Leading with your left and open handed playing...

DanRH

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I decided to hunker down and apply Brian Techy's Bonham tips. Man, it's tough! 55 years of leading with the right...I feel like a newbie once again. Not sure I'm happy about that.

Thoughts?
 

bbunks

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Remember...you’re doing this ‘cause you want to. Have fun with it. It’s a good brain challenge.
 

Tama CW

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When coming back "up" from the 16 and 18 inch floor toms into the rack toms, snare, and upper cymbals.... you sort of have to be leading from the left to keep things flowing. I've been working on this for the past year or so....and especially the past 2 months now that I'm playing a Bonham sized kit. Every practice session includes counter-clockwise circles with left hand leading. If you're improvising you will tend to mess up when your left hand won't conveniently flow back up in a leading position on its own.

On the practice pad I work on quads and sextuplets with left hand leading and accenting 3rd and/or 4th strokes. I'm tired of having my hands and sticks running into each other. At the same time working on left hand finger control to more closely match what my right hand does (matched grip).
 

Old Drummer

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Insofar as I practice rudiments at home (not nearly as much as I should) I always lead with my left. That's just my weakest hand and I believe it deserves to be prioritized. Heck, both hands get their rudiment workout, so I might as well prioritize my weakest.

But I don't believe I ever lead with my left when playing for real. I may every once in a blue moon just because I'm accustomed to it, but I'm a righty and don't dare risk switching. However, I'm pretty sure that being able to switch is one of the things that distinguishes good drummers from mediocre ones.
 

cworrick

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It's a great tool to have. Keep at it. You will LOVE IT when you can actually use it.
It opens up so many more possibilities when playing, I'm really surprised more people don't use/teach it.
 

cribbon

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A local drum teacher who teaches students of all levels/abilities told me that if he has an absolute beginner (who is right handed), he teaches them open-handed/matched grip/left hand lead on a righty kit from the get-go. It makes more sense in the long run. And all you have to modify in your set up is to move the ride over to the left.

When I first started playing as a kid, one of my uncles stopped by and watched me while was playing on the kit and asked me why I was crossing my hands. I scoffed and told him that was the way it was done - I was just aping every other drummer I'd seen and thought my uncle didn't know anything about playing drums (which was true, although he did know stupid when he saw it).

When I first saw Billy Cobham and Lenny White playing live in the early 70s, I realized that was the way forward. People like Simon Phillips, Will Kennedy, and Carter Beauford have only reinforced that opinion. I do try to use left hand lead as much as possible, but at this point, I don't have sufficient nuance with it to do much more than basic quarters and eighths, but you gotta start somewhere.
 

snappy

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if he has an absolute beginner (who is right handed), he teaches them open-handed/matched grip/left hand lead on a righty kit from the get go
He's being highly illogical
 

dcrigger

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A local drum teacher who teaches students of all levels/abilities told me that if he has an absolute beginner (who is right handed), he teaches them open-handed/matched grip/left hand lead on a righty kit from the get-go. It makes more sense in the long run. And all you have to modify in your set up is to move the ride over to the left.
Sorry but IMO that's about the stupidest, most irresponsible thing one could do to a young student.

Yes there are a few - and I mean literally ONLY a few - that play this way like Simon, etc. But most like Billy and Lenny came to this BECAUSE THEY ARE LEFT HANDED!!!!! And did it to adapt to a world of sitting in and subbing on right handed drum sets.

So this teacher - ON PURPOSE - sets these students up for having a harder time qualifying for a high school marching snare drum line.... sets them up to have to deal with the same workarounds that Lenny and Billy had to deal with - and all for what???? To not have to crossover when playing the hi hat??!?!?!?!???? Because that's it. That's the single only advantage to playing open handed.

And don't get me wrong - players as they progress should absolutely work on their ability to expand their orchestration chops - which invariably includes working on open-handiness.

But to shoot a beginner in the foot - by ignoring handiness - in the naive belief that if they can work through that self imposed handicap they will be better players down the road is IMO just simply BAD TEACHING. It is hard enough and rare enough for a student to actually make it through the hump from beginner to intermediate/advanced with all their fundamentals in place without purposefully making it harder.

Sorry to be so harsh - but I'm sorry but "teachers" that so casually throw out decades upon decades of pedagogical tradition based on their egotistical belief that "they know better" just light me up big time.

So per Dan's original topic - yes, everyone should explore this. But any teacher that even imagines pondering going against handiness, when pulling out the Haskell Hard book on a student's first day shouldn't be teaching period IMO.
 

