- Max Kuehn
If you want to be a drummer, you need to know how to hold drum sticks. There are many different ways to do this, and the best way is the way that feels most comfortable for you. Experiment with different gripes and find the one that works best for you.
What Are the Different Drum Stick Holding Techniques?
The classic grip and the matching grip are the two most common drum grips. The matching grip is divided into three types: the American grip, the German grip, and the French grip. Each grip is appropriate for a specific musical genre.
What Exactly Is a Matched Grip?
The matched grip gets its name because the drumsticks are held in the same way by both hands. This grip type is most effective when each stick is held close to its midpoint, allowing the stick to bounce off the drum head or cymbal.
A matched grip is used by most drummers nowadays, and it may be the first technique you learn in your first drum lesson. The matching grip comes in three French, German, and American flavors.
How to Use a Matched Grip on Drumsticks
Many drummers practice inappropriately, relying on unofficial methods that might lead to wrist pain and other long-term damage.
Breaking negative habits and developing new ones that help you improve as a drummer is a part of learning the proper grip for you and your style.
Learning to play with a matched grip is one of the cornerstones of the appropriate hold. When you use a matched grip method, you hold your drum sticks in both your right and left hands in the same way.
For most types of music, this has become the most popular grip. There are various variations within the broader category of “matching grips.” The American, German, and French grips are examples of these styles.
The American grip is the easiest and most prevalent grip style for many novices. This matching grip approach is simple to pick up.
It provides both power and control while playing, and you may use it to perform a wide range of musical styles. To learn how to play with an American grip, follow these steps:
Step 1: As if you were about to play the drums, take a seat at the drum set. Raise your left hand and turn your wrist, palm down, fingers parallel to the floor.
Step 2: Make sure your hands are no more than two inches over the snare drum head while keeping this position.
Step 3: Curl your index finger inwards toward you.
Step 4: Bend your index finger to the point where the tip meets the edge of your palm. This grip creates a “pocket” for your drum stick to rest in. This pocket will serve as significant support and a balance point for your drum stick.
Step 5: Place the drumstick between your thumb and index finger, slightly bending your index finger to make it look like you’re pulling a trigger. The drumstick should sit on your index finger’s first knuckle.
Step 6: The next step is to locate the balancing point. This balance is important when playing the drums because it allows your sticks to “bounce” off the drum head.
When done correctly, your sticks should bounce back off the drum and fall back down without the drummer exerting any more effort.
Using your drum stick to find the optimal balance point by sliding it up and down, the best option should give you roughly seven bounces. This is about two-thirds of the way from the tip of the stick for most people.
Step 7: Place your thumb along the drumstick’s top. You’ll want to turn your wrist so that the palm of your hand is facing the floor once more once you’ve reached the optimal balance position.
Remember not to press down on the drum stick with your thumb. Instead, it stabilizes the stick while you play.
Step 8: Wrap your ring, little, and middle digits underneath the drum stick with your other three fingers. These fingers, like your thumb, should not be gripped too tightly.
This grip allows you to have more control over your drum sticks while still allowing them to bounce back from the drum head.
Step 9: Because the American grip is one sort of matching grip, repeat the identical actions for your right hand.
Step 10: Play! Use a finger and wrist motion to strike the snare drum when you’re ready. By flexing your wrist and moving your drum stick up and down, you can do this. Make sure your palms are facing down and approximately parallel to the ground.
Adjust the tightness of your supporting fingers and thumb to provide more or less bounce when playing. Keep your forearms, shoulders, and elbows as loose as possible. Almost all of the drumming motion should come from your wrists and fingers.
How to Use the German Grip on Drumsticks
The power that the German grip generates is its unique feature. The German grip is generally beneficial to classic rock and classical music, but it lacks the nimbleness required for jazz drumming, funk rock, or speed metal.
Follow these instructions to hold drumsticks with a German matched grip:
- With your palm facing down, extend your hand.
- Curl your index finger inward and place the drumstick between your index finger and thumb.
- In your grasp, move the stick about until you locate the balancing point. The stick should be balanced between your thumb and forefinger as a fulcrum.
- Curl your other fingers around the stick, and rely mostly on your middle finger for stability.
