You've finally decided to learn to play the drums... That's great!
The first thing you need to pick up when learning the drums or snare drum is the sticks. So, what is the best way to hold your sticks? Because unlike other instruments like saxophone, piano, bass, you will need something in between to play your musical instrument. And therefore to know how to hold your pair of drumsticks before knowing how to hit the toms. This is an essential step: if you hold your sticks badly, you will not be able to progress efficiently in your practice, the defects will quickly limit you. Worse, you run the risk of getting serious tendonitis in your wrists... So it's better to spend some time on this subject, which is essential to enjoy yourself in the long term.
By the way, how are drumsticks made?
Most drumsticks available on the market are made of Hickory (white walnut). Always made with a wood lathe, drumsticks can be made from other woods - maple, oak, or even ebony (especially for drums). There are still other materials to make pairs of mallets: carbon, metal, plastic (nylon) .... The end of a stick is called 'the olive'.
The right grip for chopsticks from the beginning
There is not one, but several ways to hold the drumsticks to play the drums. Depending on your preferences and playing style, you can choose between two methods: the traditional grip and the match grip. In the 'match grip' category, there are also some subtleties to know
Traditional Grip stick grip
Particularly appreciated by jazz drummers, the traditional grip is perfectly adapted to this type of playing. This grip comes directly from the military music, because it is the one that soldiers use to hit the drums. Also called 'drum grip', this grip is due to the inclination of the drums played standing, walking, and inclined to the right. To hold your drumsticks in the "traditional grip" way: on your left hand (if you are right-handed) place the drumstick between your thumb and index finger and point the palm of your hand towards the sky.
The Match Grip cue grip
Also called 'timbale grip', the 'match grip' is perhaps the most widespread, particularly recommended when starting out. In the match grip family, there are three different ways to practice: French Match Grip, German Match Grip, American Match Grip.
French style match grip
The palm of the hand is in a vertical position, the grip is between the thumb and the index finger. This way of holding your sticks allows for better nuances and much more bounce.
German style match grip
The palm of the hand is oriented towards the ground, the stick is pinched between the thumb and the middle finger. This is probably the most popular way to hold your mallets for beginners because it mainly involves the wrist and allows you to have a powerful game.
Match grip American method
The American grip is the perfect compromise between the French and German match grip. It is an intermediate position, since the angle between the skin and the palm is about 45°. Like the French grip, the pinch is made between the thumb and the index finger. This is the grip that seems to be the most natural for many beginners to learning the drums.
Where should I hold my drumstick?
A drumstick is about 41 cm long (sometimes longer for jazz). The balance point is where you get the most bounce from your stick. Balance it on your index finger and let the tip of the stick bounce off the snare drum (for example). The best position is the one that gives you the most bounce. Feel free to mark the spot with a felt pen or tape as a marker.
The best way to hold your sticks is your own!
With practice, you will find your own ideal position for holding your sticks... You can even mix one with the other, depending on your feeling, your way of playing, the effects you are looking for to reveal your own sound personality.