Grip and finger length

WhoIsTony?

Member
But it's not stupid to TEACH technique
who said it's stupid to teach technique ?

not me

what I did say was that it is stupid to force someone to use a specific technique just because it works for you

I teach technique every single day ... I take what is natural and comfortable for the student after offering options and mold stick motivating tools around that

if you are forcing someone to hold a stick in the first joint of their index finger because that is what you believe is "correct" I believe you are providing a disservice
 
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Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Might have already been mentioned, but my grip and fulcrum tend to change around a lot as I play. Seems kinda natural to me because for some hand positions or certain parts of the kit I might be reaching out or extending or turning my hand a different way. Sometimes even just playing a different speed or note value will alter where my fulcrum is.

None of my teachers ever talked about it too much, with the exception that they'd usually call me on it if I wasn't playing with enough "looseness" to make the fulcrum concept even applicable.
 

TMe

Senior Member
... just as often, if a player is putting in the time and working in a focused way making the necessary adjustments, the mechanical aspect of technique improves all by itself in a very natural way.
That's true. But, less often, it it isn't. And that's when analysis and vocabulary might be useful, for some people.

Some of us never get it, intuitively, and need to "over think" what we're doing before we figure it out.

Everybody has a different learning style. Musicians tend to be more intuitive, but left-brain types can be good musicians too. Not as often, but it does happen.
 

trickg

Silver Member
That's true. But, less often, it it isn't. And that's when analysis and vocabulary might be useful, for some people.

Some of us never get it, intuitively, and need to "over think" what we're doing before we figure it out.

Everybody has a different learning style. Musicians tend to be more intuitive, but left-brain types can be good musicians too. Not as often, but it does happen.
There is definitely a balance to be struck with it. Some people learn very well on their own in a holistic way. Others really need to be guided along the path by a teacher.

I can't speak much for drums - it's my second instrument, and I'm not sure I should be trying to teach anyone anything, but I can say that with trumpet, teaching aspects of technique to a younger, less experienced player does require a vocabulary, and adjustment for each individual student. I do make corrections with students, but typically if they are in the midst of reinforcing a bad habit. With that in mind, I try to guide them to a place where the technical aspect becomes natural for them, rather than trying to push them toward a specific thing.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
I wonder how much technical instruction construction workers get in order to learn how to swing a hammer.

Some of the best advice I ever got on how to hold the sticks is this:

Soft enough to hold a bird, and hard enough to hold a feather.

Pretty simple. Anything else is just a means to have an excuse or a reason to criticize.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I never tell a student exactly how to hold a stick. I explain principles, different ways to do it, why I do what I do and why others do wehat they do.

With young kids it's not about fingers anyway, so we usually have some time. No rush.

Personally, I use both first or second finger depending on grip and what I'm doing.

When I play hard I guarantee you I don't rest on the first finger at all.

If I do a buzz roll I probably use a frist finger fulcrum.

Some people do it the opposite way and it that works for them it's fine.

There are instances when a third or even fourth finger fulcrum makes sense.

Many teachers are stuck in the way they learned to play snare and orchestral music. Not the best choice for everything.

There should be a rational reason to insist on something. Often there's none.
 

Bamadrummer88

Junior Member
Thank goodness someone else feels like this. I have long fingers, with the index being the same length or slightly longer than the ring. The traditional teaching of "first joint of first finger" has absolutely never felt comfortable for me. I've always felt so much tension holding the sticks at that position. I usually use the second joint of the index finger or middle finger fulcrum.
 
I find working on your three strokes,down tap up moller technique if you like, kind of naturally helps to sort that. I see in drummers i used to teach and myself that the technique naturally developed in the dominant hand and it takes a lot of effort to get the weak hand using it. Most of you are fully aware of the technique I'm sure but for those who are not it is like a guitar player only strumming down bring in the up stroke and you get twice the output from the same movement . When the movement of it is nailed a lot of grip stuff falls into place where ever the stick is at will be good if the technique is smooth. Always a work in progress.
 
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WhoIsTony?

