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Single Drag Tap

How To Play A Drag Tap

The single drag tap is a drag with an added ‘tap’ stroke. This drum rudiment is great for creative solos, drum fills, and more.

single drag tap drum rudiment notation
The drag tap

What is a drag tap?

The drag tap is essentially an offset double stroke roll with drags.

It’s just like the inverted flam tap, but you’ll replace the single grace note with a double grace note (aka a drag). The accent falls on the second eighth note.

You can play drag taps in eighth note form (like in the notation above) or in triplet form where you start with a single stroke.

There’s no rhythmic value to a grace note, so it’s up to you to decide how much space you want to leave between that and the primary note (less is better). You might also decide to lead into the full stroke with a buzz rather than two distinct notes.

Here’s what a single drag tap 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 single drag tap

The biggest challenge in mastering this rudiment is distinguishing between the grace notes and the primary note. Make sure to leave very little space between them and keep the drumstick low before playing the grace notes.

The other challenge is getting two clean strokes at low volume. It takes practice! You might want to try learning the sticking of the primary notes (RLLR RLLR) before adding in the drags.

Get familiar with drags and double strokes and you’ll find it easier to nail the drag tap.

Here are some more tips to keep in mind.

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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.

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Start slow

While it might be tempting to get up to speed as quickly as possible – especially if you’re feeling confident – make sure your drag sounds like two separate notes 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, then slowly work your way up 5 BPM at a time.

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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.

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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!

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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.

We’ve put together a playlist with drumless tracks at different tempos so you can practice this rudiment over real music:

How to play drag taps on the drums

Once you’re comfortable playing the single drag tap on a practice pad, try it around the drum set. Here are some exercises to get started.


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 drag tap combines several rudimental skills and will work your stick control in ways that’ll get you one step closer to your drumming goals.

The next rudiment you should learn is the double drag tap, which adds one more drag into the pattern. And if you’re looking for something else to build on what you’ve learned here, try the lesson 25.

double drag tap
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