My left hand is so slow

Noisy

Well-known member
Another thing I used to do wrong was, playing matched grip, I was using 2 different techniques with my hands. On my strong hand, my thumb joint would flex. On my weak hand, my thumb was kept super stiff. So after realizing that, I analyzed and changed my technique in my weak hand to be the same as I was using with my strong hand. Done by simple observation. Working the above exercise, the muscles in my weak hand would burn as it gradually came up to the level as my strong hand.
My left hand is not symmetrical and I didn’t bend the thumb like you mentioned and “extend” other fingers. It was acting more like a tilted German grip.

I started exercising my left hand holding the stick only by my thumb and the area very close to the finger tips of the other four fingers. I practice hitting and pulling up on the stick and don’t emphasize rebound as I want to exercise the fingers. It is like the fingers and thumb are performing a bench press exercise, bending and straightening. I do it to wake up my hand muscles that were not being activated and not as a regular stroke. It helps me.
 

buddhadrummer

Junior Member
In my experience, the "weakness" of my non-dominant side is not so much related to muscle weakness. I don't necessarily feel that the muscles in my left hand/arm are particularly "weaker" than my right. I've found that the inability to exert control of the left side is more of neurological origin than actual muscle weakness. I've worked on developing the neural pathways through which I can gain greater control, and have been pretty successful. I don't ever expect it will be the same as the right side, and there are fundamental differences in my left that I've learned to work with and live with. I'd say develop the cognitive control which can then control the left side. It takes direct cognitive awareness and mental discipline.
 

Noisy

Well-known member
In my experience, the "weakness" of my non-dominant side is not so much related to muscle weakness. I don't necessarily feel that the muscles in my left hand/arm are particularly "weaker" than my right. I've found that the inability to exert control of the left side is more of neurological origin than actual muscle weakness. I've worked on developing the neural pathways through which I can gain greater control, and have been pretty successful. I don't ever expect it will be the same as the right side, and there are fundamental differences in my left that I've learned to work with and live with. I'd say develop the cognitive control which can then control the left side. It takes direct cognitive awareness and mental discipline.
I agree it is more neurological than muscular.

Can you describe the techniques you have been using?
 

buddhadrummer

Junior Member
Can you describe the techniques you have been using?
Basic mindfulness - directing attention to specific points and being consciously engaged in the work at each particular moment. It's the opposite of the way many of us practice, such as mindless repetition while mentally disengaged from the work at hand.

In the case of the left hand, I simply do work that demands that I direct my point of focus to that task, consciously emphasizing it, doing it accurately as soon as possible and being mentally present in the role of my left.

Being consciously engaged is perhaps the single greatest tool for practice. Placing our awareness where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
Basic mindfulness - directing attention to specific points and being consciously engaged in the work at each particular moment. It's the opposite of the way many of us practice, such as mindless repetition while mentally disengaged from the work at hand.

In the case of the left hand, I simply do work that demands that I direct my point of focus to that task, consciously emphasizing it, doing it accurately as soon as possible and being mentally present in the role of my left.

Being consciously engaged is perhaps the single greatest tool for practice. Placing our awareness where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.
Well said. This, more than anything else, has improved the quality of my practice in recent years.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I agree it's neurological. But IMO it is muscular too. If you haven't been using certain muscles in your weak hand all your life and then you start focusing on them...those muscles need to be strengthened in addition to the thinking change, just an opinion.

Also the weak hand can very definitely be as good as the strong hand, and even surpass it. If you want.
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
I agree it's neurological. But IMO it is muscular too. If you haven't been using certain muscles in your weak hand all your life and then you start focusing on them...those muscles need to be strengthened in addition to the thinking change, just an opinion.

