I was at a drum set performance by one of the big commercial rock bands and I saw the drummer hold his sticks in the traditional style of over his fingers.

Many people were surprised by it, but I have seen it thousands of times in drummers I have watched over the years.

He was just using the technique he was most comfortable with, why should I argue with the guy?

I don’t believe it is a conspiracy of what we see and hear in music today that the only ways a drummer can hold a stick are with over their fingers.

That is just one way of holding a stick, but it is not the only way.

Why do you keep that grip?

five drummers playing drums

The reason I have kept my traditional grip is that it is what feels right to me.

I believe it is because it is the way I started.

My parents played and I started playing on a backyard instrument.

There were no electronic learning devices to explain what you are supposed to do, so I just tried to figure it out by ear.

The bottom line is you don’t get to keep your old technique, so why should you change it?

Does the grip change?

Since most people who hold stick the traditional way start in a position of the traditional grip, I think there is a good chance that a lot of people who adopt the position at a younger age end up switching to the modern grip.

They start feeling like they can play a different way, or their fingers don’t work with the grip as well, so they end up switching.

It’s also a lot more convenient to use the modern grip.

If you are sitting in a chair, you already have a foot resting on the floor to place your heel down, you can put it down in the same spot for your fingers, and you can reach your hand around and get your stick out a lot easier.

I suppose it could be nice to play traditionally sometimes, but if that happens, you should take a cue from the other sticks.

What does it do to your hand strength?

Ziggy Splynt live at AFAS LIVE

I have only been able to change my grip as I have gotten older. I remember when I started drumming, I would hold the stick on my first finger like a guitar.

As I got older, I started holding the stick with the side of my first finger instead of the middle.

I feel like that is where most professional drummers end up holding their sticks.

As you play with a grip that is not natural to you, your hand will get tired. To play drums, you need a lot of energy.

When your hand gets tired, it is a lot easier to slide and skid on the drum.

I have been able to overcome my hesitation to change my grip because I have proven to myself that it does not slow me down.

In fact, I feel better using the grip than I do with my standard grip.

Keep it real

man in white and blue crew neck t-shirt playing drum

While there is no way to always guarantee that your grip won’t change, if it does, the solution is not to adopt a new technique.

In my opinion, this is the biggest mistake I see a lot of beginners make.

They try to figure out how to hold a stick, rather than simply change the way they hold the stick.

I’ve got news for you. You are going to be learning a new technique as you go.

That is not to say that I think you should start with your hands at the bottom and work your way up to your head.

Of course, you can do that, but that is like trying to learn how to cook by using a skillet as your first tool.

It is not the best way to begin!

Also, you may have different hand issues. The way I got over my personal grip issues is by getting more advanced at playing drums.

After a while, I just started focusing on the technique rather than worrying about the grip. I figured I would know how to hold my drumsticks when I was ready.

As for those of you who think the stick is a crutch that holds you back, I say that is a bunch of baloney.

When you are practicing, you can get as much out of your time on the kit as you can get out of a day at the gym.

Whether you use a stick or not, I am confident that you will be a more energetic player.

And, when you are playing, you can feel the importance of each stroke.

Final thoughts

Teddy and the Rough Riders

I am a fan of finding your own personal groove. You will be more prepared to learn and improve if you are not worrying about how the sticks are being held.

If you are used to a certain technique, you might still hold that method when you use a new technique, but that is a matter of personal preference.

When I go to a lesson, I try to teach my student how to play the drums, not how to hold the drumsticks.

You might decide that you want to change your grip anyway, and that’s great! Just remember that there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

There are thousands of good sticks out there. Do your research.

Don’t just go out and buy what they are selling at K-Mart.


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