Yet another left-handed right-footed post/thread

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I took your post to mean that everyone should develop the ability to play proficiently with either hand/foot. Sorry if that is not what you meant.




As someone who has experienced this left-handed bordering-on-discrimination problem for 45 years, I feel it's not ok to force us to just live in a right-handed world. It doesn't have to be that way and all teachers/coaches should give students/players the option of playing however they feel comfortable doing. I think I have derailed this intent of this original post and I apologize to the OP.
I’m a very lefty lefty, and I have intentionally chosen to be able to play both open and closed-handed on a lefty and righty kit. I have two kits set up in my basement specifically so I can train all 4 ways. I’ve been doing this for about 4 months, and the hands were easy-ish. The hard part is training my left foot to do heel-toe and swivel on the bass, and my right foot to jump up really quick on the hi-hat. It has been fun and challenging so far.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I took your post to mean that everyone should develop the ability to play proficiently with either hand/foot. Sorry if that is not what you meant.
This is the problem, people are opining about this without having any idea of what proficiency means.

As someone who has experienced this left-handed bordering-on-discrimination problem for 45 years, I feel it's not ok to force us to just live in a right-handed world. It doesn't have to be that way and all teachers/coaches should give students/players the option of playing however they feel comfortable doing.
Like I said, I'm left handed, I play right handed. No one's forcing anyone to do anything, I'm talking about people making informed decisions.

I've taught the drums to a couple of hundred(?) beginners, and can't remember any of them strongly favoring one hand over the other. Very notably, a lot of right handed students will automatically start with their left hand much of the time. Any of them could easily have just played the drums left handed if we decided to go that way. I haven't had as many left handed beginners, but they have all played right handed, and never had any problem with it, or awareness of discomfort.

The only time I see actual weakness in one hand is when someone has been playing awhile, and has been lazy in their practicing, and the left hand is deficient. Since they're usually right handed, and playing the drums right handed, they blame this on the left hand being naturally weaker. They've actually just been practicing having an undeveloped left hand.
 
This is an entirely different thing from writing, or any other one-handed activity. Playing the drums you have to develop both hands equally, and in terms of playing ability it really doesn't matter which orientation you choose. The natural advantage of playing your "dominant" hand on the hihat is negligible compared to the amount of practicing you have to do with both hands (or feet) to learn to play well. There are good left handed people who play drums righty (like me), and there are a few good right handed people who play drums lefty, for some reason. On instruments where there is no option to play left handed-- like piano-- there are plenty of skilled left-handed performers.
I dare say it's not THAT simple in the end (and I'd never question your teaching experience - I'm a n00b, so please don't feel offended or that I'm disrespectful). As a natural lefty I always start tapping a rhythm with the left. It's actually quite cool on the keyboards because I tend to play bass notes at the start o f a pattern wchich makes me a natural funky grooving kind of keyboarder. Less fortunate for a jazz guy who is used to leave the bass to the bass player and favour chords and tensions in the left and soloing with the right.

So if somebody woke me up at 3 a.m. and planted me behind a drumset (and actually lives to tell the tale, hehe) I'd automatically lead with my left. Okay, no problem, play open-handed, I hear some say. But when it comes to, as an example, those ubiquitous high to low rolls it will always take me the microsecond to switch to right hand sticking. And it will never really feel the way as it would fell counter-clockwise.

or will it? I'm really asking those with experience: Does practice REALLY overrule left- oder right-handed natural disposition?

I hope I'm not beating an already long dead and buried horse here. For me it's an essential question. It may well be that in a few years' time I will never look back on this thread. But at the moment I have a decision to make: mirrored Michy Dolenz setup or go with the percentage?
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
or will it? I'm really asking those with experience: Does practice REALLY overrule left- oder right-handed natural disposition?
I say this as a drum teacher of many years: YES! YES! YES! Practice and experience will eclipse any natural handedness, at some point in your musical journey. For my adult left handed student, six months of casual practice was all it took. If, from the very beginning, he were jamming with a band somewhat regularly, and had been practicing sticking and rudimental things -- daily -- on a pad from the beginning, it would not have taken even that long. But, as adults, we have other responsibilities and obligations that get in the way.

