Even if you’ve been drumming for a while, there’s a chance you’ve never thought about the way you hold your drumsticks. Since there are a few rules of thumb that can actually help you hone your skills, we’ve compiled a humble list of stick-based tips and tricks for you in this blog.
Supple and Healthy Stick Technique
First and foremost, let it be clear that there’s no one-way-beats-all when it comes to holding your drumsticks. Every drummer obviously has their own style and preferences, but a supple, relaxed playing feel and a reduced risk of injuring yourself is what everyone should naturally strive for. To get there, it’s essential that your sticks are able to properly bounce off your drumheads for the full rebound effect.
Holding the Sticks
Technically speaking, optimum rebound has everything to do with physics since you’re basically looking for the best point of rotation. To find it, grab the stick and make sure it sits roughly halfway down your forefinger with your thumb on top of it on the other side pointing down the length of the stick. Step two is to let the stick bounce on a drumhead. Notice how much rebound you’re getting before adjusting your grip and experimenting with lower and higher holds to find the perfect tipping point. Bear in mind that due to differences in shape, the sweet spot differs per pair of sticks. Once you find it, loosely wrap the other three fingers around the stick and make sure not to squeeze. If you do, you won’t be able to use these fingers to control or steer the stick as freely.
Matched Grip versus Traditional Grip
When you’re holding both sticks the same way, you’re playing with what’s called a matched grip. But another popular way of holding drumsticks is the traditional grip: a technique developed for marching bands and other playing styles where the drum is in a slanted position. To get a traditional grip going, have the palm of your left hand face upwards and make sure the rotation point of the stick is between your thumb and forefinger. Have the stick rest on your ring finger and pinky finger before wrapping your forefinger and middle finger around it. Obviously, if you’re left-handed, you’ll want to mirror these instructions if you’ve got a drum kit configured for lefties.
Supple Wrist Action
Regardless of your preferred kind of grip, it’s important that you maintain a relaxed grip since, the harder you squeeze, the quicker your hands and arms will start to fatigue. Moreover, a firmer hold means less rebound, which in turn means you’ll be limited in your ability to play with more speed and momentum. As such, instead of lifting your arms all the way, always try to play with supple wrist action where you rotate your hands and wrists so that the tips of the sticks land on the drumhead. This’ll allow you to play much faster with a reduced risk of injury and playing fatigue.
The more you play, the more you’ll develop your own style. Just keep the tips from this humble blog in mind and don’t forget to try a different pair of sticks every now and then. After all, a stick with a different shape results in a different playing feel and it certainly helps to get a feel for what’s possible. If you need help picking out sticks, you can check out our Drumstick Buyer’s Guide for more information!
Got any questions or other tips or sticks? Feel free to leave them in a comment below!