Is it worth the time investment to develop traditional grip to play jazz?

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
Total opposite for me. It immediately makes the brain go WTF and start processing stuff. It sort of transports my hands right back to day 1. Trad just feels so odd, even after 30 years.

I dont jazz, so trad is not really a thing in I'm concerned with. It is a curiosity (to me), so occasionally I give it another go. I will probably never seriously dig into it.
I decided after about 18 months of learning to play that I should give traditional a go and played it almost exclusively for a couple of years after that. When I played in a metal band (many years ago now) I'd switch over between matched and trad and when I'm playing now it's almost a coin toss - and will often depend on the section of the song. Does the added complication improve my playing? Not really. I'd have been better off learning one.

My hand technique is a weakness (one amongst many, to be honest) so I'm not really the one to discuss it - other than to say if I'd exclusively practiced one technique then I'd probably have better hands.
 

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
I decided after about 18 months of learning to play that I should give traditional a go and played it almost exclusively for a couple of years after that. When I played in a metal band (many years ago now) I'd switch over between matched and trad and when I'm playing now it's almost a coin toss - and will often depend on the section of the song. Does the added complication improve my playing? Not really. I'd have been better off learning one.

My hand technique is a weakness (one amongst many, to be honest) so I'm not really the one to discuss it - other than to say if I'd exclusively practiced one technique then I'd probably have better hands.
My problem is all of a sudden I dont know how to do something I already know how to do. I find that frustrating. Perhaps if I had worked on both from the get go I would feel differently about it.
 

TMe

Senior Member
...I can’t decide whether or not I should just put in the time to improve my traditional grip for jazz.
My compromise is to work on getting better at using French grip for my left hand.

Try playing a quick, light swing on a ride cymbal with your right hand, using German, American, and French grip. Do you perceive a difference? Does the French grip seem to offer a lighter, quicker, more sensitive touch, and make it easier to swing? If you try playing a very straight, symmetrical ride, is it actually a bit more difficult to play that with French grip than American or German?

If so, my theory is that using a French grip in the left hand should offer some of the same differences - which are some of the perceived benefits of playing trad. It's not the same as trad, but it's getting there.
 
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Spreggy

Silver Member
I would say if you were compelled to ask, you should probably check it out. I like switching between the two, for no logical reason, it just happens. Here's a video I watch a lot, the awesome Lewis Nash demonstrating using both.

 

TMe

Senior Member
Jazz is not your technique or your gear.
For me, it's less about playing Jazz than playing very quietly and subtly. French grip seems better than German for that, and my impression is that trad would be better still.

Ideally we'd all know both trad and matched, but life is short and practice time limited. Gotta prioritize.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
For me, it's less about playing Jazz than playing very quietly and subtly. French grip seems better than German for that, and my impression is that trad would be better still.

Ideally we'd all know both trad and matched, but life is short and practice time limited. Gotta prioritize.
...not to mention it requires learning twice as much with the hand that (for most folks) doesn't work worth a damn anyways.
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
I used to do it when I was a kid, but I have had so many jazz drummers tell me it’s unnecessary that I gave up on it this time around. The few times I’ve tried to bring it back, I only end up hurting myself.
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
As humans we have a limited amount of time to put into our musical pursuits so unless you can put multiple hours a day into learning a new grip, you're probably better off refining the grip that you already have. I wish I had. I appear to have co-ordination issues (probably dyspraxia - I'm dyslexic and they often come together) so it may be easier for others but for me it's hard enough learning good hand technique without throwing another spanner in the words.
 

jimb

Member
Im shallow as hell. I play trad cause it looks cool. Admittedly I find it easy and natural so Im lucky but I've still no interest in match.....it ain't cool and kinda looks like someone smashing rocks where to me trad looks like a an interesting musical technique....
 

Sausagetoad

Active Member
I never heard of using trad for the sound of trad. Is there a snare sound associated with jazz? I don't know.

My impression was that the early jazz players all used trad, (matched wasn't an actual thing yet) and that was the only reason jazz is associated with trad grip mainly. That's not a fact AFAIK, they are just my impressions.
I learned back in the 60's, so I learned traditional grip. Back then, matched grip was thought of as 'wrong,' at least in America. If you were in school band, you had to play the 'right' way...So as a result, I can't play rudiments as proficiently using matched. And I have tried, believe me. Nowadays you can go online and see folks playing all sorts of paradiddles and whatnot using every conceivable grip imaginable. But I can't do that. There's really no reason at all for the traditional grip except that when playing a marching drum, one side hangs higher and the traditional grip gives you a higher angle of attack on the high side of the drum. Sure, there's Buddy Rich finger control and all that, but that's an embellishment for an already obsolete grip. The one thing I do like is that when crossing over to play the hi-hat, the snare hand can fit underneath more easily than with matched, which is why a lot of matched grip guys like to play 'open' or put a cable hat on the floor tom side. But I'm an old dog, too late to learn new tricks...

I have found that if I practice rudiments using matched, and get them as good as I can, that when I go back to traditional, it's like cutting butter with a hot knife, I'm all warmed up.
 

Philaiy9

Junior Member
I used to play both matched and traditional, then for the past year I pretty much stuck with traditional thinking I would develop my hand better that way. But more recently I've come to the revelation that practicing with my rusty matched grip helps out my traditional grip playing a lot, particularly when it comes to ideas for what to play. So in summary, I would recommend being able to use both grips because I find they definitely bring out different ideas.
 

Sausagetoad

Active Member
I used to play both matched and traditional, then for the past year I pretty much stuck with traditional thinking I would develop my hand better that way. But more recently I've come to the revelation that practicing with my rusty matched grip helps out my traditional grip playing a lot, particularly when it comes to ideas for what to play. So in summary, I would recommend being able to use both grips because I find they definitely bring out different ideas.
Most definitely. Although that 'Timpani grip' with the thumbs turned upwards is useless to me. The wrists don't travel as far that way. Even matched, the wrists should be so that the tops of the hands are level with the horizon. There's a right & wrong way to do every grip.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
No - some of my favorite jazz players right now don't use traditional grip. Ari Hoenig, Bill Stewart, Mark Guiliana, etc.

I love how traditional looks - but I think the days of it being "THE" grip for jazz are thankfully gone....because if there's one annoying thing - it's seeing someone who plays matched grip like 99% of the time try and flip over to traditional and do that annoyingly light and fluttery thing on a "jazz" song because they think they have to. You know what I'm talking about - the excessive buzz rolls and doubles, etc....sound the same on any song regardless of what's going on to comp in the other instruments.
 
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