Drum gloves

akselfs

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Hey,

I have had problems with blisters ever since I started playing faster music. I'm not here to discuss technique, and I would appreciate if we leave that out of the conversation.

My question is simple - what is your experience with drum gloves? Did it prevent blisters? Did it enhance your grip? Does the sizes match the normal glove charts?
..and lastly, would you recommend it, and if so, what brand of gloves?

Thank you.

Aksel
 

theEZV

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I've been using gloves off and on for years. They do help with the blisters, that's the reason I use them. Over the years I have used various baseball batting gloves, the Zildjian gloves, and the Ahead gloves. Currently I am using the Aheads, they are definitely the nicest, but honestly any decent baseball glove will do. I suggest going down to you local sporting goods store and trying some on so you can get the right size the first time.

As far as the grip question - I wrap my sticks with tennis overgrip when playing with gloves. Absolutely no issues with grip.
 

Rockin' Billy

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I've used baseball gloves and drum gloves but not for blisters, just a little extra support. What I can state is that some black leather gloves will stain your hands when sweating and that black can be a little difficult to get off.
 

Dan Radin

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I wear football wide receiver gloves. They are sticky for catching the ball, and as a result, are great for improving grip. I never drop sticks and can relax my grip when wearing them, so they allow me to hit hard with less fatigue, and they do mitigate blisters for me. I do feel a bit restricted technically for the first few minutes after putting them on, but once they warm up, I can do pretty much anything in gloves I can do without them. I would not recommend leather gloves, and the batting gloves I looked at had padding in the wrong places for drumming.
 

cochlea

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I used to have problems with blisters when I played back in high school. I played mostly traditional grip at that time and was prone to blisters on the ring finger of my left hand. I tried using a golf glove on my left hand when blisters developed, so that I could keep playing without discomfort. I didn't like the feel and my hand would sweat profusely, but it worked at the time. I found that using a half-glove (where the finger tips are removed) worked the best. In recent years, after switching from Regal Tip to Vic Firth sticks, I no longer get blisters. I don't know if I'm gripping the sticks differently now. I tend to think it has something to do with the finish on the sticks. The Regal Tip sticks had a high-gloss lacquer that seemed to cause a lot of friction against the skin. The Vic Firth sticks I now use are more of a satin finish and don't seem to be as abrasive on the skin.
 

aparker2005

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Carter Beauford signature golf gloves. My hands are extremely dry and these help to hold on to sticks. Plus they're a great conversation starter.

Oddly enough Carter wears his gloves seemingly 24/7. Every picture on and off stage, he's got these gloves on. Weird!
 
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I use grip tape on my sticks, bandaids on my blister spots on my hands, and Wilson golf gloves. Keeps my hands baby soft!
 

Geostorm98

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The worst blisters I ever encountered occurred when I wrapped my sticks in grip tape. Gloves are a much better alternative and they're great for set up and tear down too. I used Zildjian gloves with the breathable nylon backing and trimmed the tips off - back in the day when I was hitting super hard. You want them to be snug fitting for sure; take into account that once you get into your set the gloves will expand and they don't work well if loose fitting.

Also consider trying Zildjian stick wax, it's only $6 and lasts forever. You may find it even better than gloves. I prepare 2 sets of sticks before each set in case it begins to wear off. I absolutely love the stuff and wish I'd known about it 20-30 years ago.
 

ConvertedLudwigPlayer

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Whatever you do, do NOT dip your sticks in the PLasti-Dip stuff from Home Depot and other hardware stores. I did it and my skin peeled off in multiple places before the end of the 2nd set. OUCH!!!

I have not used gloves, but I have tried the stick wax in the past, and it seemed to help. I also tend to lotion my hands since I have dry skin.
 

TDM

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I used gloves specifically when I was getting blisters. However, for me, gloves didn't help. The same problems that caused me to get blisters without gloves on still occurred with gloves on.
 

Drumstickdude

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I used them for a short while in a police tribute band, my hands were getting jarred with all the fast cross tick stuff and going back to the head, they do help with grip if you need this and stop injury, I used an old pair of golf gloves I found then some zildjian ones I think, this was just at beginning though as I adjusted my technique as to not need them,- sorry you said no talk of technique!
 

TDM

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Drumstickdude said:
...this was just at beginning though as I adjusted my technique as to not need them - sorry you said no talk of technique!
That's what I originally typed in my earlier post, but I removed this part because the OP asked for no discussion of technique. Ultimately, for me, the solution was changing my grip and approach. No more blisters and no gloves needed after that.
 

