Open-Handed Players: When did you start?

boomstick

Silver Member
For a few years now, I have devoted some of my practice time to open-handed playing. I've not been doing this because I desire to play open-handed, but primarily as a way to develop my left hand (which has worked quite well). Also, I wanted to be able to switch over if I want to play a pattern where open-handed would be advantageous, such as playing the hats and toms together. I've gotten a lot better at it, but I'm still nowhere as good at playing this way as I am with cross-sticking.

So, I was wondering how many of you open-handed players started out this way from the beginning, and how many are "converts." I imagine it would be kind of hard to convert after playing cross-stick for a long time, but I'm sure it has been done. I wanted to make a poll, but I don't see an option to do so (??). So, I will just await responses. Thanks.
 
I started a couple of years ago and play this way most of the time. Still I can put more feeling and expressiveness in my playing if I ride with my dominant hand on the hats. But I do most constant, straight - ahead rock riding with my weaker hand on the hats.



For a few years now, I have devoted some of my practice time to open-handed playing. I've not been doing this because I desire to play open-handed, but primarily as a way to develop my left hand (which has worked quite well). Also, I wanted to be able to switch over if I want to play a pattern where open-handed would be advantageous, such as playing the hats and toms together. I've gotten a lot better at it, but I'm still nowhere as good at playing this way as I am with cross-sticking.

So, I was wondering how many of you open-handed players started out this way from the beginning, and how many are "converts." I imagine it would be kind of hard to convert after playing cross-stick for a long time, but I'm sure it has been done. I wanted to make a poll, but I don't see an option to do so (??). So, I will just await responses. Thanks.
 

riddle

Member
Now that you mention it, about a week ago. I did it for the left hand too, it helps strengthen it. I'm okay with open handed normal beats, ghosting with the right hand feels weird though, its like you've gotta keep telling it "you can take a rest now," but it just wants to go back to the solid 8 beat.
 
That's where I'm having problems - little flourishes on the hats and ghost notes on the snare. What pretty much comes natural playing cross handed requires some practice to play open handed. And more practice to get it really right.

It keeps getting better though and has really opened up the ability to do more things like play some percussion parts while playing the normal parts with the weaker hand.




Now that you mention it, about a week ago. I did it for the left hand too, it helps strengthen it. I'm okay with open handed normal beats, ghosting with the right hand feels weird though, its like you've gotta keep telling it "you can take a rest now," but it just wants to go back to the solid 8 beat.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I began playing crossed with trad grip around 1971.
A few years ago I started practicing matched grip openhanded playing just for the heck of it.
I find myself playing open now on some songs, mainly on simpler songs.
It kinda gives me a break and allows me to rest a bit during a performance. It has also made me a better player.
I will never completely become an open player. Old Dog syndrome!
 

bonhamdrummer123

Senior Member
I am naturally right handed but I have played open handed from the first time I sat at a drum set. For some reason my left hand is still very weak and the fingers and wrist and such are still somewhat uncoordinated. I find it much easier to play around with the snare with my right hand because I have so much control over because it is my dominant hand. I also don't know why my left hand hasn't gotten much better...
 
W

wy yung

Guest
I play both. I find it helps when problems arise. For example I use it now due to a health issue with my right hand.
 

jivadayadasa

Senior Member
So, I was wondering how many of you open-handed players started out this way from the beginning, and how many are "converts." I imagine it would be kind of hard to convert after playing cross-stick for a long time, but I'm sure it has been done.
Dom Famularo is a great example to look to as someone who has successfully made the conversion (as of 2002).

It's funny, I sort of used to think of this approach as playing left handed when it just means playing what on the left with the left, and what's on the right with the right. Very logical; I am having a blast with it even though it's kicking my ass...
 

Pass.of.E.r.a.

Gold Member
Since I picked up my pearl remote cable hi hat stand, I've been playing with my main hi hat on my right (so my hands don't cross). So if that counts as open hand I've been doing it for several months now, and i definitely prefer it over crossing my hands. It feels very natural to me.

Not knowing if this style has a name, I call it reverse open hand. (the link in my signature has footage of me playing like that)

In addition to that, i have my secondary hats set up nice and low on my left for traditional open hand playing which I incorporate into my playing as often as I can :)

-Jonathan
 

K.Howden

Senior Member
The story goes something like this;

My friend taught me Drums and the first ever lesson I sat down and just started playing open, he asked me if I wanted him to swap the kit around (as I'm a naturally left-handed person anyway) and I just told him not to bother and I'd play it as it was. Because the whole Foot to Hand co-ordination would of been new to me anyway it didn't really come into my mind that I was using my right Foot on the Bass and left Foot on the Hats, either way I would of had to learn from scratch with neither side being advantageous over the other. As for the Toms I didn't really care where they were placed, I had to learn how to play a Beat first! who needs Toms at this stage right?

For the first two Years or so of my playing I never used a Ride Cymbal, didn't even know what one was!, so when I got introduced to it I thought the natural thing to do would be to place it on my left where my leading Hand was.

This how I'm setting up these Days:



And that's is all there is to it, a combination of sheer oblviousness and making do.

Hope you're all well,

Kev
 
Last edited:

grannydrums

Senior Member
I never found it easy to cross my arms and so I also had a remote hat on my right for quite some time. but then I found sixteenths on the hats a bit tricky.