For left-handed students that are young beginners, it's less of an issue. We do, of course, spend time on developing the right hand. Some exercises are as simple as 16ths (RLRL), with the bass drum playing quarter notes. There is, of course, some awkwardness to fight, but please realize that we right handed drummers fight to build our left hands up. You could look at leading with the right hand, as a way of developing your weak hand, instead of as a waste of time. It's doubtful that your hands are matched in skill, at the present moment, being 35 years out of lessons and all.

I hope I'm not beating an already long dead and buried horse here. For me it's an essential question. It may well be that in a few years' time I will never look back on this thread. But at the moment I have a decision to make: mirrored Michy Dolenz setup or go with the percentage?
A few years time? I would think it's not nearly that long. My prescription for shortening the journey would be as follows:

1. Good/proven practice methods from in-person (or virtual) individual instruction. Your practice methods are the single best predictor of success, not "talent" or handedness.
2. Daily practice pad work with a metronome. I use and teach from Bill Bachman's materials, and would recommend his online video series (Extreme Hands Makeover) to get your hand technique together.
3. A band, or some ensemble playing, once per week, because there are just some things that can't be learned in isolation. Record the rehearsals. In your case, you will put valuable "mileage" onto your leading hand.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
But at the moment I have a decision to make: mirrored Michy Dolenz setup or go with the percentage?
They are your dums. Set them up how you like that is comfortable. That's the beauty of a modular instrument, there is no right or wrong way. You have to play it, no one else. Music doesnt care how it's set up. Only right handed people care.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
It's pretty obvious that the person who made this post, who is a lefty, in fact, cares. She was already comfortable, but then she had some difficultly in playing some things, and realized that she's likely to encounter more difficulty, and wonders if it's feasible to change her set up. It is.
I understand she cares. Normal leftys have the same gripe. I'm not trying to argue how she sets up, just that ultimately it is up to her. Right handed people only care as far as kit sharing goes how leftys set up. It just doesnt matter anymore. I could play the snare with my foot and bass with my hand if I wanted. It's just not as important as people make it out to be. They are drums, set them up and play them how you are comfortable.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I understand she cares. Normal leftys have the same gripe. I'm not trying to argue how she sets up, just that ultimately it is up to her. Right handed people only care as far as kit sharing goes how leftys set up. It just doesnt matter anymore. I could play the snare with my foot and bass with my hand if I wanted. It's just not as important as people make it out to be. They are drums, set them up and play them how you are comfortable.
I would agree that one of the biggest obstacles drummers face these days to pinpointing their ideal setup/methodology is that they too often turn to others for approval of their practices, namely to sources who are merely seeking to promote their own standards, which stem largely from schools of thought steeped in ideological constriction. There's something to be said for isolated trial and error. Experimenting without concern for how you're perceived, and with no interest in achieving external consensus on your findings, can be the most efficient mode of discovery at your disposal. Self-exploration bolsters confidence.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I understand she cares. Normal leftys have the same gripe. I'm not trying to argue how she sets up, just that ultimately it is up to her. Right handed people only care as far as kit sharing goes how leftys set up. It just doesnt matter anymore. I could play the snare with my foot and bass with my hand if I wanted. It's just not as important as people make it out to be. They are drums, set them up and play them how you are comfortable.
If you would actually read her posts, you'd know she's not "lefty". She's right-footed, and playing open handed on a righty kit (sort of), which is not the same as "normal lefty". So it's definitely not about sharing kits, and also it's not about being comfortable (since the comfortable set up is what prompted the thread in the first place). It's about navigating the kit in order to play the things she wants to play.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
If you would actually read her posts, you'd know she's not "lefty". She's right-footed, and playing open handed on a righty kit (sort of), which is not the same as "normal lefty". So it's definitely not about sharing kits, and also it's not about being comfortable (since the comfortable set up is what prompted the thread in the first place). It's about navigating the kit in order to play the things she wants to play.
I said normal leftys also, that implies I already know she isnt a normal lefty. So would my suggestion about a mirrored Micky Dolenz kit.

I'm not trying to argue with you. I just dont think kit set up is as big of a deal as everyone else. Make it how you want it. Drums are modular, anything is possible.

And being able to play what you want is comfort. No one intentionally sets their kit up uncomfortably so they can play better.
 
After much fiddling with clamps, switching and trying out again and again I think I'll settle for this setup for the forseeable future. Now it's crunch time - exercise, exercise and ... more exercise from the bloodiest basics on. Thank your very much for a whole lotta thoughts and food for thoughts!
zeuglsetup_150720.jpg
 
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