Grip and Fulcrum

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Lucas Ives
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Grip and Fulcrum

Postby Lucas Ives » Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:57 pm

Lately I've become interested in getting maximal response from my off
hand (snare hand .. comping hand .. whatever ..), and have spent a lot
of time analyzing my grip. I play matched grip most of the time.

With my dominant hand, I feel I can generally get the stick to do
whatever I want it to using rebound, not using rebound, transitioning to
fingers between strokes, so-called German, French, and American (3/4)
grips all feel easy and effortless. I can move the fulcrum from 1st
finger to 2nd finger to a triangle involving both of them without any
problem...

... but with my off hand, not so much. At times I feel limited by it.
And while I realize asymmetry between hands is just part of being human,
I'd love to smooth out those differences as much as possible.

With that in mind:

- how do you guys approach holding / gripping / guiding the stick with
matched grip? is there a particular explanation that has resonated
with you?

- how do you think about the wrist motion required to make a single
stroke?

- what adjustments or checks do you make on yourself as you're playing
to keep the "machine" operating freely?

- what fulcrum do you use, or which fulcrums for which situations?

It feels weird to be so analytical about the motion in my non-dominant
hand when it's always been so completely effortless for the dominant
one. Maybe this is normal. But in any case, I'd love to hear different
approaches and see any photos or video that have been helpful to you.

Thanks in advance.
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Morgenthaler
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Re: Grip and Fulcrum

Postby Morgenthaler » Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:48 pm

A quick and dirty exercise that turned some stuff around for me on that account was pad work in front of a mirror.
You're kind of fooling yourself into seeing what your left hand should be doing in order to get that feel, bounce, control etc.
you know and like in your right hand.

It did me good.

Another one I tried, which was a pain in the butt, but also worked to some degree was using two pads where
you'll use your left or weak hand on the one with the lesser rebound, say a moongel pad. It is annoying, but could lead
to some of the feel and control you want.
Julián Fernández
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Re: Grip and Fulcrum

Postby Julián Fernández » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:58 pm

For the past month or so I´m playing as a lefty... After years of working New Breed, left-hand-lead Syncopation and stuff, learning how to play as a lefty felt just right.
I have to say that this month could the month -on my entire life as a drummer- that I improved the most. My grip improved, my wrist improved, my overall sound improved.
Can´t recommended it enough... The first couple of weeks are awful, but is well worth it...
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Matus
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Re: Grip and Fulcrum

Postby Matus » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:48 pm

First of all, like Morgenthaler said, get a mirror. Then look for certain things in your right hand that you might want to replicate in your left. For my students I stress on:

- Thumb position. Relaxed and on top of the stick, never on one side or the other.
- Index kind of "surrounding" the stick lightly, never resting on the last joint of the finger or too close to the palm of the hand.

The rest is all about feeling the action right there and not squeezing at all, as finger position should do any control necessary for playing without too much pressure.
Also, compare both hands by playing unisons on a pad in front of the mirror and try to mimic your right hand. It's much more efficient for detecting inconsistencies. And try to record yourself to try to detect where the issue is, as it may surface while you're paying attention only to playing.
Niles
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Re: Grip and Fulcrum

Postby Niles » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:44 pm

Lucas Ives wrote:- how do you guys approach holding / gripping / guiding the stick with
matched grip? is there a particular explanation that has resonated
with you?

- how do you think about the wrist motion required to make a single
stroke?

- what adjustments or checks do you make on yourself as you're playing
to keep the "machine" operating freely?

- what fulcrum do you use, or which fulcrums for which situations?

It feels weird to be so analytical about the motion in my non-dominant
hand when it's always been so completely effortless for the dominant
one. Maybe this is normal. But in any case, I'd love to hear different
approaches and see any photos or video that have been helpful to you.

Thanks in advance.


•Basic approach to grip is to hold the stick naturally - in other words, I never wrap my index finger around the stick. It just extends out as a guide. My grip doesn't change from German to French - just a turn of the wrists.
•Wrist motion is the first thing players should get into - best to first develop the larger muscles, and learn rebound with exaggerated strokes. Then when you're letting the sticks do the work, you can move onto fingers, etc.
•Adjustments I make (I play matched) are to mimic my stronger hand. A mirror works for this (and will show problems with your dominant hand too).
•I use a few different fulcrums, spread out among different grips - which gives lots of options. Honestly I don't get into fulcrums with students until their grip is in a good place and they have the rebound thing down, cold. Fulcrums often happen naturally, but it is good to be able to recognize what your hands are doing. In a nutshell - front-hand, mid-hand, back-hand.

