Percussions give our songs the beat that it needs. Whether it’s a simple rhyme or a complicated ensemble of musical instruments like guitar, piano or focusing on the the drum section is its heart and gives the much-needed pulse to keep the melody alive.
This is a huge family of musical instruments and oftentimes you use a stick to play it with. So, is there a proper way to hold drum sticks when playing a beat? Is it the same with every percussive instrument? These are only a few of the questions that we will answer in this article.
If you love music or better you are a drummer, then this is the space for you. Let the beat drop!
The proper way to hold the drum sticks
So what is the proper way on how to hold drum sticks? Well, as you might have guessed, there are multiple ways to do it. No right or wrong way actually, as you just to figure out what works for you. Some of the ways you can try though are as follows.
The Matched Grip is like the main style of grip there is for drumming, it’s sometimes called the standard grip. This pretty much just means that you hold the sticks on both hands the same way.
The Germanian grip is widely used in corps and rock drumming. It requires you to hold your drumstick at the fulcrum or balance point w/ your index finger and thumb. Then you place your fingers at the bottom of the stick.
The angle in which you play the sticks makes it different. You place your drumsticks on the snare drum, then you try to create a 90-degree angle. Normally, your elbows will stick out a little bit.
Similar to the Germanian grip but the angle of the drumsticks. This grip is a bit relaxed and you should let your arms fall of a little instead of sticking it out. The sticks should then be at a 45-degree angle. This is widely used for it is one of the most comfortable grips there is.
The French grip is a bit different from the aforementioned styles. Your arms should be more relaxed this time and the sticks come together that they are almost parallel. You will notice your sticks come together so they are almost parallel. This grip is unique because of the way you hold your sticks that it changes from “palms down, to palms up.” This aims for more speed than power.
The traditional grip is widely used in jazz and corps drumming. That’s not surprising as the grip was designed by army corps drummers. They would naturally have their snare drum on their hips.
Having said that, the angle then made it hard for them to use the matched grip, thus arising to this new method where they hold their hand underneath the drumstick.
Now to achieve this, you will want to hold the drumstick with your hand upside down or palms up. Then, you find the balance point of the drumstick, then place it in the pocket of your index finger and thumb. Rest the stick on your ring and pinky fingers. Then simply rest your middle and index on the top of the stick.
The traditional grip is not that popular to rock and heavy style drumming. Simply because with your hand underneath your stick then you won’t get much power on your hits. That’s why this is famous for jazz musicians and even get called as the jazz grip. For its smooth tone and playing style. Take note, that if you master this grip, a whole new world of beats will open up to you.
All about the drumsticks -- What is with the numbering and the lettering?
Well, the history there is a bit vague. What we do know is that the letters originally symbolized the style of music, and the numbers correspond to the diameter of the stick.
Standards are the larger the diameter of the drumstick the lower the number. This coding still applies to this date. Letter A stands for orchestra, B stands for concert and marching bands, S stands for street bands, and letter D for dance band.
2B is deemed the most common size for a thick stick while 7A is the counterpart for think sticks. The classic models 2B, 5A, 5B, and 7A are still available to date. Don’t be surprised to see a variety of numbering and lettering though as some companies have adopted their style since.
The drumstick is usually made of Hickory, Maple, and Oak. Hickory is durable and medium weight. Maple is usually characterized and quick and lightweight. While Oak is the heaviest and also very durable.
Nowadays aluminum/polyurethane sticks are also available and would provide that extra rebound some drummers love. They are also extremely durable.
Some advice from top drummers
What better way to learn how to play drums than to learn from some of the best in the industry right? Here are some tips and advice about drum playing in general from the masters.
Stewart Copeland the famous drummer of the legendary band “The Police” says --
“Relax! If you listen to the really powerful drummers, you’ll notice that they’re actually very relaxed when they play.”
Chad Smith of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, likes constant practice and practicing to some slow funk, he quipped --
“Practicing at a bunch of different tempos is great for control. Slow funk is one way I change it up, and when you’re doing it it’s great to work on little embellishments to your main beat.”
And lastly, Travis Barker, who should need no introduction says that –
“Being familiar with other instruments is a great thing since the drums are meant to be part of a band. No sense taking drum lessons and just playing by yourself in the basement!”
So practice other instruments when you can as well!
We hope that our article inspired you in some way and that you’ve learned something new and valuable. It doesn’t matter whether you are a seasoned musician or a budding artist, your musical journey is far from over and that learning should always be constant.
We know that drummers or percussion players are sometimes unheralded, always at the back of an ensemble but in reality, they should be the star. So work hard on your craft and shine like the rock star that you are.