Trad grip and swagger?

dcrigger

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I found the magazine article that I mentioned. Read it, THEN talk to me about drummers with poor technique.

I read a long article about Dave Weckl in Drumhead magazine In it, he talks about the some prominent players switching to Matched Grip, and the problems that Traditional Grip can cause:

There's been a noticeable switch to matched grip in the last few years from some longtime practitioners of traditional grip, including Steve Gadd (a few years ago he was seen playing matched grip at a recording session at Skyline Studios in New York City). This doesn't surprise Weckl, who admits that he, Steve Smith and Vinnie Colaiuta are all experiencing hand problems stemming from using traditional grip. In a surprising move, jazz drummer's jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette has changed to matched grip, according to Weckl. This in addition to Teutonic powerhouse Thomas Lang's recent switch to matched grip. Dave remarks, "We're all experiencing hand problems from playing traditional".

There is a definite thing with this grip, beating the water out of your thumb for 40, 50 years. Repetitive stress is going to take its toll, and it's definitely taken its toll on me-I've got bone spurs, arthritis, all kinds of crap going on in my left hand. The funny thing is I generally don't feel it when I play. I feel it at times, but it just takes me a minute to get back into playing consistently and in position where the fatty/muscle part between the thumb and first finger cradle the stick more, and then I don't feel it so much. I don't know if Steve (Gadd) actually has any trauma to his hand or not. The only thing that he did tell me person-to-person was that playing matched grip is just easier. And Thomas Lang is switching to mostly matched now, for the same reason. He said it's just so much maintenance and he's also got his own injury issues."
None of this is at all surprising... because the mechanics of the two "left hand" grips are what they are. The strength/fatigue issue with the traditional left hand grip have always been there - but was always workable at pre-mid-60's volume levels. But at today's volume levels???? I'm amazed these guys have been able to do what they done. But...

... now they are getting older. And as many of us have experienced, with age, the ability to just "power through it" greatly diminishes. With the problem being, that we can still "power through", but now we're likely to leave little harder and harder to recover from injuries in our wake.

(It sucks getting old).

Which brings us back to "use whatever works". If it works, it doesn't matter.

But at the same time that isn't a license to think we can ignore physics and anatomy with impunity. 'Cause we can't. :)
 

bigbonzo

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None of this is at all surprising... because the mechanics of the two "left hand" grips are what they are. The strength/fatigue issue with the traditional left hand grip have always been there - but was always workable at pre-mid-60's volume levels. But at today's volume levels???? I'm amazed these guys have been able to do what they done. But...

... now they are getting older. And as many of us have experienced, with age, the ability to just "power through it" greatly diminishes. With the problem being, that we can still "power through", but now we're likely to leave little harder and harder to recover from injuries in our wake.

(It sucks getting old).

Which brings us back to "use whatever works". If it works, it doesn't matter.

But at the same time that isn't a license to think we can ignore physics and anatomy with impunity. 'Cause we can't. :)
For a lot of these guys volume is not the problem because they are all mic'd up.
 

dcrigger

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For a lot of these guys volume is not the problem because they are all mic'd up.
Sure it is - typical volumes that we play at today - on stage or in the studio - are astoundingly louder than in times past. Regardless of whether we are "mic'd" or not. SO yes, everything's louder in the audience for sure. I'm just talking actual physical playing norms.
Granted there are still situations where drummers are expected to play as softly as we ever did. But the dynamic range has just gotten wider - there is a level of LOUD that simply wasn't used AT ALL prior to the late 60's - and it got louder from there.

Of course, really no musical situations require that full range. But the average volume expected of a drummer un the average gig today is significantly louder than it was in 1969.

Which again, makes it unsurprising, that more players struggle with making trad grip work today than again, 1969.

Anyway there's a lot to this - example-wise - but no I don't agree that micing or not really ends up entering into it that much... It probably should... but it doesn't... not to the degree we are talking about.

