You’ve likely seen a growing number of drumming books addressing the “weaker side” of hands and feet. I like the idea of this focus, and tonight, I decide to try something different.

 

I turned my Ludwig maple Centennial kit around, making it a left-handed kit (as I am right-handed). The instant my hands and feet touched the surfaces, I swear, it felt like I was a beginner… and then, after keeping some simple beats, the strangest things started happening…

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past month doing a simple stick exercise in the car as I drive in Los Angeles commuter traffic. It’s usually horrible, and the only thing that keeps me sane is tapping my left hand stick against my palm.

It has built up a lot of control and strength… much more than I expected. I just left the stick slowly drop backwards, and then press fingers against it to bring it forward and press the butt into the middle of my palm.

Okay, so a month of doing this, and then about a week or really working on French matched grip, and then tonight when I started playing with the backwards kit, my hands were alive in ways I have not felt in years. I tried some fills, and at first they were a little awkward, but some of them really fell into place quickly, which I did not expect to happen.

The bass drum felt strange just tapping 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 against a simple jazz beat with the left hand, but then I got up on my toes and started twisting my foot from side to side… and somewhere out of nowhere, these sixteenth notes showed up! It was very unexpected, and I will need to work on it a lot more, but MAN! That was awesome!

I use match and traditional grip, but for this experiment, I decided to just stay with traditional. I like keeping jazz time with the French grip, and then playing harder rock and funk with the German grip. Both feel good at certain times, and I think drummers should keep their options open and explore both grips for different types of music.

So there you go, a simple suggestion that I think you will find very interesting if you have never tried setting up your set backwards. If you spend a 14 days giving it a shot, I really believe that those two weeks will produce a significant difference in your other “weaks.”