Drummer Talk

DTU 101 – Grips 101

Today on Drumming 101, we get started with perhaps the most important aspect of drumming – the grip!  It’s amazing how many details go into really understanding the grip, and yet most drummers overlook these fundamental techniques.  Don’t let the 101 fool ya!  Everyone can stand to have a little brushing up on their grip.

The Breakdown

The Fulcrum

1st Position Fulcrum – Pinch with the thumb at the index finger.  This is best used for power, and lots of rebound.  Weight of the hand is behind the fulcrum and affords the use of finger technique.

2nd Position Fulcrum – Pinch with the thumb at the middle finger. Used by many orchestral players due to the leverage and control it gives.  Stick is positioned near the middle of the hand and allows for delicate, articulate playing.

3rd Position (3-point) Fulcrum – Pinch with the thumb between the index and middle finger, creating three points of primary contact with the stick.  Gives a great amount of stick control, allows for quick transition in and out of other fulcrum positions, and easy access to finger technique.  Has the power of the 1st position fulcrum with the leverage of the 2nd position fulcrum.  Great all-around use fulcrum position.

4th Position Fulcrum – Pinch with the pinky (back of the hand) to allow maximum force and stick weight.  Used for backbeats, and heavy playing by enabling a heavier stick without moving hand position on the stick itself.  Very poor rebound control, and can lead to hand fatigue over prolonged usage.

Grip Positions

German Grip Position – Palms flat and parallel to the floor with sticks at 90º angle.  Allows for great power as the entire weight of your stroke is on top of the stick.  Great paired with the 1st and 4th position fulcrums.

French Grip Position – Hands perpendicular to the floor and parallel with each other.  Thumb is on top of the stick and the weight of the stroke is beside the stick.  Makes full use of finger technique and allows for fast, articulate playing.  Limited range of wrist motion when compared to the German grip position.

American Grip Position – As with the 3rd position fulcrum, is a blending of the first two grip position techniques. Is approached with the index finger knuckle on top of the stick and allows for quick transition in and out of the French and German grip positions.  Easy usage of finger technique and does not fatigue as easily as the other grips.


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