One of the skills new drummers need to learn first is How to Hold Drumsticks Correctly. Practicing the correct method will result in good technique and reduce your injury rate. The shorter the time it takes you to master holding the drumsticks, the faster it will take for you to master the drums.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the four most common gripping styles and a technical guide to each. Let’s read on to discover! Finding the right way to hold your drum sticks can greatly enhance your progress as a drummer.

What Are the Different Ways to Hold Drum Sticks?

Drummers primarily use two types of drum grips: the traditional grip and the matched grip. Within the matched grip, there are three variations: the American grip, the German grip, and the French grip. Each grip is suited for a specific style of music.

How to Hold Drumsticks Matched Grip

Matched gripping style
Matched gripping style

There are two main methods of grasping drumsticks: matched and traditional grip. Each grip gives the right tone for a different musical style.

The two hands will hold the drumstick in the same manner for the matched method. You can apply this grip to almost any style of drumming.

The best position is to keep each club close to its midpoint. The stick can pop out of the cymbal or drumhead thanks to this.

Your thumb should be facing the index finger on the drumsticks so that the butt-end is about two inches. This pinch between the two fingers is called a “fulcrum”.

In the scope of the matched method, we divide into three different types of grips: American, German, and French grips.

American Grip

The American grip is a basic exercise for anyone who wants to be a drummer. This method is relatively simple.

If you hold the club this way, your hand will have power and control. As a result, the American grip has very high popularity and versatility.

To practice this pose, follow these steps:

  1. Place your hand so that your index finger faces forward and your palm is face down on the drum. The distance between the hand and the blank surface is about 2.5 cm (1 inch).
  2. Next, bend your index finger so that the tip of your finger and the palm’s edge are in line. You will bend your finger at the second or third knuckle.
  3. Start sliding the club into the small “fulcrum” hole you just made. Make sure this grip is comfortable for you and doesn’t cause any discomfort.
  4. Experiment and choose the best club placement on the fulcrum for the best bounce. The correct balance usually yields 6 to 8 bounces peruse.
  5. Once you’ve found a grip, rotate your wrists to face your palm down. Place your thumb next to the device for the best support.
  6. Keep the palm at a 45-degree angle to the surface. To push the beat of the drums, use your wrists.

A useful tip for finding the balance point is to measure the distance ⅔ of the stick from its tip. You can use this formula for a better search.

German Grip

The German grip is the top choice for rock and legion sounds. The powerful energy it produces will bring out the timbre of classical or rock music.

However, you won’t want to use this method for jazz, speed metal, or funk-rock.

If you want to learn about this method, follow these steps:

  1. Like the American grip, you will need to hold the club at its balance point.
  2. Once you have a firm grip on the drumstick, turn your palm upside down and parallel to the surface. With drums that have a vertical setup, like bass drums, you’ll need to turn your hand to the side.
  3. Scroll the middle fingers located below the device. As for the little finger and ring finger, you need to use them to support force while playing.
  4. When you rotate your hand in a direction parallel to the playing surface (usually like the floor), your elbow will point outward. This “chicken wing” shape allows for much easier control of force.
  5. Begin playing the drums by using your wrists to apply pressure to the surface. You need to avoid using other areas such as fingers, shoulders, or arms.

French Grip

The drummer's hands hold drumsticks
The drummer’s hands hold drumsticks

The French grip is the first choice with jazz and funk songs with fast tempos and melodies.

Maybe you are interested: Best Drumsticks For Jazz

This method does not provide as much strength as American and German grips because it is loose. Your fingers will need greater force and control to control the drumsticks.

The steps to holding the French drumstick include:

  1. Use your thumb and first finger to determine the balance point of the drumsticks. You can learn more in the above tip.
  2. Next, rotate your palms to face each other and perpendicular to the floor instead of parallel.
  3. You don’t have to put them too close together. The most natural distance between hands is equal to the space of one foot.
  4. Underneath each stick, curl your ring finger, middle finger, and little finger. Since finger strength is the most important factor in this method, you need to pay attention to posture.
  5. You may notice that your elbow has naturally turned in during the preparation. Try to keep them only about an inch away from your body to maximize power.
  6. Contrary to the above two methods, guide the drumsticks with your fingers, not your wrists.

How to Hold Drumsticks Traditional Grip

Traditional gripping style
Traditional gripping style

The traditional grip is a drumming style that came from military bands when they had to wear the snare drum on the side of the body. It is also known as the “side drum.”

As a result, it is optimized for this type of drum. However, you can also use the traditional way for other drum kits.

The flexible swing angle of this pose makes it very suitable for jazz color. With your left hand, you can even create double or multiple bounces thanks to the force of your hand underneath the drumsticks.

The key position is to grip the club in your left hand between your index finger and thumb. The two hands will have different grips.

It can be a challenge for those who are just starting to learn how to play drums because it can be difficult to balance the strength of the two hands.

To learn about the classic drumming pose, follow these steps:

Step 1

Place the left hand with the palm facing in. This pose is like you are trying to shake someone’s hand.

If your left hand is your dominant hand, switch to the weaker hand rather than the right.

Place the stick between your index finger and thumb and flex your pinky and ring fingers. The correct position is that the drumstick will be located on the thumb and middle finger.

Another name for this grip is the “underhand grip.”

Step 2

Place your dominant hand, usually your right, on the drumstick and palm facing inward.

Place the thumb of your right hand to rest on top of the stick. Meanwhile, you’ll use the rest of your fingers to support the drumstick from below.

Another name for this grip is the “overhand grip.”

Step 3

You will need to find a balance point to optimize the bounce of the drumsticks. Make sure it has the most bounce.

A standard stance allows you to swing the club in a controlled manner without slipping up or down during play.

Once you have found a stable position, you can practice drumming in this position by rotating your forearms like turning a doorknob.

Step 4

Lead the drumsticks with your thumb. Do not move your forearm during play.

Let’s start slowly with the quarter notes. You can rely on the help of a metronome. Once you’ve mastered it, increase the melody’s tempo even faster.


Playing the drums is a skill that takes a lot of practice to get better. No technique is perfect, and you should know all the different ways.

The practice of matched and traditional grips increases musical perception and flexibility when playing the drums. You can also find the best style for you through the learning process.

Don’t forget to practice properly to prevent any potential injury risks. Hopefully, this article has provided you with useful information.

Thank you for following this post!