Jazz and Matched Grip

Dignan

Silver Member
Is anyone aware of any well known jazz drummers who use matched grip?

The reason I ask, is that as I continue my foray into Jazz drumming (with slow progress) I have come to a point where I'm wondering if maybe I need to start over again learning traditional grip. I know that traditional grip will give me better control of ghost/comping notes on the snare but for the life of me I just can't seem to get the hang of it (traditional). I end up going back to matched grip and trying to use more fingers and modify my left hand to a french grip, while trying to be clear and controlled on the snare.

I've never played traditional grip and to be honest, would prefer to continue developing my jazz technique in matched. As soon as my left hand leaves the snare in traditional grip, I feel completely incompetent. Am I just procrastinating making the switch to traditional that is necessary to progress past a point with jazz technique?
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
Ari Hoenig
Eric Harland
Bill Stewart
off the top of my head

all absolute monsters

....and plenty more who hybrid

but don't learn traditional grip because you feel like you need to to play jazz learn it to have another option in general for any type of music
 

Dignan

Silver Member
Ari Hoenig
Eric Harland
Bill Stewart
off the top of my head

all absolute monsters

....and plenty more who hybrid

but don't learn traditional grip because you feel like you need to to play jazz learn it to have another option in general for any type of music
Thanks Tony. Going to check them out. I'm much more in control and capable in matched but I feel like my comping ghost notes will be increasingly harder to master and pull off cleanly in matched. I think traditional provided an added level of sensitivity and dexterity but maybe I'm wrong and I should just press ahead in matched.

EDIT: I just watched a video of Bill Stewart and it does appear that uses a french grip in his left hand.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
Thanks Tony. Going to check them out. I'm much more in control and capable in matched but I feel like my comping ghost notes will be increasingly harder to master and pull off cleanly in matched. I think traditional provided an added level of sensitivity and dexterity but maybe I'm wrong and I should just press ahead in matched.

EDIT: I just watched a video of Bill Stewart and it does appear that uses a french grip in his left hand.
delicate stroke sensitivity is attainable with any grip through practice and repetition

but I definitely prefer traditional for touch .... simply my preference

but since you are a matched player try to master your tap strokes and watch the guys I mentioned approach

I feel too many players feel they NEED to learn trad to play jazz.... simply not the case..... but it definitely is something nice to have in your arsenal for anything you play

.... and french would still be matched
 

newoldie

Silver Member
Many great drummers can switch grips during songs, like the switch from sticks to brushes or back from cross-sticking.
I will sometimes switch from matched to traditional during certain songs if there's enough time, especially for jazz/swing styles and I also like it for ghost notes.

Since my traditional grip has atrophied from years of non-playing, I'm working on re-gaining proficiency (Stick Control works well) so I can play any style as desired.
I first learned using traditional but I play 85/15 matched-traditional now.
 

geezer

Senior Member
I've seen videos where Art Blakey switched between traditional and matched, and later on in his life Max Roach too.

When I started taking jazz drumming lessons I asked my teacher about trad vs. matched grip and he told me to stick to matched for the time being, which I did. Like you I would attempt traditional grip and just felt like I would be starting from scratch if I used it. About a year and a half in with my lessons I started practicing stuff with both matched and traditional grip, and gradually became more and more comfortable with it, to the point that now I play traditional grip 100% of the time. Initially I devoted time to learning traditional grip just for the challenge of it, to see if I could get it to catch up with my matched grip playing, plus I was working on my brush technique and preferred traditional grip when using the brushes.
 

branflakes992

Senior Member
If you're comfortable with it then just play matched. I play jazz mostly and no one cares, honestly. whoistony? pointed out some of the greatest modern players who use matched grip.
 

davidbehrens3.14

Senior Member
The first person that jumps to mind is Bill Stewart, who has amazing touch with it. Although Traditional Grip can provide lots of options for sound diversity, touch and finesse, being comfortable is most important so as not to obstruct your playing. Great jazz drumming can be done with any grip.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I'm glad you posted about this, as I've wondered the same. I've played matched for 40+ yr. Every now and then I'll hold the sticks traditional, and man it just feels so weird. I don't Jazz but I've wondered about it anyway. Sometimes I copy what I see you guys doing, but I wouldn't say I can play Jazz.
 

FFFF

Senior Member
Just like how many drummers are now using traditional grip to play metal, it doesn't really make any difference which grip you use to play a particular style of music, as long as you are comfortable.

It's really the common perception that shapes us into thinking that 'jazz drummers must play traditional.' Simply because majority of the jazz greats play traditional, it led us to believe that it must be done in traditional too. Just my two cents.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Max Roach was one of the first guys I saw who used matched grip - and you can't be any more jazzy than Max Roach! But many players hybrid and do both.

I still use traditional a lot when I play brushes just because I was taught that way, but when using sticks, I go matched much more than traditional.

I use to think, as Anthony has suggested, that people tend to think they MUST play traditional grip if they are to play jazz, and most of my formative years, and some years in drum corps reinforced the traditional grip, but that's changed for me over time - meaning I'll use whatever I have to to get to where I'm going.

A cool inspiration for matched grip jazz for me is Will Kennedy of the Yellowjackets - absolutely love how that guy plays!
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I struggle to play traditional grip right handed as I'm naturally left handed but I just practiced a lot with matched grip so I can handle all of the subtle things traditonal is good for.

Nobody will judge because you play matched or traditional.

Comfort is the main thing, if you're used to playing matched stay that way.

Remember traditional grip comes from marching drumming as a practical way of playing whilst walking with a big drum which had to be at your side otherwise you'd fall over a lot and have sore knees.
 

Dignan

Silver Member
I'm going to move ahead with Matched. I'm not concerned about what people think, I was just wondering if traditional would eventually give me more control as I get better but sounds like the answer is, "it doesn't matter."
 

JohnRick

Member
Post #13 already said it (traditional grip from hanging marching drums etc.) - and I personally have never ever seen the actual use of learning traditional grip just for the sake of it if you haven't inherited it from marching bands or similar, where you had to use it.

You don't have the reach, you don't have the potential strength. And in all honesty, if you're going to learn traditional grip if you only intend to play on drumkit, I suppose you will learn it with both hands?
 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
A cool inspiration for matched grip jazz for me is Will Kennedy of the Yellowjackets - absolutely love how that guy plays!
Saw him play a few weeks ago. An absolute monster; not enough love for him on this forum. Met him after the show and he's a really engaging and outgoing guy.

Sorry to derail the thread...
 

Dignan

Silver Member
Saw him play a few weeks ago. An absolute monster; not enough love for him on this forum. Met him after the show and he's a really engaging and outgoing guy.

Sorry to derail the thread...
He also plays open handed. I just checked him out on Youtube
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
A cool inspiration for matched grip jazz for me is Will Kennedy of the Yellowjackets - absolutely love how that guy plays!
Glad someone mentioned him. He's a monster and one of my favorite jazz players.

I use matched to practice jazz because I have much more control. I try to make it sound right rather than worry about grip. I have read about some jazz schools not letting their students use matched. I think that's absurd if true.
 
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