Woody85

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When I started playing metal I also got blisters. Gloves and tape really didn't help that much and it wasn't until how I was playing did the injuries go away.

However, since you don't want to discuss the root of the problem, pick up some armadillo thumb Cooper 4 rolls and you won't have to worry about blisters ever again.
 

Sneauman

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Back-in-the-day...in the 90's I used both Zildjian and Ahead gloves to help with slippage. Both worked fine for that but I did find them a bit bulky for my taste, but I dropped less sticks as I was a super hard hitter playing Rock-N-Roll.

Then I started using grip tape on the stick with much success, and liked it a lot as I no longer needed gloves.

These days, I need to use more rim shots and I have better technique, so I use nothing but do occasionally drop sticks as my grip is much more relaxed. I would like to use gloves again as I need a bare stick to strike the rim and I like to reverse the stick and use the butt end for that. That means the grip tape is in the way. I had just considered using surgical type gloves, but I may try the wide receiver gloves or golf gloves as they will "breathe" better.

I had a gig Tuesday and dropped a stick, during ZZ Top - Cheap Sunglasses. :-D
 

akselfs

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harry said:
Aksel...just wondering what size and brand do you use?
Well, I've never used drum gloves before, so I'm not sure. I found some glove size charts online and I ended up in between S and M. I'm just not sure if the drum gloves really match these sizes, and if it's essential that the gloves sit tight or loose for them to prevent blisters.
 

akselfs

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theEZV said:
I've been using gloves off and on for years. They do help with the blisters, that's the reason I use them. Over the years I have used various baseball batting gloves, the Zildjian gloves, and the Ahead gloves. Currently I am using the Aheads, they are definitely the nicest, but honestly any decent baseball glove will do. I suggest going down to you local sporting goods store and trying some on so you can get the right size the first time.

As far as the grip question - I wrap my sticks with tennis overgrip when playing with gloves. Absolutely no issues with grip.
I have never had any problems with grip either, but I just mentioned it since I guessed it was somewhat relevant.


Also, since you seem to have a lot of experience on this topic..

I found some glove size charts online and I ended up in between S and M. Do you know if the drum gloves really match these sizes, and if it's essential that the gloves sit tight or loose for them to prevent blisters?
I have the disadvantage of NOT being able to just stop by the nearest "Music shop" and test out some different drum gloves - because no one sells them here in Norway!
 

akselfs

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Drumstickdude said:
I used them for a short while in a police tribute band, my hands were getting jarred with all the fast cross tick stuff and going back to the head, they do help with grip if you need this and stop injury, I used an old pair of golf gloves I found then some zildjian ones I think, this was just at beginning though as I adjusted my technique as to not need them,- sorry you said no talk of technique!
TDM said:
...this was just at beginning though as I adjusted my technique as to not need them - sorry you said no talk of technique!
That's what I originally typed, but I removed this part of my post because the OP asked for no discussion of technique. Ultimately, for me, the solution was changing my grip and approach. No more blisters and no gloves needed after that.
The reason I don't want to talk about technique is simply because I already have technique.

Just to give you some backround, I started playing when I was 7 years old in the School big band. So it was always a lot of marching - so I learned it.
I'm 16 now and I play black-metal. It's very, very fast and you have to hit the drums hard.

I'm not denying that technique plays a big part, because I don't have THE best technique in the world, but I do have some - and it doesn't exactly surprise me that the blisters started coming when I changed style.

I'm looking to improve my techinque, but the situation right now is that the last time I played, I walked off stage bleeding from my hands. I'm playing some bar in three weeks and I need the gloves as a temporary solution to a bigger problem.

Anyways, thanks for the response. I WILL look into it..
 

akselfs

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Geostorm98 said:
The worst blisters I ever encountered occurred when I wrapped my sticks in grip tape. Gloves are a much better alternative and they're great for set up and tear down too. I used Zildjian gloves with the breathable nylon backing and trimmed the tips off - back in the day when I was hitting super hard. You want them to be snug fitting for sure; take into account that once you get into your set the gloves will expand and they don't work well if loose fitting.

Also consider trying Zildjian stick wax, it's only $6 and lasts forever. You may find it even better than gloves. I prepare 2 sets of sticks before each set in case it begins to wear off. I absolutely love the stuff and wish I'd known about it 20-30 years ago.
Thank you very much. I'll add that stick wax to the cart when I order the gloves.

