Most people don’t know that the way they hold their drum sticks impact their musical performance to a great extent.
Just because your favourite drummer is holding their sticks in a certain way – it doesn’t mean that the type of stick grip is suited for you! These drummers are using advanced and sophisticated musical techniques as they are already capable of doing so after years of learning and practising.
Following the way they hold their stick grip blindly as a beginner may only make you play poorly due to how uncomfortable it is for you; you’re forcing your hands to commit to an unfamiliar type of stick grip for hours. In a worst-case scenario, you may even cause them severe injury.
There’s nothing wrong with starting your drumming journey using a basic stick grip technique first – just take it slow and steady! Once you have a better grip over your drum stick; it’ll be much easier to play the drums more easily. Without further ado, here’s a guide to the perfect drum stick grip as you go about your beginner drum lessons!
Commonly known as a parallel grip, this is one of the most common types of grip styles amongst the musicians. As the name implies, matched grip refers to the technique where the drummer holds both sticks in the same way. Apart from drums, matched grips technique can be used to play other musical instruments.
When you hold the drumstick in a matched grip style, you grip the stick using your index finger. Here, the middle finger of the player automatically curls around the stick. In this technique, your palm must face the downward portion of the stick, whereas the thumb is positioned at the top.
No doubt matched grips not only allow users to have a tight grip on the drumstick but move the stick as freely as possible. Now, let’s delve deeper and look into the three different types of stick grips part of the matched grip family.
Out of the three – this has got to be the most powerful one. You are moving your sticks with your wrist – so you’re bound to use plenty of power while hitting the drums.
For you to successfully follow the German grip; you have to ensure the sticks at a 90-degree angle to each other. Your palms are also going to have to face the ground while your wrists and forearms are going to fuel all the power.
For the French grip, the letter ‘F’ also stands for finesse and fingers; this is where you combine both of them to create this type of stick grip!
Unlike the german grip where you’re facing both palms downwards; the trick here is to have them face each other directly – in other words, parallel to each other. Zero use of arms, or even your wrists – this style is perfect for those who prioritise finesse over power.
Let’s put it this way – what if you manage to master both the German and French grip? Yes, that makes you an excellent drum player – but that’s not the answer we’re going for!
If you’re exceptionally good at both stick grip styles – you can give the American grip a go; it’s where the German and French grip merge together as one. For this stick grip style – you will have to keep your sticks at a 45-60 degree angle to each other.
Instead of having just your wrists or fingers do all the stick action; the entire strength of your arm is going to come into play! American grip makes use of the fingers, wrists, and arms equally, so it’s pretty easy to get a hold of.
You may not know this, but the truth is that the traditional grip style was passed down by military marching drummers! Ever seen them carrying the drums in a movie or at a parade?
The drum; which hangs from their neck or shoulder, is somewhat tilted – making it closer to one hip. This ensures the drummer can play the instrument smoothly without knocking into the knees or thighs.
Now that you know it’s origin – let’s look further into the style.
Usually, jazz drummers are the ones using this style – for their combination works extremely well together. In traditional style, you hold the drumstick using the underhand. Your thumb is placed on top of the stick, whereas the middle and index fingers rest on the stick. The other two fingers (last ones) are placed below the drumstick.
Basically, you have to hold the stick in an upside-down position.
Whether you’re planning to go for drum lessons for adults or get the little ones to join drum lessons for kids; one of the most important things you have to get right first – is your choice of stick grip! Even if you’re having a tough time figuring out the right style – your teacher will swoop in and help you out.