Hop

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I decided to hunker down and apply Brian Techy's Bonham tips. Man, it's tough! 55 years of leading with the right...I feel like a newbie once again. Not sure I'm happy about that.

Thoughts?
Years ago Brian released a set of videos called "Brian Tichy's John Bonham week" and demoed that lick. I decided to copy it back then. It was unusual for me as I had normally led with the right and just reversed the stickings rather than do the crossovers. To do it my old way now feels a bit odd. Also I really like leading fills like this with the left to get a good descending sound over multiple drums.

I have just fully committed to playing open-handed style... the hi hats are almost even with the snare and it is not practical to cross the right hand over to the hats anymore. It's like learning how to walk all over again (some good days - some not so good days in the practice room, but eventually it will be worth it!!!).

So I like to do exercises and fills that will push the left hand. I just started playing around with this lesson from Louie Palmer recently, where he's doing a Buddy 16th-note (singles) triplet lick. Moving it around the kit is a nice challenge and forces the left hand to "get in the game" in order to keep up and lead
 

Hop

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Sorry but IMO that's about the stupidest, most irresponsible thing one could do to a young student.

Yes there are a few - and I mean literally ONLY a few - that play this way like Simon, etc. But most like Billy and Lenny came to this BECAUSE THEY ARE LEFT HANDED!!!!! And did it to adapt to a world of sitting in and subbing on right handed drum sets.

So this teacher - ON PURPOSE - sets these students up for having a harder time qualifying for a high school marching snare drum line.... sets them up to have to deal with the same workarounds that Lenny and Billy had to deal with - and all for what???? To not have to crossover when playing the hi hat??!?!?!?!???? Because that's it. That's the single only advantage to playing open handed.

And don't get me wrong - players as they progress should absolutely work on their ability to expand their orchestration chops - which invariably includes working on open-handiness.

But to shoot a beginner in the foot - by ignoring handiness - in the naive belief that if they can work through that self imposed handicap they will be better players down the road is IMO just simply BAD TEACHING. It is hard enough and rare enough for a student to actually make it through the hump from beginner to intermediate/advanced with all their fundamentals in place without purposefully making it harder.

Sorry to be so harsh - but I'm sorry but "teachers" that so casually throw out decades upon decades of pedagogical tradition based on their egotistical belief that "they know better" just light me up big time.

So per Dan's original topic - yes, everyone should explore this. But any teacher that even imagines pondering going against handiness, when pulling out the Haskell Hard book on a student's first day shouldn't be teaching period IMO.
I don't agree with this premise. Not sure why you think this is limiting to a new player? Are you assuming that a right-handed player won't lead with his right hand on fills because he is using the left hand on the hi-hat? Also not every set player is going to join a line (and vice versa).

The reality of it is the RH/HH crossover is an antiquated carryover borne solely out of an equipment limitation from the good ol' days. If crossing over is so good, why isn't the ride cymbal placed on the left so we can cross that over as well? The truth is, if modern equipment, like cable HH's and X-Hats, had been around in the formative years nobody would be crossing over today.
 

Tmcfour

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This will sound weird, and I'm certainly no expert at open hand playing, but trying playing with just your left hand. No right at all. It tricks your brain into having to lead left instead.

And yeah, totally agree you feel like you're almost completely starting over again.
 

polycrescendo

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There are many more reasons to play open-handed than just not crossing over for the hats. It also doesn't mean that you can't play right handed on the fly as well.......

I have been working hard at this for a good 7 years or so and it's true, once you feel more confident in leading with your left, the doors open up and you feel like an octopus.

Dan, start by playing simple quarter note leading rock beats or whatever, then get into 8ths but with the down-up stroke with the left hand, that's the main thing to get locked in, that down-up with the left hand. Then slowly incorporate your ghost notes on the snare with only your right hand for now. You can still play right handed fills all day long, and don't have to abandon your already well established skill set.

People tend to forget that you don't have to always lead with the left, just get to where you don't mind which hand leads. That's my goal anyways. I haven't changed my setup a single bit, ride is still on the right but I play the hi-hat mostly with my left, but not always. No rules, just open doors.
 

Castnblast

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I decided to hunker down and apply Brian Techy's Bonham tips. Man, it's tough! 55 years of leading with the right...I feel like a newbie once again. Not sure I'm happy about that.

