How to play heavy backbeats while playing cross-handed?

stevil

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Hey all, I've always played open-handed on a kit, ie: I play hihats with my left hand on my left side, snare with my right hand. I'm training myself to be able to play the hats with my right hand. It's going well, but I get mixed up/hit my sticks or arms together when I try to lay into a heavy backbeat on my snare. How do heavy hitters manage to play crossed without encountering this problem? So far I've tried moving my hats as far to the right as possible and also raising them higher. I'm not certain if this is just something that feels weird but will improve with time versus it's something I'm doing wrong and need to correct.
 

hsosdrum

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I've been playing cross handed for 58 years and I still sometimes hit stick-on-stick (or worse, stick-on-hand, as I did earlier today) when playing my hi-hat with my right hand. That coordination stuff's a bee-yatch. Houndog is right, it's all about getting the feel for where the (physical) spaces are.
 

Philaiy9

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I gave up trying to play cross handed and now just don't let the sticks cross. My right hand is in a much more German position now (palm down). My left hand can then hit as hard as I want without any worry about clicking sticks. I picked this up from Keith Carlock, although he only seems to play both ways.
 
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repete

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If you’ve always played open then your right hand is going hit a stronger backbeat. Playing cross handed will take practice and more practice until your left hand gets used to hitting the snare as strong as your right, just as if I was learning to play open. My right hand would be weaker. At least that’s what I’m thinking anyway.
 

stevil

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I gave up trying to play cross handed and now just don't let the sticks cross. My right hand is in a much more German position now (palm down). My left hand can then hit as hard as I want without any worry about clicking sticks. I picked this up from Keith Carlock, although he only seems to play both ways.
I’ve played open handed since I picked up sticks. I’m self taught and left handed, so I just copied how my friend set up, but with my ride on my left. What I noticed was that I was constantly switching from leading with my left while keeping time on the hats, to leading with my right when I went into a fill. I could never get the hang of leading fills with my left like Ringo. I think the constant switching gave me a slightly herky jerky style. That’s all well and good, but I want to expand my repertoire and see if I can get smoother. One thing I can report so far is that I’m getting better at lower dynamics
 

Philaiy9

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I’ve played open handed since I picked up sticks. I’m self taught and left handed, so I just copied how my friend set up, but with my ride on my left. What I noticed was that I was constantly switching from leading with my left while keeping time on the hats, to leading with my right when I went into a fill. I could never get the hang of leading fills with my left like Ringo. I think the constant switching gave me a slightly herky jerky style. That’s all well and good, but I want to expand my repertoire and see if I can get smoother. One thing I can report so far is that I’m getting better at lower dynamics
Just in case I wasn't clear, I'm saying it's possible to play with your right hand on the hats without crossing. You would just have to move your right arm forward and rotate your wrist so your palm is facing down (right stick should then fully clear the range of the left stick). If it fatigues your arm, playing with the hat position/height and snare position should help make things more comfortable. Personally, I find a pretty low hat height to be comfortable (only an inch or two above the snare). People who cross with more of a French grip often have their hi hats higher so there's more range for the left hand backbeats.
 

Cauldronics

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Watch x-over drummers who smack the snare and copy their movements until you do it your own way. Dave Grohl, although not my favorite drummer, is great at this.
 

drums1225

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I play cross-handed and my backbeats are almost always rim shots, played with a very compact whipping movement. In recent years, especially since I've dispensed with my double pedal, I've been keeping my hi-hat in pretty tight (slightly overlapping my snare at about the 10 o'clock position) quite low, and positioned forward. I'm not a "basher", but I can crack the snare as hard as I ever need to.
 

Seb77

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Moeller whip technique (low) might be the answer. Mounting the hi-hat higher has been a solution for some. Or, just not playing that hard, see videos of Jeff Porcaro. Rimshots and room mics can create a big sound on recordings without having to hit that hard.
 

Whitten

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I'm probably the same as 'drums1225'. I've never really thought about it. I play loud snare backbeats as a rimshot and don't need to raise my arm really.
The only thing I might do different to an open handed player is I have my hi-hats a good 6" above the batter head of my snare. It feels comfortable to me.
I would counsel against contriving an unusual playing position just to keep your two hands separate.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Here, Stephen Clark explains a good way to get your right hand somewhat out of the way and minimize the chances of stick/hands contact.
 


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