essentials everything you need to know
Everything you need to know before you start playing the drums
01 Matched Grip
Both hands hold the sticks in the same manner: thumbs on the side of the sticks; forefinger opposite the thumb; middle, ring and little fingers curled under the sticks; palms held down, facing the floor.
02 TRADITIONAL GRIP
The right hand is as matched grip, but the left-hand stick is held differently (vice versa for left-handed players). The stick is lodged in the fleshy bit between the thumb and forefinger and the fore and middle fingers curl over the stick, while the ring and little fingers curl under to support the stick.
03 QUARTER NOTES
Also known as ‘crotchets’. If a standard bar of music is regarded as a ‘whole’, then four evenly-spaced notes within that bar are regarded as ‘quarters’, hence the term ‘quarter note’ (in other words, four beats in a standard bar).
04 EIGHTH NOTES
Classically referred to as ‘quavers’. If a standard bar of music is regarded as a ‘whole’ and four evenly-spaced notes within that bar are regarded as ‘quarters’, then eight evenly-spaced notes within that bar are regarded as ‘eighths’, hence the term ‘eighth note’ (in other words, eight beats in a standard bar).
05 Eighth-note TRIPLETS
The musical definition of a triplet is ‘three evenly spaced notes occupying the same space as two evenly spaced notes’. In the case of eighth notes, two would be replaced by three eighth-note triplets.
06 OSTINAT O
An ostinato is a repeated pattern. This is usually not very long, and often three or four notes played over and over again. One of the most famous drum ostinatos is the snare drum pattern in Ravel’s ‘Bolero’, but contemporary drummers often refer to ‘bass and hi-hat’ ostinatos.
07 16th notes
Also known as ‘semi-quavers’. If a standard bar of music is regarded as a ‘whole’, then 16 evenly spaced notes within that bar are regarded as ‘16ths’, hence ‘16th note’.
Played on the snare by holding the stick at the tip end, laying it across the drum and striking the rim with the ‘butt’ end, keeping the tip in contact with the head.
09 RIM SHOT
Played by striking the head and the rim of the drum at the same time. It makes a loud, sonorous sound, good for accents in a snare pattern or heavy rock backbeat.
10 HEAD types
The ‘batter’ head is the drum head you strike and the ‘resonant’ head is the head on the underside of the drum that gives it a full and resonating sound.