Traditional Vs. Matched

Jazz+Ska!

Member
Most drummers seem to play one of the matched grips, usually the american grip, whenever they play drumset. I think that is their folly. Traditional (in most cases) is better, at least I think so. Traditional gives better angles, stays out of the way, and is just as fast as matched, if not faster. But, matched is easier to master and you usually learn it first. I am not saying everyone should play traditional, matched does have its uses, but I think that more drummers should have traditional grip in their arsenal. So, I was wondering what other drummers thought was better, matched or traditional?
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Whatever feels good to you and gets you around the drum set with ease is the best for you.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
If traditional grip is so advantageous, then why not hold both sticks that way?

Just curious.

I like playing traditional grip as an oddball exercise and to handicap myself when compulsion is tempting me to overplay, and I can also feel how it helps my backbeat sit differently. I also like the way it looks when other drummers use it and would like to be able to it use it myself, but I have bigger drumming fish to fry and not all the time in the world.

I'm not sure I would go so far as to call matched grip a folly, though. That seems probably harsher than you intended. There are a lot of very skilled drummers who use matched grip. I'm sure you could think of one or two.
 

zakhopper316

Silver Member
it depends on what style your playing, i switched to traditional a few years a go when i started learning jazz, i dont switch back even when i play rock because i really like having my thumb doing the work, i play much faster that way, and i also like the way use my fingers, for single stroke rolls i pull up with my matched fingers, and push dow with my trad. fingers, helps me play faster for some reason.
 

justaramsfan

Junior Member
Most drummers seem to play one of the matched grips, usually the american grip, whenever they play drumset. I think that is their folly. Traditional (in most cases) is better, at least I think so. Traditional gives better angles, stays out of the way, and is just as fast as matched, if not faster. But, matched is easier to master and you usually learn it first. I am not saying everyone should play traditional, matched does have its uses, but I think that more drummers should have traditional grip in their arsenal. So, I was wondering what other drummers thought was better, matched or traditional?
Well, matched grip can be used on any orchestral instrument...technically making it more versatile
 

jjmason777

Senior Member
Then why do all the great traditional players, most of them jazz players, use matched grip for certain things, like for power for example?

I've seen all of them do it: Buddy, Jojo, Todd Sucherman, to name a few.
There is nothing you can't do with matched grip, but there are things you can't do with traditional.

Even Jojo admits on his DVD that traditional really has no use on the drum kit, as it came about for marching snare drum playing to overcome the angle problem. He says he only does it for creative purposes, and that it looks cool.

I say, do what is comfortable for you. I can play both, but prefer matched.
 

johnnyeatdrums

Junior Member
It all depends on the drummer. I use both. Mostly matched though. Like stated above, I'll use traditional when I get the urge to overplay. Also, being able to use both can give new ideas to a drummers playing.
 

Jazz+Ska!

Member
Yeah, I guess I did come across as a little harsh, but I meant was that it seems foolish to me that some drummers don't even give traditional a shot. I just think more drummers should get good with it, just so they can do it. Being good at traditional will not make you a bad matched player, it will make you better. And I guess in the end if you sound good it doesn't really matter.
Yeah, there are some very good matched drummers. I mean, look off the drumset and watch some tenor (like quads and quints and stuff) players. Pretty cool stuff. And obviously it has advantages on the kit (power, rim shots, etc).​
 

zakhopper316

Silver Member
buddy rich never used matched, he actually hated the matched grip rock movement, but its ok he can have an attitude because he is after all buddy rich.

and jjmason is right, there is no use for it or extra special power, except playing softly maybe,
and personal preference
i guess i use it because im just comfortable with it.
 

jjmason777

Senior Member
There are videos of Buddy using matched right here on this website. He used it in solos here and there, flipping the stick over and using the butt end for tom fills and cymbal crashes, just like Steve Smith does.

Ironically, I just saw a video of Led Zeppelin from 1968 or 1969 on VH1 Classic, where they are lip syncing to You Shook Me for The Beat Club, and John Bonham is playing traditional grip for the first half of the song!

I'm trying to find it online to post a link to it. It looked very weird.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I use trad grip (as in 20th century) for brush sweeping. The angles are easier; you can keep your elbow tucked in and my arm feels more steady and anchored. Matched all the way otherwise.

As with Mike, there's other stuff I want to work on without rebuilding half my playing almost from scratch.

There have been enough brilliant matched grip players to put to bed the idea that matched grip has any problems. It's clear to me that either grip's potential goes far beyond anything I'll manage in this lifetime, so it's a moot point for me.
 

shadowtick

Member
The endless debate continues......

(For the record, I play traditional grip 90% of the time, it is the grip I learned as a child, and feels more natural to me)


Just my 2¢

At least to my eyes and ears, I have seen some outstanding drummers use one, or the other or both grips.

In my estimation the key components of a grip are that it allows you to play in such a way that you do not injure yourself, and allows you to express whatever musical idea is in your "minds ear"

I find that my touch is better for playing quieter things, ghost notes are easier to play, my rimshots are just as loud playing traditional as opposed to matched. When playing other percussion intstruments, I defer to matched grip.

