Yet another left-handed right-footed post/thread

First post here - and that is just because I did not want to resurrect one of the fairly old threads dealing with this genetic anomaly.
Just wanted to tell my side of this sad story and how I ended up dealing with it.
And I'll keep it short, promise.

I "learned" to play the drums on a typical righty-set. As a totally left-handed person I've always been playing open-handed. So I was always uncomfortable with your typical drum roll breaks Sn-Sn-TT1-TT1-TT2-TT2 etc. because I had to cross my hands on the transition to the next drum. Not to mention the ride cymbal being way out of reach of my left and me being not coordinated enough to lead with my right hand.

Kick drum with my left foot is impossible. I never really got taught, but Hi-Hat left/Kick drum right got burned into my synapses for almost 35 years (I'm 51)

Phase 1 (the past): mirroring (almost) the complete set

- playing cross-handed was no option, so the Hi-Hat HAD TO stay left of the snare drum (impossible because of the bass drum), better yet: ABOVE/BEHIND the snare drum. Which meant I had to ...
- buy a decent remote cable Hi-Hat (360 Euros, I settled for the Pearl Eliminator series) and the respective clamp for it to fasten it to a cymbal stand
- I had to rebuild the Speed Cobra double pedal. With the right tools (basically just the correct allen keys) a thing of about an hour

Conclusion: total weirdness. A part of my lefty brain rejoiced, the rest of me couldn't cope with the very unusual look and feel. And the indirect feel of the remote controlled parts just got me disconnected from the kick drum and the Hi-Hat. I hated it.

Phase 2 (the present): Falling back to a righty drummer set-up

This time I ended up with the ride cymbal left/above of the Hi-Hat and the tom-toms reversed (I only have 2 of them, 10" and 12")

Conclusion: Slightly unbalanced look of the setup because of the massive ride cymbal on the "wrong side" and the jumbled order of tom sizes.

It's not perfect, I still have to adapt my playing, but it's the best I can get out of it as long as I'm not rolling in dough and have my personal custom drum set built for me by well-paid drum kit builders.

Phase 3 (the future): practicing my own situationally unique style.

In my case this means I practice switching the leading hand any time I have to, mid-riff, mid-break etc. so I don't run into sticking problems during breaks and complicated patterns.

The only unresolved matter is the position of the Hi-Hat (I'd love to have it above/behind the snare drum) - but that's not left/right hand related and entirely anothe matter. And I still got the cable Hi-Hat stored in a cupboard somewhere.

Conclusion: Yet to be determined.
 

dale w miller

Silver Member
You’re the first person I have seen complain about being taught openhanded. I’ve heard lefties complain that they always have to turn around someone’s kit, but playing openhanded seems like a blessing to me.

I taught a lefty beginner to play openhanded the first time she was on a kit. I said she’d thank me later for purely for convenience sake. Now I feel bad for doing it.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Man, drummers are all out to lunch. In my humble opinion. What a mess.

The idea that a normally-abled human is some kind of "genetic anomaly" requiring endless technical fiddling, because someone deemed them x-handed/x-footed, is completely screwed up. I don't know if a teacher told her this, or if she picked it up "researching" drumming on line, or what. People are really in love with the idea, though.

Because do you know who never worries this much about their set up? Serious, music-oriented students and players who play dumb old normal right handed. Regardless of their handed/footed "identity." For them, these things that enthusiasts endlessly obsess over are virtually non-issues.

I can't keep writing the same arguments every time this comes up, so anyone interested in hearing more about this, see:

On Open-Handed Drumming / Handedness Is Dubious / Leave Them Kids Alone

Welcome to the forum KC, none of this is directed at you personally, this is just an ongoing issue with the way some people teach the drums. I hate seeing people getting their time wasted.
 

planoranger

Junior Member
todd --

I see you are not very passionate about this issue :ROFLMAO:

I whole-heartedly agree with you. I saw this topic earlier, but decided to not add anything to it. So thanks for opening the door for me. I am technically also left-handed. However, I play drums right-handed (traditional grip to boot) as well as most sports (oddly I play table tennis and throw a Frisbee left-handed...every other sports-related activity is right-handed).

