View Full Version : Building up a strong left hand (trad grip)

11-27-2003, 09:41 AM
For those of you out there using traditional grip, what sort of advice would you have for someone who's trying so desperatly to even out their left hand with their right? I know it's a matter of practice, but with matched grip the concept's a little simpler. Both hands are the same and so on, with traditional grip though the left hand is using different muscles, and chances are was already a little weaker to begin with. I've tried doing excersises like:


are there any other suggestions? Any kind of weights I could do with just the left hand until it catches up? So on...

The biggest problem isn't speed but it's volume. I can't go as loud and so on.

Any help with be greatly appreciated.

11-27-2003, 12:45 PM

I played tradtional for many years
before switching to matched. I had
developed it a great deal, actually.

Why I switched doesn't matter. I
see that you want to improve it
and so, I'll talk about how.

When I hold the stick in my left
hand, traditionally, it is nearly
vertical, as in praying. The stick
is trapped between my thumb
and the index finger. That pad-
ding there, in between, is go-
ing to become your buddy.

You have to develop this muscle
and it will come with persistence.
Don't worry. It will come.

For the strokes, I just turn my
wrist very slightly. You want to
use the wrist more than the arm,
especially in the beginning. Down
the road, that'll come but you
need your wrist to develop.

With very slow tempos, carry
4-4 beats, with your left-hand
ghosting 16th notes, through-
out. This is going to bring them
out and make your hand more
and more strong. Try to apply
this with everything you do.

Watch film of Buddy Rich and
apply Virgil's "Power" exercis-
es, as per the video.

When you practice your rudim-
ents, which you should every
day, do most of your accents
with the left hand.

Check out that little thread I did
on Billy Cobham stories. There's
a demonstration that I described
that you can actually work up to.

It will develop your individual
fingers and as you improve your
command, your fingers will play
a greater role.


11-27-2003, 08:59 PM
Peter, I think I speak for almost everyone in here when I say you are truley our wise drumming father figure :) I would like to know your reasons for switching from traditional to matched though. I did switch from matched to trad, but not as my permanent grip. I would like to know them both, so it was more of a temporary switch, and still is. I experiment...:)
To Peter,
a drummer who is teaching the world

11-27-2003, 09:15 PM
No, no, no, Adam.

I am right here, with you. I
am learning from Virgil and
the rest of you.

Being older doesn't neces-
sarily make you wiser. We
can only HOPE that it does.

I have seen a few things
is all and I want to share
that with you, in order to
help, if I can. I think we
can all help each other. I
think that way, at least.

I have wanted to go "open"
ever since I saw Billy, years
and years ago. It was, not
only that "symmetry" that
I always admired but the
accessibility that it allowed
BUT to do this, while trad
seems half-way to me.

It's about what we want.
You may not want what I
do from the kit. I don't be-
lieve that matched players
are clumsy oafs that can-
not play a delicate passage
to save their lives, though
some trad players might
have you believe that.

Whatever you can do with
your right hand, you can do
with your left. That's the way
I look at it. Why not? I ask
my hands who wants to be
like who and my left hand still
wants to be like my right and
not the other way around.

Still, that doesn't mean that
you should do what I do. I
want to help YOU.

Go for it! :)

11-27-2003, 10:24 PM
HAHAHA!!whe like a politics right here!!Peter you right man,everybody want to play with left habd like a ride hand,with feet is the same!!!
whe try to help eachoder!!nobody,specialy Peter,dont want to teach or something else!!every guy in this forum get wath he need i think!!
Peter ceep lesson for us,because you have a great hart man,and you realey want to helped us!!
DOVIJDNE(this is Bulgarian Good Buy)

11-28-2003, 03:08 AM
I suggest you learn traditional till you feel that you have nearly as good technique with it as you'd have with matched, but I don't suggest you to change completly.
Peter has mentioned earlier in threads that traditional only lets you work three muscle groups, when matched let's you work nearly ten or thirteen.
That's a big difference there Adam, and that it much why matched grip is transcribed as the powerful grip. Many people nowadays who've been playing traditional all their life (Doma Famularo, Virgil etc.) all mean that the matched grip is the ultimate grip, and that is let's you work your kit in a different, easier way.
So, there's nothing wrong in practising traditional, but remember that it is better for softer playing and rudiments, than for harder playing, where matched grip is the ideal.

Good luck, Adam!

