Trad Grip - Left hand teaching the right?

TMe

Senior Member
Lately I've been working on learning to play traditional grip, and I'm starting to wonder if I should continue, or just take the lesson learned and apply it to my match grip playing.

When playing match grip, my right hand teaches my left, and my left hand always struggles to duplicate what my right hand plays. I'm sure everyone can relate to that.

When I started working on trad grip, I immediately realized that I needed to change my right hand grip to get a reasonably balanced sound. Just as I expected, my playing was more relaxed and fluid using trad grip, it was a lot easier to play quietly and, somehow, my playing seems more musical.

Then I realized that changing my right hand grip had a lot to do with it. In this exercise, it's the left hand that;s teaching the right hand what to do. If I use that new right-hand grip for both hands, my match grip playing is improved. So I have the solution, right?

The problem is... five minutes after I start playing matched grip, I lose that feel, and I'm right back where I started. Stiff, heavy, overly symmetrical

So now I'm wondering, do I just need to be more mindful when playing matched, or continue developing the trad grip? Part of me thinks I should practice trad and play matched.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? If so, what did you end up doing?
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I've been trynig to improve my matched grip for a couple of yeras now. Left hand is lagging behind, for sure, but with me it's just lack of practice.

For me this is a good exercise as it not only teaches me another grip, but it makes me focus. I can't go on auto pilot.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
I've noticed that 95% of the time when players have trouble with traditional grip it is a very minor tweak that is needed ... for example not taking advantage of one of the multiple motors.

if your right hand comfort is changing when you change your left grip something pre traditional grip attempt is happening.

getting advice via text by people you do not know the skill level of on a message board is not the best place for something like this being that it could be a situation that could eventually result in physical damage and discomfort

sit with a qualified professional instructor to sort things out in person

it could be something so minor that is not obvious to you but would be to someone else

I see an "a ha!" moment in your future
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..When I started working on trad grip, I immediately realized that I needed to change my right hand grip to get a reasonably balanced sound. Just as I expected, my playing was more relaxed and fluid using trad grip, it was a lot easier to play quietly and, somehow, my playing seems more musical..

In my opinion there is really no objective relation at all between matched/traditional grip and the things you mention..

Just like for example there should also not be an automatic change in your left hand grip when your right hand changes from german to french..

The way i see this, regarding matched/traditional grip there are just some different techniques for the left hand, but for the right hand they stay the same in both cases..
 

mrfingers

Senior Member
The advantage learning trad grip, if you have matched grip experience, is you do not have the stress of trying to match/mimic your right hand. Your brain can concentrate entirely on the left. In my case I can play a reversed trad grip and my brain automatically focuses on my left grip because it needn’t match the right. It’s strange, and may just be my brain.
But this is all about learning the grips and should, should, eventually go away with practice.
I would also posit that many of us who learned very early in their lives to play drums have forgotten or maybe never had the experiences of left and right brain focusing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TMe

TMe

Senior Member
Your brain can concentrate entirely on the left.
I think that's a big part of what's happening. It's a case of letting the slow boat lead the fleet.

In a sense, my left hand is dominant when I'm playing trad. My focus is , and my focus is on that hand. The right hand then needs to match the left as best it can. Since my right hand is so much stronger, that happens pretty much on auto pilot without my needing to think about it.

To point out one specific thing, I find that when I'm playing trad, the fulcrum on my right stick tends to be closer to the natural balance point of the stick. If I can just get used to playing with that fulcrum, it would improve my match grip playing. Right now, my hand drifts toward the butt end of the stick after a few minutes of match grip playing, because it feels more natural - probably just because that's how I've always done it before.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I think that the concept of rebound...what you are allowing the stick to do after it touches the drum head is the actual issue....in my experience, traditional allows for more rebound because their is less "mass" over the stick to get in the way of the rebound - meaning that your hand itself is over the stick, and the fingers instinct is to re grip for a millisecond after you hit, causing the stick to stop. With traditional, the mass of your hand is beside the stick, and there is less instinct to freeze after the stick hits the drum.

I have been playing traditional in Corps Style marching forever, and rebound is what we really work on in that arena to achieve speed, fluidity, and intricate playing. I feel like when I play matched, I end up downstroking a lot. In the past 3-4 years with my students, for marching band, I have really been pushing using rebound strokes. This has completely changed the way we look and feel, especially when we play fast.

I tell the kids to think of the stroke as a small elliptical shape as they play - where the stick is always moving - the drum is just one very small point in the whole path of travel. If they stop, or make the entire motion more "jagged", then they are losing the idea of rebound and total flow.

For me personally, I have applied this to drum set, and especially in the left hand when I am playing matched...up till about 4 years ago, my left hand came down, hit the drum, and then stopped...a down stroke. Now, my left hand hits the drum, but continues the motion, so I am rebounding. This has definitely improved my feel and flow. I did not have to really think of the micro mechanics of my muscle technique...I just changed the feel and the motion, and my technique "came along for the ride"
 
  • Like
Reactions: TMe

8Mile

Platinum Member
in my experience, traditional allows for more rebound because their is less "mass" over the stick to get in the way of the rebound - meaning that your hand itself is over the stick, and the fingers instinct is to re grip for a millisecond after you hit, causing the stick to stop. With traditional, the mass of your hand is beside the stick, and there is less instinct to freeze after the stick hits the drum.
This is an interesting thought that I've had, too. When I'm working on rebound strokes, I feel like it's even more natural with the left hand in traditional grip than the right. I actually have to make a concerted effort to keep the left hand strokes down to make them even with the right, because they are so easy; there's just nothing getting in the way of the stick rebounding with the thumb fulcrum.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TMe

TMe

Senior Member
...in my experience, traditional allows for more rebound...
That's what I'm finding. There are certain things that come more naturally when I'm trying traditional grip, and certain things that come more naturally using matched grip. I understand people who say it's possible to to anything with either grip, but the grips do seem to lend themselves to different styles of playing.

