Here is how to hold drum sticks along with tips on how to master various types of grips you should know as a drummer.
The traditional grip
The traditional grip, also known as the jazz grip, is commonly used in snare drumming and jazz drumming styles. It is a versatile grip that provides excellent control and dynamic range. The traditional grip is favored for its ability to create nuanced dynamics and achieve precise articulation, making it popular in jazz and orchestral drumming. Here are the steps for the traditional grip for holding onto drum sticks.
Left Hand: Hold the left drumstick in a relaxed handshake position, palm facing down. The thumb rests on top of the stick, while the other fingers grip it from below, with the pinky finger curled beneath the stick.
Right Hand: The right hand uses an overhand grip, with the palm facing down, similar to the left hand. The thumb and first two fingers (index and middle) are used to hold the stick.
The matched grip
The matched grip is the most commonly used grip among drummers, especially in rock, pop, and contemporary music. It offers balance and consistency in drumming. There are two variations of the matched grip.
German Grip: In the German grip, both hands hold the drumsticks similarly, with the palms facing down. The thumbs are positioned on top of the sticks, while the fingers curl around them. This grip is popular for its power and control and is well-suited for rock and pop drumming.
French Grip: The French grip involves holding the drumsticks with the palms facing each other, rather than facing down. The thumbs and fingers are used to grip the sticks from the sides. The French grip allows for a wide range of motion and is often employed for intricate snare drum work.
Finding the right balance
Regardless of the grip style you choose, it is crucial to find the right balance between tension and relaxation when holding drum sticks. Avoid gripping the sticks too tightly, as it can lead to hand and wrist fatigue. Instead, focus on maintaining a relaxed grip that allows for fluid and controlled movement.
- Fulcrum Point: The fulcrum point is the point on the drumstick where the most control is achieved. For the traditional grip, it’s near the center of the stick, while for the matched grip, it’s slightly closer to the back end of the stick. Experiment to find your ideal fulcrum point.
- Relaxed Hands: Keep your hands and fingers relaxed. Tension can hinder your ability to control the sticks and can lead to discomfort and pain over time.
- Balance Stick Heights: When playing the drums, strive to maintain even heights with both sticks to create a balanced sound. Practice rudiments to ensure your sticks are striking the drum or cymbal at the same height consistently.
Developing good technique for holding onto drum sticks
To master the art of holding drum sticks, consider these tips.
Consistent practice is essential for building muscle memory and improving your technique.
Practice in front of a mirror to check your grip and stick heights. This visual feedback can help you make adjustments.
If possible, ask a more experienced drummer and take drum lessons to get feedback on your technique.
Developing good stick control and grip technique takes time, so be patient with yourself and allow for gradual improvement.