A friend of mine just lost a fingertip.

The details are hazy, partly because I didn't choose to press him for more information. I'm not sure I want to visualize the accident any more clearly than I already do.
He works doing maintenance in a large high school, large enough that there's a dedicated shop in the basement. That shop apparently included a table saw.
To hear him tell it, he was pushing a piece of wood through the saw when the wood did something unexpected. He didn't use the word "kickback", but it sounds as if it was the pressure that he was putting on the wood that carried his hand forward into the blade after the wood flew off someplace.
He cut off some part of the tip of the ring finger on his non-favored hand and got some nasty cuts on two other fingers. Those are expected to heal.
I know that a couple of you are musicians, as am I. This friend is the drummer I've been playing with for over twenty years. He says he expects to be able to play again, and pretty soon. I hope he's right.
Although the injury was to his non-favored hand, he plays the drums "backwards" (a lefty playing a right-handed kit). He was starting to explain to me why it was still better that it happened to his right hand, but I can't say I understood it.
We'll be using a sub drummer for a few gigs, a guy I actually know for an even longer time, since I was a teen. I just wish it was for a happier reason.
Let's be careful, OK?
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On 5/6/13 10:02 AM, Greg Guarino wrote:

Sounds like he might play traditional grip. The snare drum in generally played with the non-favored hand on drum set. In traditional grip the snare hand is played (for lack of better explanation) palm up, with the stick coming out of the hand like a dinner fork or soup spoon. The favored hand usually plays ride cymbal and uses a modern grip, which has the stick coining out of a closed fist like a hammer.
In the modern, fist grip, all the fingers work to control the stick and a drummer could honestly do without any single finger and it wouldn't affect his grip much.
In traditional grip, the middle and ring fingers do most of the gripping and the ring finger is responsible for most of the finesse of the stick.
After 20 years of playing, his hand will adapt quickly and he'll be back up and playing in no time. Tell him I said get well soon!
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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Ouch, no matter how "slight" an amputation is.
Additional basic info about the hand: Depending exactly where/how, damaged tips of fingers and toes often develop e issues, later, because of the abnormal nail/nail bed growth on the damage d digits, sometimes requiring removal of the nail/nail bed. The tops of yo ur fingers/toes are sensitive and the nails protect those areas. Taken for granted, rarely does one notice/realize, you receive lots of info by touch /feel, from/through the tips of your fingers and toes. They need protecti ng, hence one importance of having nails.
The thumb, 2nd (index) & 3rd (middle) fingers are for manipulating objects. The 4th (ring) & 5th (pinky) fingers are for grasping.
Try manipulating an odject with your thumb and 4-5th fingers and try to gra sp with the thumb and 2nd-3rd fingers.
The 4-5th metacarpals of the hand (palm) are flexible withing the palm (mov es forward and backward), facilitating power (torque, if you will) grasping . The 2nd & 3rd metacarpals are not flexible within the palm, facilitating a solid (stationary) foundation/base for the manipulating fingers to do their work most efficiently.
Sonny
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On 5/6/2013 11:56 AM, -MIKE- wrote:

You'd think I'd be sure about this after so long, but I'm not. My recollection is that he plays matched grip.
<snip>

*I've* been playing with him 22 years or so. But he's probably got nearly 50 years of playing under his belt. And I sincerely hope you are right.
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MIKE, are you talking about the difference in grip being like Buddy Rich
http://tinyurl.com/bp28lfd
and the wild man, Keith Moon?
http://tinyurl.com/cs455re
Without asking you to write a thesis on the subject, can you tell me why the fist style grip so prevalent these days? I thought it could be because drummers hit their drums so hard these days, but then I think back to Gene Krupa, Louis Belson and of course Buddy and other hard driving percussionists, and in some cases they even drove the old big bands. (Thinking "Sing, Sing, Sing" here to think of one example.)
Inquiring minds you know....
Thanks -
Robert
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On 5/6/13 12:03 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

