4 Months Since Switching to Open Handed Playing.

Nacci

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I started drumming at 15 and am 46 so over 30 years behind a kit. I'm self taught and have always been a right hand lead, cross over drummer. About four months ago, after watching a Mahavishnu video from 1972 I decided I wanted to learn to play open handed. Not easy but I have been doing my best to stick with it. Here is my progress so far.


 

NDdrummer13

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Thank you. The urge to switch back to what is comfortable and I am proficient at is strong.
If you enjoy the open handed playing keep it up. Sounds better than I would sound and I am in the exact same boat with Time playing overall.
 

JDA

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Time signature?

why not try just some straight 8th note and 2 & 4.
In-time.

don't force;
just do..

Bass on 1 & 3 ..
Simple, easy. (on yourself) Simple.

you are going to play the same beats you play right handed. Tell your mind that..
and execute it by- with your ears. (your inner drum ear)..

keep in mind you can play (could before) eighth notes (alone) with your left hand you can play 16th notes with your left hand you can play a swing and a shuffle rhythm with your left hand----all before you began this your journey. You are just moving the hand(s) to different source sound source(s). The rhythms your hands knew before, they still know , you are just rearranging and on the set placing them differently.

Lh eighth notes hihat , 2 & 4 rh..snare
bass 1 & 3

Same beat (as you must have) played before.
this time, Different hands Driving.

(it's mental mental adjustment connection Just say you will to yourself.
easy simple beat.
reversed, driving now on the other side of the road..

Time....you're keeping time..
left hand's driving..

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Take Page 1 of Stick Control. near each exercise is a mirror of the one above it...
Apply as: L on hi hat R on snare
Practice.
move your bass drum and hi hat Along in simple even Time.
 
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dcrigger

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Thank you. The urge to switch back to what is comfortable and I am proficient at is strong.
Always something to consider - the question of whether the seeming advantages of openhandedness are worth the rather significant investment.

Also it bears reminding - that way Billy played with Mahavishnu wasn't a product of developing a different way of playing (openhandedness), but was simply the way Billy - as a left handed person - played in a world of predominantly right-handed drum sets. With Mahavishnu, he was playing with his Dominant hand on the ride cymbal and hi hat... which is entirely different than what you or I would go through trying to play that way,

Basically... a long road... worth it or not, I'm not saying. Just saying that it's not what Billy did or was doing back in the early 70's. He was a lefty playing a right handed kit with the ride cym positioned on the left.
Just like he was doing back in '68...

 

Nacci

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Why not try just some straight 8th note and 2 & 4.
In-time.
This one is for you JDA, Ticket to Ride" and "Tomorrow Never Knows" by the Beatles, though I'm not sure who is actually playing drums.

 

JDA

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much better you got it!
way to go

(and it only took 4 months,,,) kidding..(lol

much much much better
 

Nacci

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Always something to consider - the question of whether the seeming advantages of openhandedness are worth the rather significant investment.
Everyone has to make that call for themselves and that is if they are even contemplating it, which I think few are. The vast majority of those that do try it will give up because the switch is that hard. Still, I think it is the future of drumming, or should be, because it opens up so many possibilities on the kit. This cross over business is flawed, just a mistake that has been pasted from one generation of players to the next. It makes perfect sense to me to start all new drummers off open handed and break it.
 

JDA

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We are. I went too far explaining. Should have just said ( see edit ; )
 

dcrigger

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Everyone has to make that call for themselves and that is if they are even contemplating it, which I think few are. The vast majority of those that do try it will give up because the switch is that hard. Still, I think it is the future of drumming, or should be, because it opens up so many possibilities on the kit. This cross over business is flawed, just a mistake that has been pasted from one generation of players to the next. It makes perfect sense to me to start all new drummers off open handed and break it.
This is where we totally disagree... to inflict this unproven experiment on beginning students would be grossly negligent in my opinion. There's no evidence that teaching the bulk of student to play the traditional dominant hand part of the drum set repertoire with their subdominant hand has any validity whatsoever. Openhanded proponents seem to think that playing this way only eliminates the hit/snare crossover as it's most profound change - yet playing "ride cymbal - hi hat part" with the student's weaker hand is a far more fundamental change.

And honestly, we've seen no more than a handful of significant players (at best) playing this way that weren't admittedly left handed or ambidextrous in someway prior to ever touching a drumstick.

How could this possibly be considered the future of drumming to the point teaching it to beginners? When Billy and Lenny (who seemed to be the first high profile openhanded players) exposed this to drumming 40 years ago - and it has still caught to any mass degree at all. 40 years!!!! We went from playing exclusively traditional grip to something approaching the majority playing matched in less than 10 years.

I'm sorry, but so far, for most players, crossing over just doesn't open up that many doors. Which isn't surprising, since for every ground-breaking, original sounding openhanded player you can name, I can probably name 10 that play dominant-hand lead.

None of which is to say, I don't think you should be pursuing it. If it's opening possibilities in your playing, great. But I would beg, let's leave beginning students out of this for now.
 

