If you’re a new drummer and aren’t sure where to start, this page will teach you some easy drum rudiments that are perfect for beginners.
“Should I bother learning rudiments?”
“What order should I learn rudiments in?”
“Aren’t rudiments those animals with four stomachs?”
No, those are ruminants. Rudiments are set patterns – the building blocks of what we play on the drums.
It’s important to learn them early on as they set you up for better technique, timing, and general flow around the kit. Here are the rudiments to know first and the best order to learn them.
The single stroke roll is the bread and butter of drumming. Drummers should learn this rudiment first as it’s the easiest to grasp.
There are so many beats, fills, and solos that you could play with this one pattern. Speeding it up isn’t so easy, though. Neither is starting it with your weaker hand.
To play a single stroke roll, evenly alternate your hands on any surface. You can start on a pad and then take it to the drum kit when you’re comfortable. It’s a good idea to switch up the way you play it as well. You can use your wrists for a few bars and then your fingers for the next few.
(Click here to learn how to control your sticks with your wrists vs. with your fingers)
Make sure to play it slowly at first. Also, remember to let your sticks rebound off the surface. Don’t force them downwards!
The single stroke roll is one of the easiest rudiments to apply to a drum set. Try not to limit yourself to one drum or cymbal at a time. Things start to sound epic when you split your hands between different drums.
This clip shows how to develop single stroke roll speed and take the pattern around the kit:
Along with the single stroke roll, the double stroke roll sets you up to play most other rudiments. It also trains you to use your fingers more than single strokes do.
It involves playing two strokes with your right hand, followed by two strokes with your left.
You can choose to play a double stroke with your wrists or your fingers, but you may find that using your fingers makes it easier to play faster. Using only your wrists will give you more power, though.
With double stroke rolls, your non-dominant hand’s strokes will likely sound weaker. Focus on making your strokes feel and sound even.
Be aware that the second stroke of each double may sound weaker than the first. One useful tip is to try and accent the second stroke.
Don’t forget to practice leading the rudiment with both your right and left hand.
Applying doubles around the kit can be tough since the surface tension on the toms are looser than on a pad or snare drum. So it’s good to regularly work on playing doubles around the toms.
You can also play them on the cymbals. Double strokes on the hi-hat sound amazing!
The single paradiddle combines single strokes and double strokes into one awesome rudiment. Beginners should learn this one as it teaches you to play a repeating pattern that balances your hands.
It also has so many variations that it’s important to learn the single version first.
To play a single paradiddle, you need to play two alternating strokes followed by a double stroke with the hand you started with. You start on the alternating hand for the next round of single strokes.
Single paradiddles have so many uses on the drum kit. You can also get some unique fills and grooves by moving accents around within the pattern. You can easily play a straightforward single paradiddle as a fill, but getting funky with dynamics is where this rudiment really shines.
Here are some fresh single paradiddle ideas from Adam Tuminaro:
A flam is when you play a stroke with each hand, but one comes almost immediately before the other. The first stroke (called a grace note) is light and falls into the second, more powerful stroke.
You’ll want to learn flams early in your drumming journey because several more complicated rudiments include them.
You can play a flam by raising one arm higher than the other and then dropping them at the same time. While a flam is a one-note rudiment, you can play repeating flams in a bar to work on alternating your leading hands.
Flams sound great in drum fills, whether they’re on their own or included in other patterns.
Check how Jared tastefully fits a flam into the first drum fill here:
The double paradiddle adds a fun twist to the classic single paradiddle. You play two extra singles at the beginning of each group, creating a six-note pattern.
You have 12 beats in a bar here, meaning you can play this rudiment with a triplet feel. Learning it early on gets you used to playing a rudiment in triplets.
Give your double paradiddles more ‘oomph’ by putting an accent on every quarter note. You can also try accenting the first and third note of each six-note pattern.
Double paradiddles are one of the best rudiments for grooving. The notes line up so you can land a backbeat with your left hand on the snare drum every time, no matter where on the drum kit your other hands land.
You can keep that backbeat going when playing fills too, which is super handy.
Playing rudiments can get repetitive, but repetition is a necessary part of practice. The best way to work on your muscle memory is to keep those rudiments interesting.
Here are some ideas:
(Click here for more tips to trick yourself into practicing)
Keep in mind that perfecting these rudiments takes a lifetime. There’s no rush. It’s important to slow down and solidify your technique to set you up nicely for challenging patterns later on.
The five rudiments we’ve mentioned here are the building blocks of the 40 official rudiments. Focus on the ones on this page before moving on.
If you’re looking to follow a comprehensive guide to learning all the rudiments, get a 7-day free trial to Drumeo and check out the Drumeo Method. Rudiments are only a portion of what this program covers, but you’ll learn to use them and other critical skills to become a better drummer.
For more practice inspiration, follow these rudiment tips and exercises by Rob Brown:
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