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Inverted Flam Tap

 

The inverted flam tap is a variation on the flam tap: double strokes played with flams in between. You can find this tricky drum rudiment in snare pieces, solos, and other creative applications.

inverted flam tap drum rudiment notation
The inverted flam tap

What is an inverted flam tap?

Think of it like a double stroke roll with a flam between each double. The entire pattern starts mid-double stroke so it has an offset feel.

If you remove the sticking, the notation looks just like a regular flam tap. You might find the inverted version tricky at first because of where the flams fall. But it’ll feel more natural with practice!

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 inverted flam tap

You should master the flam and the double stroke roll before you get into flam taps. It’ll be much easier to learn once you’ve nailed the components.

First, play a double stroke roll slowly. Then separate each double with a flam.

The biggest challenge here is consistency. Make sure the flams are tight and that there’s very little space between the grace note and the primary note.

Mind the gap: never play two notes at exactly the same time. That’s something else called a “flat flam” or a “double stop”. 

Here are some tips to help your inverted flam taps.

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 technique is solid.

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 inverted flam taps on the drums

Once you’re comfortable playing them on a practice pad or a single drum, try moving them around the drum set. 

You can play the 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! You could also challenge yourself by breaking up the sticking between your hands and feet.

What’s next?

With enough solid practice, you should start feeling more confident in your playing. If you focus on getting comfortable with all 40 rudiments, you’ll be able to do virtually anything on the drums.

Once you’ve mastered the inverted flam tap, check out the Swiss army triplet.

flam tap

Download a free rudiments poster PDF here


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