Nacci

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This is where we totally disagree... to inflict this unproven experiment on beginning students would be grossly negligent in my opinion. There's no evidence that teaching the bulk of student to play the traditional dominant hand part of the drum set repertoire with their subdominant hand has any validity whatsoever. Openhanded proponents seem to think that playing this way only eliminates the hit/snare crossover as it's most profound change - yet playing "ride cymbal - hi hat part" with the student's weaker hand is a far more fundamental change.

And honestly, we've seen no more than a handful of significant players (at best) playing this way that weren't admittedly left handed or ambidextrous in someway prior to ever touching a drumstick.

How could this possibly be considered the future of drumming to the point teaching it to beginners? When Billy and Lenny (who seemed to be the first high profile openhanded players) exposed this to drumming 40 years ago - and it has still caught to any mass degree at all. 40 years!!!! We went from playing exclusively traditional grip to something approaching the majority playing matched in less than 10 years.

I'm sorry, but so far, for most players, crossing over just doesn't open up that many doors. Which isn't surprising, since for every ground-breaking, original sounding openhanded player you can name, I can probably name 10 that play dominant-hand lead.

None of which is to say, I don't think you should be pursuing it. If it's opening possibilities in your playing, great. But I would beg, let's leave beginning students out of this for now.
It seems that being totally disagreed with is becoming my stock in trade, having no closed season or bag limit on sacred cows. I hear what you are saying. Most people have very weak left hands, physically and intellectually. For various reasons I recognized this years back and spent a considerable amount of time bringing mine up to speed, brushing my teeth, writing with it, throwing the ball with my son, just connecting those synapses to make it a force to be recon with on its own, so applying it to my drumming became a natural next step. Even then, trying to switch to open handed playing is a significant challenge.

So maybe it is not for everyone. Still, I think to play ride leads with either hand and have backbeat pattern options on an open kit is superior to having one hand locked down under the other. Both of my children play drums a little with me and I am steering them in the open handed direction so if it pans out I will be able to report back on how grossly negligent this unproven experiment actually is.

I think that Steve Smith is a good example of where I'm coming from. Obviously a top tier drummer who was trained in the traditional approach to drumming by others who were trained in the traditional approach to drumming. Then something happened with Smith, you could just see it in the way he started to dress, his mannerism and speech, his musical interests...his drumming. Some doors of perception were definitely opened for this guy. And what do we see from him when the shackles of conventionality are shrugged off? Open handed playing. Break on through to the other side, break on through to the other side, break on through, break on through, break, break, break , break ,break.

 

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I mess around with playing open but I still don't know what huge amount of possibilities it affords me...or anyone? I can see the advantages of teaching your left hand to improve strength and coordination on the drumset but I still don't know can't be accomplished playing crossover? I also see Davids point which I believe is the time invested in learning new grips or open handed playing would probably be more well served using that same amount of time sticking with one style and improving. But I'm open to reading the debate.....
 

bigbonzo

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I think that Steve Smith is a good example of where I'm coming from. Obviously a top tier drummer who was trained in the traditional approach to drumming by others who were trained in the traditional approach to drumming. Then something happened with Smith, you could just see it in the way he started to dress, his mannerism and speech, his musical interests...his drumming. Some doors of perception were definitely opened for this guy. And what do we see from him when the shackles of conventionality are shrugged off? Open handed playing. Break on through to the other side, break on through to the other side, break on through, break on through, break, break, break , break ,break.

One of the reasons Steve Smith (along with Steve Gadd and Vinnie Colaiuta) has switched to matched grip is the problems he's encountered playing traditional grip:

There's been a noticeable switch to matched grip in the last few years from some longtime practitioners of traditional grip, including Steve Gadd (a few years ago he was seen playing matched grip at a recording session at Skyline Studios in New York City). This doesn't surprise Weckl, who admits that he, Steve Smith and Vinnie Colaiuta are all experiencing hand problems stemming from using traditional grip. In a surprising move, jazz drummer's jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette has changed to matched grip, according to Weckl. This in addition to Teutonic powerhouse Thomas Lang's recent switch to matched grip. Dave remarks, "We're all experiencing hand problems from playing traditional. There is a definite thing with this grip, beating the water out of your thumb for 40, 50 years. Repetitive stress is going to take its toll, and it's definitely taken its toll on me-I've got bone spurs, arthritis, all kinds of crap going on in my left hand. The funny thing is I generally don't feel it when I play. I feel it at times, but it just takes me a minute to get back into playing consistently and in position where the fatty/muscle part between the thumb and first finger cradle the stick more, and then I don't feel it so much. I don't know if Steve (Gadd) actually has any trauma to his hand or not. The only thing that he did tell me person-to-person was that playing matched grip is just easier. And Thomas Lang is switching to mostly matched now, for the same reason. He said it's just so much maintenance and he's also got his own injury issues."
 
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xsabers

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Matched grip vs. Traditional grip and Open Handed vs. traditional dominant hand lead = totally different things.
 


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