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Wikibooks

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

This is a basic set of lessons to help one get started on learning rock drums. It is suggested that the reader has some background in written music. For tuning drums see here Tuning Drums.

Contents

Grip and choosing your sticks

Many beginners make the mistake of gripping the sticks too rigidly, which quickly tires the arms and slows down playing speed. When held correctly, the drummer can use the natural recoil, bounce and force of gravity on the sticks to play fast and intricate rhythms. There are many ways to grip your drum sticks. For the purpose of modern music (jazz, rock, metal, pop), the grip should be slightly loose but strong enough that the sticks will not fly off. This is usually formed by letting the thumb form a ring with the index finger, while the other fingers gently grip the rest of the stick. This will allow the stick head to bounce off the drum head better, allowing for speed during riding and drum rolls.

Additionally, it is best to move your wrist — or if the sticks are light enough — fingers. Using the arms is just not quick enough and will tire you quickly. However, in visual kei, where the visual performance is equally important, arms provide the best dramatic effect; one should research best "dance" for their arms without tiring them.

Since the sticks influence how effective the grip is, it is important to select a proper size stick. 5A seems to be the standard: slim and long, allowing ease of reaching all parts of the set. If you want more control, shorter sticks, such as 7A, can be a good idea.

Reading the Lessons

Since WikiBooks doesn't support a musical stave feature these lessons will be written in tabs. The structure of the tabs will follow as so:

Cymbal = X
Closed hi-hat = x 
Open hi-hat = o
Tom 1 = o
Snare = o
Tom 2 = o
Tom 3 = o
Bass Drum = o

An example would be as follows

HH|x---x---x---x-o-|
T1|----------------|
Sn|----o-------o---|
T2|----------------|
T3|----------------|
BD|o-------o-------|

The above is a basic 4/4 drum beat, with the bass on counts one and three, the snare on counts two and four, the hi-hat on counts one, two, three, and four, and a hi-hat accent on the "and" of count four.

If there are letters like "R" or "L" below the tab it is to indicate which hand to use on the note above it.

It is suggested the reader plays along with a metronome to keep good timing. Timing is an extremely key factor in playing drums. To help build speed, play each lesson at a comfortable tempo until one reaches near perfection, and increase the speed of the metronome by an amount that is somewhat challenging. For endurance, it is suggsted that one plays at a moderately slow tempo (for example, 16ths at 100bpm) for a set amount of time. Discipline is also a key factor. When learning beats, it is suggested one breaks down each part of the beat and plays it seperately, for example playing only the hi-hat, then only the snare, then only the bass drum, and then bringing in another part, for example both hi-hat and snare, or hi-hat and bass drum, or only snare and bass drum, and then all the parts together.

Rudimentary Snare Lessons

HH|----------------|
T1|----------------|
Sn|oooooooooooooooo|
T2|----------------|
T3|----------------|
BD|----------------|
   RLRLRLRLRLRLRLRL
HH|----------------|
T1|----------------|
Sn|oooooooooooooooo|
T2|----------------|
T3|----------------|
BD|----------------|
   RRLLRRLLRRLLRRLL
HH|----------------|
T1|----------------|
Sn|oooooooooooooooo|
T2|----------------|
T3|----------------|
BD|----------------|
   RLRRLRLLRLRRLRLL

Beats

Beats are what you hear in most music. It is something steady that the drummer plays to give the rest of the music a steady base.

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4/4 time

4/4 time means 4 beats per measure, counted as quarter notes.If it was 8/8 it would mean that you should count it as eight notes. It is used for most western music and we shall go over it first because it is one of the simplest time signatures to understand.

HH|x---x---x---x---|
T1|----------------|
Sn|----o-------o---|
T2|----------------|
T3|----------------|
BD|o-------o-------|
   1   2   3   4
HH|x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-|
T1|----------------|
Sn|----o-------o---|
T2|----------------|
T3|----------------|
BD|o-------o-------|
HH|x---x---x---x---|
T1|----------------|
Sn|--------o-------|
T2|----------------|
T3|----------------|
BD|o---------------|
[Note that the above beat is a half-time version of the second beat in this section.]
HH|x---x---x---x---|
T1|----------------|
Sn|--------o-------|
T2|----------------|
T3|----------------|
BD|o---o-----------|
The bass and snare are just like 'we will rock you' by Queen.
HH|x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-|
T1|----------------|
Sn|----o-------o---|
T2|----------------|
T3|----------------|
BD|o-------o-o-----| 
Here we bring the speed up to that of the second beat and create some          
variation by coupling beats 3 and 4.
HH|x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-|
T1|----------------|
Sn|----o-------o---|
T2|----------------|
T3|----------------|
BD|o---------o-----|
   1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +  
This is the basic beat used for a lot of rap music. It is harder than
the preceding beats because the the second bass is now half a beat
later than usual. By using the Hi-Hat as written and counting time
you can master this beat. 
HH|x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-|
T1|----------------|
Sn|----o-------o---|
T2|----------------|
T3|----------------|
BD|o-----o---o-----|
   

Double Bass

Mostly used in heavy metal drumming, the double bass technique includes the use of a second pedal and possibly a second bass drum to allow rapid bursts or a continuous pattern of bass.

Cy|x-------x-------x-------x-------|
HH|--------------------------------|
T1|--------------------------------|
Sn|----------------o---------------|
T2|--------------------------------|
T3|--------------------------------|
BD|o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-|
This is a slow beat, where the bass goes on constantly. This can be tough to do, but with practice, it gets easier.

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