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The 8 Tool Beats Every Drummer Should Know

Brandon Toews  /  UPDATED Jul 12, 2023

Danny Carey is a living legend, the drummer for Tool, and one of the top 100 drummers of all time.

Sure, we’re gassing him up, but why shouldn’t we?

In this video, Brandon Toews shows you how to play eight jaw-dropping drum parts that show why Danny Carey is a drumming genius:

1. “The Grudge”

tool grudge drum notation

The song’s outro features a four bar tom groove built on three bars of 5/8 and one bar of 6/8. You might also notice Danny Carey’s beloved swiss army triplets (a sticking pattern you can also hear in songs like “Rosetta Stone” and “Pneuma”).

2. “Sober”

tool sober drum notation

This open hi-hat verse groove is a classic Danny Carey part. The key to getting this really tight is to make sure you close your hi-hats cleanly right on the beat.

3. “Eulogy”

tool eulogy drum notation

Another famous Danny Carey part is the bridge from eulogy, which uses a 4 over 3 polyrhythm (the hi-hat plays 3-note groupings of 16th notes while everything else is in 4/4).

Get a full breakdown of how to play a 4 over 3 polyrhythm in this tutorial for the song “Jambi”.

4. “Forty Six & 2”

tool forty six and 2 drum notation

The chorus of this tune has a similar hi-hat pattern to “Sober” with some cool cymbal shots.

5. “Ticks & Leeches”

tool ticks and leeches drum notation

This is the version heard on the album Lateralus: the opening tom groove played with all single strokes and snare wires turned off.

6. “Schism”

tool schism drum notation

“Schism” is one of Tool’s most popular songs and it has one of Danny Carey’s more recognizable drum parts. While it’s phrased in alternating bars of 5/8 and 7/8, you could also think of it in 12/8 or 6/8. The triplets on the hi-hats are played using single strokes.

And turn off those snare wires!

7. “Rosetta Stoned”


It’s played in 3/4, but throw in a bunch of polyrhythms (of course) and you have instrumental section in “Rosetta Stoned” – arguably one of Carey’s most difficult grooves.

The right hand is implying a 4 feel while the kick goes off on a 5/16 ostinato. You’ll hear more swiss army triplets and again the snare wires are off. An absolutely insane part.

8. “Pneuma”

tool pneuma drum notation

This section from the chorus cycles between 12/8, 11/8 and 10/8 (but we notated it in 5/8 and 6/8 so it’s easier to follow). The hi-hat openings line up with the vocals, so be sure to get the placements spot on.

If you’re ready to challenge yourself, try to learn all of these parts. Or even better, learn all of the songs in their entirety!

With a 7-day free Drumeo trial, you can find the full notation and easy practice tools for all tracks on this page, a 9-lesson video course on “The Polyrhythms Of Tool”, over a dozen Tool songs and so much more we can’t fit it all here.

Brandon Toews is an author, educator, and performer based out of Vancouver, Canada. Brandon is the author of The Drummer's Toolbox, co-author of The Best Beginner Drum Book, and the Content Director at Musora, home to the award-winning online music education platforms Drumeo, Pianote, Guitareo and Singeo.

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