Also the weak hand can very definitely be as good as the strong hand, and even surpass it. If you want.
I agree with this too. I do think muscles are a factor in terms of endurance and control.
Right now I'm spending some time working on my left hand, partly by working on LH finger control and partly playing LH lead.
I am really getting to know my limitations in both departments, neurological and muscular!
For instance I can play a beat with say 95-100 bpm 16th notes with my right hand on the HiHat all day and night. If I switch to LH lead I can play maybe 85-90, but only for a few minutes before it gets ragged (muscles/endurance).
Then adding refinements like accents on (LH) 8th notes, and (RH) adding a few ghost notes to the backbeat, show the neurological part of the challenge.

I do like the result though - I have been doing this about a month (this time round) and I have seen some improvements already.
I like that working on my LH benefits my overall playing - I am getting round the kit better, playing more cleanly, plus my SS roll speed has improved a little. LH work is a really good return on investment of practice time IMO.
 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
I agree it's neurological. But IMO it is muscular too. If you haven't been using certain muscles in your weak hand all your life and then you start focusing on them...those muscles need to be strengthened in addition to the thinking change, just an opinion.

Also the weak hand can very definitely be as good as the strong hand, and even surpass it. If you want.
I'm realizing how critical the thumb is to control and consistency. My weak side thumb is so much weaker which greatly impacts what I am doing. I notice it slides around a lot more and doesn't stay in the same place as much as my strong hand thumb. Any specific recommendations for the thumb especially? Or is it just a matter of continual practice and focus?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I agree with this too. I do think muscles are a factor in terms of endurance and control.
Right now I'm spending some time working on my left hand, partly by working on LH finger control and partly playing LH lead.
I am really getting to know my limitations in both departments, neurological and muscular!
For instance I can play a beat with say 95-100 bpm 16th notes with my right hand on the HiHat all day and night. If I switch to LH lead I can play maybe 85-90, but only for a few minutes before it gets ragged (muscles/endurance).
Then adding refinements like accents on (LH) 8th notes, and (RH) adding a few ghost notes to the backbeat, show the neurological part of the challenge.


I do like the result though - I have been doing this about a month (this time round) and I have seen some improvements already.
I like that working on my LH benefits my overall playing - I am getting round the kit better, playing more cleanly, plus my SS roll speed has improved a little. LH work is a really good return on investment of practice time IMO.
You experience and mine match


I'm realizing how critical the thumb is to control and consistency. My weak side thumb is so much weaker which greatly impacts what I am doing. I notice it slides around a lot more and doesn't stay in the same place as much as my strong hand thumb. Any specific recommendations for the thumb especially? Or is it just a matter of continual practice and focus?
Yea, the only opposing force, the thumb. Very important IMO that the thumb muscle is strengthened.
 

Birch4Punch

Junior Member
The practicing techniques already mentioned are probably all good. One other thing that might help is to use drumsticks with rubberized grips like Zildjian or Vic Firth have. Or you can buy premade stick grips and shrink them onto the sticks with a heat gun. This will allow you to have a more relaxed grip and be able to play faster and smoother. Before I went to this type of grip, I always noticed that my hand muscles would ache from squeezing to hang onto smooth drumsticks. Good luck.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
I recommend starting at a steady pace and not trying to force it. My teacher put me through Joel Rothman’s Picture Guide to Rock n Roll Drums, John Pickering’s Drummers Cookbook, Buddy Rich’s Snare Drum Rudiments and Jim Chapin’s Improv book. Every single exercise had to be played leading with both hands before I could progress to the next one. Unbeknownst to me, I was spending more time on my weaker hand as I was mastering each exercise relatively quickly with my strong side! Mixing it up with grooves and rudiments/exercises gets your weaker side in shape. I’m still not happy with my weak side (don’t know if I ever will be) so I’m constantly practicing to achieve the holy grail that is Simon Phillips‘ ambidexterity!! :) (y)
 

Old PIT Guy

New member
As stated, the dominant hand is dominant from a lifetime in that role, but it can certainly be strengthened. To a point. Age is a real obstacle in this effort. After suffering two fairly serious RSIs, I accepted the limitation and switched gears by focusing on sound levels, phrasing, space and feel. And my feet, since they're exponentially less prone to injury.
 
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