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A couple weeks ago I set up an electronic drum set I had. I've never had drum lessons before, but I've watched some YouTube videos on drum grip and on basic technique. Within a week I found that I could roll with a standard grip without putting much of my own energy into the stick. It felt really cool because of how effortless it felt.

I've found there are really 3 parts I need in my grip to make the sticks roll

  1. A fulcrum for the drumstick
  2. A source of tension in my grip to control the roll rate
  3. Some source of stability to keep the drumstick from moving out of my grip

With these 3 pieces I can come up with all kinds of fun and interesting grips that might not be practical, but still work for rolling.

Is it harmful to my ability to play the drums if I mess around with my grip early on? Should I focus on practicing and mastering a standard grip first?

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    Its not harmful (as long as you don't start bleeding 'whiplash style', which won't happen anyway). Have fun experimenting! That is an important stage and will allow you to understand later why a correct grip can facilitate your rudiments and give you a good sound on acoustic drums. – hirschme Apr 24 at 2:21
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    While I can't speak to the drumset in particular, it's worth remembering that technique is not purely a matter of dogma. In many cases, the traditional technique has developed to help musicians avoid tendinitis and repetitive-motion injuries. If you choose to experiment, pay careful attention to your body and any pain or soreness you are experiencing after sustained play. Finding a better technique is always a better choice than hurting. – Max Apr 24 at 2:38
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Probably not harmful as such. In fact, you may find a particular grip suits your playing best. I don't believe every drummer holds his sticks in exactly the same way - basically, yes, but there will be subtle differences, due to different physiology, different wrist actions, etc.

So, feel free to experiment. But bear in mind that the basic grip(s) have been used for many years, and have stood the test of time. Those which people used, thinking they were revolutionary, but eventually ended up with damaged hands/wrists/arms have found out to their costs that actually they weren't the best... Pain is a great teacher!

You are correct in your assumptions of what stick control consists, so any non-painful methods of sticking may well be best for you.

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My thoughts on the matter are that you can study how others might do it, and become well educated, but you'll know even more if you experiment with your instrument in addition to your studies. I personally can't even imagine a course of study that covers all there is to know about how to make music. Add to that, the need to make adjustments to your technique as you develop your own style.

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