Thoughts?
Brain T is great... I been thinking of getting of my butt to work on that stuff too. Maybe once the snow flies! Good luck
 

dcrigger

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I don't agree with this premise. Not sure why you think this is limiting to a new player? Are you assuming that a right-handed player won't lead with his right hand on fills because he is using the left hand on the hi-hat? Also not every set player is going to join a line (and vice versa).

The reality of it is the RH/HH crossover is an antiquated carryover borne solely out of an equipment limitation from the good ol' days. If crossing over is so good, why isn't the ride cymbal placed on the left so we can cross that over as well? The truth is, if modern equipment, like cable HH's and X-Hats, had been around in the formative years nobody would be crossing over today.
My reasoning is based not on positioning - which while not ideal - has little importance as to a players sound and feel. Or more importantly for a student to develop a good sound and feel.

As some one quoted Kenny Aronoff saying (in another thread) "It is ALL about the HH" - which to paraphrase from a more fundamental perspective - "It is all about the ride cymbal - HH pattern". How a player plays the ride or the hi hat part - the "glue" part - literally defines the feel of their playing.

It takes hours upon hours - stretching into years - to develop the ability to play a great feeling HH/ride feel. It demands tons of control and variation over dynamics (accents) and entails playing two to four times as many notes as any other limb is required to play on average.

This is simply the most physically demanding undertaking that lays firmly between a young player sounding decent and well... like a beginner.

So logically speaking - if our choice of which hand should be tasked with job initially is between one hand that can throw a baseball, write cursive, throw darts, hammer a nail, sink a three pointer and feed our student with a fork... a one that... can't. Doesn't it only make sense to use the hand absolutely most suited to the task???

Of course it does. The only reasoning that would lead one not to would come under-appreciating just how important and critical the ride/hh hand's job is. And how critically important it is sounding and feeling good.

Positioning IMO should be the least of our concerns regarding this.

Again "It's all about the High Hat!"

Or maybe better - "It's all about The Hand that plays the hi hat".

And the best hand for that job is... the student's dominant hand.
 

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Without ignoring handedness, there's a lot one can do to develop the less favored limb. And using the less favored limb will give one another, slightly different, voice in the high hat, ride or whatever.
 

RIDDIM

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I decided to hunker down and apply Brian Techy's Bonham tips. Man, it's tough! 55 years of leading with the right...I feel like a newbie once again. Not sure I'm happy about that.

Thoughts?
- It's a great way to force oneself to play simply, which is what we need to do much of the time, especially in dance music.

In the winter of 1981 or so, I had a country gig that was best served by going into deep Buddy Harmon mode. I dropped the high hat and put the ride on the left. It really compelled me to be more economical with my playing, which is exactly what the music needed .

I kept the gig, and within a few months I could function fairly well. Impressions at 400 BPM was (and still is) beyond me leading lefty, but it opens up a lot of other possibilities.
 
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jansara

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Sorry but IMO that's about the stupidest, most irresponsible thing one could do to a young student.

Yes there are a few - and I mean literally ONLY a few - that play this way like Simon, etc. But most like Billy and Lenny came to this BECAUSE THEY ARE LEFT HANDED!!!!! And did it to adapt to a world of sitting in and subbing on right handed drum sets.

So this teacher - ON PURPOSE - sets these students up for having a harder time qualifying for a high school marching snare drum line.... sets them up to have to deal with the same workarounds that Lenny and Billy had to deal with - and all for what???? To not have to crossover when playing the hi hat??!?!?!?!???? Because that's it. That's the single only advantage to playing open handed.

And don't get me wrong - players as they progress should absolutely work on their ability to expand their orchestration chops - which invariably includes working on open-handiness.

But to shoot a beginner in the foot - by ignoring handiness - in the naive belief that if they can work through that self imposed handicap they will be better players down the road is IMO just simply BAD TEACHING. It is hard enough and rare enough for a student to actually make it through the hump from beginner to intermediate/advanced with all their fundamentals in place without purposefully making it harder.

Sorry to be so harsh - but I'm sorry but "teachers" that so casually throw out decades upon decades of pedagogical tradition based on their egotistical belief that "they know better" just light me up big time.

So per Dan's original topic - yes, everyone should explore this. But any teacher that even imagines pondering going against handiness, when pulling out the Haskell Hard book on a student's first day shouldn't be teaching period IMO.
Why do you shout so much? Shouting doesn't make you right. If you find it difficult to get your point across without shouting maybe you should take a step back and look in the mirror.
 

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