Mallet Grip

A Close Look at My Mallet Grip

It’s certainly something I just take for granted everyday, but people ask about how I hold various mallets when I play. So this will describe the basic grips I use and how they differ from a traditional drum stick grip.

A traditional drum stick matched grip focuses on the fulcrum being between the thumb and forefinger. The actual grip can be somewhere in a space between the tip and 2nd joint of the forefinger. This is more or less a pinch between the thumb & finger. This woks well with a drum stick that has a large diameter. But a small diameter mallet shaft is another story.


I’ve always found it difficult to keep a solid, controlled grip on say, a vibe mallet with the traditional stick grip. Out of necessity, I’ve shifted the grip back to last two fingers of my hand. These fingers hold the mallet tightly, while the thumb/fore finger/middle finger create a movable fulcrum. The important thing to remember here is that I’m playing Gongs mostly in a vertical position, which is much different than playing drums in a horizontal position. Holding the mallets upright/vertically is a very different playing style. I'm also moving between a wide variety of instruments mounted from vertically above my head, to horozontally in front of me. I need a solid, yet flexible grip that works for various diameter mallet handles.




You can clearly see the 3-point grip here. For me, part of it is being able to use the thumb or forefinger to exert pressure on the stick/mallet towards the Gong. This gives me more control over what I’m doing. When I'm playing long tone rolls on a larger Gong, like in a Meditation Session, I use the thumb to control the mallet.

With a Superball mallet, the thumb is even more important for being able to put pressure against the Gong. Depending on the exact motion I'm making, I'll use either the thumb or fore finger to control the pressure of the ball on the face of the Gong. I can also move close to the ball to change how the wire vibrates.


~ MB

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