Learning drumming styles and techniques all depends on the style of music you want to play. It is all about the timing and rudiments used to create a specific rhythm to match the music. Here I am going to talk about the few of the techniques you can use to help you understand the different styles that can be used.
It’s not just the drum grips that you need to focus on; it is the different drum sticks that you will use to achieve your drumming style. Do you want heavy rock sticks or light jazz sticks? What do you feel comfortable with? Learn about the different sticks and try them all out!
Learn the two common drum grips, the German grip (palms down) and the French grip (thumbs down). The German grip is played using the wrists for a more powerful outcome when playing heavier drumming. The French grip is played using your fingers for a lighter and faster outcome for styles such as Jazz.
Rudiments are great to learn if you are trying to master different techniques in drumming. They form the foundation of a lot of drum solos and complex drumming styles. It is basically breaking down drumming and making into patterns which are easier to learn and improve your stamina and brain training. Learning the rudiments will build you a drumming vocabulary that will stop you from becoming limited when playing the drums. The best rudiments to start off with are the single stroke, double stroke and paradiddles. Once you have mastered these you can have a go at learning all 40+!
Cymbals are a key part to your drumming style. Don’t just focus on a generic cymbal package, look at what other drummers use in the style of music you are trying to achieve. Jazz drumming has a lot of focus on the ride cymbals so a lot of drummers have more than one ranging from 18″ to 24″. Rock drumming uses a lot of crash cymbals which can range from 14″ thin crash to a 19″ heavy crash. Think about special effects cymbals as well such as chinas and a splash that can be used in your techniques! Also, think about the different alloys used to create those cymbals and how the tone of bronze can brighten and darken a performance.
Drum Heads and Tuning
Research into what drum heads you should use on your drum kit. A general rule – the less ply and coating the brighter the drum tone. Deep blues and rock styles tend to use coated drum skins as they have a deeper tone and a lot more robust with the coating on them. Single ply skins have a bright tone and sound great when tuned to a higher pitch, perfect for light rock and jazz.
Another good tip to look for is how the drums are tuned and what sort of muffling, if any, is used. The tighter the tension of the drums the higher the tone, the looser the tension of the drum the lower the tone. Usually the smaller toms are tuned the highest which descends through the larger toms. Muffling is often used, especially during live performances and recording. There are lots of different types of muffling you can try, most common being muffling rings which sit around the rim in the drums to prevent any unwanted overtones. I personally prefer to use the tissue method, taping a piece of tissue at the tom of the drum near the rim. This is because I have more control over how much I want to dampen the tone – the more tissue used the more the unwanted overtones are blocked.
Hitting The Drum
Study other drummers you aspire to play like. Where do they hit the drums to generate the sustain from the drum kit. The snare drum is a good example, do they hit it in the centre for a louder resonance and more of a snap or do they hit near the edge of the snare for a quieter attack. Also study the way in which the rims of the drums are used, methods such as rim shots are great to learn. Look at how the hi-hat is played as well as the foot control on the pedals. Generally the bass drum has a louder punchier sound when played with the heals down however it is easier to gain speed on the bass drum pedal for heavier faster music when playing with the heals up.
If you need any more information on the drum styles and techniques then please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to help and answer any queries you have. You can get to me on 01283 535 333 option 1, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.