If you’re a new drummer, you may not have always had an ear for picking out exactly what the drums are doing in each song. Or maybe you can hear the differences, but you may not know exactly which drum is making which sound.
The drums are responsible for helping most different styles of music sound distinct from each other, so as a new drummer, you should understand the basics of some of the most popular genres so you can decide which you’d like to focus on. And if you want to be a working drummer (or a cover band drummer), you’ll need to get familiar with many styles.
Many new drummers start by learning rock music, but there are other styles you may not realize are just as newbie-friendly. In this video, you’ll learn the basics of five other drumming styles to help you find yourself as a player. And at the end of each section, you’ll also find free downloadable tracks to play along to!
If you aren’t familiar with this style, check out artists like James Brown, Herbie Hancock, The Meters, and Tower of Power. Think of this first groove like a basic rock beat, but where you shift the snare back by a 16th note so it falls on the ‘a’ of beat 1.
Get inspiration from Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Albert King, Muddy Waters, all iconic blues artists. This groove consists of 8th note triplets on the hi-hats, with a backbeat on the snare and bass drum.
Jazz is defined by legends like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald. You can start playing jazz with a basic ride pattern (also known as the swing pattern). Play the quarter note on beats 1 and 3, and two 8th note triplets on beats 2 and 4. When you’re ready, add in the hi-hat foot on 2 and 4.
Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Alan Jackson, Jason Aldean, and Rascal Flatts should all be on your list of influential country artists of the last several decades. This is a train beat – very popular in country music – that consists of alternating single strokes (like a slow drum roll) on the snare drum and quarter notes on the bass drum. Accent each ‘and’ with your lead hand (usually your right hand).
This Afro-Brazilian style is best exemplified by artists like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfa, Paul Desmond, and Joao Gilberto. The bass drum pattern is key in this style – it’s usually echoed by the bass player – and the kick falls on the 1, the ‘and’ of 2, the 3, and the ‘and’ of 4. Next, add in the hi-hat. Lastly, you’ll add a basic cross-stick pattern on beats 2 and 4 (where you hit the rim of the snare instead of the head).
Want to learn more? Check out The Drummer’s Toolbox for 100+ drumming styles!
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