There is something about having the weight of your hand under the stick that offers a wonderful counterpoint. Ultimately its all about the sound we create and how it interacts with those we are playing with. Ultimately it sees to me that whatever makes sense in a musical context is the best approach

There are times when you want both hands to sound the same, and at other times, different flavors are called for. I think of playing tradional grip as an extra bit of spice I keep in my cabinet.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
If traditional grip is so advantageous, then why not hold both sticks that way?

Just curious.
Five reasons:

1. The tradition of being a drummer includes the history of military marching drummers, whose drums were slung over one shoulder, and the head of the drum was tilted to the right. The left hand adopted the traditional grip in order to accommodate the steep angle of the head. When you play traditional, you pay regard to the drummers of the past.

2. Because the (typical) drumset is not a symmetrical instrument, and although a symmetrical approach is visually appealing, it is not what drummers do, for the vast majority of their duties with a band.

3. It looks bad ass! :)

4. It sounds different (not better, just different!). The angle of approach to the snare is more severe with traditional grip, which makes snare comping and ghost notes sound more defined, and "smaller".

5. There are many dimensions to navigating the drumset. First, what type of music are you playing? A big band jazz vocabulary is suited to traditional grip, because the drumming of that genre was (is) defined by drummers who used that grip. Out of the limitations and strengths of traditional grip emerge combinations that lend themselves to the use of that grip. Is it feasible to use matched in this setting? Of course! But you will have a heck of a time copying a drummer who plays traditional with matched, and vice versa. But most drummers are trying to sound like themselves, so it's not a big deal.
 

Frost

Silver Member
Matched gives better reach and power, personally I use both, I use traditional grip when playing with brushes. The reason being, it's simply more comfortable and I feel like I'm more in control of the brush. Most of the time my left hand is maintaining the pulse on the snare, keeping the beat, I find it much easy to move the brush around the snare in traditional grip then matched
 

groovemaster_flex

Silver Member
I use both, and often switch between grips during live performances for the various pros and cons you get from using both.

To me, matched grip feels far more natural. My matched is a little weird compared to most drummers, as my left hand and right hand do not hold the sticks the same way. My right hand plays french (elbow in, thumb on top), while my left hand plays a little more german, with the knuckles over top of the stick. I find that playing german with my right spreads the pressure of pounding my snare with my left throughout the entire hand, rather than it being focussed on the tip of my thumb. The right hand playing french gives me the control I need to play intricate patterns on the ride and hats, plus, I just find it far more comfortable than playing german or american. That, by-in-large, is how I play within most settings.

I switch to traditional when I'm playing in quieter settings, as often I feel as though I can't get as much power out of a traditional grip than I can out of matched. Stewart Copeland feels otherwise (haha!). With traditional, I feel as though I can play with angles a lot more readily, although I sacrifice control of the stick. I do think I can comp easier using traditional as opposed to matched, although that might just be because I'm used to it. Either way, traditional for me lacks power but allows me to work angles.

Different grips for different situations. It all comes down to personal preference. I find that usually your hands gravitate towards a position that is natural and comfortable for them.
 

JPW

Silver Member
I'm actually starting to feel there's some good things about traditional grip.

First off all it affects your posture. Well it really shouldn't, your back should be straight and shoulders on about the same level, but I'm not talking about visually. But the fact that even though we might look the same when playing both grips there are different tension levels between different muscle groups and that affects the whole feeling of the grip on a whole body scale and that feel will affect how you play. And that _will_ be huge thing when improvising in jazz setting. Whether this change in feel is a good thing is of course a personal opinion. But I truly can understand there is a choice to be made.

Secondly, when we play matched grip we have our snares quite flat. Which makes our sticks always hit the snare in an angle, our wrists are in some sort of angle away from the surface, except in the true french grip. But when you tilt your snare right and use traditional grip, your right wrist is now hitting the surface straight and so does your left hand. So what if those ancient snare guys actually thought this was the optimal thing to do. They could have put the snares directly in front of them you know, without tilting it.

I dunno, I still use german matched grip. But for some weird feel reason the traditional is starting to feel more and more tempting. I now sort of understand why there isn't huge lists of reasons why either grip is better. It's just because it isn't that simple to explain why something feels better.
 

Frost

Silver Member
I find the lack of power in traditional grip (it isn't the same for everyone but I notice it) beneficial for grace notes, I find I always do flams a lot easier when using traditional grip over matched.
 
C

Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
I find the lack of power in traditional grip (it isn't the same for everyone but I notice it) beneficial for grace notes, I find I always do flams a lot easier when using traditional grip over matched.
There is no "lack of power" in traditional. What is true is that to generate the same power in traditional as you can in matched, you must be very flexible in your forearm.

I use matched at all times, except when I play restaurant tabletops with chopsticks. They are so small I find them hard to control in matched.

Casper
 

zakhopper316

Silver Member
There is no "lack of power" in traditional. What is true is that to generate the same power in traditional as you can in matched, you must be very flexible in your forearm.

I use matched at all times, except when I play restaurant tabletops with chopsticks. They are so small I find them hard to control in matched.

Casper
you can actually gain more power if you learn to pull your arm in on up strokes while using the inside most part of your thumb in traditional. the same way you do your fingers on matched grip, in traditional your thumb has more power than a couple of fingers, then when you get you fingers working while your thumb and forearm you will be able to play very fast. and the stick really feels weightless, more so then your matched hand
 
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