Beginner Drum Set Rhythms – The Basics

Posted by Mike Schumacher

This article will discuss beginner drum set rhythms and how to make them.

Beginning drummers need the ability to make and maintain good rhythmic structures, and with a sound technique to lead well.

Rhythmic learning is about a set of key concepts which should be explored and practiced for comfortableness before more complex rhythms can be played.

Some basic rhythms for beginners are listed below:

Base four

This is a simple tempo shuffle beat. You might want to try it with one foot on the floor.

One step on the downbeat, one on the upbeat.

The beat has a natural, resonant quality as it creates a sound more like a drum beat.

The four count

A Four count base beat is something that beginners often start out with.

The beat is found on almost every good drum kit. On the back beat, play on the second and fourth beats.

On the front beat, play on the third and fifth. The back beat makes the feeling more relaxed, as the music is moving forward.

On the front beat, the music is ending.

The three count

The 3 Count rhythm is a three count shuffle beat.

It uses the same basic techniques as the four count but switches the rhythm so that it falls off one beat from the front beat.

It should be a good introduction to the four count rhythm.

The two count

This is a two count base beat. When played correctly, it is easy to move the kick drum away from the snare.

The two count beats are usually slower than the three count.

The two and three count

drum sets for adults

This is a two count set with a kick drum on the second beat of the one-and-one and a snare on the third beat of the two.

The snare then falls off on the third beat.

The two count is like the one count with the first beat shifted back.

Learn basic rhythms and you will find that you will be playing rhythms that other players recognize quickly.

Rhythmic development

As you grow as a drummer you will want to add more rhythms and get more comfortable with different rhythms.

The most common sources of rhythm are:

  • Whistle
  • Bass Drum
  • Snare
  • Instrument
  • Ending

Also, you might learn basic music theory and how music is structured.

What to learn next

close up photo of drum set

Stick Technique

If you have an interest in drumming but don’t know where to start, I encourage you to explore and learn these next three drum techniques.

Drum Stretching

Stretching is one of the key characteristics of great drumming. It is the part of drumming which adds the accent and drive to your playing.

Some techniques are one time techniques.

For example, sometimes you want to slide the snare drum over the head for a fill sound.

Other techniques are perpetual techniques.

That means you can do them throughout the entire song. For example, maybe you want to glide your left hand’s index finger over the snare head for an accent sound.

This is an important step to learn because it really adds a lot to your drumming.

Play Guitar? Play the drums?

I don’t see why you couldn’t play both at once.

Tone on rhythm as well. Take these simple but effective guitar techniques and build on them to make your guitar playing even better.

Basic pattern solo

With a drum kit, this may seem unnecessary.

You can create your own basic groove and solo on it, however, this soloing can really hone your rhythm ability and help develop your musicality.

Some basic examples of how to create rhythms using the kit include:

  • Chop
  • Blow On / Blow Off
  • Match
  • Drum fill
  • Drive
  • Downstroke
  • Drive

With practice you can combine all of these techniques to create unique rhythms.

Drum tapping

When drumming, it is very easy to think that you are only playing with your hands. You are playing the strokes and you have to stick to it.

However, if you really listen to the rhythm you can find your rhythm somewhere in your body. What I mean is that if you tap your foot, knee, or hand, your timing will shift to that rhythm.

This allows you to create very unique rhythms by tapping in several different places at once. If you are willing to listen, you will find that you can create a unique rhythm just by using one of your limbs.

Body movement

One of the best sources of rhythm is body movement. You can check the body movement of great drummers by paying close attention to how they move their bodies.

This includes:

  • Paying attention to body cues from your instructor
  • Tapping out the beat in your head
  • Sitting in certain positions
  • Leading with the head
  • Leading with your hips
  • Doing back bends
  • Paying attention to your teacher’s technique

These are just a few of the body cues you can look for to develop your own unique rhythms.

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