15 Basic Drumming Techniques Every Drummer Should Know

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It’s an exciting day when your new electric drum kit arrives and you want to whip it out the box, assemble it, and start making sweet, sweet music with it.

However, before you can do that, you’re going to want to learn some basic drumming techniques first – especially if you have an a real drum set you really want to play on.

Why Learn On An Electric Drum Kit

When you learn on an electric drum kit, you’re going to a better feel, response, and feedback as opposed to an acoustic drum kit. A modern set is going have multi-trigger pads that are incredibly sensitive.

Learn On An Electric Drum

The cymbals are going to be able to detect and respond perfectly to every ghost note and rim-shot. This will help you learn your rudiments much quicker while allowing the advanced drummers explore more involved techniques.

The Basic Drumming Strokes

A drum stroke is the movement you make to produce notes on a percussion instrument. Here are the basic strokes ever drummer should master before moving on:

  • Full Stroke – This begins with the tip of your drumstick is held between 8 to 12 inches above the drum pad. You will then strike the drum and return to the original position.
  • Down Stroke (or the control stroke) – This begins with the tip of your drumstick at 8 to 12 inches above the drum head. Once you strike the drum head, you’ll want to keep the stick low, about an inch above the drum head.
  • Up Stroke – This begins with the tip of your drumstick about an inch above the drum head. You will then strike the drum and bring the stick to either a full stroke position or a down stroke position.
  • Tap Stroke – This begins and finishes in the up stroke position.
  • Rebound Stroke – This stroke is when you allow the stick to naturally rebound after it strikes the drum head. This is one of the most important strokes you need to learn when playing the drums.
How To Play Drums

With these basic strokes out of the way, let’s take a look at some essential rudiments a drummer should learn:

1. Single Stroke Roll

Single stroke roll is probably the most common drum technique that you’ll use. It’s often used in beats, fills, and even drum solos. This is an essential technique to learn.

2. Rebound Stroke

This stroke consists of a down stroke and an up stroke. The upstroke is produced when the drum stick bounces off the drums. The point of learning this is to understand the principle of tension and release in music.

3. Single Stroke Four

This rudiment is pretty basic and it’s based on a single stroke roll pattern, the only difference is that instead of continuous singles, the single stroke four will be grouped into four notes. These are great for drum fills, hand-to-feet combos and even simple solo patterns.

4. Multiple Bounce Roll

This is a popular rudiment that’s used several different ways; although it is primarily used in marching band settings. It can also be found used in a variety of modern drumming sessions. It is important that when you do play this rudiment, you play it with the correct grip on your stick.

5. Double Stroke Roll

This is a rudiment that should be practiced and perfected if you are serious about becoming a drummer. It’s popular for beats and fills, but it is the basis on which other essential rudiments are built on.

Double Stroke Roll

6. Triple Stroke Roll

This rudiment is used to play a variety of music styles. It’s similar to the double stroke roll, except it groups together three notes, instead of just the two. This rudiment is popular in Jazz, Latin, and other “triplet” based musical styles.


The flam is a foundation pattern that is important to learn if you want to move on to more advanced rudiments such as the flam accent, flam tap, flamacue, single flammed mill, and more.

7. Single Paradiddle

The single paradiddle is a very popular rudiment that will sound great when you play drum beats, fills, and even unique solo patterns. It’s a must-learn rudiment for anyone who wants to take their drumming to the next level.

8. Drag Ruff

This is a fundamental rudiment that you will need to learn how to play before you can move on to more advanced patterns. While it is pretty simple on its own, it is often used in a variety of playing styles. The drag ruff is great for ghost notes in an established drum beat, but it can also act as a lead in simple drum fills.

9. Single Drag Tap

This rudiment builds on the drag ruff by adding a “tap” stroke. This rudiment is great for those who likes to get creative with their drag fills, if they want to create unique solo patterns, or if they just want to improve on both the timing and control of your drag ruff.

Single Drag Tap

10. Single Ratamacue

This is the first in a series of ratamacue rudiments, and it uses a simple structure that combines single strokes with a few drags. You’ll typically find this pattern being played with a triple feel, which allows it to work well with Jazz, Latin, and other styles from around the world.

Final Thoughts

Of all the musical instruments a person could play, percussion instruments (especially drums) can change the song entirely depending on how you play. Before you get into complex techniques, it’s important that you know the fundamentals of drumming and are well versed in these basic rudiments.

Once you’ve mastered these, you’ll be able to move on to more complex rudiments like the seventeen stroke roll, the Swiss Army Triplet, the single paradiddle-diddle, and the dragadiddle #2.





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