Monday, September 26, 2011

APPLYING GRIPS TO PLAYING POSITION

Start by standing away from the drum, sticks in hand, and arms relaxed at the side. The
arms should feel like a heavy, dead weight. While maintaining a relaxed, heavy weight
from the shoulder through the elbow, lift the left forearm. The elbow shouldn’t move
from where it was while relaxing the arms at the side, and the forearm should be nearly
parallel to the ground, with the hand being just below the elbow. The wrist joint should
be locked so as to not have a broken wrist. Rotate the forearm counter-clockwise
While maintaining a relaxed, heavy weight from the shoulder through the elbow, lift the
right forearm. The elbow shouldn’t move from where it was while relaxing the arms at
the side, and the forearm should be nearly parallel to the ground, with the hand being just
below the elbow. The wrist joint should be locked so as to not have a broken wrist. Turn
the thumb toward the ground so that the back of the hand is nearly flat. Moving the
elbow away from the body slightly, bring the bead of the right stick in toward the bead of
the left stick, reaching a ½ inch away from the left bead (as you move your elbow away
from your torso, don’t let the wrist break).

In this position, walk up to the drum and put the beads over the center of the head. If the
beads aren’t a ½ inch above the head, adjust the stand/carrier so the drum meets the beads
with the proper distance between the two. Each stick should be a two finger-width
distance from the rim (this can vary depending on the bead style of the stick being used).
From here, the “V” position of the sticks should be at about a 90 degree angle. In a
horizontal sense, the right and left fulcrums should be aligned. Using traditional grip
means that the left hand will actually be lower than the right hand, because the left is
mostly under the stick whereas the right hand is mostly on top of the stick.
It is absolutely imperative to use these guidelines in order to have a perfectly symmetrical
look and sound. If the fulcrums aren’t aligned, if the beads aren’t in the center of the
head, and if the two finger-width angles of the sticks aren’t accurate, the sound CANNOT
be produced similarly from hand to hand.