Rock Star Rudiments

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Dixon endorser Stephanie Snyder from Deer Park Avenue gives us her pick of top rudiments for rock drums.

Rock Star Rudiments

When you’re ready to rock, rudiments are probably not the first thing on your mind. And yet, far from being that boring chore your drum teacher used to cram into your lessons, rudiments are really the building blocks of good technique and the rock stars of modern drumming across genres. Turn on the radio and you will hear any number of rudiments in any style of music.

Plus, rudiments are simple to learn but sound complex, and with practice and creativity, they’ll make you sound and look like a rock star too.

A couple things it helps me to keep in mind when learning and practicing rudiments:

  • Start slow. Drummers are born speed-demons, but good technique takes time to develop.
  • Keep it clean. Make sure each note gets the attention it deserves, especially as you move to faster tempos.
  • Keep it even. This is particularly hard for drummers with a strong dominant hand (i.e. all of us!).
  • Have fun! Go crazy. Mix them up. Play them across different combinations of drums and cymbals. Master these and you can play anything.

Here are my picks for the Top 5 rockin’ rudiments in modern music, and some songs that feature them.

  1. Flam

You’ll hear this in everything from the Beach Boys to Nirvana. Here’s a classic example from AC/DC. Check out the perfect rock ‘n’ roll flam at 0:15.

Song: You Shook Me All Night Long
Artist: AC/DC
Drummer: Phil Rudd.

  1. Single Stroke Roll

The easiest rudiment you will ever learn and arguably the most versatile. Play single strokes clean and fast, and you’ve got instant chops! Leave it to Ringo to create this simple apropos drum intro at 0:10.

Song: Help!
Artist: The Beatles
Drummer: Ringo Starr

  1. Crush Roll (Multiple Bounce Roll)

A multiple bounce roll with attitude, a crush roll is played by pressing and digging the stick or sticks into the drum head to get a buzzing sound. Common in jazz, they add texture to any style of music. You can’t miss these crush rolls at 0:07!

Song: Wee
Artist: John Scofield
Drummer: Bill Stewart

  1. 5 Stroke Roll

Drum master Vinnie Colaiuta plays a perfect set of these at 1:30 in this song from Tom Scott. 5 Stroke Rolls can be played across any setup of drums and cymbals to create all kinds of rhythms.

Song: Stride
Artist: Tom Scott
Drummer: Vinnie Colaiuta

  1. Double Paradiddle

This song by Dixon artist Gregg Bissonette is a goldmine of grooves and rudiments, but the double paradiddles leading into the solo at 3:20 really make a statement!

Song: Marbles
Artist: Gregg Bissonette
Drummer: Gregg Bissonette

What about you? What are your favorite rudiments and some songs that feature them?

Get more rudiments at: Vic Firth website – 40 Essential Rudiments.

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