So I had yet another layout change and put the hats in the middle behind the snare, just overlapping a little, and the ride behind them. I play open handed, but leading with my right and the toms are all easy to get to from this central point.

I keep meaning to lead with my left sometimes to get that hand going but never seem to get round to it--there is just so much to practice
 

riddle

Member
The whole thing about swapping was to change your left and right mindset, for me it was right dominant so right moves more so you've got to like tell yourself the left's dominant now and try to go against your mind. Another difficult thing is how it's LRLRLRLRLR now, to get back to the basics. Still i think its easier if you can change your whole perception, easy to say; hard to apply. Try brushing your tooth with your less dominant hand (left), my gums bled

*why can't my profile picture be shown?*
 

joeysnare

Silver Member
i actually started playing drums open handed just seemed to make sense to me, then i got into body building and lets just say a big chest and short arms makes it really hard to play crossed lol. but since ive slimmed down its really opened up my playing by play closed too. pun intended.
 

K.Howden

Senior Member
Another difficult thing is how it's LRLRLRLRLR now, to get back to the basics.
That's interesting, even though I lead grooves on the Hats and Ride etc with the left Hand, I have certain fills and accents I can only do with particular and opposing Hands.

For example I lead anything in singles that has accents on the "1 e or 2 e, 3 e, 4 e" and so on with the left, but if the accent is on the "1, 1 &, 2, 2 &, 3, 3 &, 4, 4 &" I'll lead with my right. In affect what is happening is that I'm making sure that accents are always being played with the right Hand (this doesn't apply to every type of Rudiment/Accent pattern I play but a fair few).

Hope you're well,

Kev
 
Last edited:

MaT

Member
I've started playing open handed a year ago. Now I feel pretty comfortable with it although I can't play funky-tricky-grooves while left leading.

One other thing that I can't do very well is to play around opening and closing the hi-hat as freely as if I were leading with my right hand.

BTW, I try to keep the hi hat at the same height it was when I played with my right hand all the time.
 

Dedworx

Senior Member
For a few years now, I have devoted some of my practice time to open-handed playing. I've not been doing this because I desire to play open-handed, but primarily as a way to develop my left hand (which has worked quite well). Also, I wanted to be able to switch over if I want to play a pattern where open-handed would be advantageous, such as playing the hats and toms together. I've gotten a lot better at it, but I'm still nowhere as good at playing this way as I am with cross-sticking.

So, I was wondering how many of you open-handed players started out this way from the beginning, and how many are "converts." I imagine it would be kind of hard to convert after playing cross-stick for a long time, but I'm sure it has been done. I wanted to make a poll, but I don't see an option to do so (??). So, I will just await responses. Thanks.
hi, i played for 5 years before trying out playing open handed. so i guess that makes me a "convert"?

now i play left hand lead for hats and right hand lead for ride stuff. though i still feel better using right hand lead for "two handed" hat patterns and things using a cross stick.

for me it didn't come easy, or really sound that good for quite a while, but eventually it clicked and now it feels good to play either way. it took about a year to start using it on gigs.

the concepts isn't hard, it just requires time and patience. anyone interested in the idea and not playing around with it as yet, should definately try it out, in time you'd have it down too.
 

jivadayadasa

Senior Member
Dedworx is right on the money - I have been at it for a two weeks now and I am already seeing major improvement (at least for me). First few days were excruciating but now I am playing some of my favorite, basic but challenging funk/fusion grooves with bass loops on my mac for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. That is really helping me to not stagnate with the repetition and to keep focusing on musicality and not just execution. I understand that it's not that interesting for everyone but I am now pretty certain that if I stick to this I will that much more confident and comfortable behind the kit.
 

zoom

Junior Member


Hi guys,I have been playing open for years,how did I start I am naturally left handed and right footed. So when I began I really wasnt aware of crossing. I sought out the best and naturally discovered Billy.and,Simon....So it all looked normal,aged 17.

But over the years I became very frustrated with not being able go right with ease. It,s as clauss Hessler states, drums are an ambidextrous instrument.

I saw Billy and Simon here in Perth,West Australia,and it was apparent from the start this was the key. So too you guys who are CROSS DOMINANT you have to bring your right hand up to your left,and vice versa. There are advantages to playing open.At my age now I am totally blown away/and surprised that it is being viewed as the "new" way too go.
Billy started doing it in 1954.......Get clauss Hesslers book its surprised me too.
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
I practice this for fun and variation from time to time, but I never tried to make it my primary mode of playing. I've been considering it, but every time I think about it I find so many other things that I'd rather work on that it never becomes a priority. I'd love to be able to do it comfortably though, both because of how it opens up new possibilities for the snare hand, and because it strengthens the weak hand.

I know Simon Phillips (one of the most well-known open-handed players) started doing it in his late teens or early 20s, and Dom Famularo (as was mantioned further up in the thread) only made the conversion a few years ago.
 

tonyp123

Junior Member
I've been incorporating open-handed playing into my practice time lately. Not so much to use all the time, but as a method to help develop coordination and open up the sticking options for unique patterns. Also gives me an opportunity to practice French grip (thumbs up) on the left hand when playing hi-hat.

You many want to check out Gary Chester's book, "The New Breed". He promotes open-handed playing--he refers to it as "territorial rights"--and many of the exercises develop this approach.
 
Top