- Brobjer

11-28-2003, 03:42 AM
Personally, regardless of what muscles are used blah blah, i think that you can get just as much power from trad, i think they are both great grips, choose what is right for you, and choose what makes you be able to express how you want to express yourself on you kit, there are arguments/discussions on the topic all over the place, they are all fine and dandy, but they are subjective most of the time, with the whole 3 muscles to 10 muscles thing, i dont really beleive things until i actually see, and hear names of what those muscles are, how they work ect, as i have said before, 3 muscles can do a hell of alot!!!! And i also think that a good balance is/can be created, all you have to do is look at people like Vinnie, Virg, Thomas, those guys have a wicked backbeat, and just as loud as any matched grip player, it just takes a bit of work, which is fun! Also i think the beauty and the challange of trad, is really noticing how you work yourself, analyze what you do, look at what you are doing, does it look right, and does it feel right and so on, look at your left hand grip/technique in relation to other players who are proficient at it! As far as exercises, any exercise that works on the left hand is fine, i think Joe Morello's "dropping the stick" exercises are great! If you have Master Studies, its in the fill ins section Tiger Bill has it on his site somewhere (www.tigerbill.com), but for my left hand, its come a lot from experimenting, being consistent in using it, and watching! I prefer the grip because for some reason, i am willing to work on it, where as with matched, i always think why isnt my left as good as the right, and i become impatient, and dont want to play, but trad just feels right to me, and i think it really comes down to what feels right for you! Good luck! :D

11-28-2003, 05:06 AM
I had to start playing traditional because of technique problems that were giving me RSI that I was finding it impossible to remedy.

But I do actually enjoy playing traditional more for some reason. Which does not bother me at all :)

11-28-2003, 05:17 AM

RSI? Tell me more about that. Ah, Repetitive Strain Injury! Of c ourse. Well, David... this is a subject that I have some experience with.

Each day, I write about 4000 words on market related activity. After talking to doctors, surgeons etc., there was little offered, in terms of solutions, that didn't include surgery.

It wasn't until I spoke with chiropractors, physical therapists and then finally, an OMD (Oriental Medical Doctor) that I was able to make real changes that allowed me to regain 70% of the 80% loss in the use of my right arm.

Perhaps it's not an issue for you but if it is and you want to play matched but feel that you can't, I could talk more about that with you.

11-28-2003, 01:13 PM
Pete i want to talk for trad.grip to,because i dont filing good when i play trad.maybe i didnt cach right the stick,but i'm not sure!!i wach a lot of time how Virgil play trad.but Virgil is Virgil,me is me,i dont have him hand!!i start to have troble with left hand,after stat to use trad.grip!!!

11-28-2003, 01:13 PM

Even though i dont have any strain problems, i would still love to hear about it all! Like the process, and how long did it take before you got strenght back in your arm! Thanks :D

11-28-2003, 02:32 PM
The truth is I don't have it all back and I may never have it all back but I do have most of it - about 80-90%.

Earlier, I said that I rite 4000 words a day. Well, I have been doing this since 1992! That's a lot of writing. I also charted (graphs) during most of that time, hunched over a table or desk. Being the type of financial analyst that I am, this comes with the territory. You got to do what you got to do.

A few years ago, I found that I could not play the drums, without really hurting in my right hand and finally, I had to just stop playing because I could not hold onto the stick. That was not all. I could not hold a glass of OJ in my hand or turn a key. It was real scary. Let me tell you.

Well, it was a threat not only to my playing but my modest living and I had to find some answers. I went to supposedly some of the finest doctors in the field, sports doctors, surgeons etc. - all on the traditional side of medicine. Most of them pointed to surgery as the answer. I'd heard that Carl (Palmer) had the surgery but that it was really tough on him. He's back, though and a killer player still (some of the best hands).

I didn't like what I was hearing so I started doing alternative things, like using herbs to increase circulation and drinking more water etc. Then, I started seeing this one particular sports doctor and he exposed me to the device that Joe Montana used to come back from back surgery, called the Accuscope. What a story that device is and that sent me on a train of thought, boy! It's an electro-stimulation device, fancier than a TENS. Whew!

This is going to be longer than I thought...

Let me come back to you...

11-30-2003, 05:43 AM
Something Billy said in response to a question,
on his forum, which I found interesting:

"This muscle is called the fulcrum muscle, as far as I know and that one that develops as you concentrate upon a conventional parade drum aproach to handling the drum sticks. Remember Tony Williams, Buddy Rich or Gene Krupa for example: they played this way most of their career. This can lead to some pain in the shoulder as you have mentioned but I would work on a more liberal means of controling the drum sticks where play for the rebound of the stick off the surface as opposed to playing into the drum which is what happens when you play the conventional method. This is why I choose the matched grip concept: so that I have the option to leave the stick on the surface of the drum or "sting it" and float to the next surface and, in the process, I don't encounter alot of vibration running through the drum stick and on to my forearm. The fulcum muscle will help you in the control of the drum stick if you develop it no matter which way you go."