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A story of personal success

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1 A story of personal success on Sat Apr 19, 2014 4:07 pm

Hi all,

Yesterday I did something that I felt was a great personal success, kickstarted by seeing Billy on a jazz show here in li'l ol' England in the 90s when he performed Mirage at the 606 in London - I did a whole 5 hr rehearsal playing open handed without needing to cross over once due to tiredness or the complexity of the rhythm.

I've been dabbling with the idea for about 15 years, but only started taking it seriously in January. When I first tried it I immediately found that it made more sense to me, and I've never really liked crossing hands since. Of course, building up strength in your weaker hand/arm takes a lot of time and commitment, but doing it in front of others requires an equal amount of confidence. Personally, I think all drummers should be taught how to play open handed from the start - I'm teaching my nephew at the moment and making sure that he can play open handed and cross handed so that either approach becomes second nature to him.

This isn't groundbreaking, and I doubt it's interesting to anyone else, but I was proud of it and I wanted to share it with people who would know what I was talking about! Hopefully, with more practice, I will be able to join the club of left-handed-but-leading-with-right-hand drummers, which I think is rather rare - the only other drummer I know of who did that was Steve Upton of Wishbone Ash.

Thanks for reading


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2 Re: A story of personal success on Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:19 pm


First off, congratulations on your successful transition.
Keep at it if that's what you really want.  I for one feel
that there are both disadvantages and advantages to
both concepts.  It just a matter of what works better
for what YOU do.

I would say why not teach both concepts.  Simon Phillips
who is TRULY ambidextrous can play from either side without
losing a single ghost note.

I am left handed but I play the standard right handed way.
I've always wanted to try the open hand concept but didn't
want to relearn and retrain my arms to do the reverse.  So
what I did was move my hi hat to my right side via a cable
setup and reversed my tom setup from right to left.  This
way I just had to get used to doing fills from right to left
instead of left to right...  Today I use bot concepts and
get the best of both worlds!  Why not?!

See open hand setups below.

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3 Re: A story of personal success on Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:33 am

Mark, that's quite an achievement. Well done.

When I first saw Billy and Lenny White back in the 70s I was mystified. It wasn't (isn't) just development of the left hand lead, it's working out all the rudiment combinations between hand and feet all over again. Playing left hand lead for basic rock patterns isn't too difficult to get down, but the other stuff. Most have said it's a good year of every day work to get it down, and longer, the more complex you want to do things. I never really put in the time.

I cheated. I put a cable hat to my right. Does make things easier.

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