or most, applications, and just switch the "weight" of the grip around.

Casper
 

sciomako

Silver Member
Great post, Matt!

Of course, the error we all made was in thinking that we needed to eliminate the index finger completely to get the stick rebounding. In reality, all we needed to do was LOOSEN the index finger.
That's basically what Dom Famularo describes as the Control Grip, right?
 

denisri

Silver Member
German grip..I use index,middle,middle and index, and pinky grip...depends on what I'm playing and at what volume and speed! Also use french grip. And vary between traditional and matched grips. Also will use butt end of stick for left hand for larger backbeat if needed.
Depends on the musical style.
Denis
 

Funky Crêpe

Silver Member
i have not studied with anyone great, but in my opinion, all you need to do is loosen your index. maybe you feel more rebound on the middle finger because you are not at the fulcrum? i was getting ready to try this approach, but really i just think i should take time on being relaxed and fluid. i think that is all weckl really did
 

sciomako

Silver Member
I do think Weckl believed what he was saying to be completely true.... What he didn't realize at the time was that index finger fulcrum wasn't actually the problem - his misapplication of it was the problem! I would not be surprised if he has since figured this out.
To paraphrase what you said, Weckl explains great with the "hows" (how to execute the strokes) and the "whats" (what do these approaches buy you). But he got the "whys" wrong (why this work but not his old approach).

That's why I like your DVD, Matt. The "whats", "hows' and "whys" are well balanced. You even throw in some "whos" (who came up with the techniques) for the historical context.

p.s. Guys, rest assured I'm not Matt Ritter logged in as someone else. :)
 
Top