Monday, March 7, 2022

Embracing matched grip

 I have mentioned before that I am exclusively a matched grip player. Except for a very brief period in my early 20s, I haven't even attempted to play traditional grip. When I experimented with conventional grip I realized that I would have to practice incredibly hard to even get it to a passible level, and I decided to focus on other things. I have nothing against anyone playing trad grip, or switching to it. It does drive me a little crazy however, when people try to associate a grip with a style of music. Lots of great Rock players play traditional, lots of wonderful Jazz players play matched. I wish that was the end of the discussion, but far from it!

Lots of trad players (especially American ones)  justify what they're doing as part of a legacy. I also think it's a way drummers demonstrate how much time they've spent with the instrument by learning the "harder' grip, and maybe playing matched as well. I've argued against these points until I'm blue in the face, so I won't bother to do it again. I will, however mention a few advantages that matched grip has that maybe don't get mentioned that much…….

1.) Matched grip is a much more "elemental" way of holding the sticks.

Yes, obviously it's easier to play louder but rather I'm talking about getting in touch with the first instinct someone has when they pick up the sticks. If someone has never seen someone play traditional grip, there's NO WAY they will grab the sticks in that fashion the first time they play. Even if they have seen someone play trad grip before, they invariably get it wrong. The first person to ever play drums with sticks played like Ringo, like it or not! To play matched is to be in touch with the primitive, non-intellectual, and emotional beginnings of the instrument!

2. One hand can "teach" the other.

Because both sticks are held the same way, if you do something you like with one hand, you can mimic it to learn it with the other. I recently realized I had a better way of choking cymbals with my RH, so I'm setting about teaching my LH to do the same…… (See video below.)

Once again, I think it's very important for me to stress I have nothing against traditional grip and the many great drummers who play that way. I just feel that lately, matched grip is being viewed in a somewhat limited way by the drumming cognoscente. What ever way you hold the sticks, play the crap out of the music! That's the important part! :) 

1 comment:

  1. Right on Ted. I can achieve 96% of what I Had using trad now that I am exclusively matched. The missing 4% is made up for by the new horizons and capabilities of matched.
    Back at Banff Smitty Told me to practice both. Perhaps that’s what he was doing for his 5 to 8 hours of practice a day.