Grip and Technique Introduction.
The first thing to know with “technique” is that there are many different hand techniques for many different applications, and there isn’t one technique that rules all or one that is better than the rest. At the end of the day there are many different ways to move the stick in the hand and you can use different combinations of fingers, wrist and arm to produce motions in different ways.
Gripping The Stick.
You grip the stick between the flat of the thumb and the first knuckle on the index finger, 1/3rd of the way up from the back of the stick. 1/3rd of the way from the back of the stick seems to be the perfect balance point for most sticks, where you can obtain maximum rebound.
This grip between the thumb and index finger is called the “fulcrum” and the fulcrum is where the stick pivots in the hand grip when playing rebound and other strokes. Always make sure the gap in the fulcrum from the stick to the finger webbing is open. Never close this gap, otherwise the stick won’t be able to pivot or move.
Make sure the fulcrum is tight enough that the stick won’t fall out of the hand, but not so tight that it restricts the stick movement.
From there the back 3 fingers come around and cradle the stick, they’re the “engine room” for finger strokes and other strokes. Quite often the back 3 fingers moving together as one unit, contribute a large amount in moving the stick.
Matched Grip VS Traditional Grip.
When both your hands are in the wrist up position, you’re using Matched Grip. Traditional Grip is where the left hand (for a right handed drummer) assumes an underhand position. Here the back of the left stick sits in the finger webbing between the thumb and index finger, and the middle of the stick rests on the middle joint of the ring finger. The index and middle finger then come over the top of the stick and work in conjunction with a sideways wrist movement to produce the motion of the stick.
Traditional grip was invented when marching drummers of the early 20th century played marching drums on a 90 degree angle down to the right.
It didn’t make sense to use matched grip because the left arm had to be raised so high, so a more effective under hand grip took preference. This became known as Traditional Grip. Since so many of the days marching drummers taught the next generation of drumset players, or were also drumset players themselves, trad grip became very popular with the jazz drummers and got passed down from generation to generation through all styles, including the modern rock styles of today.
You can see the lineage and continuation of trad grip when you study the greats. Early masters like Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich used trad grip, and modern day masters like Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta and Virgil Donati also use trad grip.
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