How to Hold Drumsticks: Guide for Beginners

A newcomer in the drumming world is aware of the troubles that come with holding drumsticks. Sometimes, they get caught under the snare, and other times, they slip out of your hands. As a result, you end up learning at the pace of a tortoise and might even lose your interest in playing drums in the face of this struggle. Master the techniques of holding the drumsticks correctly with our hassle-free and efficient guide on how to hold drumsticks.

Moreover, an imperfect grip will lead to a slapdash performance as the sound depends on how you hold the drumsticks. Therefore, we have decided to list several gripping techniques that you can adopt to smoothen your drumming journey in this article.

You can also check: How Much Does a Professional Drummer Make?

Why do drummers use different techniques to hold drumsticks?

How to Hold Drumsticks: Guide for Beginners
Photo by: Oscar Ivan Esquivel Arteaga

 As a new drummer, you might be wondering why different drummers hold their drumsticks in different ways. That is because one gripping technique generates different sounds and tones on the snare compared to another. That is, the same rhythm played with different gripping techniques will sound different.

Now, there is no right or wrong technique as both styles are unique to each other. As a drummer, you should choose the way you hold the drumstick that fits your rhythm.

To do that, you must decide on which type of music you are willing to create. Ask yourself whether you are more into low-key music styles or heavier styles. After you have decided on that, explore all the gripping techniques.

Different ways of holding drumsticks

How to Hold Drumsticks: Guide for Beginners
Photo by: Allef Vinicius

Now that you know your style, you are ready to explore the different tactics of holding drumsticks. There are two different ways you can grip drumsticks. One is known as the Matched Grip, while the other is known as the traditional grip.

Matched Grip

Matched grip is the most used way to hold a drumstick as it is suitable for different types of drumming. A matched grip is mostly used for rock drumming. While using this method, you grip the drumsticks underneath your right and left hand similarly. Hence, it is called the matched grip technique.

Place your thumb and index finger (or middle finger) on the drumstick. Your palms should point downwards. Therefore, using the matched grip technique, you can control your drumsticks efficiently. When it comes to a matched grip, a firmer grip does not ensure better sound quality.

Therefore, make sure not to restrict the rebound of the drumstick by holding it too tight. By doing so, you would create a block in the natural flow in your drumming practice. Apart from that, tight gripping would create pressure on your fingers. Therefore, you will compromise on the tone quality.

Also, hold the drumsticks close to their center so that the drumstick can recoil from the cymbal. Three other holding techniques emerge from the matched grip. Those are:

  •  The German grips
  • The French grips
  • The American grips.

The German Grip

How to Hold Drumsticks: Guide for Beginners
Photo by: DrummingReview

Put your thumb and index finger on the balance point of your drumstick. Then, lay the rest of the fingers underneath the drumsticks. This helps the sticks to rebound from the cymbal. To achieve this grip, make sure your drumsticks are perpendicular to each other.

You need to rely on your wrist and forearm to make the drumstick move. The German grip is ideal for you if you are into corps or rock drumming.

The American Grip

How to Hold Drumsticks: Guide for Beginners
Photo by: DrummingReview

Just like German grip, American grip also requires you to find the balance point so that your sticks recoil from the drumhead. The only difference between the German and the American Grip is that you need to hold both the drumsticks at 45-60 degrees. The American grip technique is more popular as it is more comfortable.

The German grips require you to stick your elbows out. However, you do not need to do that in this case. While holding your drumsticks in American grips, let your elbows loose as you would generate the motion of your drumstick using your fingers and wrists.

The French Grip

Photo by: Eskay Lim EyeEm

French grip is suitable for songs that need more agility and control, such as Jazz or technical rock. Unlike German grip, this grip relies more on your fingers for the movement of the drumsticks. The first step towards holding your drumstick in a French grip is the balance point.

Use your thumb and index finger for doing that. Then, place the other fingers underneath the drumsticks so that your palm is facing up.  Make sure your sticks are parallel to each other and not at an angle.

The Traditional Grip

Photo by: Kristen Higgins

If you are into Rock drumming, this grip is not for you. You need to put your left hand beneath the drumstick and right hand above the drumstick in this grip. Therefore, the stroke generated by this grip would not be suitable for the purpose.

However, if you are interested in Jazz drumming, you can adopt this gripping method. First of all, rest your drum on your hips. Then, grip your stick with your palms up. You must find the balance point of your drumstick. The next step is to use the pocket of your thumb and index finger to place the stick.

Lay the drumstick gently on the last two fingers of your hand and bring the index and middle finger on top of the drumstick. Make sure the drumstick is loose inside your hands. This grip allows flexible stroke as long as the drum kit is not large enough.

Matched Grip vs. Traditional Grip

Since the traditional grip requires one hand to be under the stick and one above, you need to concentrate more. Also, you need to work more with your muscle as the drum would be resting on your hip. On the other hand, matched grip requires less muscle work. On the other hand, the traditional grip allows you to vary the angle of the stroke.

Hence, you can change according to your convenience. Compared to that, marched grip does not have that advantage. Each grip comes with its pros and cons. Therefore, you have to decide which one to choose based on your comfort level.


Different grips come with benefits. Hence, holding drumsticks requires a lot of time and effort. Learning all the techniques would help you play different tones in your drumming journey. Therefore, we suggest you master all the holding methods mentioned in our article to make your drumming journey pleasant.

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