IMO of course
 

Paradiddle

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Volume with traditional grip is not a problem. Look at the Civil War drummers using a Moeller stroke.
Steve Ferrone is the loudest trad grip player I've ever heard live. We sat front row for TP&THB at the Cal State Northridge auditorium for a benefit show. Even with the plexi screen Steve was KILLING it.
 

Tama CW

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Volume with traditional grip is not a problem. Look at the Civil War drummers using a Moeller stroke.
I would think in the open fields the sound of a deep field drum would carry pretty far regardless of grip....a low fundamental tone like a smaller floor tom. The size of their sticks was probably important too. Considering the average age of the drummers was 15 or so (ie kids) they didn't have strongly developed hands and wrists as men would. Some of them were as young as 8. Surely some of them tried matched grip at times. ????
 

Mongrel

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Time for a short recap....?

1. Drummers using both grips have strong opinions regarding them.
2. Profficiency with either or both has been more than adequately demonstrated from at least the early 1940s.
3. Either grip will work for any genre including jazz and rock.
4. Some drummers using the traditional grip in a context well beyond the "average" drummer's experience, and over a span of 20+ years have reported serious medical issues with their "traditional" hand. Resulting in more reliance on the matched grip, or complete abandonment of the traditional grip.
5. For the average drummer experimenting with or using the traditional grip poses no real threat to life or limb in the typical context he or she finds themselves in.
6. After countless keystrokes and sharing of opinion it remains unknown whether the adoption of the traditional grip produces any measureable "swagger" or in the end gets more chicks.
8. Lastly, using a modicum of manners and respect it is quite possible for users of competing grips to live in harmony.

Did I miss anything?
 

CSR

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I would think in the open fields the sound of a deep field drum would carry pretty far regardless of grip....a low fundamental tone like a smaller floor tom. The size of their sticks was probably important too. Considering the average age of the drummers was 15 or so (ie kids) they didn't have strongly developed hands and wrists as men would. Some of them were as young as 8. Surely some of them tried matched grip at times. ????
Matched grip on a sling-ed snare doesn’t work very well.
 

Paradiddle

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Time for a short recap....?

1. Drummers using both grips have strong opinions regarding them.
2. Profficiency with either or both has been more than adequately demonstrated from at least the early 1940s.
3. Either grip will work for any genre including jazz and rock.
4. Some drummers using the traditional grip in a context well beyond the "average" drummer's experience, and over a span of 20+ years have reported serious medical issues with their "traditional" hand. Resulting in more reliance on the matched grip, or complete abandonment of the traditional grip.
5. For the average drummer experimenting with or using the traditional grip poses no real threat to life or limb in the typical context he or she finds themselves in.
6. After countless keystrokes and sharing of opinion it remains unknown whether the adoption of the traditional grip produces any measureable "swagger" or in the end gets more chicks.
8. Lastly, using a modicum of manners and respect it is quite possible for users of competing grips to live in harmony.

Did I miss anything?
matched grip looks so much cooler - allowing you to be cooler then you are - which is always always always a plus.

Although Carla is WAY cooler then any of us....

394157
 

mtarrani

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Matched grip on a sling-ed snare doesn’t work very well.
The point was not the grip, but using trad grip those old guys whose playing was well documented by Gus Moeller played LOUDLY because of their technique. How that technique works (and it is as applicable to matched as it is to trad) is well explained here:
 

multijd

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OK...

1. So when I close my eyes and listen for "swagger", what exactly am I listening for? How do I hear "swagger"?

2. Again, if I close my eyes, should I be able to hear whether a great player is playing matched or traditional? (I didn't think so - yes, I get some players can do somethings better with one grip vs. the other - but isn't that pretty much dictated by that particular player's experience? Having nothing to do with the grips in general?)

3. So if we can't (or shouldn't be able to) hear the difference - why would embarking on learning both be considered advisable? Couldn't that time be spent learning to be a better player in other ways... ways that you can actually hear.... that other players can actually hear.?

