Trad grip and swagger?

Bullseye_Doc_Holiday

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Maybe this is dumb, but we're here to talk drums and playing anyway aren't we? So here goes:

For the last year solid I've done my best to play exclusively with traditional grip. Why? I think it looks cool. To me it has a bit of swagger about it. For instance, when I see Gadd, Weckl, Jordan play, the trad grip just looks a bit cooler and even to non-drummers says, "this guy knows what he's doing and isn't some ham-fisted sob." The same could be said for snare drumming and why corps still march trad.

All that said, I starting playing in '94 and was taught match. I marched 1 year bass, 3 years snare, played timpani, mallets, concert snare, and drum set, all with matched grip.

Even now, after a year with trad, my match chops are still much stronger (we're talking 24 years of my left hand doing one thing and only 1 year of it trying to do something different).

At this point, I'm wondering if it's a worthwhile endeavor to continue to pursue or if I'm just a match guy and should stick with it.

As another side note, I have the same struggle with single kick (which I've played for 25 years) vs double kick (I own a double pedal, but can't do much with it).

Let there be discussion.
 

TheMattJones88

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I was playing traditional grip exclusively for about two years, and for me it's really a matter of what the music calls for. I was playing stuff with a lot of nuance when I was playing traditional grip. The stuff I'm playing now is just big stupid rock music, and doesn't really work with my traditional grip playing. I needed some more power with my left hand so I just play match grip at the moment. I'm actively looking for a band with some more nuance so I can go back to traditional grip for a while though. It's a ton of fun to play with traditional grip and definitely effects how I play.
 

Mongrel

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If you have Buddy's left hand, play traditional! lol
Or his exact kit setup....

The way he has his snare drum cocked and then "demonstrates" why matched grip doesn't work...

As if snare stands are welded at that angle from the factory. Lol...

The short answer to the op's question-play what works best for YOU.

If working on traditional fills a need-then work on it. If you are called in to play a gig-use whatever grip presents itself superior for that context.

I don't think practicing traditional will pose any problems.
 

bigbonzo

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This has been discussed numerous times before.

"Traditional" grip started back when drummers played drums hung on a sling. That was the only way you could play a drum. Somehow, "traditional" grip has hung on to modern day.

Modern drum corps play with their drums flat, yet they still use "traditional" grip. That has to be difficult to play.

My thought is that unless you are playing snare drum on a sling, you should be using "matched" grip.

Everything else uses "matched" grip.

I played in two drum corps that had their snare drums on a sling. Starting my junior year in high school I started making the switch. By the time I got to college I had completely switched over. All my professors were also playing "matched" grip.

Now I can do everything with "matched" grip that I used to do with "traditional". I don't think I can even play with "traditional" grip anymore. Not well, anyway.
 
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cochlea

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I was taught to use traditional grip when I started taking lessons back in the late 60's. I've since learned to play matched grip on my own but I find that I frequently resort back to traditional grip for rolls and most other rudiments. I also do a better job with ghost notes when playing traditional grip. For me, the advantage of matched grip is purely speed for single strokes. It's funny because last December I had the privilege of being able to play snare drum along side my son during his high school band concert. The other percussionists observed me using traditional grip and later asked my son why I hold my sticks in such a strange manner.
 

chollyred

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I started playing when I was 7 (1965). Up until middle school, I was self taught using beginner and rudiment books. Since I am left handed, I looked at the pictures of the traditional grip and automatically reversed it. When I got to high school, the snare line used slings, so my grip wouldn't work, and I couldn't just switch from one hand to the other, so I ended up playing timp-toms, doubles, and mallets all through marching band. I did learn to sometimes use a semi traditional grip when playing in the jazz band. My hands do not supinate very well so I can't get that left hand rotated into a fully correct position. Most everything now is matched grip.
 

JDA

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Yes there's the swagger look.. I look at it as something else. It doesn't include the angle when drums were slung over the shoulder either.
I look at it like this.
Matched Grip both hands (can) lead. Ok? taken to a wrong extent you get what used to be called "dancing with two left feet". Where when either are equal and can lead, they run into each other. " Two cooks in the kitchen" is another phrase that relates.

So why would you want two different grips? in each hand..
Here you go: So one Leads one follows. It's the antithesis of "both hands equal". You don't want that fight.
One is an "assister" in an overall accomplishment.
One is light (right handed people that'd be the left) one is Strong/ heavy/ the leader.

So two equal there's a fight. One weaker one stronger there's a team working.
See what I mean Traditional is / Night-Day/ Male- Female/ one Light- one Heavy.

Matched is both equal. Two chiefs. Two drivers. Two leads. Two left feet.
~
I think that aspect one assist/ one leads/ in trad is overlooked. And it's always "the drum was slung over the shoulder". I think there's more to it than that.
unaccented notes (light left) Accented notes (heavy right)
~
Matched brings two leaders to the table.
~
Because in real-time-playing- in one hand you are going to back-off somewhere..
One's going to be (either) resting, holding back, filling-in, "accompanying" "helping"... while the other one is leading.

So the light/ heavy... night/day...male/female...happens anyway no mater which either of the grip you use.

One way makes it a little more obvious than the other.
In either grip something is constant. And that is we "Walk" we don't "Hop".
One hand does go first.
 
