What do you think of playing open handed?

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I've tried a few times. No matter what, the sticks just fall out unless I go ahead and close my hands. I'll keep trying!
 
Once you get used to it, it wont seem as hard as it was before. I used to play crossed over, but my arm would get tired doing that, so now i play open handed.
 

DustinB

Member
Once you get used to it, it wont seem as hard as it was before. I used to play crossed over, but my arm would get tired doing that, so now i play open handed.
I like to practice it, but I dunno that I'll ever fully switch to open handed. I feel like it's at least good in practice for grip, because the way the hi hat sloshes/tightness of it etc and then cymbals makes me strive for better control without even really thinking of it. Let alone it's good practice as far as just leading with the non dominant hand...after 10+ years of playing the other way, it was a huge step for me to do that lol. I think if i spent a few weeks with practicing syncopation I could probably get it down pretty quickly...i should probably challenge myself to that...we'll see lol.


what do I think of playing open handed...well http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_vllShqIgI
seems to work pretty freaking good for claus hessler
 

Three

Senior Member
Logistically, it makes so much more sense to play the hats open handed as both hands are out of each others way.

It's also excellent for moving around the kit whilst keeping time on the hats. On numerous occasions I've seen guys awkwardly crossing and stretching their left under the right hand in order to play a tom accent and I always think "that'd be so much easier if they just switched to open handed for that section"

However, and I'm saying this as an open handed player, I think that from the audience perspective, open handed looks weird and perhaps a little amateurish. Every other drummer I've mentioned it to disagreed so I'm probably alone on that one :)
 

BigDinSD

Gold Member
I'd play open handed if I could. I personally think that's why my left hand is not as skilled at the right hand. Often times the right hand playing on the HH gets all that 8th note and 16th note action ~ compared to the left hand that often just plays a single note (aside from ghosts, and rolls).

I'm 3.5 years back after a long absence, so I suppose there's time IF I made it a priority.
 
T

TwoCables

Guest
Im just wondering, because i play open handed.
There's no right or wrong way to play as long as it works for you. If something doesn't work for you, then it's probably wrong for you (notice I said probably). Ultimately though, never worry about, or wonder what other people think. Let your sound do the talking for you. If someone wants to judge you for the way you play or the way you look when you play or anything like that, then that's too bad for them.
 

Jonny Sumo

Senior Member
I'll sometimes sit for 10 minutes just playing a 4/4 backbeat with L on the hihat and right on the snare, if I don't concentrate than my left hand wanders..time a little off, sloppy impact on hihat etc I have the luxury of being able to set my ride to being an open hihat (electric kit) so can avoid crossing over that way. Just not good enough I suppose...
I remember seeing Jason Bonham demonstrating the intro for Rock n Roll a few years ago and he played it open ...he said it was cos his left hand wasn't as good as his Dads so he had to use the right to get the snare rhythm right; dont know how he does it now?
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
I agree with TwoCables.


Now, I personally have been developing open-handed playing for probably 6 years now, obviously not to the point where it is precisely as good as playing regularly, but it is now something that I do regularly live as well as during general practise. It has helped with my coordination and control, and obviously the flexibility of movement around the kit.

That being said, it is essentially learning to play from scratch, or near enough. Are you willing to put the work in to build up the coordination to play that way? If you're a new enough beginner, then I think it's a good exercise to work on it both ways as you have to develop coordination anyway, and the best student I ever had before she moved interstate was one who took the advice on board and put the work into practising everything both ways.

If you're an 'intermediate' level drummer, it may actually be more important to put less of a focus on open-handed playing, and just work on developing your overall abilities as you'll probably find there are more important things to work on. Once you start getting to a more advanced level, where you're already comfortable in numerous genres and you find that you are spending more time working out of specialised books, that's a great time to take up playing open handed.

Personally, when I work on any beats in books, I practise LH lead + RF lead, and RH lead + LF lead so that everything is getting work done. Logically to me this makes sense - having a strong limb creating a foundation for a weaker limb, so all that mental effort goes to the right place instead of being divided. I can, of course, play leading with any limb combination, although I know I probably can't coordinate opening a hihat pedal with my right foot as I haven't even attempted that in yeas :)

But yeah. There are certainly benefits to playing open handed. Increase in coordination, improvements to balance. Technique benefits, dynamic awareness, freedom of movement around the kit.


Oh, and one last thing: Jim Chapin actually recommended practising everything open handed if leading on the hihat at the start of Advanced Techniques. I must say, it's probably one of the best things for coordination that I've ever taken on board :)
 

DustinB

Member
I agree with TwoCables.