Why is that? No teacher or coach ever asked me whether I was left-handed or right-handed. It was "Here's how you hold the sticks/throw the ball/swing the bat". Even though now I wish I was a left-handed batter...oh well.

I'm thankful that I'm a right-handed drummer. When I was younger and going to jams and sitting-in, outside of possibly adjusting the snare drum height (for which I certainly asked permission first), no other adjustment was necessary. So no eye-rolling either (at least until after I played).

The bottom line is this...when we first start out both our hands and both our feet are terrible, and NOTHING feels comfortable. So handedness is kind of ridiculous in the first place. Yeah maybe one hand/foot is stronger than the other, but they have this new invention to overcome that...it's called practice.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Because do you know who never worries this much about their set up? Serious, music-oriented students and players who play dumb old normal right handed. Regardless of their handed/footed "identity." For them, these things that enthusiasts endlessly obsess over are virtually non-issues.
Vital observation, Todd. Though the terms are inaccurately used interchangeably at times, a "serious drummer" and an "enthusiast" are two different animals. Serious drummers drum. Enthusiasts tweak the living hell out of everything -- their technique, their equipment, the lighting of their practice spaces -- because they either aren't very serious about the art of drumming itself or don't want to face the fact that their drumming is lacking in some manner and that the only solution is old-fashioned, disciplined practice. The Internet overflows with enthusiasts. They sometimes promote more harm than good.
 
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planoranger

Junior Member
Vital observation, Todd. Though the terms are inaccurately used interchangeably at times, a "serious drummer" and an "enthusiast" are two different animals. Serious drummers drum. Enthusiasts tweak the living hell out of everything -- their technique, their equipment, the lighting of their practice spaces -- because they either aren't very serious about drumming or don't want to face the fact that their drumming is lacking in some manner. The Internet overflows with enthusiasts. They promote more harm than good.
Wait!!! Depending on how much I had for dinner I might have to move my throne back a couple inches. Does that make me an enthusiast?:D
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
In my case this means I practice switching the leading hand any time I have to, mid-riff, mid-break etc. so I don't run into sticking problems during breaks and complicated patterns.
You have nailed on the head, the biggest problem with open-handed playing. It's especially confusing to any student who is learning a song they like, that was played by a typical righty drummer. Most fills and beats are going by too d**n fast for a student to be thinking "ok, now I've got to switch my sticking" right in the middle of it all.

I've successfully taught a handful of students, including at least one adult -- who is similar in age, right footed, and left handed -- to such a degree that his default handedness is no longer a hurdle. He plays "normal" righty exclusively at this point. In my teaching experience, it's only marginally more difficult for a lefty adult to learn righty, than it is for a left kid to learn righty. The human brain is not nearly as "wired" as is commonly thought. Practice overcomes default handedness eventually, as it does for other instruments.

Remarkably, what has really helped the adult lefty student was to spend a few weeks on a practice pad, doing a VERY beginner/abbreviated version of the Lifetime Warmup (even the beginner version of that is just too fast) with the metronome. The development of both hands to the point that you can execute smooth doubles, paradiddles, accents, etc. seems to make the *weak* hand much more at home as the leading hand.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Remarkably, what has really helped the adult lefty student was to spend a few weeks on a practice pad . . . "
An infinite truth for righties and lefties alike, though it's more manifest to me than remarkable. Much of what we do behind a drum set, especially if we play a backbeat-driven genre, promotes imbalances in dynamic dexterity. Fundamental commitment to pad work is the most efficient means of eradicating this defect. Exercising both hands in equal measure works wonders for control, touch, and speed. I've been drumming for what's nearing the four-decade mark, and pad practice has always been at the core of my regimen. There's no better way to stay conditioned and deft.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
At age 44, I’m finally learning to play both lefty AND righty, open AND closed-handed. I’m naturally left-handed and left-footed, but I learned on a right handed kit, with no problems. I believe everyone should learn all 4 ways. It has improved my playing in surprising ways.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
First post here - and that is just because I did not want to resurrect one of the fairly old threads dealing with this genetic anomaly.
Just wanted to tell my side of this sad story and how I ended up dealing with it.
And I'll keep it short, promise.