- Maintain a parallel relationship between your palms and the drumhead. Outwardly angle your elbows and lead with your wrists.
How To Hold The Traditional Grip Drumsticks
Step 1: Raise the palm of your “off” hand.
Traditional grip differs from other drum grip styles in that it is not a matched grip, meaning that the way you hold the stick with both hands is not the same.
To play with a typical grip, raise your non-dominant hand and turn it so that the palm faces up toward the ceiling.
Note: Military drummers employed the traditional grip because it was challenging to drum with a matched grip while marching.
Regardless of the drummer’s dominant hand, the left hand was generally utilized to wield the stick with an upward-facing grip to preserve regularity. However, in a modern setting, some left-handed drummers flip the usual grip and use their right hand upward-facing.
Step 2: Place the stick between your thumb and index finger in the space between them.
Place the drumstick in the fleshy “crook” of your non-dominant hand, between the thumb and index finger. Slide the drumstick up and down until you reach an approximate balancing point, then align your hand to hold the stick at that point roughly.
Step 3: Cover the stick with your thumb and index finger.
Bend your thumb into a comfortable position on top of the stick. Raise your index finger and place it over the stick so that the inside portion of the finger is in contact.
This should seem less natural than curling your thumb around the stick, but it’s necessary for maintaining firm control with your usual grip.
The pad of your thumb should rest on the first knuckle of your index finger (or as close to it as feasible) when properly held, with the index finger bent over the top of the stick.
Step 4: Place the underside of your middle fingertip against the stick’s side.
Bring your middle finger along the stick’s outside edge until it lands on the underside of the second or third knuckle. This may feel strange at first, but it shouldn’t be too unpleasant.
Step 5: Curl the rest of your fingers around the stick.
Bring your ring and pinky fingers beneath the stick after that. Place the stick on the ring finger’s cuticle or the middle finger’s knuckle, then place the little finger under the ring finger for support.
Your ring and little fingers should be curled the same way as your index finger when correctly held.
You may appear to be “giving the bird” with your index, ring, and pinky fingers curved inward and your middle finger outstretched. Don’t be concerned! This is perfectly acceptable and even desirable.
Step 6: In your other hand, use an overhand grip.
Your off-hand is all set to go! All you have to do now is grab the other stick in an overhand grip with your dominant hand, just like any of the matched grips above.
You can use whichever grip is most comfortable for you, but most people like the standard American grip (or a little modification on it).
Step 7: Use a wrist motion to strike.
To hit the drum with a typical grip, you’ll want to employ a wrist-based action, turning your wrists downward to hit the drum.
Of course, the upward grip you’re utilizing in your off-hand needs a slightly different wrist action than you might use. However, you continue to turn both hands in the same direction as before.
Jazz and marching band drummers frequently employ traditional grips. Because it’s challenging to get the same amount of strength in your off-hand as you would with an overhand grip, this approach isn’t usually a suitable fit for loud, hard drumming like you’d find in heavy metal.
- Traditional grip is advantageous to master since it produces a sound that is perfect for performing rudimental drumming patterns like as those found in jazz music.
- The angle at which the drumstick hits the drums can simply be changed.
- With the left hand, producing double or many bounces is easier because the hand’s weight is primarily under the stick, allowing the response to happen quickly.
- Equivalent strength and endurance in both hands can take a long time to develop.
- Because the left underhand grip employs fewer muscles than the right overhand grip, each muscle performs a greater amount of the effort.
- Moving around and playing different drums is more difficult.
Do I Have To Choose One?
No. That’s what makes it so appealing. Each of the three Matched Grip versions has advantages. Learning them all and applying them to various situations when needed is the greatest practice.
When playing softly in calm environments, French Grip, for example, can be wonderful. In portions that require powerful hits and energy, German Grip is a force to be reckoned with.
Feel free to review the different grips and try to learn them all once you’ve established a good drumming foundation. You’ll be astonished at how many other situations you can use them in.
Also, take it easy. Don’t be vengeful with your sticks. You will be exhausted and frustrated if you play with stiffness. Relaxing helps your mind comprehend what you’re playing, but it also improves your sound.
Remember that your drumming is built on a solid basis. Fidlar hope you found this article useful, and let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below.