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13 Essential Rudiments for Drumming

Updated on April 22, 2016

Why You Need To Know These Rudiments

The 13 essential rudiments should be the first rudiments you learn when beginning to learn how to play the snare drum. If you can play all of these rudiments, you will be able to play almost any piece of music. As with anything, the more you practice the better you'll get and the easier these rudiments will be to play. Everything you play can be broken down into a series of these 13 essential rudiments:

First 5 Essential Rudiments

1. Double Stroke Roll - The first thing you need to know before doing this exercise is how to allow the stick to bounce in controlled manner. A double stroke roll is simply hitting the drum, allowing it to bounce once on the same hand, then switching to the other hand and doing the same thing. The sound should be symmetrical when performed and notes should be evenly spaced. In other words, if L=left and R=right, then it would be LLRRLLRRLLRRLLRRLLRR and so on.

2. Five Stroke Roll - A five stroke roll is basically like a double stroke roll but it ends after only 5 taps. A five stroke roll looks like this: LLRRL or RRLLR.

3. Seven Stroke Roll - A seven stroke roll ends after 7 taps. A seven stroke roll looks like this: LLRRLLR or RRLLRRL.

4. Flam - A flam is a hit, but with a grace note preceding it. A flam is a hit, but with another hit on the opposite hand directly preceding it. A flam would look like LR or RL, but the preceding note would not be as prominent and would be almost directly before it.

5. Flam Accent - A flam accent is a flam, but with an accent on the flam and two evenly spaced notes after it. An accent is used to denote a louder hit. A flam accent would look like LR-L-R or RL-R-L.

The Rest of The Essential Rudiments

6. Flam Paradiddle - To know how to do this rudiment, you must first know how to do a paradiddle. A paradiddle is a rudiment with an accent on the first note, an alternate hit on the second note, and two final notes play on an alternate hand from the second one. I know that sounds confusing, but it would look like LRLL or RLRR. A flam paradiddle is a paradiddle, but with a flam as the first note.

7. Flamacue - A flamacue is a group of four notes and an ending downbeat, where the first note and the downbeat are flammed, and the second note is accented. All of the notes are alternating: LRLRL or RLRLR.

8. Ruff - A ruff is very similar to a flam, but instead of having one grace note, it has two notes that are alternated.

9. Single Drag - The only difference between a ruff and a drag are that the two grace notes are played on the same hand.

10. Double Drag - A double drag is simply two drags performed one after the other without alternating. This would look like LLR LLR

11. Double Paradiddle - A double paradiddle is much like a paradiddle, but with 4 alternating notes in the beginning of the rudiment instead of 2. This looks like RLRLRR or LRLRLL. The double paradiddle still has an accent on the first note.

12. Ratamacue - A single ratamacue consists of four notes where the first note has drag grace notes and the fourth is accented.

13. Triple Ratamacue - A triple ratamacue consists of a single ratamacue with two drags before it.

13 Essential Drum Rudiments

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