From the age of 9, I was taught to use a traditional grip. Frankly, I was oblivious to any other type of grip at that stage in my life and thought this was how it’s done.
I remember struggling during my early years with my left hand and how dramatically different my stick control was between my stronger right hand and my weaker left hand. But I persevered, learned, practiced, and played this way for a long time.
It wasn’t until much later in life that I decided to switch over to the matched grip to see if there was any hope. I have to admit that matched grip came much easier to me and now I haven’t looked back. I am a successful convert and have officially switched to the matched grip.
Matched grip, in this day and age, makes more sense to the modern drummer. As you may or may not know, traditional grip was a necessity back in the day when our soldiers marched in time to a marching drummer carrying a large drum over their left shoulder. There was no way to play that drum using matched grip due to the severe angle of the drum head and the drum’s position off to the left of the soldier’s body.
Today, when you see a drummer playing traditional grip on a drum set, their snare is at an angle to compensate for the position of the hand playing traditional grip.
When I switched to matched grip, my left hand was understandably unprepared and undeveloped. So, I searched for exercises and tools to build my left hand, finger, and wrist strength. The defining moment for me was when I discovered the HingeStix by Sam Ruttenberg. If you don’t have a pair of these drumsticks, buy them. This is an important practice tool for all matched grip players because they immediately reinforce the proper loose, matched grip, and trains you to strike the head in the precise manner to maximize bounce and rebound. I think everyone who reads this page needs to have a pair of the HingeStix.
So, not only do I play matched grip all of the time, I can easily switch back to traditional grip with great results.