Also, since you seem to have a lot of experience on this topic..

I found some glove size charts online and I ended up in between S and M. Do you know if the drum gloves really match these sizes, and if it's essential that the gloves sit tight or loose for them to prevent blisters?
I have the disadvantage of NOT being able to just stop by the nearest "Music shop" and test out some different drum gloves - because no one sells them here in Norway!
 

TDM

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akselfs said:
The reason I don't want to talk about technique is simply because I already have technique. Just to give you some background, I started playing when I was 7 years old in the School big band. So it was always a lot of marching - so I learned it. I'm 16 now and I play black-metal. It's very, very fast and you have to hit the drums hard. (snip) I'm looking to improve my technique, but the situation right now is that the last time I played, I walked off stage bleeding from my hands. I'm playing some bar in three weeks and I need the gloves as a temporary solution to a bigger problem.
I've been where you are, leaving gigs with bleeding hands. Not only was I getting blisters by the end of the first set, in the remaining sets I was finding anyway possible to keep playing and this caused the skin between my fingers to split open. Thus, I was leaving gigs with open, bleeding blisters on the tips, pads, and sides of my fingers, and with split, bleeding wounds between the gaps of my fingers. It was painful to say the least and the drums ended up covered in blood. Doing gigs where we played three or four nights in a row was torture.

Ultimately, as I noted previously, changing my approach was the solution, but so was recognizing my limitations. In no particular order, here are a few things that may help you:

1.) Tune the drums higher. Higher pitches may not sound as full and solid, but they cut through.

2.) Remove dampening and muffling from your snare drum and toms. You need the extra overtones to help the drums cut through.

3.) Recognize that past a certain loudness, you cannot compete with amplified, distorted guitars and such. If your drums are amplified and still you cannot be heard, then you probably need more PA reinforcement. If your drums are not amplified at all, there is a maximum volume you can achieve acoustically and past that you will damage both your body and your drums trying to play louder. Quite simply, the band must play quieter so that the drums can be heard.

Ideally, even with amplification for everyone, the band plays at a quiet level on stage such that everyone can hear themselves and blend. This is part of developing the skills all professional musicians need. It's also what your sound engineer will want because a band that plays loudly on stage is hard to mix. Instruments bleed into other microphones. The stage sound becomes louder than the mains. Everything becomes a massive jumble of uncontrollable noise. Your sound engineer will be much happier if you keep the stage volume low and let the PA do the work of getting the sound out into the house. That's what the PA is for.

If you are playing with musicians who will not turn down, then your only choice is to back off and play at a healthy level for your body. The drums may not be heard and that's NOT your problem. Your chief concern is maintaining healthy hands and body, because you need these for a lifetime of playing.

4.) Change grips throughout the performance. Using different muscle groups and different parts of your hands gives those other parts of your body a rest.

5.) Use larger and heavier sticks.

6.) Use new heads or heads that are in good condition. Replace any head that has tape on it or that has lots of divots that stop it from resonating.

7.) Use larger and deeper drums. Larger and deeper drums are acoustically louder.

8.) Regarding holding the sticks. One way to avoid blisters is what I call pinch and release. This is actually the foundation for many grips and it is especially important for avoiding injuries when playing loudly.

As you propel the stick toward the playing surface, hold the stick with a gentle pinch - enough so that the stick doesn't fall out of your hand yet no more pinching force than that. Just before the moment of impact, release the pinch so that the stick has more freedom to move and so the striking impact about to occur does not travel into your body. Upon impacting the head, allow the stick to rebound into your hand and follow the rebound away from the head. Let the stick do all the work of moving away from the head. You simply follow the rebound (in a sense, getting out of its way) and yet you control the rebound, too. At the distance you wish the stick to remain from the head, give the stick a small pinch, to regain control over the stick. Release the pinch to a level where the stick almost falls from your hand. This is the start of the next stroke.

This pinch-release, pinch-release approach is key for avoiding blisters, calluses, and other damage to the hands.

9.) Regarding changing technique and learning new techniques. Guess how many times I've changed my own technique to facilitate different musical situations and different playing goals? I cannot give an exact number, but I can say with honesty that I re-examine and adjust my technique almost daily. It's a lifelong pursuit.

Some of my own history.

