Drums – Learning

there are certainly a few techniques that really require traditional grip, that’s one. dan weiss is another drummer who really makes the case for trad grip. he does pretty advanced things that need that hand position.

His technical DVDs are an amazing resource: “Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer.”

Curious what this is?


Ahh, sometimes called a gravity blast when played in a blastbeat, I think.


that’s correct - it’s also called the “freehand technique,” coined by johnny rabb. first place i ever heard of a “one handed roll”

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YouTube’s an amazing resource—Drumeo stands out, but there are a load of other accounts. I’ve had some breakthroughs with their breakdowns of John Bonham licks etc. that I’d never quite got my head around in the past. (e.g. I can finally count the :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: intro to Rock And Roll properly now.)

In terms of more old-school materials, the single thing I’ve had the most use out of is a now twenty-year-old two-page printout of 40 rudiments from the Percussive Arts Society. One of my teachers used to get frustrated with me for sounding too timid at the kit; after I spent a week working through those rudiments for several hours a day with heavy sticks on a Moongel pad, he cheered up a lot on that front. (RSI risk, though?) In a similar direction, George Stone’s Stick Control lives up to its reputation, and I’m looking forward to getting into Steve Gadd’s Gaddiments book once I’ve built my proficiency back up after an extended lapse.

For independence and coordination, Gary Chester’s The New Breed was absolutely revelatory for me. Rod Morgenstein’s Drum Set Warmups is also fantastic: many of the patterns are completely unmusical (at least, I have no idea how I’d use them) but brilliant for expanding your mobility around the kit in counterintuitive ways. It almost feels like a puzzle game. I find practicing with either of these books weirdly intoxicating for the sensation of my nervous system gradually rewiring itself.

There’s a bit in Dave Grohl’s autobiography about a foundational episode in his drumming education, in which a bassist friend forced him to play exactly the same simple thing repeatedly for half an hour straight. Some of the YouTube guys could use that.


Sorry for crashing this real drummers thread but I wonder if anyone has any advice for getting better at things like Nord drum. I have one that I love to play with but I’ve always felt I have not yet found a way to improve consistently… no roadmap of sorts. Most people I see playing it get a kick drum separate from the pads so I may do that sooner or later…


This may seem like a non-answer but the basics are all the same if you are using sticks. The rubber pads are a little bouncier than an acoustic drum but you can use most of the same stick technique, practice the same rudiments etc. I would recommend looking to drum set resources rather than pad specific stuff just because there is more of it.

Using a kick pedal with the Nord Drum doesn’t give you an extra sound so it’s mostly useful if you already have foot technique that you miss using.


When I started learning I worked my way through the Drumeo beginners course. I think it cost $7. That was an excellent intro. Great value too, obviously a loss leader, but I haven’t subscribed to their other stuff.

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Not much on this specific topic, so I’d just like to say, that as I was self teaching, when I saw hi-hat on the left (standard setup), it seemed obvious to me to play it with my left hand. Later some slightly more experienced friend wanted to convince me that it is not how you “supposed” to play the hi-hat. I didn’t believe them and I’m quite glad now, because open-handed playing is very useful (at least if you don’t stick to some closely defined style). :slight_smile:

Personally I’ve never used any YT educational material (later, a lot of inspirational material, probably with Steve Gadd becoming the strongest influence as for this medium), but used lots of opportunities for workshops with people whose work I enjoyed, often being the oldest participant as drums were the second/third, quite late instrument for me, but now the first to my heart by far.


if i could change one thing about drumming history, it would be to have ringo go full lefty-on-a-righty kit and hit that hat with his left hand. beatles on ed sullivan had a huge impact in normalizing matched grip on the kit, i really wish that open handed playing was made a part of that normalization way back in the 60s.

i wish i had learned that way in the 90s! i’ve taken up open handed playing quite a bit, between being in a heavier band again and not wanting to cross my arms for the sake of my back, and teaching a ton of students the same songs over and over again at a chain lesson store - but it’ll never be the same for me as “normal” righty playing.


I’ve always been curious about playing open, but not curious enough to get past the trainwrecks of my initial attempts to play left-hand ride patterns on the hats, or switch the bass drum and hats around. It seems like it should make a huge difference, but I’ve never moved from hats to ride on a conventional kit, playing right-hand ride, and felt “right, the shackles are off now, baby! Watch me go!” But then, I’m limited by so many things other than crossed arms, it’s hard to tell. Of course, ideally you’d be able to play any part with any limb interchangeably, but … I mean, it’s just not going to happen, for me at least.

This is all probably just me trying to make myself feel better about not being able to play left-hand ride, and justify not learning it.

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Here’s a classic bit of YouTube drum pedagogy. Build up complexity, then build up tempo. Rinse and repeat.

I played along to this every day for about two weeks straight. Some of the phrases are now scalded into my memory for life: ‘TAP the ghost notes!’ ‘WELL DONE! Now on to the next stage!’

As a side note when I started learning drumming I didn’t expect to end up playing along to Toto songs. But I like this half-time shuffle feel. At some point I will follow up with the Bernard Purdie tracks which came before, like Home At Last. That seems to be played at a much more manageable tempo.


Why would you do that? Are you left-footed?

Also if anyone wants the benefits of playing open-handed without relearning which hand leads you can cheat with technology and get a remote hi-hat pedal. Put your hi-hat next to your ride and now your hands don’t cross and you’re still leading with your right hand.

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Switching feet seemed like an easier way to uncross than retraining my hands, especially as my left foot was at that point mostly just a paperweight. It was a hilarious disaster, as if my limbs were possessed by the vengeful spirits of the practice room’s former denizens. (This was very early on, I could probably have a less pathetic go at it now.)

It’s fascinating how different we all are when it comes to learning physical actions. Leading with my left hand took some practice but I mostly got comfortable just by leading with my right, switching and playing the same pattern for fun. I had less solid timing but I could fudge it.

Learning to use my left foot to play double bass took sheer willpower and frustration until it clicked. Most of the time it sounded like a bass drum falling down stairs. It was not fun.


Been playing drums since high school (39 now). No real “formal” training, but I have spent time off and on with rudiments and technique. Grew up in the punk scene here so that was my intro into drums. Drums are my first love and I’ll always play in a band of some sort.

The number one thing that helped me in the beginning was going to shows and watching drummers. I did that as much as possible. This was all pre YouTube etc. Being in person and seeing how people do what they do helped tremendously.

My dad is also a drummer and gave me some good advice, not all of which is 100% true haha. If you can play it well quietly, you will be in a better place to play it with more power when needed. Stay loose, to this day I can’t stand stiff drummers. Pull the sound out of the drums and cymbals, takes a long time to learn finesse, but is a huge part of making a drum set “sing”.

This guy, while YouTube drum influencer etc, is my favorite contemporary drummer. Watch his hands, taste galore…


Led Zeppelin’s Fool In The Rain is another good stepping stone.

I just discovered last night that Drumeo has a 70-minute video with Purdie.

And then there’s this classic …

(Echoing your quote from Khoo’s Rosanna video: “DON’T WORRY ‘BOUT THOSE GHOST NOTES! AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT REBOUND!”)

Remixed here by Kutiman:

Who also recruited Purdie for this amazing fusion of various musical YouTube videos:

Fagen on Purdie at 2:50:


Bernard’s playing on this is so damn good

Also, for more drummer content not about drums. This https://www.thetrapset.net/