Trad or matched? completely torn here

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
Between whether to proceed with developing my matched or traditional grip. Yeah, I know, it's a subject that's been beaten to death. And before anybody says "well, just learn both"...hear me out.

I've stated a few times here that I've gotten back into drumming after a long hiatus. Before my break, I played matched grip. But I never really developed any sort of technique. I was actually anti-technique. But now that I've gotten a second chance I've really been wanting to perfect my grip. On a whim, I tried playing with traditional grip and it's been working pretty well. I actually play better with it than with matched. But here's my dilemna...

I already don't have much time to play the kit, much less practice my technique. While I've got horrible technique with matched grip, it's what I know and it feels the most natural. But then I can actually do some pretty impressive stuff with traditional grip, but it doesn't feel natural....it's like it works but I don't feel like I have much control. Now, I simply don't have the time to learn both, so I need to just pick one and go with it, but I don't know what's the best path to take. Go with what feels natural, but awkward, and just work through it. Or go with what's been mysteriously working, yet doesn't feel very natural at all?

Any advice, thoughts, and personal experience stories would be GREATLY appreciated.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Re: I am so completely torn here

It really doesn't matter mate......honestly. Pick the stick up and hold it however you feel will best serve what you want to do on a drum kit.

Obsessing over this is only distracting you from what's really important. This is just not the sort of thing that is worth splitting yourself in two over.
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
Stick with trad. Why? It looks cooler. ;)
I know it probably sounds superficial, but part of what keeps drawing me to trad is that it just flat-out looks cooler.

It really doesn't matter mate......honestly. Pick the stick up and hold it however you feel will best serve what you want to do on a drum kit.

Obsessing over this is only distracting you from what's really important. This is just not the sort of thing that is worth splitting yourself in two over.
I agree what what you're saying, but at the same time, I kinda WANT to obsess over it because I feel like I want to make a final decision that is going to benefit me most in the long run.

I laid out the cases for both. Based on that, which would you go with?
 
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Red Menace

Platinum Member
Re: I am so completely torn here

I moved over to drums from the guitar. I have been playing about 3 years now, taking lessons for most of that and I never get tired of my teached and my father in law telling me how much better I have gotten.

When I started playing I played matched because that's how my friends who were drummers played. I'm not sure when or even why I just decided one day that I wanted to play trad grip. When I started taking lessons I told my teacher that I would to like to learn to play with trad grip. It took a little while to really build up the ability. I figure that was a mix of the weaker hand and the new techniqe. I remember that I used to have to switch to match about halfway through a gig because my left hand got tired. Your ring-finger cuticle hurts like hell when you're learning.

Now a few years later I think that I have finally gotten the hang of it. I play trad maybe 98% of the time. I'll switch to play with mallets and to use cross-stick. I can still play some of the really tom heavy bits of the hard hitting parts with matched just fine.

If you really want to play trad then go for it. Get yourself a pad and play it while you watch TV, your significant other will eventually get used to the tapping. Get a teacher and take some lessong. You won't be limiting yourself by playing trad. The only limitation will be not working to improve your technique.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Re: I am so completely torn here

I agree what what you're saying, but at the same time, I kinda WANT to obsess over it because I feel like I want to make a final decision that is going to benefit me most in the long run.
Yeah, but for mine it's a bit like like saying that you're gonna walk for a thousand miles.....but aren't able to get started because you can't decide whether to put your left or right foot forward first.

When those thousand miles have been walked, will it matter?

I laid out the cases for both. Based on that, which would you go with?
If it were me, I'd flip the stick at will and work on both as my fancy took me. I've been doing this for ages anyway. I don't forget how to play matched grip because I've spent some time working on trad and vice versa. I find any time spent working my hands is beneficial regardless of how I hold the stick. One doesn't work to the detriment of the other.

But in your case you say you don't have time to "learn" both. Then stick with what you know. Play matched and there's no need to acquire a new skill....merely to continue to develop old ones.
 

Ian Ballard

Silver Member
Re: I am so completely torn here

I know it probably sounds superficial, but part of what keeps drawing me to trad is that it just flat-out looks cooler.
Besides that, it is physically impossible to properly play a second-line New Orleans groove with matched. \m/
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Re: I am so completely torn here

The answer will come to you.
Use your head, but follow your heart, and make your dreams become reality.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Re: I am so completely torn here

I agree with Pocket. I use trad with brushes for easier sweeping but I've found that I prefer it in brush songs where there's no sweeping because it keeps the brush loop from getting tangled in my bracelet lol

Also, I've found trad helps with an odd problem I've had in recent years. My left hand starts shaking in the first song of gigs and also the first song after the break - to the point where it's almost impossible to play properly. Horrible and disturbing. It seems to be a nervous thing. While I seem to feel and behave perfectly relaxed and normal before gigs, my left hand says otherwise. But ... it's okay if I use trad grip. I supoose it is something to do with the way my nervousness acts on certain muscle groups.

So I am slowly shifting. I don't care what grip I use - whatever works. After seeing that guy without arms carving it up on another thread, it clearly doesn't much matter apart from the little credibility game, ie. trad grip can make you look like a taught "serious" musician, which of course might be just an affectation :)
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Re: I am so completely torn here

I already don't have much time to play the kit, much less practice my technique.
The important thing is that you spend some time on it every day, that practice is a DAILY thing for you. Even if it's only 10 minutes some days, every day exercise is much more effective than 4 hours on your day off. I always feel like recommending Great Hands For a Lifetime to someone who wants to get their fundamentals together. Get a practice pad and a metronome app on your phone, and you're good to go!