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tommykat1

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One of the relatively young drummers today, Keith Carlock (Steely Dan), was asked why he plays trad. His answer was, "It doesn't matter. Pick a grip and stick with it."

I began in the 60s playing match grip because I was idolizing Ringo. When I started drum lessons, the teacher said, "You're going to learn how to play drums the 'right' way, then you can switch to match grip or whatever else you want." I've been playing trad grip ever since.

And, yes, I think it looks cooler, too!
 

JDA

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At any point in time one leads and one follows. Unless we are both leading -which is rare.
We walk we don't Hop. One follows the other- right left- and it repeats. You do that with either grip. Does one facilitate that more than the other. That's your own decision.
"We walk we don't hop"
Don't hop. It sounds funny ; )
..no matter how you (grip) do it.
There's a point where you don't want them equal- in either/any/ grip.
You want complimentary action.
One's forward, ones back; no matter what you're doing.
Unless you're playing a marimba or reaching for tympani or something
Can't have two bosses in a Kitchen on a snare drum; that's what Buddy and others were trying to explain;
one was a follower- assister, the other drove; was the chief. Maybe one held the map the other held the wheel.
both wicked in their own way; Different but Equal toward the Result.

that was the early knock on some early rock drummers by some of the older jazz cats.
To the old jazz cats the rock drummers "hopped" and didn't "swing"
they "clubbed" it didn't "finesse" it didn't "coax" it.

Every jazz drummer way back then used "Tympani grip" for big endings and low tomtom stuff. But in snare and set playing they thought otherwise and finessed it to sometimes quite high heights.
 
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Tmcfour

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It does look cool. Wish I could do it well enough but it's not practical for me at all. I've been playing matched german (palm down) for so long it would take me another 30 yrs of playing to get traf right. Haha. Oddly I'm better playing trad as a lefty than a righty. In the end the audience is only worried about how it sounds when comes to grip.

Oh and on a side, Buddy is a blow hard on this subject. He learned trad, that's why he was better at it. He was an amazing drummer, but I can't stand his general arrogance.
 

wflkurt

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I agree with everything that everyone has said yet I still agree with the original poster. I have wanted to be a better trad player for years but the truth is that my matched grip is far better than trad. Part of it for me is that I love that old school vintage vibe with the trad grip PLUS my teacher when I was kid played trad exclusively and he was just incredible with it. He such beautiful chops and could just make magic with only a snare drum. He passed away a while back but I would love to be able to go back as an adult and ask him some things I just didn't focus on as a young stupid kid. In the end though I think I just realize that I need to focus making my matched grip as good as it can be as that is what works. I still love watching a good trad player though. I could waste a lot of hours watching Buddy Rich videos! Lol....
 

mtarrani

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A trip is a tool. Maybe it’s a fashion statement for some. But for the guys who the op says he likes it’s just a tool.
I envy folks who can switch between trad and matched. I am pretty much locked into trad because that is how I started and matched just does not feel right to me. However there are times when I use matched, although those times are brief and I quickly flip back to trad. As far as coolness factor, most folks (drummers/musicians and audience members) seem to think you are weird using trad. Or in my experience anyway.

That said, there were some old timers who used matched a lot. Cozy Cole used it almost exclusively, and Krupa switched back and forth with a lot of ease. As they grew older Max Roach and Joe Morello used matched a lot. It's all being a tool as you said.
 

Mongrel

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Stumbling over the idea that matched grip produces "two left feet" or competing leading hands...

If our right hand is our lead hand....won't it continue to be the lead hand-no matter what grip we are using with our left hand? And vice-versa?

And, don't the most advanced drummers intentional train both hands to "lead" and use that skill to develop as players?
 

JDA

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When you're done with that thought we can talk.. ; )
Yes it continues to be the lead. What happens in the other is whats crucial. Is it ready to just feather/ghost something immediately? How many fingers and how much 'hand' is on the stick? Trad it's just floating; waiting for instruction..

yes you can train to lead with both. You can play gigs leading with both. It's the other side of the time when you settle in and decide Am I going to continue leading with both or aren't I. Am I really left-handed and didn't know it ? (kid) Do I like left hand lead better? or, Have I exercised that well enough.

Back to the left hand in Trad. It's light. It's immediate. It's not being "held by " the full hand. It's just cradled. balancing, ready to tip on to the head. Not "heavily-held"
There's where the speed and immediacy "can" come from; it's being held lightly. Not a heavy drop; just a twitch. Just a "feel" ing immediately transferrable Lightly...
 
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Freewill3

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I've been playing for 36 years, the first 16 of those years were matched grip. Around 1998, I found myself bandless and simply wanted to challenge myself so I decided to give traditional a shot. I was in an apartment at the time so it was just me, the pad and a mirror. Fast forward to now, the only thing I can do better matched is an open stroke roll. To the OP, better late than never!
 

CSR

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I learned trad grip, and I still use it in big band, marching with a sling,and orchestra snare playing. I play timpani with matched French grip. Other than rudimentary contests, no one in the audience cares what grip(s) you use; they care about the sound you produce. I think many times we drummers overthink most of what we do.

I read well, can sight read pretty well, and still improvise when needed to. The key to being a working drummer is being able to play most everything, but you’re not expected to be a master of every style.
 

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