View Full Version : Palms down vs. Thumbs up
01-27-2004, 07:48 PM
I have been practicing an average of 2 hours a day on the pad and probably 3-4 sessions weekly at 3-4 hours a at a time as well. Within the last year I've really tried to focus on sticking patterns. Someone told me that by playing thumbs up I would "shock" my thumbs, so I started playing more palms down. Recently I've been experiencing tightness in my dominant right forearm. I've never noticed this before and I'm wondering if I could be developing carpel tunnel syndrome from playing palms down. I do tend to drop my wrist as well, like you would when you do a push. I've noticed people playing both ways. Can you help me?
01-27-2004, 08:36 PM
This is common among German (palm-down) players but
try and cover the bases before doing anything radical. I
have played both ways. Now, I play French (palm side).
I find it more comfortable but note that you must dev-
elop your fingers and hand more for power, this way. It
is something that takes time.
Try a combination of the two, for starters and we'll talk
more about it.
01-27-2004, 09:58 PM
I appreciate your reply. I do practice with my fingers as well. When I use my fingers I play french. When doing so I drop my hands so the stick does'nt hit the back of my palm to allow for good rebound. Once again I have concerns about my hand being in a crooked position (unnatural position). When you play with your fingers do you angle your wrist as well? Perhaps you keep your wrist staight, if so how do you acheive a full stroke when the stick hits your hand. Also I like to know if you have noticed any stiffness in your forearms when playing palms down.
01-31-2004, 02:33 AM
I play with palms up andö w/ the thumb on the side of the stick. I also get a little shock from playing thumbs up. Although, sometimes when I practice rudiments, I place my thumb on the top of the stick. Also flr quick patterns on the drumkit, such as be-bop ride patterns and so on.
01-31-2004, 06:23 AM
Well, I just had a little glimpse of this old video of Freddie Gruber explaining how we shld play the drums and the natural way our hands shld move or stroke the drums. Funny guy but his teaching are indeed such gems and very natural.
02-02-2004, 08:05 AM
Stick grip is one of those areas of much controversary. I feel that it's a "players preference" as to what grip he or she chooses to play with whether it be German, French, or Traditional. No matter what "grip" is used there is a very important factor in utilizing any grip.
Allot of drummers "grip" to tight. In other words they are holding the sticks with a tight grip and hitting with the kind of power that can damage tendons and cause problems like carpal tunnel.
I play "matched" grip for the most part. When I was in drum corps as a teenager I used traditional grip because of the snare drum sling. Either way...you should only be "pinching" the stick between your index finger and thumb on your right hand (if your right handed) and the same on your left hand if you use matched grip. If you used traditional grip then you pinch the stick in the valley between your thumb and index finger. If you're left handed you reverse these grips accordingly.
In answer to your question about avoiding carpel tunnel or other problems, you must be careful to apply pressure only when you hit the drum and release it after hitting. This is hard to explain. In other words you're holding the stick quite loosely (almost as if it would leave your hand if you missed yout target) until impact then you grip tight and release. This keeps your hands, wrists, and forearms from taking a beating (forgive the pun) and enables you to play extended periods of time with little or no discomfort.
All stick grips are about finger and wrist control...very little arm except that you arm brings your hands to the designated areas to be hit.
check out http://www.vicfirth.com/education/drumset/domfamularo.html
the links of Dom and Jim Chapin show what I'm getting at.
Hope this helps!
02-02-2004, 12:47 PM
Sorry for the late response. I have been away for a funeral.
"I appreciate your reply. I do practice with my fingers as well. When I use my fingers I play french. When doing so I drop my hands so the stick does'nt hit the back of my palm to allow for good rebound. Once again I have concerns about my hand being in a crooked position (unnatural position). When you play with your fingers do you angle your wrist as well? Perhaps you keep your wrist staight, if so how do you acheive a full stroke when the stick hits your hand. Also I like to know if you have noticed any stiffness in your forearms when playing palms down."
I try not to "angle", as you mentioned above. Where I get stiffness is when I am trying to do more athletic movements from drum to drum OR if I am hitting the drums too hard, which happens to me alot on these dang pads.
I'm looking for old video that you can see. This is the best I can do until I get the new setup, sometime in the near future:
02-03-2004, 08:03 AM
As much as I think it is a matter of personal feel, and how your hands are placed on your arms (not even joking!) I find it funny that my 3 main influences; Weckl, Vinnie & (most of all) Virg tend to hold the (right hand!!) sticks in the same way. I say tend to, because their grips ARE different from eachother, but vey similar compared to other great drummers.
I play matched (except when stick-clicking) exclusively, and seem to hold my sticks more like Gary Novak than Simon Phillips (still very much loving Simons drumming).
I think a good example of good matched grip can also be found in the TUDW DVD "Dom & Friends" portion! Look closely on Pete Drummond's hands! (The nerd with the yeallow glasses -sorry Pete,- you look cooler now-a-days!)
He is a monster matched-grip player!
02-03-2004, 09:06 AM
Tony was a professed German player and he
did play this way a lot BUT when he rode on
the cymbal or cut his famous single-stroke
rolls, he went French.
02-03-2004, 04:32 PM
Pete hits the rims quite a lot, I mean that not as in makes a mistake, you know what I mean, hits the snare as well as rim, he does it on TUDW segment with everyone quite a bit, he does it a lot on the pad as well, Ive started to do it, and I feel its got me to a new powerful level! :D
02-03-2004, 08:22 PM
I appreciate your quick response. I've only had time to download the Free Stroke w/ Dom and The Moeller w/ Jim due to lack of high speed internet service. I have found both of these highly informative particularly the Chapin. He mentioned playing todays music (I'm assuming rock) requires louder/harder playing which will destroy your arms with time if your grip is too tight. One of the bands I play in has a ridiculous stage volume, so this really hit home. I know an instructor here in town that teaches the Moeller Technique and I think I'll contact him and set up some lessons. I can't thank you enough Donny Dee.
Thanks for the link you sent me. Unfortunately I haven't had time to download it yet, but I'm looking forward to it and I'll get back with you.
02-04-2004, 11:05 AM
i read about a new shock-absorbing stick from zildjian (?) in some magazine... has anyone of you used these already and if so, would you recommend getting them?
02-04-2004, 07:26 PM
I purchased some of the Zildjian anti-vibe sticks and used them exclusively on the practice pad. These sticks do reduce the vibration of the stick causing less shock to the hand. Although the sticks do what they're intended to do, I didn't really like the way they felt. My conclusion was that a stick with less vibration moves differently than a standard stick, creating a different hand motion. I suppose I am use to the way my hand moves to control a standard stick (one with vibration). These are only my opinions - it seems like a great concept, so try some out and let me know what you think.
02-20-2004, 07:15 AM
I wish you the best....the Moeller Technique was the best thing I ever learned in my drumming career. No matter what style of music I play it works and the volume level can be controlled. Chapin, last time I saw him in clinic, was talking about the approach to the drum kit using the Moeller Technique in matched grip and how it made more sense on the drum kit. But in the end it's all about personal preference.
Keep Kickin' Man!
"Gripping" a stick is the worst thing you can do for hurting yourself down the road...I suggest you research "middle finger fulcrum"...or "moeller" or whatever you call it
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