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3 Must-Know 5/8 Drum Beats

Aaron Edgar  /  UPDATED Aug 22, 2022

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Whether you’re jumping into this time signature for the first time or just need more ideas for your next jam session, Aaron Edgar has three 5/8 beats he wants to share with you. These aren’t going to solve every musical situation you come across, but they definitely aren’t your basic 5/8 beats either. Hopefully they help you become more comfortable in this time signature, as well as spark some ideas for your own grooves!

Let’s take a look at #1! Start by playing 5 eighth notes on the hi hat, then add a snare on beat 3 and another right in between counts 4 and 5. Once you’re comfortable with that, add in the kick drums!


In beat #2, we’re going to change up how the accent structure works. Instead of having a couple snare drum notes like in #1, we’re only going to have one placed on beat 5. We’re also going to move from the hi hat over to the ride cymbal and accent beats 1 and 4 on the bell. Lastly, let’s sprinkle in a couple ghost notes to add some extra flavor. I recommend leaving the bell accents out until you’re comfortable with the base groove.


For this last 5/8 groove, we’re going to put the snare drum back on count 3. We’re also going to change up our hi hat pattern. Instead of having consistent 8th notes through the bar, we’re going to add an extra stroke between counts 3 and 4. Finally, add those two ghost notes and give ‘er a go.


If you’re looking for more odd-time ideas and tips, check out these other lessons by Aaron Edgar:

3 Must-Know 7/8 Beats
Go-To Odd Time Grooves
Make Your Odd Time Grooves Better

Jared Falk is a lifelong drummer, drum teacher, and the co-founder of Drumeo. For over 18 years, Jared has been a leader in the online music education industry, publishing his first online video lessons in 2003 and founding Musora in 2005.

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