4. IMO If Bernie Dressel played matched grip (with everything else being equal) - he would still be just as much of a monster, he would swing just as hard, and his band would still be just as cookin!!

5. CLOSE YOUR EYES AND LISTEN - what you are hearing is ALL that matters.
I’ve said a couple of times during this discussion that I can hear the difference in my own playing. I’m not concerned about whether anyone else can hear it or even if I can hear it in other players. I can hear and feel the difference in my own playing. Whether anybody else notices doesn't concern me.
 

Tama CW

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Swag Man

If we're talking Swagging, the Seekers got it covered here in their 1968 BBC farewell performance. Swag All on My Shoulder. What better way to show your golden Swag?
 

dcrigger

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The point was not the grip, but using trad grip those old guys whose playing was well documented by Gus Moeller played LOUDLY because of their technique. How that technique works (and it is as applicable to matched as it is to trad) is well explained here:
But in the context of much modern music - none of these references are even remotely LOUD. Derrick refers to the sound drawn out of civil war era drums as so loud - and sure it was IN CONTEXT of its time.

There was a time that the loudest setting a drum set player would find himself in was a big band. And it is indeed a loud sound - four trumpets, four trombones and five saxes can put out a mighty roar. And back in the day, being able to play on top of that was considered to demand a drummer with a vigorous , hefty sound.

I grew up as a player playing in that exact setting a lot. A fff in a big band was considered LOUD. Of course, it wasn't always loud. But the point is - the required dynamic range - from ppp to fff - of a drummer playing acoustically with a big band is a pretty defined thing. It fits within a certain range of decibels - and as the nature of those horns hasn't changed - that decimal range hasn't changed much at all over the years.

Though now - after years of playing more amplified gigs, even gigs as musical subtle as the Bacharach gig - I find playing with a big band (acoustically like I used to all of the time - you know, a gig with maybe a mic on the piano and a couple of soloist mics) a challenge - in the degree that I have to reduce have to cap my upper dynamic range in order to not blow right over the band dynamically.

The forte that I would play at any run of the mill wedding gig today is simple TOO LOUD to balance acoustically with a big band. Today to play with a big band, I have to serious dial my dynamics down compared most every other gig I do.

And back in the day - I Didn't Have To Do That. Back then - big band loud was considered LOUD. But no longer.
I sat many times at Disneyland on floor - five or six feet in front of Buddy's band - with incredibly minimal micing - and literally no monitors. And it was balanced on-stage. So again, the volume of a big band hasn't changed - thus by today's standards, Buddy was never - at his loudest - playing all that hard. It simply wasn't THAT loud - not by today's standards.

Which bringing us back to left hand grips - in order play today's just medium loud, there's nothing about the Moeller grip that is going to get the left thumb out the line of fire. Unlike the right hand, where the resistance to such a loud stroke can be spread across multiple support points... with trad grip, it's thumb taking the whole brunt of that. And there's no escaping it... except by simply playing softer.

(Note - and just to be clear - none of what I'm referring is taking about play Dave Grohl type loud - not at it's extremes anyway - just typical working guy that plays all styles in lots of different settings type volume requirements)
 

SteveB

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I was brought up traditional. When I went into my first lesso with fred buda he said to use whatever I wanted, and seeing how I would be playing mallets and tympani it made sense to both of us to switch. I'll admit that even today there is an approach with traditional that is quite different I rarley switch back today unless I'm comping with my left hand in a big band setting, or playing around with the rudiments. They both have their place I think....BUT if you've got the matched nailed I would stick with it and maybe work the other grip up slowly.
 

cozy4ever

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I like trad better and I ignore all the warnings about how bad it supposedly is for your hand and arm. I have a much easier time with it and I don't lack power bc of the grip (I am a hard rock player). I do think it looks pretty classy as well but even if it didn't, I would still use it bc it bothers my arm *less* and gives me more room to move around fast.
 

MasterBlaster

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The last thing I worry about (when I'm playing) is how I look. I do think about it, but it's the last thing I worry about.
 


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