Light touch?

johnnyfarragut

Junior Member
Novice drummer here, been taking lessons for about a year. My teacher is always pointing me out that I have a very light touch. He says that's kind of unusual and insists that I should try to hit harder. I tried to follow his advice but ,no matter what, I always revert to 'light touch mode'.

I can see light touch being a problem if you want to play heavy rock style, but that's not my case: most of my musical interests do not require that kind of heavy hitting.

Bottom line is, I like the way it sounds and feel comfortable doing it. My question is: What are the pros and cons of 'having a light touch'? Is it a curse or a blessing?

Cheers!
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
You should develop a range of dynamics, and be able to play the same patterns soft, medium and loud without speeding up or slowing down.

Hitting toms hard makes a deeper, fuller sound which is necessary for certain styles. Playing lightly is also important, eg for acoustic guitar music, jazz combos, etc. You need to balance the volume of other musicians in an ensemble.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
You should develop a range of dynamics, and be able to play the same patterns soft, medium and loud without speeding up or slowing down.

Hitting toms hard makes a deeper, fuller sound which is necessary for certain styles. Playing lightly is also important, eg for acoustic guitar music, jazz combos, etc. You need to balance the volume of other musicians in an ensemble.
For sure. Morrisman always hits the mark.

Your teacher is trying to point out things that may be let's say out of balance. I totally agree with the light touch for certain things, good on you for knowing that, and being able to do it. It's a valuable skill, make no mistake.

It's natural, especially for a teacher, to try and counterbalance things that may come across as weak in some areas. Sorry for putting it like that. It's hard to hear, but I believe he has your best interest at heart. Never lose your own vision, I like your thoughts there, but be open to suggestions to people who have your best interest at heart.

Hey if you have no problem hitting hard then it's a non issue.

A good solid backbeat is a beautiful thing.

Do you play traditional or matched grip? Both?
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
You should develop a range of dynamics, and be able to play the same patterns soft, medium and loud without speeding up or slowing down.

Hitting toms hard makes a deeper, fuller sound which is necessary for certain styles. Playing lightly is also important, eg for acoustic guitar music, jazz combos, etc. You need to balance the volume of other musicians in an ensemble.
This.

Also, I've never complimented you on your choice of classic car. Nice. I love Minors.
 

Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member
I can see light touch being a problem if you want to play heavy rock style, but that's not my case: most of my musical interests do not require that kind of heavy hitting...
It has to be seen to answer if you are doing any mistake.

But, even a two year old can play loud, but hardly any drummer can play light, contoled, etc.

Playing loud is the main origin of injuries, many irreparable.

Again, in your case can not be evaluated, but to me is good that you have this awareness (see quote).

Check out this drummer, specially from 0:50 and beyond, this would be example of excellent controled light touch:

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q5pW6I0sEk
 

johnnyfarragut

Junior Member
Thanks to all for taking time to comment with a lowly rookie like me, much appreciated.

larryace I play matched grip, as instructed by my teacher. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

I don't know if it's relevant or not: I'm left-handed playing on a standard (right-handed) kit. No problem with it, though the arm-crossing feels ackward as hell. I 've been told this happens to right-handed players too, so it's probably not a big issue.
 
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Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member
Lefhanded kit LEADING also with Left?

It´s not an issue crossing the hands (for righthanded players) unless you have POOR technique...


VIDEO:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQTA8StLcos

Right handed players might cross mostly (99% of them exclusively), when playing hi-hat, and avoid the issue with the rest of the kit (at all cost, haha!).

If you lead with left with RHkit you have the opposite situation, no crossing with HH but even most boring drum fills will make you cross, or loose extra time (or stop!).
 

johnnyfarragut

Junior Member
Yes I suspect all my troubles boil down to poor technique on my part. No easy remedies here, just lots and lots of practice!

Lefhanded kit LEADING also with Left?

It´s not an issue crossing the hands (for righthanded players) unless you have POOR technique...