I "learned" to play the drums on a typical righty-set. As a totally left-handed person I've always been playing open-handed. So I was always uncomfortable with your typical drum roll breaks Sn-Sn-TT1-TT1-TT2-TT2 etc. because I had to cross my hands on the transition to the next drum. Not to mention the ride cymbal being way out of reach of my left and me being not coordinated enough to lead with my right hand.

Kick drum with my left foot is impossible. I never really got taught, but Hi-Hat left/Kick drum right got burned into my synapses for almost 35 years (I'm 51)

Phase 1 (the past): mirroring (almost) the complete set

- playing cross-handed was no option, so the Hi-Hat HAD TO stay left of the snare drum (impossible because of the bass drum), better yet: ABOVE/BEHIND the snare drum. Which meant I had to ...
- buy a decent remote cable Hi-Hat (360 Euros, I settled for the Pearl Eliminator series) and the respective clamp for it to fasten it to a cymbal stand
- I had to rebuild the Speed Cobra double pedal. With the right tools (basically just the correct allen keys) a thing of about an hour

Conclusion: total weirdness. A part of my lefty brain rejoiced, the rest of me couldn't cope with the very unusual look and feel. And the indirect feel of the remote controlled parts just got me disconnected from the kick drum and the Hi-Hat. I hated it.

Phase 2 (the present): Falling back to a righty drummer set-up

This time I ended up with the ride cymbal left/above of the Hi-Hat and the tom-toms reversed (I only have 2 of them, 10" and 12")

Conclusion: Slightly unbalanced look of the setup because of the massive ride cymbal on the "wrong side" and the jumbled order of tom sizes.

It's not perfect, I still have to adapt my playing, but it's the best I can get out of it as long as I'm not rolling in dough and have my personal custom drum set built for me by well-paid drum kit builders.

Phase 3 (the future): practicing my own situationally unique style.

In my case this means I practice switching the leading hand any time I have to, mid-riff, mid-break etc. so I don't run into sticking problems during breaks and complicated patterns.

The only unresolved matter is the position of the Hi-Hat (I'd love to have it above/behind the snare drum) - but that's not left/right hand related and entirely anothe matter. And I still got the cable Hi-Hat stored in a cupboard somewhere.

Conclusion: Yet to be determined.
At least you're not "toggle-dextrous" like MrPockets. As for a lefty playing on a righty kit, you must have had to steal some time on a sibling's kit growing up. I stole time on my brother's kit, but he was also a righty like me, so no damage done. I do think I could - with tremendous effort and practice - learn to play a lefty kit. That's just going from what independence I've picked up over the last 10 yrs - trying to stick a left foot into whatever linear pattern I'm playing with my other limbs. There's also the experience tapping one's limbs on arbitrary sound sources, while at home or sitting at a bus stop, that sometimes lend the lower BD sound coming from the non-dominant foot - anyone lose their mind trying to motion through foot patterns with their feet crossed?

But there's no chance in hell I would (or need to) try and play a lefty kit. I firmly believe in the words "power" and "efficiency". My body is built to deliver power from my right side. It's been developed not just in drumming for 40 yrs, but other activities like soccer, football, baseball, and even handwriting and using tools.

In short, you're the exception. All of my contributions on DW about right-side dominant drumming, and the associated balance issues with non-dominant-leading fills etc, don't apply to someone like yourself. Maybe there will be virtual drums one day, where you can mount a HH right above your BD leg. I'd pay to go see you play if you had an interesting setup like that!