Member
these are the methods I use when suggesting grip options to students

I believe they are the absolute best and most natural options

I do not believe the thumb and index fulcrum is a very natural option at all and does not lend itself to relaxed playing

of course there are moments within ones playing where we need to reach for it ... but as far as it being the "home position" for lack of a better term I believe there are far more natural and functional options

I'm actually surprised that so many teachers still teach thumb/index as the primary grip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV9FqZfZMk0
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Wow how timely thanks WIT. I've tried to emulate the way Tony Williams would hold stick from back and I've always held the stick with no distinct pinching fulcrum-the stick free to fly around-so I've been working on pinching the stick to create one. Which apparently is all wrong-dang saved me from learning more bad habits. Damn. I need to get to a teacher before I do more damage. I've always prided myself I can teach myself about anything-drums, I thought, being one of them but I now have to admit that is all wrong in this instance.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I'm actually surprised that so many teachers still teach thumb/index as the primary grip

Look deeper into how they work with most stuff and you'll most likely find that they're just a stuck in most other aspects as well.

They waste stundent's time and make for a lot of crap for me to fix. Not just with skills, but just as much i regards attitude and openness to grow and learn from everywhere. It's not more than just a lesson in playing drums it's about what kind of people you want to take over.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
Look deeper into how they work with most stuff and you'll most likely find that they're just a stuck in most other aspects as well.

They waste stundent's time and make for a lot of crap for me to fix. Not just with skills, but just as much i regards attitude and openness to grow and learn from everywhere. It's not more than just a lesson in playing drums it's about what kind of people you want to take over.
we have much in common friend
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Who Is Tony , thanks for posting that video the paper cone tool!
It really highlights the difference between front and back of the hand.

Rereading the OP's original post has me thinking about something I've been noticing in a lot of players that I see on YouTube these days where their hands and arms are quite stiff in appearance. They have amazing facility and independence!
I can't help but wonder if this is all stemming from drumline in schools striving for rigid visual symmetry?
I hope it doesn't cause physical problems decades down the road for them.
an example of not stiff and not mechanical in appearance is Dom Famularo's arms... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKqhv8MhuL4
As Tommy Igoe says "All our hands are different."
 
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n1ck

Member
That Gordy Knudtson video is fine, but the same level of rebound can be achieved by gripping the stick between the index finger and thumb. Just ask Joe Morello and a million other great players.

I know there are a bunch of guys out there now advocating for the "play from the back of the hand" approach, and I think that's fine, but having explored both options, you really can achieve rebound with either.

I think the backlash against the index/thumb approach comes from the fact that for years many have used that grip BADLY, squeezing too hard up front and not engaging the rest of the hand.

Done right, an index/thumb fulcrum offers all the rebound in the world.
 

TMe

Senior Member
I wonder how much technical instruction construction workers get in order to learn how to swing a hammer.
More than you might think.

Putting tacks into upholstered furniture, or 1" brads into trim, or 3" spiral nails into house framing - those tasks would require three different hammers and three different techniques. Then there's drywall nails, roofing nails...

Then there's the debate between using traditional hammers or the new ergonomic hammers....

Some carpenters could go on all day about the topic. I don't recall any carpenter saying "Just do it." At least none that still have all their fingers.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
More than you might think.

Putting tacks into upholstered furniture, or 1" brads into trim, or 3" spiral nails into house framing - those tasks would require three different hammers and three different techniques. Then there's drywall nails, roofing nails...

Then there's the debate between using traditional hammers or the new ergonomic hammers....

Some carpenters could go on all day about the topic. I don't recall any carpenter saying "Just do it." At least none that still have all their fingers.
no one uses hammers to put nails in trim or to frame it's all pneumatic ... at least not for the past 30+ years

my father built houses for his entire life and I worked along side him from pretty much 13 on ... I have almost no memory of anyone using a hammer to frame or to do trim and I was born in '74

drywall as well ... everyone uses guns ... though I do have more memory of hammers being used for drywall than the others ...

roofing as well ... all pneumatic nailers
 

TMe

Senior Member
no one uses hammers to put nails in trim or to frame it's all pneumatic ... at least not for the past 30+ years
I live in Toronto and I still see guys using hammers all the time, especially on small reno jobs. Every builders' supply store still sells a wide variety of hammers.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
I live in Toronto and I still see guys using hammers all the time, especially on small reno jobs. Every builders' supply store still sells a wide variety of hammers.
hammers have a wide range of use and will always be hanging from a builders belt

but very few builders use them for the tasks you mentioned ... just not practical or time efficient anymore when there are much more functional options

I've also known hundreds of contractors over the years and never once heard of someone being taught how to use a hammer ... just doesn't happen in the trade

there are a lot of things taught in the trade ... using a hammer is not one of them ... never has been

Can you imagine a builder or contractor hiring someone who they have to teach to use a hammer?

That would be like a mechanic hiring someone who they had to teach to check oil or open the hood of a car
 
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