MASTERING THE ART OF DRUMSTICK HOLDING: TIPS AND TYPES
Mastering the art of drumming takes more than just purchasing a drum kit. It requires an understanding of the different types of drumsticks and how to hold them. As a beginner, finding the right pair of drumsticks can be overwhelming. However, with the right guidance, you can choose the best sticks for your drumming style.
TYPES OF DRUM STICKS: THE BEST DRUMSTICKS FOR BEGINNERS
The type of drumsticks you choose depends on the sound you prefer. Some drummers prefer thick sticks with pointy tips, while others prefer thin sticks with a rounded tip. As a beginner, it is best to start with either 5A drumsticks or 7A drumsticks. Don’t worry about finding the perfect pair of sticks right away. It may take some time to discover your preferred style. Even experienced drummers often change drumsticks throughout their career.
FINDING THE FULCRUM
Once you have your drumsticks, the next step is to find your fulcrum. The fulcrum is the balance point and the best place to hold your sticks. To find the perfect spot to hold your stick, bounce it off your drum. The point where it bounces the longest and feels comfortable is your fulcrum point. A grip that is too low on the stick will not bounce back far enough when you hit the drum. On the other hand, a grip that is too high will result in zero control.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FRENCH, GERMAN & AMERICAN DRUM STICK GRIP
Matched grip is the most commonly used drumstick grip, where both hands should be mirror images of one another while playing. However, there are three different variants of matched grip: French, German, and American. It is important to learn all three to give you greater flexibility while drumming. Reasons you may want to change between grips during a set include:
- Speed – French grip is ideal for playing fast songs, while German grip is best suited for playing loud music.
- Comfort – American grip is the most comfortable style of drumming across genres, making it ideal for extended playing.
The German grip is great for playing loud and is a popular style for rock drumming, corps drumming, and most heavy music. To play using the German grip, hold your stick at the fulcrum with your thumb and index finger. Then, place your other fingers on the bottom of the stick. Now place your sticks on the snare drum, and try to make a 90-degree angle with them. When you find this angle, you will notice your elbows stick out a little – this is the exact position that you want.
With the French grip, you will use your wrist less than you would with the German grip, and you will use your fingers more. The most unique element of this style is that the way you hold your sticks changes from having your palms face down to face up. This will afford you more speed but less power. Allow your arms to relax before bringing your sticks together so they’re almost parallel. Put pressure between your thumb and your index finger and use that tension to control how the stick bounces. Your fingers are there to help move the stick up and down and to make sure it doesn’t move from side to side.
American grip is popularly considered a grip that’s somewhere between the French and German styles. It’s the most common style of drumming across genres, largely because it’s the most comfortable. Instead of having your elbows out and your sticks at a 90-degree angle, as you would when playing German grip, relax your arms and allow them to fall more naturally.
HOW TO HOLD DRUMSTICKS: THE CORRECT TECHNIQUE
Now that we have covered the different types of drumsticks and grips, let’s focus on the correct way to hold drumsticks.
The first thing to remember is to keep your hands relaxed. Tension in your hands will only cause fatigue and hinder your ability to play for extended periods.
Start by placing the stick between the base of your thumb and the side of your index finger. The stick should rest on the first knuckle of your index finger, with your thumb providing a loose grip around the stick.
Next, wrap your remaining fingers around the stick, ensuring that your grip is firm but not too tight. Your fingers should be lightly curled around the stick, providing support without restricting movement.
Your hand position will vary slightly depending on the grip you are using. For matched grip, ensure that both hands are mirroring each other. For traditional grip, the hand holding the snare drumstick will have its palm facing up, while the hand holding the floor tom stick will have its palm facing down.
Once you have found your comfortable grip, it’s time to focus on your technique. The key is to strike the drum with a fluid motion, using your wrist to generate the necessary force.
When hitting the drum, aim for the center of the drumhead, as this will produce the best sound. Avoid hitting the rim of the drum, as this can cause damage to the drum and the stick.
It’s also important to practice hitting the drum with consistent force. This will help you develop control and improve your overall technique.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
As with any skill, practice is essential for mastering drumming. Start with simple exercises, such as practicing different beats and rhythms, and gradually increase the complexity of your practice routine.
Remember to take breaks and stretch your hands and arms regularly to prevent injury. It’s also a good idea to vary your practice routine to prevent boredom and ensure that you are continuously improving.
Learning how to hold drumsticks correctly is essential for developing proper technique and improving your drumming skills. Experiment with different types of drumsticks and grips to find the ones that work best for you, and focus on striking the drum with a fluid motion using your wrist.
With practice and dedication, you can become a skilled drummer and enjoy the satisfaction of creating great music.