Learning Jazz , is traditional grip a plu?

Rolltide

Well-known member
I am not a good drummer , not technically trained at all . As I have gotten into my late 50’s I have developed an interest in learning to play Jazz, which is harder than it looks! My question is about using traditional vs matched grip , it seems learning traditional may be an advantage ?
 

Rolltide

Well-known member
So learning to play jazz and learning g to play traditional grip is a lot to tackle at once with no real advantage to play better jazz ?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I agree that selecting a grip with which you are comfortable is paramount, tradition be damned. On the other hand, I'm not a jazz player (at least it's not my specialty), but if I were, I'd probably commit myself to traditional grip. It just looks "right" to me in a jazz context. Of course, what looks right to me should hold no sway over you. Carve your own path, and make no apologies.
 

prokofi5

Junior Member
So learning to play jazz and learning g to play traditional grip is a lot to tackle at once with no real advantage to play better jazz ?
Absolutely. The only benefit I've ever heard for playing jazz with trad was for the vibe. I think the time spent listening to old and modern classics or a dozen other things would improve someone's feel much more than spending time learning a tricky motor skill. Matched is becoming more common if you check out the modern players as opposed to the classic era people. And there are a bunch of brilliant ones out there now despite what some traditionalists will tell you. Enjoy.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Trad grip feels ‘right’ when I play jazz, especially for soft comping on the snare. But I actually have better facility, smoother rolls, controlled soft strokes and such with matched grip, so I use matched all the time now, including the occasions when I play jazz.
 

iCe

Senior Member
Like stated before; use the grip you feel the most natural with. I've never really developed traditional grip, but i did noticed i could play more dynamically and ghost notes were easier to play. But that's me, just try it for a while and experience it yourself :)
 

MG1127

Well-known member
So learning to play jazz and learning g to play traditional grip is a lot to tackle at once with no real advantage to play better jazz ?
two questions

1. What grip are you currently most comfortable with ?

2. Do you listen to jazz music ?
 

MG1127

Well-known member
Matched / yes
I recommend staying with matched and listening constantly

Jazz is a vocabulary and a dialect more than anything else.

It's about touch more than volume.

mimic what you hear your favorite players doing and have fun

If you need inspiration to stay with matched watch the following guys

Bill Steward
Ari Hoenig
Eric Harland
Jeff Ballard
Tyshawn Sorey

that should keep you busy for a while

Start with this record ... Bill Stewart is killing

 
Last edited:

JonHWLondon

Member
I completely agree withe everyone above saying to go with what you're most comfortable with. As long as it sounds good, and you're not causing yourself any physical or technical problems through your grip, use whatever works.

However, I would like to share something I found when starting to play jazz. With my band, I was playing very loud rock, then when playing at home on my own, I was studying a few jazz books and trying to get competent at playing jazz. And I found playing traditional grip incredibly useful for this. With the band, I was exclusively matched grip, playing jazz I was exclusively traditional. This just really helped me get into the right headspace when switching genres and drumming styles.

This did mean I was trying to learn jazz + traditional grip at the same time, which probably slowed me down, but it was a very enjoyable process
 

EhhSoCheap

Member
I think it's a plus, but not a prerequisite. You probably won't be able to do with trad grip the things with you can already do with matched after playing trad for an hour, or even 10 hours. Will that feel uncomfortable to you? To me that's not a reason to stop, but I guess if you or anyone wanted to play trad then you would just do it. Just some thoughts, not trying to be bristly.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I think for lots of drummers who come from a loud/heavy/rock type of background, trad grip is very useful for developing a completely different, quieter set of internal dynamics that is appropriate for jazz playing, because you won't be using your wrist, which is already in the habit of loudly slugging backbeats. Trad grip allows you to lightly tap the snare, using your thumb and a bit of rotation at the elbow, without engaging the wrist, and only minimally using the fingers.

I completely agree withe everyone above saying to go with what you're most comfortable with. As long as it sounds good, and you're not causing yourself any physical or technical problems through your grip, use whatever works.

However, I would like to share something I found when starting to play jazz. With my band, I was playing very loud rock, then when playing at home on my own, I was studying a few jazz books and trying to get competent at playing jazz. And I found playing traditional grip incredibly useful for this. With the band, I was exclusively matched grip, playing jazz I was exclusively traditional. This just really helped me get into the right headspace when switching genres and drumming styles.

This did mean I was trying to learn jazz + traditional grip at the same time, which probably slowed me down, but it was a very enjoyable process
Very similar experience here. I would say, if you want to learn traditional grip, whatever your reasons may be, than adopting it while you spend many, many hours on your coordination training (i.e. Syncopation, Advanced Techniques, etc.) is an EXCELLENT way to put some miles on that technique. If you then decide to play jazz using matched, you will not have to re-learn all that stuff. Your brain will quickly figure out how to play all that vocabulary with matched, if you've first learned it with traditional.

And playing all matched all the time is just fine, too! You really can't go wrong here.
 

MG1127

Well-known member
Learning to use the motors of traditional grip effectively is enough of a feat in itself.

Piling learning to play a completely unfamiliar style of music on top of that all the while being an admittedly unskilled drummer is a hell of a lot to deal with

To be the most productive weigh your priorities.

If learning the music is most important do that and in some side time practice properly executing traditional grip on the pad.

In time if you want to merge them do so

But doing both at the same time seems counter productive to me.

There is no way to play music effectively if you are holding a stick or brush in a way that hinders your speech.

My opinion is play the music ... grips literally do not matter AT ALL ... zero
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
I grew up playing 100% traditional grip-- I had a series of very old school teachers when I was a kid. So, I know and love traditional grip. And I've played a TON of jazz gigs. If you came to me as a ten-year-old student I might eventually get you going on traditional grip. As a guy in your 50s, I absolutely would not. Focus on listening A LOT and playing along to records and then eventually move toward playalongs. Focus on the ride cymbal beat, which is everything.
 
I play predominantly Jazz and I'm a matched player. I've also been taught by pro Jazz drummers who are also playing matched. I don't think there is actually a link between genre and grip. You sometimes see rock drummers playing trad. For me, learning trad is not worth the effort. There are more important things to focus on.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I started playing jazz when I was real young in the 70's. My dad was a jazz drummer around town in his young years and he was my first teacher. He played traditional exclusively, but taught me in matched grip first, and I played jazz matched grip for about 10 years before I "discovered" traditional. I actually discovered traditional through marching band/drum corps.

I really only use traditional in jazz when I am playing lower volume situations. I feel it helps me get the sound I want. I also find it easier to ghost note in traditional.

I use it all the time in my marching band situations

and for about a week in the 80's, I thought I was Stewart Copland and tried to use it for rock drumming.....yeeeeah
 

TMe

Senior Member
I find it worthwhile to use trad grip when I'm practicing drills (e.g. paradiddle variations) on the practice pad. It slows me down, gives me a bit of natural swing, and makes it easier to play with a lighter touch.

But then I try to move that around the kit, and it takes about two minutes before I give up and go back to match grip.
 
Top