If you like trad, play it. Don't completely neglect matched.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
I'll share a little story that sounds somewhat similar to your experience :)

When I first started out drumming, I was pushed straight into the punk scene by a guitarist friend. My right hand built up blazing fast speed (I was also playing other stuff all the time, too), but my left hand, as much as I tried, not only couldn't develop the speed, but the bad technique I was using was so far ingrained that I felt I couldn't fix it.

So after three years of playing, I switched to traditional grip, which I played for about 6 years. During this time, I ended up hitting the same speed plateau due to circumstances which prevented me getting enough practise, but I developed quite impressive power and clarity, as well as dexterity around the kit. Having Virgil Donati as my inspiration was a big help :).

Anyway, after the last 2 years' worth of frustration at still being stuck at the speed plateau, and in the middle of a band practise, I decided to switch back to matched and start from scratch, as I felt it was time to do so.

As a consequence, I was able to redevelop my left hand matched grip technique, and I managed to get it mostly right. It took a couple of years to work out the main problem I had was holding the stick at too high an angle, and as soon as I lowered it to almost parallel, the physical 'impairment' that I felt was preventing me building speed disappeared. Not long after that, I forced myself to develop French grip with both hands, which was MAJOR struggle, and now my left hand feels like it's finally reaching its potential with regards to speed and control, and I no longer feel any sort of physical barrier preventing me from moving ahead at full steam.

With regards to those who've followed my comments in the single foot speed thread, hand technique is a far more complex issue IMO, we're talking about more joints and more complicated planes of movement. It is very easy to start off with poor hand technique without correct instruction, or by ignoring your teacher, and that can cause issues down the track, even if you build up speed, you could end up with joint issues, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, etc.
 

uniongoon

Gold Member
I just read the Dave Weckl interview in Drumhead magazine. He is of the belief traditional grip has done internal damage to his hand, and he cites other old pros with the same ailments. I play matched, after reading that, with all my physical injuries, I am glad I do play matched.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
IMO - work on matched - it won't take long to get your technique together.

I always thought trad was cool, and when I started delving into technique my teacher would only go through matched (he was a converted Trad player). If you learn a loose middle finger fulcrum, get the Freestroke happening letting the sticks do the work, you should be good. With my lessons I got hip to German, French and American grips - once I saw the possibilities available Trad just looked way to limiting to invest my time into. I know what you mean about trying to learn two different grips - it's just way too time consuming...

In the last couple of years I've been hearing about big-time pro players who are getting lots of injuries with Trad grip - Weckl, Thomas Lang, Aaron Commess, etc. These are guys with great, natural technique, too.
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
Re: I am so completely torn here

The important thing is that you spend some time on it every day, that practice is a DAILY thing for you. Even if it's only 10 minutes some days, every day exercise is much more effective than 4 hours on your day off. I always feel like recommending Great Hands For a Lifetime to someone who wants to get their fundamentals together. Get a practice pad and a metronome app on your phone, and you're good to go!

If you like trad, play it. Don't completely neglect matched.
As a matter of fact, I picked up that DVD last week and I really like it. I really like Igoe's approach and attitude. One thing that I CAN do every day is spend about 10-15 minutes, undisturbed, with the pad and metronome after work. I've been doing the bounce practice routine in matched. Then I tried to play along when they do the actual routine with the other guys and couldn't even get faster than 105 bpm. But I want to stick with it.
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
I just read the Dave Weckl interview in Drumhead magazine. He is of the belief traditional grip has done internal damage to his hand, and he cites other old pros with the same ailments. I play matched, after reading that, with all my physical injuries, I am glad I do play matched.
Good point. And something that definitely concerns me. Thomas Lang has said that he switched to matched for the same reasons, but then that was refuted by somebody, somewhere that he only switched because he could do the same things with matched that he could with traditional.

Still, it's not the most comforting thing to hear. Then again, those guys play probably 8 hours a day. I suppose if you do anything physical for 8 hours a day, your joints, bones, and tendons are going to wear down over time.
 

SEVNT7

Senior Member
Both, Why limit yourself. More tools are best. A screwdriver and a hammer will do more than having one of those. Both are better. OPTIONS.
 

Arky

Platinum Member
Both, Why limit yourself. More tools are best. A screwdriver and a hammer will do more than having one of those. Both are better. OPTIONS.
+1, absolutely! I wouldn't even bother thinking of limiting myself when there's no need to.
Trad or matched? That's not even a question in my book ;-)
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Re: I am so completely torn here

As a matter of fact, I picked up that DVD last week and I really like it. I really like Igoe's approach and attitude. One thing that I CAN do every day is spend about 10-15 minutes, undisturbed, with the pad and metronome after work. I've been doing the bounce practice routine in matched. Then I tried to play along when they do the actual routine with the other guys and couldn't even get faster than 105 bpm. But I want to stick with it.
Cool! Keep it up! If you're going at it every day, the speed should come in a few weeks. That's what I like about that DVD: it pushes you along, much like a drum line or music camp would. After you're doing well with the guys in the video, post and ask about where to go next.
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
Re: I am so completely torn here

Cool! Keep it up! If you're going at it every day, the speed should come in a few weeks. That's what I like about that DVD: it pushes you along, much like a drum line or music camp would. After you're doing well with the guys in the video, post and ask about where to go next.
In your opinion, are the tempos they play at on the DVD what a beginner should be playing at? In that first little practice routine, they go up to 200 bpm! There's no way I can touch that.

Is the idea to not go further in the DVD until I can get that fast? Or at least considerably faster than I am now? It's a 4-hour long video and I'm overwhelmed after just the first 20 minutes, you know?
 
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