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The Real Rudiments Of Drumming

John Wooton  /  UPDATED Mar 5, 2023

The word “rudiment” is defined as the most basic element of any subject. When you take a look at all 40 drum rudiments, you’ll notice that most of them are quite advanced and complex. They’re not exactly “rudimentary”.

Today, John Wooton is going to teach you the four “real” rudiments, or in this case, the four main strokes that make up everything you play on the drums. Once you learn these strokes, you’ll be able to learn all 40 rudiments. Consider these to be letters in the alphabet while the 40 rudiments are words. You put the words into sentences, the sentences into paragraphs, the paragraphs into chapters, and suddenly you can tell a whole story.

The first stroke is called a rebound stroke. The goal is to strike the drum, then allow your stick to return back up.

You can break this motion down into an accent followed by another accent. The purpose of this stroke is efficiency. When we’re drumming and we need to play fast or for a longer period of time, we need to be as efficient as possible. The main goal for this stroke is to have your stick come back all on its own. Throw it down, and it pops right back up.

Next are control strokes. It has the same starting motion as the previous stroke, but this time we want to keep the stick close to the drum after we strike it. This allows you to follow up with a ghost note.

Third is a tap stroke. You could say this is the same as a rebound stroke but performed at a soft dynamic level. Also referred to as ghost notes.

Lastly we have the up stroke. Use this to achieve a soft note followed by a loud note. Many of you will probably recognize this as the Moeller stroke. This whole motion focuses around the movement of your wrist. Imagine you have a piece of string tied to your wrist and you’re pulling it up. This stroke, in combination with the controlled stroke, makes it easy to seamlessly transition between loud and soft notes.

Once you’re comfortable with these motions, start learning the 40 rudiments!

Drumeo Team - We're professional, award-winning drummers and drum teachers, coaches, recording artists, and content specialists who are passionate about drums and helping drummers around the world. This post was written and/or edited by Sam Landa, Brandon Toews, Jared Falk, Dave Atkinson, or another pro on our team (which has a combined 1000+ years of drumming experience). Are you looking for inspiration, education, and support to take your playing to the next level? Join the Drumeo community today!

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