I've noticed a few extremely good drummers switching back and forth between trad and matched, depending on what they're playing, so maybe it's not just my imagination that trad is better for some stuff, and matched is better for other stuff.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
That's what I'm finding. There are certain things that come more naturally when I'm trying traditional grip, and certain things that come more naturally using matched grip. I understand people who say it's possible to to anything with either grip, but the grips do seem to lend themselves to different styles of playing.

I've noticed a few extremely good drummers switching back and forth between trad and matched, depending on what they're playing, so maybe it's not just my imagination that trad is better for some stuff, and matched is better for other stuff.
I do think some of that mindset - that one grip is better than another - is hooey...and some is legit

growing up in the 70's , I was told that trad was ONLY for jazz....and then saw marching guys using it. Was told that "you should only play matched grip in orchestra", and then watched many orchestral players use trad...

I guess I never really adhered to a lot of those boundaries, and my goal was to make all of my technique styles - traditional, matched, French etc... - as even as possible. That was part of the challenge...part of the job. My marching/corps experience was what really beat that into my head: both hands should be evenly proficient and string as the other. So that is what I worked for.

And now Wisdom tells me that I should use whatever grip makes the whole picture sound and feel right.

now-a days, I use traditional for jazz, but can't play brushes as well with traditional, so I use matched for that. I don't use French grip anywhere b/c I don't like the way it sounds. I use a Zildjian A Rock Crash on my jazz set up b/c I like the way it sounds with brushes...
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
That's what I'm finding. There are certain things that come more naturally when I'm trying traditional grip, and certain things that come more naturally using matched grip. I understand people who say it's possible to to anything with either grip, but the grips do seem to lend themselves to different styles of playing.

I've noticed a few extremely good drummers switching back and forth between trad and matched, depending on what they're playing, so maybe it's not just my imagination that trad is better for some stuff, and matched is better for other stuff.
Ideally it is similar to a bilingual person mixing languages while telling a story and not even being aware of it.

it should have absolutely nothing to do with the style you are playing.

Thinking I'll use traditional for A and matched for B puts a conscious designation to them and whether you believe it or not that puts a pause in your instinctual approach ...

three of todays most dynamic jazz players in Ari Hoenig, Eric Harland and Bill Stewart play primarily matched ... there is no grip for a style of music

hold the stick in the most comfortable way for you so you can access your most useful facilities when making musical decisions

I believe if someone has reached a certain level of efficiency on the instrument and is fluid in the language there is often very little reason to force learning a new grip into an already packed life schedule

If the desire is there and you have the time by all means get all the knowledge and comfort level with different things as you can

but know that it will take somewhere around 3 years of constant playing to become completely fluent in traditional grip to the point where you don't have to think about whether you are playing matched or trad ... which is the ultimate goal when doing what we do ... contributing to music and being the ultimate accompanist

Just know it is not necessary and you have the option to just play the way you play

no one cares how you hold your sticks if you make the music feel good
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
I've studied and played both. As mentioned, if you want to be fluent with trad grip, you need to work with it to develop it if you so desire.

Not suggesting you do this but I eventually abandoned trad grip (for the most part). I developed the sensitivity and control I was looking for when I studied orchestral drumming and applied that to the drum set. Today I fall into trad grip strictly out of habit. If it feels natural I leave it, but as I move farther away from it, most times I habitually change it back to matched..

At the end of the day, the only who cares how you hold your sticks is you.

That's my story... With time you will come up with your own.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I'm interested in views using traditional vs matched with brushes. I play matched with sticks and now brushes too. But in my "experimenting" to find what works best "overall" for me and brushes it always felt like playing brushes with traditional grip (and using either hand) was always easier or more natural in sweeping motions. Despite that I opted to go matched so been working on it since , but still-just for me personally-traditional grip with brushes seemed more natural??
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I'm interested in views using traditional vs matched with brushes. I play matched with sticks and now brushes too. But in my "experimenting" to find what works best "overall" for me and brushes it always felt like playing brushes with traditional grip (and using either hand) was always easier or more natural in sweeping motions. Despite that I opted to go matched so been working on it since , but still-just for me personally-traditional grip with brushes seemed more natural??
I tried for years to get traditional brushes feeling as good as matched, and now I play in a jazz situation that is mainly brushes, and there is no time for experimentation...it has to be "on the spot", so matched wins. But i hate playing jazz with sticks matched, so I switch to trad for that if the song allows...
 

TMe

Senior Member
I see an "a ha!" moment in your future
I think I got it. With matched grip, it's feels natural for me to hold the sticks toward the butt end. With trad grip, the left hand naturally wants the fulcrum closer to the balance point of the stick, and the right hand follows. So it's basically what almost every Jazz player says, keep your fulcrum near the balance point for more speed and better control, whereas Rockers tend to hold the stick further back for a different sort of sound and playing style.

Edit: Now my double shuffle, played with match grip, has suddenly improved. It seems working on trad grip is worthwhile, if only because it makes me more aware of certain things, and improves my match grip. I think I might keep using trad for practice pad work, and match for playing the kit.
 
Last edited:
Top