How to Hold Drum Sticks

Learning how to hold drum sticks is among the most important techniques that a drummer should know. Without a proper drum stick grip, the learning curve will be hindered. However, a correct grip provides maximum control and bounce of the drum sticks. Here are some of the best ways to hold drum sticks:

Matched grip

This is the most popular way of holding drum sticks. Just like the name suggests, this drumming style entails holding the drum sticks in both hands in a similar manner. Currently, this is the standard style of holding drum sticks for most music styles. It is applied in drum kit, mallets, timpani, and other instruments. Perhaps, that’s because it allows fast movement while providing maximum control.

With this style, the palms face downward and every finger tip rests on the drum stick lightly. The grip is also not too tight to prevent a limitation of its rebound. Some people use the index finger and the thumb while others use the middle finger and the thumb to grip the drum stick. Nevertheless, both are okay as long as you select one and stick to it.

German grip

This style of holding drum sticks is very common in corps drumming and rock drumming. It entails holding the drum sticks at a balance point or fulcrum point with the index finger and the thumb. Fingers are placed on the drum stick’s bottom. This grip is made different by the angle of playing the sticks. Ideally, sticks are placed on a snare drum and a 90 degree angle is made using the sticks. The elbows can stick out once this angle is made and this is generally normal with this style.

American Grip

Both the German grip and the American grip are almost the same. The only difference is the angle that drum sticks make. Instead of the elbows moving outwards and sticks making a 90 degree angle, you relax and leave the arms to fall to make an American grip. The sticks come in somehow cutting down the angle to 45 degrees. This is a very common drumming style since it is more comfortable.

French grip

This drumming style is different from the German grip and the American grip. It entails allowing the arms to relax more and bringing the drum sticks together. Drum sticks come together to an almost parallel level. French grip is a unique drumming style because the way the sticks are held changes from palms up to palms down. That means it’s possible to get more speed using fingers. However, you lack power when you drum in this style.

Traditional grip

A traditional grip is a very popular drumming style among jazz drummers. This style entails holding the drum sticks with palms facing upwards. Ideally, the sticks are gripped from underneath. This grip provides an entirely new feel of the drum sticks. And, it allows for better, dynamic control and quick strokes. The traditional grip is ideal for brooms and brushes. However, the major challenge of this drumming style is moving it around a drum kit. Quick movements are hard to make with bigger drum kits when practicing this grip. Thus, moving quickly around toms and maintaining the drum sticks angle on your hand may be difficult. As such, hitting cymbals becomes tricky.

To make this grip, stick out your first two fingers with the thumb sticking straight up. Place the stick between the thumb and the other fingers. Close the top two fingers on top of the drum stick once it gets in place. Make sure that the stick stays loose in your hand.


Basically, these are the main ways to hold drum sticks. Mastering all the grips will make you a more attractive drummer. It will also make drumming more interesting and give you better control of the drum sticks. The best way to start practicing these grips is to incorporate them in a drum rudiment practice.

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