I've been playing drums for a while and there's something bothering me. I've watched a lot of "how to hold your drumsticks properly" videos for the 'matched grip' style (the one i use) to try to improve my 'matched grip'. I try to be relaxed and not apply too much force when holding my drumsticks, but when I start to play a little bit faster, they start to move in my hands. My thumb and index finger are being used to find the fulcrum point but from time to time I have to move my index finger to find the fulcrum point again.

Do I have to put more force when I'm holding my sticks? I've watched a lot of videos on YouTube but they seem all the same to me when it comes do the matched grip. I've tried the traditional grip too. Should I invest more time and effort on improving it?

6 Answers 6


There is some certain uncertainty that makes it difficult to answer this question. The easiest solution would be to record yourself while speeding on a practice pad.

I had a similar problem when I was a beginner and the problem was that I tend to make a rotation and some forward translation while I was hitting the drums. The net effect of course is that stick gains some momentum forward and tends to slip out of your hand.

So you need to make sure that your index finger is not slipping under your thumb which creates a forward motion. The idea of a fulcrum point is to make the stick bounce in a steady motion such that you can bring it back (in theory by just applying some torque with your grip fingers)

I recommend anything JoJo Mayer says :) Especially, the Moeller technique description should clarify your concerns and pay attention for an alternative fulcrum grip with two middle fingers.

Speaking of who, use Jim Chapin's books. They have been very useful to me.

  • Hmm....that's really different...I've only known the fulcrum point with the thumb and index finger...i'll definitely check this out at home... But could you explain what you said before? About the "rotation and foward translation"? And which Jim Chapin books do you recommend? I'm really inexperienced when it comes to drum theory and techniques...are they too complex? Aug 15, 2013 at 12:04
  • @JoaoVictor Suppose you are holding with index and thumb only. Then you perform a hit movement by pushing your thumb forward and your index finger slides below the thumb. Do it without holding a stick, you'll see what I mean. If that is performed incorrectly the thumb pushes the stick forward sliding over the index finger. So in the next stroke you will be holding the stick at a slightly further point to the butt of the stick. Is that a little clearer?
    – user1306
    Aug 15, 2013 at 12:46

Drum sticks are basically 'sticks'!!!! Instructing new students in the Art of Stick Fighting, I find that new students most often act as though a 'stick' is a 'club' - They hang on to it like there is no tomorrow and bang it against your stick as hard as they can. After you explain to them that your stick is there to help them, and that there really is no need to flog it unmercifully, they begin to relax. Tension is usually equated with power, speed, or force. This is an unfortunate assumption.If you are more relaxed you will have more speed. If you are relaxed you will have more control. If you are relaxed you will have more accuracy. If you are relaxed you will have more energy, and power. The phrase 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee' comes to mind. You only need the power at the moment of the 'strike'. With drum 'sticks', we need to learn that if you allow it, the 'stick' will bounce up again without you doing anything other than initiating the first 'strike'. The art is in controlling the bounce by not stifling it. Let the 'stick' do the work. Allow the wrist to do what it does naturally. Do not grip the 'stick'. Do not let it go. The 'stick'must be able to move, that's what 'sticks' do. You have but to guide, and thus control it's action.


it happens to the best (Here Joe Morello loses it at about 3:30 and you have to actually watch the video to notice). Of course the stick will not stay put: with time you'll learn how to make it creep back to where it belongs.

The actual fulcrum the stick rotates around shifts when holding/moving your thumb differently and depending on just how you move your wrist, so you can let it "overtake" the center of weight of the stick if that is in danger of "escaping". Once this becomes semiautomatic, most of the creep will be in check without requiring conscious/explicit action. And earlier than that you'll notice in time for clawing it back.

Of course, this does not protect against an accidental jerk or fumble. But even if you aren't blind like Morello, you'll have to just sense where your stick is at without looking.


It's ok if the stick moves. It's supposed to. What you are experiencing is called "Stick Creep" We all get it. Over time you learn to make little mico adjustments. I saw Tommy Igoe say If your stick is not moving you are griping too hard. He demonstrated in a constent flow of 1/8 notes with his right hand how the stick actually rotates in his hands. Meaning the "logo" of the stick spins.


The best advice I had as I begining to play drums is to grab well the sticks between thumb and index finger. It should be a good gripper that allows the stick to move while holding it and letting other fingers push it.

Practice and relearn all you know while doing this. Bounce the sticks, do singles, doubles, play with only one hand, everything counts.

Check out this other answer of mine, about drum hand technique. With a lot of information and videos.


If you can not simply look down and see sticks rotating slowly in your hand as you play, you are not holding them correctly.

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