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How to Hold Drumsticks

Learning to hold the drumsticks properly is one of the more important drum lessons you will ever have. Most drum teachers teach one or both of the two basic grips, the matched grip and the traditional grip but there are other well-known grips for drumming such as the french grip, the german grip and a hybrid American grip based off both the French and German styles.


With the matched grip, the palms are parallel to the floor and the stick is moved mostly with the wrist. This grip provides a great amount of power being that the larger wrist muscles are used. That said, most advanced drummers, also incorporate their fingers into this grip to help with speed and finesse. The matched grip is the most popular drumming grip in America.


With traditional grip, the right hand holds the drumstick with the matched grip while the left hand holds the stick between the middle finger and ring finger. It is the 'traditional' way of playing going back many years to even the civil war era and the marching drummers of past. It's been said that the left hand position came about as a result of needing a grip to accomodate the tilted marching drum. While this grip is not as popular as the past, it is still most common among drumline and corps drummers as well as those that play traditional jazz.

Image Source: Wikipedia


With French grip, you face your palms toward each other and you control the drumstick more with your fingers than the wrist. Some drummers believe this allows for more finesse in their playing. Apparently, this is also why many timpanists prefer this grip. Well known drumset players known to use this grip are Billy Cobham and Carter Beauford among others.

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