The Burton Grip

18 Sep

After learning to play four mallets with the traditional grip, the American vibraphonist Gary Burton (1943 -), started as a teenager experimenting with ways of holding the mallets and came up with what is now known as the Burton grip. It is a cross-grip with the outer mallet above the inner mallet, i.e. just the opposite of the traditional grip. The inner mallet is held between the index finger and the thumb, and the outer mallet between index finger and middle finger.  At larger intervals the inner mallet goes under the thumb so that both index finger and thumb separate the mallets. It is today one of the most used grips and the basis for other grips such as the Extended cross-grip (Rosauro grip) and the Fulcrum grip (Saindon grip). The grip is described in several books and in the video The 4 Mallet (Burton) Grip at http://www.vicfirth.com/education/keyboard/burton.php where Gary Burton himself tells the story about his grip.

Below are two images of the Burton grip. Just like the other images they show the grip at the interval of a fourth on an instrument with 48 mm center to center between the naturals and with mallets that are 435 mm long and mallet shafts of 8 mm in diameter.

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