This is a very controversial subject actually. But before the emails start flooding in let me just say that this is MY opinion only and everyone will inevitably have their own take on this very essential technique – STICK GRIP.

My approach to this has changed a lot over the years but I think I’ve found something that works for me and I believe I can justify why it does.

The video drum lesson below outlines how I approach holding the stick and where the balance point of the stick is. I also crucially talk about why my grip changes as I move around the drums. It’s all for the sake of ergonomics and ease of motion. I do switch regularly between German (Palms down) and French (Thumb facing ceiling) grips. I believe as you move around the drums say from the snare to the floor tom, your hands need to alter to keep the body comfortable.

stick technique

After watching the lesson here are some notes to remember about Stick Grip.

1. Grip the stick with the first finger and thumb about a 3rd of the way up the stick from the base. On a Vic Firth stick this is usually about where the American Flag is on the logo.

2. Let the fingers wrap around the stick. Don’t get too precious about where the base of the stick falls in the hand. It make need to change depending on what you’re doing.

3. When you go to play both hands on the snare drum, you should get a natural triangle. Don’t hold a weird and un-natural position. It’s a waste of energy.

This lesson also talks about the Three most essential rudiments we have – Single Stroke, Double Stroke and Single Paradiddle. Really, I can’t stress enough how important these are. Everything we do on the drums can be traced back to these basic techniques.

Like I said, approaches to these essentials are VERY personal. If you check out Dave Weckl and Keith Carlock, they have extremely different approaches to holding the stick. Like, radically different, but each one is justified and works for them. For me, my eyes were opened when I had a discussion with a teacher of mine about this and finally understood that it’s ok to alter the grip to make it work for you.

Check out the lesson and me know your thoughts. I’d be very curious. My lesson on Finger Control also touches on essential techniques. Check it out here.

Enjoy the video.


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  1. Great Lesson Adrian. I really liked your explanation of the balance point. It’s something of course that I have already known about for yrs, however, so many players say, “the grip has to be this certain way” and like you said, everyone is built a little different. My left wrist was broken in 2 places before, and so it just don’t work for my left hand, so ways to hold/grip the stick that is.
    Another extremely valid point you make, that most others do not inform you of, is the fact that your grip changes as you move around the kit. I don’t think out of all the drum instructors that I follow, any of them has mentioned that your grip changes as you move around the kit. Plus, like you said, “It ‘has’ to change as you move around the kit”. Thanks my friend for your great lessons. Keep em’ coming, Please. 🙂

    Cal Talbot (Drummer for the Freedom Bible Church Worship Team Band. Playing for over 40 yrs now, 20 yrs semi-pro., and Professionally. With a 6 yr break when I did not even pick up a drum stick. Why? I had a drug induced stroke in 2000, and (I’ve been ‘totally’ clean now for 8 to 10 yrs, even quit smoking cigarettes) thought my drumming days were over. But, I just refused to give up and pretty much had to start all over again because of the motor functioning of my mind and body being affected by the stroke. I’m doing good now, it’s coming much slower than I had expected or wanted, but it’s coming and as I mentioned, even though I am racked full of pain when playing do to many health disorders/dysfunctions/syndromes, etc. I Refuse To Give Up. God Bless Adrian, thanks again, stay loose and happy drumming.)

    1. Thanks Cal. Appreciate the comment! Yeah, it took me a little while to realise it but it makes sense. Of course, obviously, we have a base/starting grip but the more I play the more I see it altering depending on where I am on the drums. It’s interesting. Thanks for the support too! Stay in touch.

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