Knowing how to properly hold your drumstick is one of the key concepts in drumming. Unfortunately many drummers fail to realize how important it is to hold their drumsticks properly, and prefer to just “grab the sticks and hit some drums” . If you fail to learn how to hold your drum stick correctly then not only will you not be able to perform as good as you can, but you could actually be doing damage to your hands or wrist by using improper technique.
It is important to know how to hold your drumsticks in the three most popular grips. Each grip has its advantages and disadvantages and it is up to you to decide how you want to hold your drumsticks. Learn the proper way to hold your drumsticks and increase your control, speed and power of your hands. Also, make sure you are playing with the right grip before you begin practicing your rudiments!
When I have drummers ask me how to play drums using the matched grip I usually get them to start with a simple balancing exercise. First extend your left hand and make a gun with it (Make a fist, and only extend your index finger and thumb). Now bend your wrist between 45-90 degrees to the right. Your “gun” should be pointing somewhere off to the right side of the room. Now rotate your whole wrist forward so your thumb is parallel with your snare drum, or desk, or whatever you are currently practicing on. Next you just need to place your drumstick in the last joint of your index finger. Now just play with the stick position, moving it back and forth until you find the best balancing position. This is how you find the fulcrum point on your drumstick.
Now I’m finally going to get into how to use the matched grip when playing the drums. You are about half way there once you’ve found the fulcrum point on your drumstick. Next, all we have to do is lightly apply pressure onto the drumstick with your thumb, to keep the stick from sliding around. Then you need to add the rest of your fingers. Now, its important that you know how to properly add the rest of your fingers onto the drumstick. DO NOT make a fist around the drumstick, this will make you sound terrible, and will cause muscle pain as well. It is important that you stay relaxed. So when you add your other three fingers to the drumstick, make sure that you use the pads on the end of your fingers as much as possible. This will give you more control, and as you get into the finger control technique you learn how to use these other fingers to make your drumming easy.
Knowing how to use the traditional grip can be an important part of your drumming. Drumming Ambassador Dom Famularo claims that this technique is dead, and it is strictly a thing of the past, but many drummers still appreciate the subtle strokes that are possible when using this technique. This technique is great for genres like jazz and Latin, where the quiet ghost notes and subtle strokes are more appreciated. That being said, many drummers still use this technique in rock, and other popular genres.
Knowing how to use the traditional grip properly is a unique skill, many drummers just briefly look at another drummer using this technique, and try to copy them, without actually looking at their technique, and figuring out how to best optimize their grip so they can get the most power and dynamics out of each stroke.
To achieve this grip, start by making a gun, this “gun” is going to be different than the matched grip. Instead of only sticking out one finger, you stick out two. You should have to fingers pointing straight, two fingers folded into your palm, and your thumb should be sticking up. Now just put the drumstick on top of your fingers that are folded into your palm, and have the stick come up through the “V” created between your thumb and index finger. Make sure you find the most efficient balance point with your drumstick, and then simply close the grip by placing your index finger and middle finger on top of the drumstick.
Once you learn how to hold your drumsticks properly, you will instantly become a much better drummer than other drummers with your level of experience. These techniques are essential for knowing how to play drums without hurting yourself, or wasting energy.
For more information on this, go here for further details on stick grips.