Now, I personally have been developing open-handed playing for probably 6 years now, obviously not to the point where it is precisely as good as playing regularly, but it is now something that I do regularly live as well as during general practise. It has helped with my coordination and control, and obviously the flexibility of movement around the kit.

That being said, it is essentially learning to play from scratch, or near enough. Are you willing to put the work in to build up the coordination to play that way? If you're a new enough beginner, then I think it's a good exercise to work on it both ways as you have to develop coordination anyway, and the best student I ever had before she moved interstate was one who took the advice on board and put the work into practising everything both ways.

If you're an 'intermediate' level drummer, it may actually be more important to put less of a focus on open-handed playing, and just work on developing your overall abilities as you'll probably find there are more important things to work on. Once you start getting to a more advanced level, where you're already comfortable in numerous genres and you find that you are spending more time working out of specialised books, that's a great time to take up playing open handed.

Personally, when I work on any beats in books, I practise LH lead + RF lead, and RH lead + LF lead so that everything is getting work done. Logically to me this makes sense - having a strong limb creating a foundation for a weaker limb, so all that mental effort goes to the right place instead of being divided. I can, of course, play leading with any limb combination, although I know I probably can't coordinate opening a hihat pedal with my right foot as I haven't even attempted that in yeas :)

But yeah. There are certainly benefits to playing open handed. Increase in coordination, improvements to balance. Technique benefits, dynamic awareness, freedom of movement around the kit.


Oh, and one last thing: Jim Chapin actually recommended practising everything open handed if leading on the hihat at the start of Advanced Techniques. I must say, it's probably one of the best things for coordination that I've ever taken on board :)
I sometimes practice this way for pretty much the same reasons. It definitely has its benefits. It just makes sense to me as well, and it's fun.
 

GrowthMusic

Senior Member
I normally cross over for simple grooves, but for anything fast in pace, odd-timed, or something that is rather unorthodox, I actually prefer open-handed playing. I'm trying to be equally comfortable with both styles of playing, because ambidexterity on a kit is extremely important (to me, at least).
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
Playing open is something that I've started working more on recently, and I really like it. For one thing, it really helps even out your hands, which helps your drumming out in general, but it also opens up many new possibilities as far as orchestration is concerned. In my opinion, every drummer should work on it, at least a little bit! The ultimate goal should be to attain complete ambidexterity!

I've tried a few times. No matter what, the sticks just fall out unless I go ahead and close my hands. I'll keep trying!
This made me happy :D That's my kind of joke, Dr.!
 
T

TwoCables

Guest
Omg I totally missed that joke!! I love it!

Edit: Oh geez, it's the first reply to this thread too.
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
Omg I totally missed that joke!! I love it!

Edit: Oh geez, it's the first reply to this thread too.
Haha, I know! I couldn't believe that no one else had commented on it yet. I guess the humor was too high-brow, and it went over everyone else's heads ;)
 
J

Joseph "Stix" Davis

Guest
I play open handed a lot. My left hand is my weaker hand, so to get more stick time with my left hand, I'll play slow/moderate tempo songs using my left hand on the hi-hat. If I'm playing a section that has hi-hat (or any cymbal) playing at the same time as the snare, (i.e. cymbal and snare both on 1, 2, 3, 4) I will alternate my hands. I think it looks cooler that way. :)
 
T

TwoCables

Guest
Haha, I know! I couldn't believe that no one else had commented on it yet. I guess the humor was too high-brow, and it went over everyone else's heads ;)
Personally, I was only looking to make a serious comment. So, I guess I just skimmed over anything that didn't look serious. lol I don't remember reading that first post, but I vaguely remember seeming to know instantly that it wasn't a serious contribution. lol
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
Personally, I was only looking to make a serious comment. So, I guess I just skimmed over anything that didn't look serious. lol I don't remember reading that first post, but I vaguely remember seeming to know instantly that it wasn't a serious contribution. lol
Haha, I know, I'm just kidding! I routinely misinterpret things when I don't expect them to be humorous, haha.
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
I love it, I only play crossed when sitting in on someone else's set. I play open handed no matter which hand is leading.
 

Brian

Gold Member
I think open-handed playing helped mostly with my approach and sort of the "balance", being able to play open-handed creates options that aren't available otherwise. Do I need to switch? Not usually, but sometimes it's a no-brainer. Having options available, with restraint/discretion is a good tool. It's something that is important but not a deal-breaker, so iwearnohats makes a good point that it shouldn't be a priority to someone who's already settled into a one-dimensional approach and trying to improve.
 
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