How To Hold Your Drumsticks Correctly: (+All Techniques Explained)

By James  •  Updated August 11, 2022

Holding a drumstick the right way is extremely reliant on your comfort and preference. However, it is still important to know the proper way to hold a drumstick as a standard. Doing so will induce a safer and more effective way of drumming as well as help prevent injuries (1) that might arise during constant play.

This article will tell you about the proper way to hold a drumstick as well as the different techniques on how professionals hold them. 

Let us get started!

Proper Way to Hold Drumsticks

As you journey further into the world of drumming and improve your skills as a percussionist, you will find out that the drummers you like all have varying ways when holding their drumsticks. While they often adopt and adjust their grips to what feels more comfortable to them, there is no doubt that they had gone through the proper techniques first before doing so. 

Knowing the proper way to hold your sticks will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Not only will it prevent injuries, but it will also help with preserving your drumsticks!

So, what exactly is the proper way to hold a drumstick? Here are a few tips on how to do it:

  • First, find the fulcrum of your drumstick. The fulcrum is the spot you hold where the drumstick has the best rebound when you hit a drum head.
  • Once you find the fulcrum, hold the drumstick between your forefinger and your thumb. 
  • Make sure that your thumb is flat against the stick.
  • Wrap the rest of your fingers loosely around a stick. 
  • Make sure it is loose enough that another stick can pass through in the space between your thumb and palm.

That is how you hold a drumstick properly. However, this can be adjusted to whatever feels more comfortable for you. 

Drumstick Holding Techniques

Drumstick Holding TechniquesNow that you know how to hold drumsticks properly, let us move on to the basic techniques on how to hold them. There are two basic grips: the matched grip and the traditional grip. 

Matched Grip

To put it simply, the matched grip is when a drummer holds the stick on both hands the same way. In this grip, the stick lies between the thumb and forefinger. This grip is often used in modern drumming.

Most drummers play using this grip. In beginner lessons, this grip is what’s often used as it has a lot of advantages over the traditional grip. It is also the best grip to use when self-studying as it is far easier to compare your hits and strokes when your grip on the sticks are similar.

Americans GripTraditional Grip

On the other hand, the traditional grip is often used in jazz and marching bands. This grip is a lot softer and subtler than the matched grip and is used to hit the snare to produce sounds that are lower in volume. 

In a traditional grip, the drummer’s weaker hand holds the stick palm up and grasps it between the thumb and forefinger while it is supported by the middle finger and the ring finger. This makes it easier for members of a marching band to keep hitting their snares without raising their arms too much.

French GripFrench Grip

The French grip is delicate and soft. The grip is mostly powered by your fingers. However, you can use your wrists and some subtle arm movements to bring more power to this technique. Here is how you do it:

  • Hold the stick in a matched grip. Make sure to find the fulcrum and hold it between your thumb and forefinger. 
  • Move your hands so they are parallel to each other.
  • Turn your wrists until your palms are facing each other. 
  • Make sure that the sticks are parallel to the floor.
  • Hit the drum by pulling on the stick using your fingers.

German GripGerman Grip

Compared to the French grip, the German grip is stronger and louder in volume. Instead of using your fingers, the German grip relies on the power of your wrists. Here is how you do it:

  • Hold the sticks in a matched grip.
  • Turn your hands until your palms are parallel to the floor.
  • Make sure that your sticks are at a 90-degree angle.
  • Using your wrists, hit the drums with the sticks.

American GripAmerican Grip

The American grip is the most popular grip of all due to its versatility and comfort. It is also considered to be a middle ground between the French and German grips. Here is how you do it:

  • Make sure to keep your sticks at a 45 degree to a 60-degree angle.
  • Using your arms, wrists, and fingers, hit the drums to make a sound.

Americans GripThat just about covers all the basic grips that you should know about. Using these as a guideline, you can start experimenting to find the grip that feels perfect to you.

Drumstick Safety

Drumstick SafetyA lot of drummers do not realize how important it is to hold your sticks properly. This causes them to take far longer to learn and improve in drumming. Using a bad technique when holding your drumsticks can lower your efficiency and speed.

To play quickly, you must allow your stick to bounce naturally off of the head of your drum. Additionally, doing this will also save you a lot more stamina which will allow you to play the drums with vigor even longer.

Injuries on the wrists and forearms are also not uncommon to drummers. Often, these problems arise because you are holding your stick way too tightly. This puts unnecessary tension on your joints which lowers your stamina greatly (especially when they begin to ache).

By doing this, you are not letting the stick rebound naturally after every hit against the drum. The excess shock is also absorbed by your joints which, over time, will start showing signs of wear and tear. 

A great way to improve the way you grip your drumsticks is to use a practice pad. Additionally, you can also take online drumming lessons to aid your studies. You may check my online drum lesson review and choose what’s best for you.

I hope this was a helpful article for you. Remember to keep your hands and wrists healthy and keep practicing daily. Good luck!