Robert Brian - Professional Drummer
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MY TECHNIQUE

I have always used the traditional grip. It was not for the want of looking cool it was just the way my father taught me to hold the sticks.

I was working on a project once where I was asked to play matched grip so I didn’t look so jazzy. I tried but just ended up hurting the muscles in my arm as they were not used to moving up and down in another motion.

I can get a lot of power from this grip and I don’t believe that a matched grip player plays any louder than a traditional grip player. The great debate still goes on about which is better, but I think both are valid and both grips work just as well. Just look at the many great rock drummers who use traditional grip and look at the great jazz drummers who use matched grip, it all balances out. It’s what you do with the sticks rather than the grip.

I have developed my sticking technique quite naturally and use many of the known formal techniques like Moeller.

These techniques develop as you learn how the stick behaves in your hand. Often, the rebound of the stick will dictate how your fingers and hands respond for the next stroke. 

Robs stickingWith my left hand I hold the stick in a relaxed manner and allow it to breathe with control from my index finger and thumb. I often practice with the wrist so the fingers fan freely away from the stick. This relies on the fulcrum of the stick being in the space between the thumb and first finger.

I also practice using the fingers to tap the stick to make the strokes. This involves turning your palm down and getting the fingers to tap on the top of the stick to get the natural rebound, and from there consecutive strokes.

Another stick technique I use involves playing triplets accented on the 1st beat. You can practice the whipping motion and get a nice flow of triplets with enough practice. This involves my left hand playing triplets on my auxiliary snare whilst my right hand plays patterns on the rest of the kit.

My right hand uses the basic German timpani grip and uses many of the known sticking motions.

For louder strokes off the hi-hat I tend to hold the grip a little further back using the last two fingers. This allows the stick to come up higher so it is naturally louder. I use a tap-on technique by turning the wrist round and tapping my fingers on the under-side of the stick. This allows continuous strokes and helps with fast single strokes. I do the same motion when my wrist is in the normal playing position by just flicking the fingers on the underside of the stick.

Time spent on hand technique is invaluable as it really is the basis of all drumming. If they are not working well individually they will not work well together. You need optimum power, dexterity and control with least motion and effort.