EDIT: The physical setup for such a virtual option could be achieved as follows:
- Real HH stand left of the SD, but with a Roland set of electronic HHs mounted (slightly altered to only use the foot trigger for open/close, ignoring the stick-on-surface input)
- Another set of Roland HHs mounted above your BD leg, permanently closed, slightly altered to ignore the foot trigger input.
- Obviously you would then have an issue getting to your floor tom, unless you then decide to mount the Roland HHs behind the SD. You could put the floor tom to the left of your HH stand, but that would limit your ability to perform high-to-low drum fills.
 
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C.M. Jones

Well-known member
But there's no chance in hell I would (or need to) try and play a lefty kit. I firmly believe in the words "power" and "efficiency". My body is built to deliver power from my right side. It's been developed not just in drumming for 40 yrs, but other activities like soccer, football, baseball, and even handwriting and using tools.
No question. Muscle memory is monumental. When you've spent years storing it, why upset the inventory?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Funny.

I'm not renouncing challenging ourselves. Ambidexterity is important to me, as I've explained previously, and I do all I can to keep every limb in top condition. I just see no reason to turn the universe upside down for the sake of experimentation or change. Some things are as they are for a very valid reason. I tend to let what comes naturally guide my course.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Funny.

I'm not renouncing challenging ourselves. Ambidexterity is important to me, as I've explained previously, and I do all I can to keep every limb in top condition. I just see no reason to turn the universe upside down for the sake of experimentation or change. Some things are as they are for a very valid reason. I tend to let what comes naturally guide my course.
To each his own. I’m having a good time with the whole process, but I’m only about 3 months deep into it, unless you count switching to right-hand-lead when I got to college. Time will tell.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
Got me at "genetic anomaly" - haha.

In a lot of ways - I envy you. (My grandfather was tall, handsome, super fit, hazel eyes and left handed...I actually lost the genetics game and ended up the opposite of some of those things with my short, heavy, brown eyed frame) - so I wished I picked up his lefty-ness.

Part of why is because I unabashedly idolized Carter Beauford for a long time and he was an open handed lefty - I remember him telling his story of watching drummers on TV and trying to set up his kit like them and ending up with the ride on the left.


Seems like Cater or Cobham had such great hands and fills because of this set up.

Also - there's a smoking young gun out there that plays like this too named Gianluca Pellerito and he's absolute fire.

http://instagr.am/p/CAaqb9sCxnv/
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
I am left-handed and right-footed, and I play open handed. Maybe that is why I play with only two toms, one up and one down. When I was younger and played with more toms, I never had to cross my hands over to get to the next drum. Peace and goodwill.
 
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen for the abundance of stuff to think on.

I'm taking away three main lessons (not counting a lot of other valuable hints) frum all your answers:

- I'll pull out my practice pad from where I stored it, clean it and try to fit in a regular daily hour or two with a sensible regimen of exercises that favor both hands and are consequentially switchable.
- Time will take time. In my head many things may be very clear, but the clearness evaporates as soon as I actually park my ass behind the set and get to it. Muscle memory and other functions are not acquired by thoughts but by actually going through the motions, repeatedly
- I should be more honest with myself. Thanks for the (quite painful) enthusiast/real drummer comparison. That hit the spot, I can tell ye.
(- A bit of enthusiastry will still remain - I have to move those shells and cymbals around a bit until I'm comfortable. And I think it won't hurt to add another tom-tom LEFT of the smallest one, maybe a 13" or so) to give me a fall-back when switching hands fails in time)

So I read through your answers and then I actually phoned up an old friend and expert drummer and will have my first real lesson in two days' time at his studio - for me this will be the first teacher-student situation since, dunno, 35 years or so. I'd been playing with him in a band for quite some time quite some time ago (I'm actually a keyboarder), but we lost touch. We will see where this will take me from here on.

Thanks - first post and already a strikingly contentful thread - GREAT forum!

(Attached is yesterday's set-up , by the way. I will switch Hi-Hat and kick daughter pedal because it just doesn't work out because of the pedal's shaft being in the way. Would have loved to move the Hi-Hat closer and slightly upwards of the snare drum. But hey, you can't have everything)
drumset_june20.jpg
 
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