Drum gloves

harry

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akselfs 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.
Sorry... I meant what size and brand of drumsticks do you use?
 

Rock and/or roll

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akselfs said:
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
Hey, Aksel. I'll try to hit up your questions in order.
1. I'm in my third decade of using them. In fact, after they saved my torn up hands at a show, I changed my technique to fit THEM.
2. In my case, absolutely. Results may vary.
3. While I've always appreciated the slightly tackified feel of a brand new pair of gloves, I never really noticed too measurable a benefit.
4. The current gloves that I use have always been a pretty good fit, however, if you ever hear a complaint about how a pair of gloves fit, it will usually be that they run on the larger side.
5. I started with Beato gloves WAY back before you were born! Then on to Easton(still before you were born), then to Easton/Ahead(yet even still), then finally just Ahead. I think you can guess which ones I'd recommend.

Take this for the opinion that it is, & good luck, Aksel!
 

akselfs

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TDM 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:
Thank you very, very much for this reply.

I wish I could give you an equally long reply out of mere respect, but you really answered all questions that came to mind!

When it comes to technique - I really have nothing to do this upcoming summer, and with parents and siblings out of the house, this will be the perfect time to learn the different techniques that is required.

Again, thank you for the reply and I will look into it.
 

akselfs

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Rock and/or roll said:
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
Hey, Aksel. I'll try to hit up your questions in order.
1. I'm in my third decade of using them. In fact, after they saved my torn up hands at a show, I changed my technique to fit THEM.
2. In my case, absolutely. Results may vary.
3. While I've always appreciated the slightly tackified feel of a brand new pair of gloves, I never really noticed too measurable a benefit.
4. The current gloves that I use have always been a pretty good fit, however, if you ever hear a complaint about how a pair of gloves fit, it will usually be that they run on the larger side.
5. I started with Beato gloves WAY back before you were born! Then on to Easton(still before you were born), then to Easton/Ahead(yet even still), then finally just Ahead. I think you can guess which ones I'd recommend.

Take this for the opinion that it is, & good luck, Aksel!
Than you man - very much appreciated!
 

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.
Sorry... I meant what size and brand of drumsticks do you use?




I don't really have a specific size that I go after - but I seem to always end up with 5a's, usually Vic Firth.
 

psyched

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Playing loud and fast with 5As might be part of it. That's a general size stick, but you don't need the dynamics afforded by that size stick. The diameter of a stick also factors into how it fits in your hand, which will subtly change your grip.

So use gloves until you can spend time working on technique, but also look into heavier sticks. There's more variables going on here than gloves vs none, and since the end goal is to not injure yourself I'd do whatever I can in the near term. Drumming is extremely physical as-is, and your blisters are a symptom of something gone awry in your orientation to the drums, not something that everyone deals with and you have to resign yourself to accept. Don't treat the symptom, treat the cause.
 

TDM

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Akselfs,

Thanks for your follow-up note.

In my longer reply, I mentioned Jojo Mayer's Secret Weapons For The Modern Drummer DVD sets. Part 1 (the first DVD set) is on hand techniques. Part 2 (the second DVD set) in on foot techniques. Each DVD set is sold separately so you must buy parts 1 and 2 to get the full package. This is the most comprehensive library on drumming techniques that I've encountered and Jojo Mayer is a fantastic teacher. If you have the budget, go to your local drum shop and order both parts. I think they they are also available as digital downloads from Hudson Music.

Psyched mentioned that 5A sticks probably aren't well suited to your current playing demands. I agree. A thicker, heavier stick provides two things: (1) extra mass that helps with power, so you don't have to work as hard to obtain more powerful strokes; and (2) wider diameter, providing more stick-to-hand contact, which means you can play more powerful strokes while still maintaining light, relaxed gripping force.

Good luck with all of this! I know I'm repeating myself, but seriously.... if you are not already familiar with it, check out Jojo Mayer's Secret Weapons stuff. There are a lot of techniques in there that will help with your current playing demands.
 

psyched

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+1 on Jojo Mayer. Those two DVDs are worth spending time with, even if they're a refresher to things you think you already know.
 

TDM

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Dan,

Dan Radin said:
Hell yeah! Great post.
Thanks for your kind words. I started thinking about when I experienced the same problems as the OP. So, I posted a mind-dump of things that helped me in that same situation. It's a long post, but I hope it helps the OP think of new options. Thanks again for your feedback.
 

akselfs

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TDM said:
Akselfs,

Thanks for your follow-up note.

In my longer reply, I mentioned Jojo Mayer's Secret Weapons For The Modern Drummer DVD sets. Part 1 (the first DVD set) is on hand techniques. Part 2 (the second DVD set) in on foot techniques. Each DVD set is sold separately so you must buy parts 1 and 2 to get the full package. This is the most comprehensive library on drumming techniques that I've encountered and Jojo Mayer is a fantastic teacher. If you have the budget, go to your local drum shop and order both parts. I think they they are also available as digital downloads from Hudson Music.

Psyched mentioned that 5A sticks probably aren't well suited to your current playing demands. I agree. A thicker, heavier stick provides two things: (1) extra mass that helps with power, so you don't have to work as hard to obtain more powerful strokes; and (2) wider diameter, providing more stick-to-hand contact, which means you can play more powerful strokes while still maintaining light, relaxed gripping force.

Good luck with all of this! I know I'm repeating myself, but seriously.... if you are not already familiar with it, check out Jojo Mayer's Secret Weapons stuff. There are a lot of techniques in there that will help with your current playing demands.
psyched said:
+1 on Jojo Mayer. Those two DVDs are worth spending time with, even if they're a refresher to things you think you already know.
Thank you. Will check that out!
 

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