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5 Beginner Drum Techniques From The Best Beginner Drum Book

Jared Falk  /  UPDATED Mar 13, 2023

The Best Beginner Drum Book is a 210-page guide to help get you started on the drums and take your playing to the next level. It covers many different topics we think are important for beginner drummers.

Today we’re giving you a sneak peek with five must-know beginner drum techniques that will help you spice up your beats:

Dynamics – Crescendo and decrescendo

Think of dynamics as how you ‘speak’ on the drum set. Would you rather listen to a monotone speaker, or someone who has a lot of variation in their voice? It just isn’t as interesting when every word has the same tone and the same volume.

Apply this concept to the drum set. Try creating slow builds that start quiet and get louder over the course of a bar or two (a crescendo). Then try doing the opposite – a decrescendo – starting at full volume and gradually reducing your volume.

Ghost Notes – Spooky soft strokes

Ghost notes are more felt than heard. These soft strokes on the ‘e’ and ‘a’ need to clearly differ from your backbeat hits on the 2 and 4. Whether they’re five times quieter or ten times quieter is up to you. There’s no need to wind up for ghost notes; just let yourself lightly drop the stick down to the drum naturally as you play.

Start with a basic beat. In the book’s first ghost note exercise, we put a ghost note on the last ‘a’ of the phrase. Try not to overdo the ghost notes, but use them sparingly when you’re playing with a band to keep yourself grooving.

Cross Sticking – Flip it around

It’s better to flip around your stick when you’re cross sticking because you get a fuller, richer sound from the base of the stick. As for the grip, try and ‘pinch’ it so your fingers go just beyond the sides of the stick – so when you’re cross sticking, you aren’t muting the rim. Don’t go too far back or far forward; find that rich, woody sweet spot.

Get comfortable going between the cross stick and snare drum. Try flipping the stick a few times as you go back and forth (watch the video at 6:29 to see what we mean).

Rim Shots – Bring up the volume

This is where the tip of the stick hits the middle of the drum at the same time that the shoulder hits the rim. You’ll notice you get a much more robust and loud sound when you do this. This is great for both live settings and studio where you really want to lay on the backbeat.

The hardest part about rim shots is being about to use it consistently on command. But that’s what practice is for!

Open & Closed Hi-Hats – Cymbal dynamics

It’s unbelievable just how many things you can do with the hi-hat. For those new to incorporating open and closed hi-hat into a groove, try playing a basic beat and opening the hi-hat on the ‘and’ of 4. You then close it on the 1 of the next bar. It’s only open for one 8th note count.

You can also open the hats for the entire groove. The more they’re open, the more they resonate. You can get so many different sounds out of your hi-hats, and by changing the amount they’re open, you can really build some cool dynamics.

In fact, try starting a beat with them closed. Then over the course of a few bars, gradually open them more and more.

You can check out the book in our store here: Best Beginner Drum Book

It covers topics such as setting up your drums, maximizing your practice time, essential drum rudiments, hand technique tips, drum beats and fills, and much more.

Want to learn drums with the world’s best teachers? Start a free 7 day trial of Drumeo.

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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