I just proofread an article that will appear in the October issue of DRUM! about the various types of stick grips drummers use. I’ve never thought much about it, mostly because I started off self-taught as a kid and none of my teachers made me change, but the article reminded me that I use American grip, which is a combination of French and German. It’s the one that seems to come most naturally to novices when they first pick up a pair of sticks, but some of the others offer advantages that aren’t necessarily found in American grip. I’ve always been fascinated by Moeller and traditional grips, but wasn’t sure I could get a stroke that was powerful enough for the rock-oriented styles I play. I’m sure Stewart Copeland would differ.
Which grip do you use, why do you use it, and did you change to your current style of grip after you had played drums for a while? Just wondering.
I Grew up using German grip (it was taught in school), and it was used in my high school drum line as well. I also use French and American grip( and sometimes traditional) as needed when I perform, depending on the groove, feel, volume and speed that a song may require.
i use a pretty simple american grip. just whatever feels natural. i’ve actually noticed that i tend to choke up on the stick just before i do some quick roll or something like that but when im just laying the pocket and groovin out i hold the sticks a little closer to the butt and just kinda relax. dont ask why i do that, idk it just kinda happens. im kinda anal about keeping the Vic Firth logo on top where i can see it tho lol I’m just a little goofy i guess.
I use a fairly standard American grip, though depending on the dynamics of the song my hands will turn in a bit towards a more French style grip for executing doubles using my fingers more, or turn more outward toward a German grip if I am really flailing away hard. Just seems to occur naturally. Know the traditional grip, but don’t use it much since I play more rock and metal type music than Jazz, but I believe in being well rounded so I do warm up using it occasionally.
Traditional grip here Andy…Have used it since 1970…I like the power and comfort,and also I smack my left sided crash from underneath..Looks kinda cool..(photo below taken at Hard Rock in NAshville,TN on a house kit)
I tend to use a variety of grips depending on the music. I usually switch between french and German in my right hand. French grip seems to really work when I play jazz. For some reason i feel that it lends itself to lighter more subtle playing. While German grip automatically darkens the sound of drums and cymbals making it my grip choice for rock and funk.
My left hand switches between both German and Traditional. Traditional works well for jazz (don’t ask me why) as well as most acoustic gigs, while German is a great grip for power. Since I don’t necessarily use any one technique exclusively I find that varying my grip assists me when I switch between Moeller strokes or throw grab, push pull…ect. ect.
up until this last issue i could never get a good motion for playing traditional. “turn a doorknob” that put it into perspective for me and traditional just seems so…traditional to me now. once I figured out the rotation movement it all came naturally. I can play single stroke rolls better playing trad than playing matched. I still need to work on my open and closed double rolls but that goes for everyone. for the most part trad is my dominant grip now. it looks really cool when your doing a fast fill too. I never thought I’d be saying this but I believe traditional is the best grip for anything now. except maybe speed metal like Divine Heresy’s Tim Yeung kinda stuff.
For me it all depends on the tune Im playing. If its a hard driving country or rock tunes or the slow tempo straight 8th note type tunes, I play matched grip and use the butt end of the left stick and on the cross stick rim shots. If its a big band or western swing tune I use the traditional grip. Latin style tunes I go back to the matched grip but not using the butt end on the left stick and cross-stick rim shots.
95% of the time it’s American.
Every so often I go back to traditional. Mostly when doing marches, and some jazz. That’s the way I learned & practiced all my rudiments growing up. My rolls sound better to me with Traditional.
My wife is a substitute band teacher. I’m going to give her the article when I’m done with the mag. Let’s get the kids doing it right from the start.