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Since that was my background, I’m very familiar with traditional grip and I do use it sometimes, usually on a jazz or lighter-volume gig.

Sometimes I start a gig with traditional grip and switch to matched if the volume increases. It utilizes the natural turning motion of the forearm, wrist, and hand as one piece, whereas matched grip utilizes the hinged, up-and-down motion of the wrist and hand.

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If they’re not sure and have been using matched grip, I tell them to stick with it.Over the past five years, I can’t recall one student who came to me with traditional grip being his/her primary playing style.Those that became interested or asked questions about traditional grip are usually those who play jazz.As far as I understand it, traditional grip, or underhand grip with the left hand, started because drummers who were leading men to go forward into battle carried snare drums slung over their shoulders.The sling only had one attachment point, so the drum was slanted.

The underhand grip made sense in this situation because matched grip would be too awkward, since the left hand and arm would have been held very high on the left side. If they don’t see a use for traditional grip, then you shouldn’t worry about it either.When the drumset was invented and drummers sat down to play, they kept the same left-hand grip even though the snare drum didn’t have to be slanted any more. Do vibraphonists and marimba soloists use traditional grip? Plus you get more raw power with match grip anyway.When students ask if they should learn traditional grip, I tell them to take a look at classical percussion players. That said, my first teacher taught me traditional grip.Then I later learned the rudiments with Sonny Igoe using traditional grip before going back and learning them all over again with matched grip.I did the same thing with Henry Adler when I studied with him.We went through the Buddy Rich book first with traditional grip and then with matched.