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How To Hold Drumsticks

Jared Falk  /  UPDATED Aug 22, 2022

In this quick video, you’ll learn how to hold your drumsticks using matched grip.

You should be aware of your body’s position. As you move around the kit, you might naturally turn your hand(s) a bit. Make adjustments if you need to.

There are three typical positions for matched grip:

German grip

german grip

Palms down, useful when you want a lot of power in each hit.

American grip

american grip

Hands turned up slightly, a good ‘base’ position for most styles of playing.

French grip

french grip

Thumbs up, good for intricate, controlled playing, or a softer stroke.

Why hold drumsticks properly?

It’s important to hold your sticks in a way that feels natural. If you grip too tightly or force your hands into an odd position, you might cause an injury, or develop bad habits that can lead to injury. Good stick grip will give you more freedom and fluidity around the drum set – and will help your drumming sound even better.

Is there a right or wrong way to hold drumsticks?

Every drummer has their own technique that works best for them. Every drummer on Drumeo uses their own grip, and will teach you how to hold drumsticks in slightly different ways. In this video, you’ll learn how Jared Falk does it.

Find your natural hand position

Drop your hands down by your side. Let them completely relax. Then bring up your hands in front of you so they dangle (like a T-Rex). Now put a drumstick in your hand.

Find the fulcrum of the drumstick

The fulcrum will be the point at which the stick will receive the most natural rebound. While holding it, let the end drop down onto the snare drum. Count how many bounces you get. To find the fulcrum, you want to find the spot on the stick where you’ll get the most bounces.

If you hold it further forward or backward, you’ll get fewer bounces. Use rebound to your advantage – it’ll make playing drums much easier.

Position your fingers around the fulcrum

You can adjust your grip slightly based on how much power or control you want to get. You can have a middle finger fulcrum and use your index finger as a guide, have both the middle and index finger (for a little less finesse) distributing the pressure equally, or use the first joint of your index finger and thumb at the fulcrum, wrapping your other fingers gently around the stick. Make sure your hand and fingers are still relaxed when you hold it.

The end of the stick should line up with the soft, fleshy part of your palm.

Now, repeat all of this with your other hand. ‘Match’ it, so to speak. You’re now ready to play with matched grip!

Try moving around the kit now. It’s okay if there’s a bit of a gap at the top of your hand (between your thumb and index finger), and it might open or close depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. The main thing to note is avoid the ‘death grip’ where your stick is unable to move in your hand while you’re holding it.

Playing drums means a lot of repetition. The sooner you can develop good technique, the lower your risk of injury. Holding drumsticks is easier than it looks, and it’s different for each drummer, so give this a try and see what’s most comfortable for you.

Want to learn how to play drums? Get the full step-by-step guide here!

Jared Falk is the co-founder of Drumeo. For over 18 years, Jared has been a leader in the online music education industry, publishing his first online video lessons in 2003 and founding Musora in 2005.

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