Author Archives: taketimeout

The Basics – Single Strokes

Rudiments make up the foundation to everything you play on a kit and other percussion instruments as a matter of fact. With these you will send chills down your listeners spines as they melt in absolute awe to the finger lickin’ beats you produce.

Single strokes

If you are a beginner, this is where to start. If you have played drums before don’t ignore anything, try playing these single strokes as fast as you can but keeping in time with the bass and hi-hat. Don’t worry if you can’t read drum sheet music, just go through the notation tutorial!

Figure A

Right - Left - Right - Left

Below, figure B, is a video of me playing said rudiment. Watch it if you can, listen to it and try and re-produce it. Then look at the single strokes notation and work out what is going on.

Figure B.

Lesson Three

Hopefully by now you have got used to playing the simple beat I have shown you and you can play the first three rudiments smoothly. Remember to practice everyday to get progress your skills.M

In this tutorial I will show you another beat, similar to the one you have learnt already, but this one builds on the other one by adding another bass drum note. Adding extra notes increases the complexity of your beat but makes it sound so much more interesting.

Next beat

If you look at Figure A. You will see that there is an extra note that has been added in the bottom space, bass drum. Try playing it very slowly, if it helps, don’t play the hi-hat. Start off by just playing the snare and bass drum notes, then add the hi-hat over the top.

Figure A

Second beat notation - Double Bass kick

Lesson Two

If you are a beginner please first read through tutorial one and the rudimentaries, along with the notation tutorial. This will give you a basic understanding of what I am talking about. Otherwise, Read on!

Developing your skills

It is important, when learning anything, to practice everyday. If you just practised the rudiments from the rudimentary section or out of a book purchased from your local music store for 15 minutes a day with no stopping, you will definitely notice an improvement. This might get a bit boring, so practicing the rudiments a couple of times through then just playing what you want for 20 minutes is better than nothing at all.

If you really want to get somewhere fast you should practice for at least an hour a day and learn how to read drum notation fluently.

Round two

Figure A shows the final beat learnt in the previous lesson. If you can play this the same as shown in the video from tutorial one and faster then carry on, if you still haven’t got it, spend 10 minutes playing it over and over again until you can play it fluently. Maybe get someone to listen in or better still, record your playing, then you can adjust it to what you think sounds the best for an audience.

Figure A.

Simple hi-hat, snare and bass drum beat

Once you have mastered the above you are ready move on to more complex beats. Figure B shows a “fill” that you can use to mix things up a bit. It is very basic but once you can play this smoothly mixed in with the simple beat you are another step closer to creating improvised solos.

Figure B.

Simple tom-tom fill

Try and work out how to play it using the following rules:

  • Refer to the notation section to find out which drum is to played when.
  • Remember, notes that have a tail with two lines at the end are called semi-quavers.

To understand what this notation is asking you to do, you have to have read the notation section! As you can probably work out it is vital that you learn how to read drum sheet music before you can really start progressing.

Putting the two together

Now you have practised both beats and can play them smoothly, it is time to play them together. Try playing the beat for 3 bars, then playing the fill in the last bar.

Figure C shows me playing the 3 bars then the 1 bar fill. It helps your playing if you sit up straight, this allows you to breath properly. It also makes you look more confident, this can make you feel confident too. Try sitting with good posture as much as you can…It’s good for you anyway!

Figure C.

Lesson One

Lesson One

So this is it. You’ve decided to learn the drums? Good choice. No matter who you are, experienced drummer or beginner, these tutorials, along with the Rudimentaries, will help you brush up on the basics to enable you to play more complex riffs or start you off on an excellent step towards your future as a drummer!

In this tutorial you will learn, how to grip the sticks properly and a simple beat using the hi-hat, snare and bass drum. I suggest you check out the Rudimentaries section as this will give you a firm foundation.

The start

Figure A shows the stave, this is where all the notation is written. The ‘notes’ go on and in between the lines, this shows you which part of the kit to play.

The stave

Figure A – The stave

Grip

Grip is very important. It helps you play more complex and faster beats. In the picture below (Figure B) you can see that I have the backside of my hand, knuckles, facing straight up and I have my thumb on the side of the stick. I am gripping it part way up from the bottom.

The Grip - All angles

Figure B – The Grip from all angles

With this grip you are utilising the movement of your wrists as they were designed, if you were hold the sticks with your thumbnails facing the ceiling you are more likely to cause repetitive strain injury and you will find it hard to master some of the more complex techniques.

The kit

Figure C shows the layout of the kit. Familiarise yourself with it and refer to this image if you’re ever not sure about which piece of the kit I am talking about.

The Kit

Figure C – The Kit

Your first beat

Figure D shows a simple beat using the hi-hat, bass drum and snare drum. It’s simple, but is the basis of a lot of rock songs.

Figure D - First Beat

Figure D – First Beat

You play the music left to right, any notes that are placed above each other are played at the same time. If you can, watch the video below, it is four bars in length which equates to Figure D played twice.