Grip Change Imposed UGH

FrontierGibberish

Senior Member
After almost a year with my former teacher (about the amount if time I have been playing) I changed teachers. My first lesson with my new teacher was last Thursday and the first thing he did was change my grip - which is FINE, he is the teacher I am the student. The "problem" is the new grip change has rewound the tape on my progress - or so I seem to think anyway. Like any new grip (I played golf and baseball) it is awkward and feels unnatural to me. He basically moved my hands from a German grip position to an American grip position. My first assignment was to practice 4 on a hand to a painfully slow click. I am just frustrated that I am stuck on this practice pad again like I was a year ago - banging out single strokes. If I get on my kit I try to use the new grip but it is too weird so I go back to the pad. I know this grip will feel better soon but it is so frustrating having the rewind button hit on me like this and to be honest I am a little angry at my former teacher for not changing my grip if it needed it - which apparently it did. Just wanted to air it out.

MM
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I'm a little bit confused. Your post reads as if your first teacher made you use german grip exclusively, and that your new teacher is making you use american grip exclusively. Is this correct?
 

FrontierGibberish

Senior Member
I'm a little bit confused. Your post reads as if your first teacher made you use german grip exclusively, and that your new teacher is making you use american grip exclusively. Is this correct?
Sorry for the confusion. I am confused too. My first teacher never commented on my grip - rarely at least. He did not say "use a German grip" - he just put my hands in a position that now I see is consistent with a German grip - palms facing down and we went on our way. My new teacher saw my grip and indicated he wanted me to use an American grip exclusively.
 

T.Underhill

Pioneer Member
It will take a little while to get used to, but keep at it. The American grip is a hybrid so this will only help you IMO.

What your instructors present is either their preference or what the instrument required. Different percussion instruments require a different technique - even snare or kit. If you're practicing on a snare of pad I know why you prefer German.

Think of this as a broadening of horizons. I primarily play an American grip, but switch to a French grip when I'm going fast on the ride or need a fast run on the snare. German, which you know, suits me for more power. It's all good!
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
That makes sense I suppose. My instructor basically taught me that there's German, French, and an entire world in between them. The grip you use for a stroke is entirely dependent on the sound you want to produce and is greatly influenced by what the next-stroke will be.

I've always thought that a drummer switches between grips freely and frequently unless he's doing a civil war re-enactment or playing a symphonic piece.

iIt's neat to see such a variety of teaching styles.
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
Take my advice with a grain of salt.

Peter Erskine said it best "Here's how you hold a stick", put the stick in my hand and closed my fingers around it.

As long as you're not pinching too much at the front and keeping your palms down so you can move the energy outwards and not have a rotating wrist absorbing it, then you're gonna be fine.

My old teacher said "Every time you lose a finger from your stick there goes 20% of your control". So keep all your fingers on the stick, wrists down, and a cool by-product is that when you keep all your fingers on the stick, you can relax more because your fingers give "traction" to the stick and therefore it does not slip as much. It's when you're tense and tight that you screw up.

Your grip is a means to an end. I can assure you that in 99% of the things you do, no one is going to say "hey you really rock that Germanic grip". Play music.
 

FrontierGibberish

Senior Member
Thanks for the fast replies guys. It sounds like my teacher is trying to offer me an alternative to the grip I was using when I played for him the first time. I will ask him tonight when I see him for a lesson if the grip he showed me is intended to be supplemental to the grip I was using before or if he indeed wishes that I switch to American grip exclusively.

MM
 

GeoB

Gold Member
I can understand what you're going through. I learned on the trad grip because back then the snares were slung and canted and nobody played anything other than trad except a few garage drummers. Fast forward... the trad fad faded over the years so now apparently it continues its downward spiral.

Well after playing trad for many, many years I find it very different to use matched. I mess around with it a bit - but as you stated it is a rewind and my stick control is diminished due to unfamiliarity. Do I fancy sticking to match until it's right for me? Absolutely not and while I do check things out using matched it is frustrating and feels so right doing it trad.

What feels natural? Matched (be it German, American, or whateverican) shouldn't be too much of a stretch and Billy Ray made the point of better control with more fingers applied.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Here is how I do it. Been doing it for a long time.

I learned to play German grip. But when my right hand moves over to play the ride cymbal or the floor tom to my right, my grip naturally goes to the American grip.

Try it, you can't really hit stuff to your right side using the German grip. If you do your elbow goes way up in the air. Or your wrist is in an awkward position. You need to keep your wrist straight.
I think the German grip works better for playing the snare and rack tom which is right in front of you.

Besides all of this the secret to playing correctly is in the wrist. It's a secret so please don't tell anyone........................

.
 
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FrontierGibberish

Senior Member
Thanks again for the replies. I have a lesson tonight and will ask more questions about the grip change. Funny how the smallest things can sometimes instigate panic and anxiety!

MM
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Take my advice with a grain of salt.

Peter Erskine said it best "Here's how you hold a stick", put the stick in my hand and closed my fingers around it.

As long as you're not pinching too much at the front and keeping your palms down so you can move the energy outwards and not have a rotating wrist absorbing it, then you're gonna be fine.

My old teacher said "Every time you lose a finger from your stick there goes 20% of your control". So keep all your fingers on the stick, wrists down, and a cool by-product is that when you keep all your fingers on the stick, you can relax more because your fingers give "traction" to the stick and therefore it does not slip as much. It's when you're tense and tight that you screw up.

Your grip is a means to an end. I can assure you that in 99% of the things you do, no one is going to say "hey you really rock that Germanic grip". Play music.
I sure don't have Bill Ray's credentials, but for what little it's worth coming from me, I concur 100% with the content of this post.
 

Grolubao

Senior Member
Practicing with different grips will only improve your overall ability so I say it's a good thing
To help you feel better, when David Garibaldi went to study with Murray Spivack, Murray had him play singles at a slow speed of 40 bpm. Regardless of the student, you would always had to go through these initial steps
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Thanks again for the replies. I have a lesson tonight and will ask more questions about the grip change. Funny how the smallest things can sometimes instigate panic and anxiety!

MM
Think of it as a liberation, and not a change. He's free'ing you from the strict requirements of german grip, which is nice because it adds the french-grip wrist flick (like turning a doorknob/key) stroke to your arsenal.
 

FrontierGibberish

Senior Member
Think of it as a liberation, and not a change. He's free'ing you from the strict requirements of german grip, which is nice because it adds the french-grip wrist flick (like turning a doorknob/key) stroke to your arsenal.
Yeah at my lesson last night I told my teacher how the grip change got in my squirrel cage (did I just write a lyric?). He said what you guys did pretty much - work on the new grip with the idea that it is another tool in the toolbox but don't junk the grip I had when I walked into his studio.. Funny thing happened last night, super ironic also - the grip started feeling comfortable :)

MM
 
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