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Flam Drag

 

The flam drag is a unique drum rudiment that combines flams and drags in a triplet feel. It’s a perfect exercise for developing hand coordination and sounds great in fills, solos and more.

flam drag drum rudiment notation
The flam drag

What is a flam drag?

This rudiment is played in a triplet feel and uses the same sticking as the single stroke roll. The flam drag is almost identical to the flam accent but has a double stroke mid-triplet. 

First, play a single stroke roll in triplets. Then replace the first note of each triplet with a flam. Finally, add a drag – or double stroke – to the second note of each triplet.

Here’s what it sounds like:

You can use this tool to practice along at the tempo that’s best for you (it’s the one Drumeo members use when practicing with the 3000+ play-along tracks inside our members area).

Click here if you want to learn how to read drum music

Tips for playing the flam drag

There are a few challenges with this rudiment. First, you want to make sure your flams are tight, with little space between the grace note and the primary note. 

The next trick is making sure the notes in your double strokes are equally spaced. 

Finally, you want the entire roll to sound smooth and consistent. Here are some tips to help your flam drags.

Practice with a metronome

When you’re first learning how to play something, it’s fine to test it out without a metronome as you get used to the pattern. But you shouldn’t go click-free for long. The metronome will help you develop a better internal clock and show you exactly where the timing of your strokes is inconsistent (or where it’s right on the grid).

You can buy a physical metronome at a music store or download a metronome app online.

Start slow

While it might be tempting to get up to speed as quickly as possible – especially if you’re feeling confident – make sure you’re really starting each flam with a soft grace note and that your double strokes are consistent.

Be honest with yourself and don’t increase the tempo until you’ve really got it down. Don’t just say “it’s good enough”. Develop control first, and speed will come later. 

Try setting your metronome to 60 BPM and slowly work your way up 5 BPM at a time.

Alternate your lead hand

If you’re a right-handed drummer, you probably default to starting everything with your right hand. Make sure you practice starting with your left hand too. This will give you more confidence and control.

Practice in front of a mirror

It’s easiest to correct your posture or grip immediately if you’re watching yourself in a mirror. Try to set up a practice pad and a snare stand in front of a full length mirror if you can.

You’ll be able to notice if you’re gripping your sticks too hard, or if your stick height doesn’t look right. Use your reflection as a window into how you’re doing. It’s like becoming your own drum teacher!

Film yourself practicing

While playing in front of a mirror will help you fix issues on the fly, you might not realize during your practice when something is wrong. Sometimes we don’t notice issues while we’re in the middle of playing – especially if we’re concentrating hard.

Whether you’re propping your phone on your dresser or capturing it all with a camera and tripod, it’s helpful to watch your practice sessions and critique yourself from a ‘third party’ perspective.

How to play flam drags on the drums

Once you’re comfortable playing them on a practice pad, try some flam drags around the kit. 

You can play the whole pattern on one drum or break it up between multiple surfaces. Try the following exercises to get started.

#1:
#2:
#3:
#4:
#5:

Any surface can be part of the pattern!

What’s next?

With enough solid practice, you should start feeling more confident in your playing. The flam drag will level up your hand technique and give you more ideas when writing drum parts.

Once you’ve mastered the flam drag, give the flam accent a try.

Download a free rudiments poster PDF here


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