VIDEO:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQTA8StLcos

Right handed players might cross mostly (99% of them exclusively), when playing hi-hat, and avoid the issue with the rest of the kit (at all cost, haha!).

If you lead with left with RHkit you have the opposite situation, no crossing with HH but even most boring drum fills will make you cross, or loose extra time (or stop!).
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Do not lose the light touch. But gain a heavier touch or feel. Both will be used and are necessary.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
This.

Also, I've never complimented you on your choice of classic car. Nice. I love Minors.
Alas, after 14 years the minor had to go, for a range of practical reasons. It was my main gigging car for several years - managed to safely pack my Premier kit in there many times.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Do not assume that learning to play loudly will "erase" your ability to play softly. There is no danger of you losing your light touch, by practicing loudly.

What are the pros and cons of 'having a light touch'? Is it a curse or a blessing?
Neither. Some hit hard right away, and need to learn lightness; and some hit light, and need to learn to play loud.

Heavy hitting isn't just for heavy rock. Funk, soul, Motown, blues, reggae, fusion, big band, and yes, even some jazz -- will require the ability to play loudly. Some genres demand that the backbeat and bass drum are loud, all the way through a song. Some genres require loud notes, but only for accents and brief passages. And, no matter what, there is no way to know that will never be asked to play one of these genres, down the road. Plan for your future!

If you need more volume, swing the stick back, at the wrist; don't raise your arms, in general. Loud volume mostly comes from the wrists.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Maybe when your teacher is telling you to play louder, he is trying to get you to have more confidence in your playing.

BTW: I get more work playing softer than louder.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Novice drummer here, been taking lessons for about a year. My teacher is always pointing me out that I have a very light touch. He says that's kind of unusual and insists that I should try to hit harder. I tried to follow his advice but ,no matter what, I always revert to 'light touch mode'.

I can see light touch being a problem if you want to play heavy rock style, but that's not my case: most of my musical interests do not require that kind of heavy hitting.

Bottom line is, I like the way it sounds and feel comfortable doing it. My question is: What are the pros and cons of 'having a light touch'? Is it a curse or a blessing?
I don't know what you sound like, who your teacher is, or what he's trying to get you to do by telling you that, so who knows what's really going on here? Maybe don't assume that he only wants you to play louder. I would be surprised if after only a year you had developed a mature "light touch", and this was only a matter of taste.

Also consider that as a beginner, what you are comfortable with may not be what will make you into a good drummer.
 

johnnyfarragut

Junior Member
I don't know what you sound like, who your teacher is, or what he's trying to get you to do by telling you that, so who knows what's really going on here? Maybe don't assume that he only wants you to play louder. I would be surprised if after only a year you had developed a mature "light touch", and this was only a matter of taste.

Also consider that as a beginner, what you are comfortable with may not be what will make you into a good drummer.
Thanks. I think you're right in pointing out that my 'soft touch' is not so much a stylistic choice on my part but a symptom of lack of confidence in my playing.
 

JonnyOzDrum

Junior Member
You should develop a range of dynamics, and be able to play the same patterns soft, medium and loud without speeding up or slowing down.

Hitting toms hard makes a deeper, fuller sound which is necessary for certain styles. Playing lightly is also important, eg for acoustic guitar music, jazz combos, etc. You need to balance the volume of other musicians in an ensemble.
This!

Depending on what your aim is in the realm of drumming, it's worth investing the time to learn and develop techniques that will allow you to play any style/genre you're asked to play, and with any number of musicians at various skill levels. Say you're in a Worship band now, but in a few years you get the call to play Funk, Reggae, or Hard Rock. You'd want to try and be the right drummer for any gig, and that means knowing how to play each style the way it needs to be played.

Even in the realms of acoustic guitar music, or jazz (as mentioned above), having a good dynamic range helps to make your performance more "musical". Think about it - a nice cross stick or rim shot at just the right moment can make a huge difference in how a song feels and sounds.

Again, it depends on what your aim is with your instrument. But even if you're not looking to step outside of a certain genre or niche, it's always good to add to your skillset and know when to use it.
 
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