"Without writing a thesis" Yes, I can get long winded. :-)
Traditional grip was developed to play field drums that were slung over the shoulder by only one strap. <
http://www.fielddrums.com/uploaded_images/DSCN4500-Adjusted-794188.jpg
As you can see, it would be very difficult to play with the left hand holding the stick like a hammer... the elbow would be up by the ear. :-)
That is the ONLY reason traditional grip was developed and used when drummers started putting together "trap kits" to play jazz. That's why it's sometimes called a jazz grip. The drummers who played field drums, taught the grip to their students and it was passed down, even after it was completely unnecessary.
There is no advantage to either grips. I've seen awesome, legendary drummers play equally well and equally powerful and equally sensitive with either and both grips.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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-)

,

as

Well, there you go. Thanks.
I have asked several drummers over the years including a guy I see frequently these days that is a professional. Got a lot of hemming and hawing, but no real answers.
You explanation made so much sense I am going to take it to him as a "mystery solved".
Robert
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On 5/9/13 12:39 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

My new nickname: The Mystery Solver. Thanks for that. :-)
--

-MIKE-

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On 5/9/2013 11:59 AM, -MIKE- wrote:

I thought I smelled a drum conversation going on somewhere without me... I pop in here for the first time in a LONG time (over 10,000 unread messages!) and this is the first thing I land on. Not that I have anything of substance to add really; Mike's explanation is correct, of course. :-)
--
"Our beer goes through thousands of quality Czechs every day."
(From a Shiner Bock billboard I saw in Austin some years ago)
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On 5/9/13 12:53 PM, Steve Turner wrote:

Of course it is. If it wasn't, I'd be the first to correct you. :-D
--

-MIKE-

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OK... so I see my percussionist buddy and tell him what you said. He was thoughtful, but a bit skeptical. He has been drumming for 40 years and had not heard that explanation.
So I fired up the laptop and showed him your full explanation. When he saw the picture you referenced
http://www.fielddrums.com/uploaded_images/DSCN4500-Adjusted-794188.jpg
he said, "wow... well that cat's old enough to know!"
After a couple of minutes of laughing uncontrollably, I assured him you were actually there when the traditional grip was invented. ;^)
Good stuff. I thought you would enjoy that!
Robert
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On 5/10/13 11:34 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

LMAO! Yes, I did enjoy that. I'm going to use that picture as my profile pic on facebook. I guess I should find out who that old dude really is and make sure he's not the vengeful type.
Reminds me of when I used to use a picture on Brad Pitt on a musician resource site. No one ever questioned it. :-)
--

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On 5/6/2013 1:03 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Or Stewart Copeland of the Police. Not too shabby either.
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On 5/6/2013 10:02 AM, Greg Guarino wrote:

Tell him to not be surprised it it takes him a year or better before he can deal with the drum sticks, especially on the finger that has a chunk missing. I recall not even being able to hold the steering wheel with my left hand after chopping my left thumb.
Good luck to him, he was lucky.
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On 5/6/2013 3:30 PM, Leon wrote:

I think I'll save that bit of wisdom until (and unless) it's needed. For his sake I hope it isn't. We can get sub drummers, but it would be a real blow to him to be given a prognosis like that. He's got an appointment with a hand specialist this week.

In relative terms, I suppose that's true. I have some experience with "it could have been worse" and it's small comfort, unless you're saying it well after the debacle is over with.
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On 5/6/2013 3:01 PM, Greg Guarino wrote:

Actually I meant to say tell him this should he think things are progressing too slowly. I recall my thumb not constantly hurting after a few weeks but that was when I was being still. The vibration of the steering wheel was what caused the pain for many months. I even had to change my golf grip once I started playing again many months later. If you do not have the same padding around the bone that you once had the bone can inflict pain if it gets banged into something or squeezed a certain way.

He was lucky in that it could have been so much worse. I lost half of my left thumb, and have a nice scar about 3/4" down from the amputation that "almost" became the point that my thumb ended, in 1989. Mine could have been much worse, many loose several digits all at once.
And that is why I finally bought a SawStop.
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saying

You're right. It's always difficult for someone newly injured to realize there is a future, but it helps to talk to someone who has been though the same thing.
I belong to a peer support group for the Ontario Paraplegic Association. (Now Spinal Cord Injury Ontario) We get paired up with people who have been injured to show them there is something to look forward to.
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Tony Iommi sheared off a couple of fingertips in a metal shop accident. Didn't seem to slow his playing down. To this day, he carries a set of spares in an Altoids tin.
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