Traditional Grip v Matched Grip

double bass man

Junior Member
Do you switch grips on a gig?
a) Pros & Cons of each grip?
b) Depends on the style of music?
c) Do most 'jazzer's' use the traditional grip?
(ps---I am a relatively newbe--hence questions.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I'll switch a gig on the grip of a handshake if it doesn't feel right!

[Only a drummer who practices paradiddles with both hands leading can make that stuff up]

Seriously though, I am exclusively trad at the moment. My only matched grip is striking the high tom with my crossstick during a bossa nova or samba groove. Perhaps if I practiced more regularly I would trend toward using both.

(a) Match looks cooler. You get that fat gospel chops snare sound too. You get to angle the snare toward you, which makes the total kit footprint smaller. You also get to add extra toms just to the right of the hihat (on a right-handed set) without worrying about playability issues (the common issue with the butt end of trad player's stick).
Trad grip puts the work in your elbow and wrist, and thumb, thereby completely eliminating the stress on the shoulder and neck. But trad grip is harder to get a meatier rim shot sound, which is why trad players tend more to be vegetarian. Trad grip players can quickly switch from trad to cross-stick. Trad is short for 'traditional', so players have the comfort of knowing they came first. Trad often calls for an angling of the snare away from you, and in the process, puts you at risk for injuring your leg against the snare stand cradle or the throwoff, especially if it's a chunky throwoff.
(b) Yes
(c) Yes

EDIT: Trad grip players get to fondle the side of a snare in the middle of a 2-4 backbeat. Especially pleasing if it's a high-gloss lacquer stained maple finish.
 
Last edited:

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Do you switch grips on a gig?
a) Pros & Cons of each grip?
I can't really think of any cons for matched...with trad, if you don't practice it enough, you can't get as much power out of it. Traditional - at least for me - feels like it sort of goes "against" the natural way your muscles were meant to move, so you have to do sone compensation as you grow the technique.

I use trad for jazz b/c I feel it gives me a lighter touch when i need it. I grew up in the marching band/drum corps world, so trad is pretty natural to me

b) Depends on the style of music?
it does, but ,any guys use it exclusively across styles well, so comfort with it is directly related to practicing with it

c) Do most 'jazzer's' use the traditional grip?
I think most older school guys do, but I'll bet in the past 20 years, it is closer to 50/50

(ps---I am a relatively newbe--hence questions.
 

Timmy

Well-known member
Now that my hands are back in shape and my feet are getting there, I was thinking about starting practicing with 'matched grip'. You'd think it would feel natural to play 'matched grip', but, for me, it's very awkward. I'm sure for 'matched grip' players this seems very strange.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Trad grippers are more vegetarian?😄🤣
Trad grippers are more likely to be vegetarian :p
Now that my hands are back in shape and my feet are getting there, I was thinking about starting practicing with 'matched grip'. You'd think it would feel natural to play 'matched grip', but, for me, it's very awkward. I'm sure for 'matched grip' players this seems very strange.
It's 20 yrs for me, since the last time I played matched. I know I won't even try it on the fly without risk to injury. I get close with the crossstick bossa nova, but some weird side wrist movement. You couldn't get a date with it to save your life if you had to.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I play traditional if I’m doing brush work.

In college I injured my hand playing frisbee, and it was in a splint for several weeks. I had to play traditional grip on timpani during that time.
 

JeffCrouse

Active member
More vegetarian! LOL. I like both grips. Some things feel more natural to me in one or the other. I can get more power/volume from matched grip in my left hand. I can't honestly say that one has more of a touch than the other though. From my drumline days, I always loved the way a traditional snare line looks.
 

drumnut87

Well-known member
i tend to favour trad grip more, the only times i dont is if im playing black metal or some of the faster stuff.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The one thing I've managed to master...sucking bigtime at trad grip. So no switching, except for brushes. Reverse trad anyone? I suck at brushes too.

