The first thing anyone should learn about playing with drum sticks is stick bounce and balance. This is essentially drum sticks 101, and is the basis of some of the other drum stick technique discussions on this site. Therefore, we must first explore this topic here.
Drum playing with sticks makes much use of stick bounce. Simply put, the stick hits the drum and then bounces back up. Each stick has a specific grabbing point at which it bounces best and is most comfortable to use if held there. This point is usually a little more than a third of the length up from the base of the stick. If you hold the stick too close to the tip, the stick will feel too light and won’t want to come down onto the drum as well, if you hold it to close to the base, the stick will feel too heavy and will not want to bounce back as well.
You can determine where your drum sticks should be held, by testing where the drum sticks bounce best, as shown in the picture to the right. Put the drum stick on your index finger, lift it up with the help of your thumb, and let the stick bounce by allowing the tip to drop. You can use a table top, a practice pad, or a drum for this.
The next drum technique lesson will show you how to hold drum sticks using the matched grip and get ready to hit your drums.