Hope that helps!
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Matthijs Ament
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Re: Grip and Fulcrum

Postby Matthijs Ament » Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:20 pm

I took some lessons with Chris Coleman a while back and I asked him about this. Chris has killer hands, like not even human. He showed me two 'extreme grips'. One using only fingers and one using only wrists. He floored me by playing at the same speed and power all around the kit by doing that. The idea is to use 'opposite' muscle groups. It does strengthen the overall grip. You made some good observations about the wrist. I think that is key when dealing with the 'weaker' hand. First get your wrist worked out. Instead of the mirror you can also use a cam. Also you can slow the footage down... and go see Chris when you're in LA.
Jim Richman
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Re: Grip and Fulcrum

Postby Jim Richman » Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:08 pm

Your left hand does not play repetitive ostinatos like your right. Hence, it does not have the time necessary to develop techniques like the right. If you start playing a backbeat groove, play all the subdivisions(8th or 16th notes) mezzopiano with the left hand on thew snare while accenting the backbeats in forte. That will work your left hand without having to lead with it.
Keith Mansfield rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Odd-Arne Oseberg
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Re: Grip and Fulcrum

Postby Odd-Arne Oseberg » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:31 pm

Short answer for me is basically playing open handed.

I haven't played nearly as long as most of the guys here, but I have come to a few conclusions so far regarding my own taste.

When I teach I just teach to bouce the stick and don't talk much about the grip for a while except for the first lesson or if it's completel out to lunch. Then, about when we start learning 8th notes after a couple of months we start doing some Stick Control exercises and then we work wrist. Fulcrum on the index finger first joint and og from there. I want them to bounce, let the stick do the work without changing position in the hand. We might try a hinge stick for this. "American" grip with straight stick. When we start working on fingers we often do "French" grip first. It depends.

Personally, I play more or less only traditional(matched when I teach). Fulcrum on the right hand is mostly on the second finger, but moves to the index finger certain stuff. American grip, stick being completely straight with no angle in relation to my forearm. Using as much Moeller as possible.

I made it a point right at the beginning to work my left hand more, so when I do exercises on the pad I first lead with the left, then the right and a third time leading with the left. I also do long single stroke workouts while watching TV leading with the left.

I can't do fast finger work woth French grip as I see many guys do. I don't really know what hole in my playing that would fill at this point. I gues I'll start working on it when a need arises, but it hasn't yet.
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Lucas Ives
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Re: Grip and Fulcrum

Postby Lucas Ives » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:29 pm

Matus, could you elaborate a little bit on this?

Matus wrote:- Index kind of "surrounding" the stick lightly, never resting on the last joint of the finger or too close to the palm of the hand.


Thanks to everyone who has weighed in with advice and tips ... keep 'em coming.
littlegrooves
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Re: Grip and Fulcrum

Postby littlegrooves » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:16 pm

Lately I've become interested in getting maximal response from my off
hand (snare hand .. comping hand .. whatever ..), and have spent a lot
of time analyzing my grip. I play matched grip most of the time.

With my dominant hand, I feel I can generally get the stick to do
whatever I want it to [ ...]

It feels weird to be so analytical about the motion in my non-dominant
hand when it's always been so completely effortless for the dominant
one. Maybe this is normal. But in any case, I'd love to hear different
approaches and see any photos or video that have been helpful to you.



I hate to be the smartass (okay, no I don't...), but the answer to your question is your question. If you're happy with your dominant hand and you want symmetry, then look to your dominant hand as a guide. Use a mirror? = Check. Hit the pad and focus on a 10:1 ratio on your weak hand? = Check. Common sense stuff. If your dominant hand kicks ass, then you already know how kick ass; you just need to apply that symmetrically.

If you're not happy with either and you really want to know about fulcrums, etc., then go study Moeller with someone who knows it (i.e. not John Riley).

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