Even though I started out trad, matched suits me better. I could never get the power with trad and it always felt discombobulated for me to use 2 different hand techniques. My left hand has a hard enough time without me using a weaker technique (IMO) on my weaker hand.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
I've been cleaning out my parent's house and recently found old photos of me playing - I forgot how much I played trad when I was kid. I don't anymore, but missed some aspects of it until I became hip to French, German and American grip - really understanding how to use them and mix them up between my hands - feels less caveman...
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Now that my hands are back in shape and my feet are getting there, I was thinking about starting practicing with 'matched grip'. You'd think it would feel natural to play 'matched grip', but, for me, it's very awkward. I'm sure for 'matched grip' players this seems very strange.
I have played both for years, and going from one to another only feels weird if I stay in one grip for days at a time. Like during marching band season, I am using trad all the time, so when I go to play set, it takes a minute to get matched back into the groove. I can switch within a session/gig with no issue at all.
 

moxman

Silver Member
I recently re-discovered my trad grip which had been dormant for 30 years - and good as gold! If I was learning from scratch I'd still probably go matched grip.. in fact I've spent the last 30 years trying to make my left hand matched grip as good as my old left hand trad grip. For me it comes down to the finer strokes.. for trad - quiet playing I can get finger tip control over the stick.. and ghost notes are really sublime - I get a different feeling out of it... and my buzz roll in trad is super smooth. But to be honest for 99% of the time I can do everything in matched as I could with trad. Matched is really more comfortable for loud playing and rolling around the kit for me - I like the symmetry. Also when I say matched I'm talking about the 'American grip' 2nd finger, 2nd knuckle fulcrum on both hands..
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
There will be as many answers as ther are players.

Self taught young player wll probably play matches.

If your teacher and/or your heroes played trad, you probably gave that a whirl or still play that way.

To some there is a different creative process when playing trad as the movements are different and may help lead to splitting the hands diferently in your mind.

Matched grip will give you a bit more reach if that's important.

I like trad, but you won't have to work hard to explain to me that matched is more natural and easier to learn. I agree. Trad looks cooler, though. 😄

I played only trad for years and matched was weird just because I was not used to it at all. At this point it doesn't really matter much. It's more about my mood that day and I try to keep them both happening.
 
Try as I might over the years I could never get the hang of traditional. I do admit it does look cool to me for certain things . I could not play for one pipe band because of it . My matched play left hand is weak enough ( to me) without complicating things with traditional. I’d love to be able to do it and with a lot of practice maybe I could , but after being off a kit for so long , all my time is devoted to and better spent just getting back to old form. But as I think Larry asked earlier in the thread ..... I can do it with the right, but I find no reason or advantage to it over matched on the right , but I still do it occasionally on the ride over the 14 floor, .... just because ,....... and it’s FUN 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

donzo74

Junior Member
I play most everything traditional these days. I started off playing matched and went to tradish in high school for drum line and I just like the feel of the mechanics of the motion. It was strange at first but then something clicked and it just made sense and felt right. The only time I play matched these days is when I play cross stick clicks because I like the sound of the fat end of the stick on the rim. However, if I'm playing a song that has cross sticks in it, I will just play the whole song matched and playing with the butt end of the stick. This gives a strong cross stick and a fat snare sound for a power ballad or big gospel number. Then I go back to tradish for the next tune. I prefer traditional for keeping the volume down for church, small venues and jazz but high volume usually isn't an issue, provided you get a good strong whip of the wrist and allow your thumb and index finger to work together to back each other up. I prefer to play more of an open-handed, Vinnie-style traditional technique.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
I'm 99.9% matched grip, as its the only grip I ever properly learned and practice with.

I kinda know academically speaking the basics of traditional grip, and sometimes if I'm playing an easy tune with a jazzy feel, I'll start with trad grip just for shits and giggles. I'll switch back to matched in the middle of the song. I just do it for fun and to show off a little ;)
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
It may have already been stated, but there's zero reason this needs to be one or the other kinda thing.

Use whatever is the most comfortable and gives you the sound you want to hear for what you're playing. There's a reason lots of jazz players like trad, it gives it's own subtle sound and facilitates small stick work on the snare.

I'm not very good at trad grip and don't use it a ton but there are situations I find it comfortable and the "right" sound.

For that matter my match grip changes a lot as I play... Again, depending how I want it to sound or what I'm trying to do.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I think so to Doc. It's like where you grab a stick can shift up and down the shaft, the grip can shift to, why not? Like Larry I've done the other hand traditional grip for brushes to-even both hands at one time. Traditional just seems to work with brushes but I finally settled on matched after screwing with it forever-it was like a compromise of this anal retentive vs that - I'd created a list and whittled through it. I was just practicing brushes the other day-settled right into "my thing". You won't believe how long I struggled and tried every dang thing I saw on every videos (I think that was part of the problem)-it was actually Tony who set me on the path to find my way-which damn I made it hard.
 
Top