Traditional Grip - Both Hands?

TTNW

Pioneer Member
A question for traditional grip players. I am not wanting to start a discussion as to the virtues of traditional grip vs. matched grip.

I play matched grip and so I am relying on you traditional grip players to give me, as best you can, an unbiased answer.

Whether you play both grips or prefer traditional grip, why is it that no one uses traditional grip for both hands? My understanding of the history of traditional grip is that it was born out of necessity from playing marching snares that were slung in front of you. Due to the angle of the snare, it was easier to play (right handed) with an unmatched grip, left hand traditional grip. Then with the evolution of the drumset this became the adopted style and then preferred style. Turn of the century through the 40's.

For those that prefer and perhaps also espouse more benefits to the traditional grip in drumset playing, would it not make sense to also play with the right hand grip in this manner? Especially for those that claim they have more power, dexterity, etc..

I promise I am not trying to bait an argument, nor is this a loaded question. I believe that a drummer should use the grip that works best for them.

I been watching drummers for thirty years and I’ve never seen one play this way. If anyone has please let me know as I am very curious to see this in action.

If you’re a drummer that believes that this typical left hand traditional grip is superior then why wouldn’t you adopt it for the other hand? It seems logical that you could set your kit up to accommodate this two handed traditional grip and reap even further benefits.

I read the Ben Sesar (drummer for Brad Paisley) article in a magazine on how and why he switched from matched to traditional after 30 years of playing and yet his right hand grip didn't get mentioned.
 

JacobD226

Junior Member
That is a good question. I would say it is mostly about the ability to move around the kit ergonomically and with the greatest ease. I use both grips switching off depending on the style I happen to be playing and I have to say that playing with a traditional grip in both hands would not only look rather silly but, would also be quite inefficient when trying to move around the kit, especially if you have a larger set up
 
J

JediJesseS

Guest
Few would say that traditional grip is strictly technically "superior". What it offers is a different feel, a different touch, that some prefer.

In many styles our right and left hands are performing fundamentally different roles. In jazz the ride pattern is played against comping patterns on the snare. In other styles the snare hand creates textures with ghost notes and drags while the hi hat hand keeps a steady pulse. Traditional grip makes these conceptual divisions a physical reality, changing the feel of the beat for the player and audience.
 

RollingStone000

Silver Member
When I started back in February I was pretty dead set on being bale to play traditional grip. However my left hand was severely behind in the capabilities my right hand was able to play so I played in "reversed" fashion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69Ly17UkDoI ; my playing's gotten better since). I'm still working on the regular trad grip which is coming along slowly but burely

Here's a clip of Mr. Billy Cobham doing what he does
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2VYKgFBH3A

And a fella by the name of Tyler Dempsey (the buzz rolls are jaw dropping)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7pRaPMV0pY
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
Few would say that traditional grip is strictly technically "superior". What it offers is a different feel, a different touch, that some prefer.

In many styles our right and left hands are performing fundamentally different roles.
This is so true. I turned my kit around and set it up lefty and besides my lack of ambidextrous coordination, it was very obvious that my right hand had an easier time playing what my left hand normally does.

I truly struggled with straight eighths on the hat and certain ride patterns with my left hand.

I could barely play the bass drum, which I expected but the "roles" that each limb typically play has a lot to do with how and why you will prefer a particular grip style or set up.
 

iainp999

Junior Member
Funnily enough, I just watched one of Dom Famularo's "cyber lessons" on the Vic Firth website. If you check out the one on traditional grip, he says at the end that Billy Cobham sometimes played traditional with both hands.

It doesn't really answer your question, but there's an example of someone who did!
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
Awesome. I knew somebody would come through with an example.

Now I will scour the web for a video sample of this.

Thanks.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
Go watch the section on traditional grip in JoJo's Secert Weapons of the Modern Drummer DVD. He gives a great explaination of why the left hand is changed in traditional grip, but right hand isn't, and actually shows the angles, etc, that explain it. There was no reason, based on the angles of the drums, to play your right hand that way.
 

RollingStone000

Silver Member
It's definitely worth the buy. I picked it up a few months ago and it has saved me a lot of time when it comes to practicing. Had I not gotten that I'd probably still be practicing with blisters and callouses all over my hands.
 

JPW

Silver Member
Well, from the learning point of view it was historically the best solution to play with different grips because your brain could differentiate the left from the right more easily. But this isn't such an important factor for a modern drumset drummer anymore. There really isn't any reason why one _couldn't_ use traditional grip in both hands, but drumset usually is set up in a configuration where you can reach everything more easily with matched or only one traditional grip. But yes indeed, you could configure it in a way to better use two traditional ones.

I guess this is just a matter of tradition really. It would look silly to everyone to use traditional in both hands. To give an analogy, there really isn't any reason why you couldn't play a guitar upside down guitar's neck being between your ankles, but that would just look stupid and you'd have to do lot of technical innovation to make it practical. I would think the time would be spend more efficiently doing something else, like playing the instrument. =P
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
I guess this is just a matter of tradition really. It would look silly to everyone to use traditional in both hands. To give an analogy, there really isn't any reason why you couldn't play a guitar upside down guitar's neck being between your ankles, but that would just look stupid and you'd have to do lot of technical innovation to make it practical. I would think the time would be spend more efficiently doing something else, like playing the instrument. =P
That makes a lot of sense. Jeff Healy played his guitar in his lap.

It certainly makes sense to put more relevance on the word "traditional" in evaluating why it is still so prevelant. In many ways, most of us set up our drum kits in a traditional fashion.
 

RollingStone000

Silver Member
FYI - If you check out drum channel in the entertainment section, they've got a rebroadcast of DC Live with Ralph Humphrey and Joe Porcaro. It starts out with the two and Terry Bozzio playing on practice pads and Porcaro's playing traditional with his right hand.
 
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