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5 Iconic Neil Peart Licks

Ash Pearson  /  UPDATED Aug 20, 2022

A lot has happened this year.

But it’s more important than ever to remember our heroes. And Rush drummer Neil Peart’s brilliant contributions to the drumming world (and music) inspired generations of drummers to pick up sticks for the first time.

So join us today – on the 1 year anniversary of Neil’s passing – and revisit five of his most iconic drum licks.

Even if you don’t have a massive kit like Neil Peart, you can still learn his parts – you just might need to get creative with where you place the hits.

Ash Pearson takes you through some of his favorite Neil Peart licks and shows you how to play each of them (notation included).

1. “Tom Sawyer”

This is the break in the middle of the song, and it’s one of the most epic drum fills of all time. It’s fun to air drum, and it’s even more fun to play on an actual drum set!


2. “The Spirit Of Radio”

Be prepared for lots of syncopation in this one.


3. Neil Peart Signature Beat

You can find this beat throughout Rush’s catalog, from “The Spirit Of Radio” to “La Villa Strangiato”. This fun, Afro-Cuban-inspired lick has become synonymous with Peart and has found its way into many other drummers’ repertoire.


4. “By-Tor And The Snow Dog”

There’s so much epic tom stuff in this track (from Neil’s first record with the band). It mostly consists of single strokes and moving to the toms with the right hand.


5. “Natural Science”

Peart does a lot of variations on this groove section in 7/8.


What are your favorite Rush licks?

Ash Pearson is the drummer of Boston-based technical death metal band Revocation, and formerly of heavy metal band 3 Inches of Blood. He is also a member of Zimmers Hole and Old Black (featuring Jed Simon) and is affiliated with bands Ultra Earth and Ritual Dictates (featuring Justin Hagberg).

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