I started out playing French matched grip. Switched to German matched grip. Switched to American matched grip. Spent a few years learning traditional grip and then switched to traditional grip exclusively. Started playing traditional and matched grips (French, Germain, and American). Came to the realization that there is no one right way to play and that different grips are needed for different musical situations.

Started studying my grips all over again! Woke up one day after watching Jim Chapin's video on Moeller approach for the umpteenth time and thought... hmmm... why wouldn't I take the same approach with my feet? Took my shoes and socks off, and started applying all my hand techniques to my feet! This completely changed my approach to pedals. Went from being a mostly heel down player to playing heel up, heel down, and using many other pedal techniques I'd never thought of before. Playing out of the head. Playing into the head. Steve Smith's constant release technique, Using doubles, triples, and heel-toe variations.

Over the last two years, I switched to open-handed playing. This caused all my hand and foot techniques to change yet again, and it especially changed how I sit and where my center of body balance is. Got Jojo Mayer's two Secret Weapons DVD sets (the one on hand techniques and the one on foot techniques). More things to learn. And on and on. It's fun discovering new things. Applying new techniques has helped me solve many musical problems.

10.) To bandage or not to bandage. (i.e. Glove or no gloves.) When I was experiencing the blisters and problems that you are, using gloves helped me get through a few gigs. However, make no mistake, those were still very painful gigs and I still damaged my hands. Gloves were a very temporary fix and indeed, they were not really a fix at all.

If your problem is sweating a lot in the hands or something of this ilk, then gloves might be a solution. I don't think gloves will solve the blisters you're getting because you were not having blisters before playing faster and louder music. Honestly, I think you need to consider new techniques. All musicians encounter this. You find yourself in a new musical situation and your existing techniques are not enough. This is a great example of why one learns new techniques. Time to add more techniques to your musical toolbox!

11.) Consider playing with different gears. Drummers must frequently switch gears to handle different musical challenges.

What is a gear? Think of each gear as a group of body parts and the techniques that surround those body parts. For example, playing with fingers only is one gear and there are specific techniques that surround finger control. Another gear is wrist action. Yet another gear is upper arm movement. And so on.

Now consider something else. Large body parts move slowly yet have the added advantage of mass to yield power. You can use large body parts (such as the upper arms and the upper thighs) to make very powerful strokes. However, because you are moving a lot of body mass, those strokes will be slow and you'll tire quickly. Conversely, small, light body parts move very quickly. They are very good for exciting fast strokes yet these strokes cannot be very powerful. If you try to execute more powerful strokes than small body parts are capable of, you'll tire out and you may damage those parts of the body. There are more gears in between, too.

When music requires both powerful and fast strokes, you'll need to switch gears frequently, possibly even from one beat to the next. Learning how and when to switch gears is fundamental for playing fast, heavy music. If you watch drummers who are expert at this style, you'll see they are very, very relaxed. The faster the music, the smaller the gears required (meaning smaller limb movements).

Notice that drummers who play grindcore at 300 BPM and above make very small movements. They CANNOT play loudly because small limbs are required for playing at such fast tempos. Consequently, these drummers often use microphones and triggers. They use small body gears to address the tempo requirements and amplification and MIDI triggering to address the volume and power requirements.

12.) Learn to apply techniques through all gears. So now you know what a gear is, but you can also use certain techniques with different gears. For example, the whipping downstroke of the Moeller approach can be executed with fingers only, wrist rotation, wrist up and down movements, lower arm and elbow movement, and full upper arm movement. It's the same stroke, but executing it with different gears provides certain advantages.

Let's say you are playing fast, quiet notes and need a small accent. You can execute the Moeller downstroke with your fingers only. This gives you a more powerful stroke without losing speed. Given you're using a small gear for the stroke, you will only get so much volume, but if that's all the volume needed, there is no reason to switch to a larger gear and every reason (speed and endurance) to stay with a smaller gear. As you need louder accents, you'll need to switch to larger gears.

Let's say you are playing slow, powerful, heavy strokes. Still, the music requires some accents. You can use the same Moeller downstroke to achieve these accents, but you'll need to use full arm movement for the required power. And indeed, you'll probably already be using larger arm movements so fitting the Moeller downstroke into those movements flows more naturally.

As I noted above, there are more gears than just these two, which is why it's useful to learn techniques with all gears (fingers, wrists, lower arm, upper arm, etc.). Some techniques work with all gears and other techniques only work with certain gears.

Sorry for this long post, but I hope something in here helps you with your current blister problems. :icon_smile:
 


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