Adjust the angle of your snare drum or practice pad to make it easier on you. For a better sound, use this technique when playing rim shots with a left hand. The surface should be positioned in front of you to be inclined from where you are sitting. This will give your body excellent support and doesn’t require as much movement for certain types of sounds like rim-shots which could get tiring after a while because they take more effort than other techniques such as single strokes.
Put your palm of the left hand like you will shake somebody’s hand (palm facing inward). Then, take a stick with your right hand and put it in the left in the root of the thumb (between thumb and index finger). Now, try getting the stick’s rebound to find the best balance position where it bounces the most.
When you find the balance point, practice full strokes in this position by rotating your forearm like you are spinning a doorknob. Bounce the stick and try gaining control over a rebound. The purpose of this exercise is to prevent the stick from sliding up or down. After you gain control, it’s time to bounce the stick with your thumb. Now the forearm is not moving, and the palm is facing inward like in the first position. Try bouncing the stick playing quarter notes along with a metronome in the tempo of 180 BPM. After you feel comfortable, speed up. We notice that some drummers who use this grip hold their fingers open while others keep them folded, but it’s a matter of personal preference.
The creators of jazz from the ’40s to ’70s used traditional grip as their main technique. Plus, the feel and approach to playing in a jazz rhythm section is most easily understood, and successfully executed, using traditional grip. This is because the natural tilt of the left stick in relation to the snare drum creates a sound and dynamic level that blends with the ride cymbal. The angle of the left hand is similar to the “ward-off” position in tai chi and other martial arts, and it has a definite physical feeling quite different from that of matched grip. Jazz is about feeling and attitude, and this difference in physical sensation produces different music.