Open-handed drumming

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Open-handed drumming refers to a method of playing a drum kit.

Method[edit]

The method involves not crossing the hands when playing the hi-hat (or ride-cymbal) and snare drum simultaneously as opposed to the more traditional way of playing drums which features crossed hands as the basic playing position.[1] When playing open-handed, left-handed (and right-footed) drummers will play the hi-hat with their left hand (instead of the right hand) and the snare with the right hand. However, in addition, setting up hi-hats and ride-cymbals on both sides of the drumkit will also help to avoid the crossing of hands which limits the range of musical options. Absolute beginners often choose this open-handed way of playing as their first and natural attempt to drumming.

A number of right cross-handed drummers experiment and are comfortable with open-handed drumming but do not always play in that configuration. Steve Smith and Deen Castronovo have used the open hand technique for the Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'".

Beginnings and development[edit]

Open handed playing was first conceived as idea with Jim Chapin's book "Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer", and Gary Chester's book "The New Breed" which emphasize on coordinated independence, leading with both hands and legs.

The first drummers who started open-handed playing are musicians like Billy Cobham, Lenny White, and Dennis Wilson, who started this way of playing in the 1960s and early 1970s either out of instinct (such as Wilson, who was naturally left-handed and therefore felt more comfortable leading with that hand,) or out of experimentation, finding the advantage of not having to cross one's hands over in complex fills or playing the hi-hats in the traditional manner. Many proponents of the technique have also noted that the lack of a "roof" of another arm crossing over allows for the full range of the snare playing arm's stroke to be available, meaning that loud rimshots are more easily played. Others have pointed out the added conservation of energy attained by not having to fully raise and cross one's lead hand when playing, for instance, between the hi-hats and ride in faster passages. As a result, many drummers in more extreme genres have adopted this technique. Another advantage is a player's access to the floor tom while playing the hi-hats, a feat infamously difficult to pull off in the traditional technique without access to an auxiliary floor tom.

In 2008 and 2011 Dom Famularo and Claus Hessler wrote "Open Handed Playing vol.1 and 2", which are lessons focused entirely on open-handed playing.[2]

Open-handed drummers[edit]

First proponents[edit]

Second era drummers[edit]

Modern open handed drummers[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]