How to Improve Drumming Technique: Playing the Bass Drum on the ‘ands’.

How to improve drumming technique: playing the bass on the 'ands'. Bass drum.

Unless this is your first day learning to play the drums, I’m sure you’re pretty familiar with playing a generic rock beat that features the bass drum on beat one and beat three, and the snare drum on beats two and four.

Well, this is going to change that up by focusing on playing the bass drum on the ‘ands’ of each beat. It’s a simple pattern and a great building block to help you grow into more complex grooves.

For example, you could play a typical rock beat, but if you want to change it up just a little, you could play a normal bass hit on the ‘three’ of the measure, and then add a second bass hit on the ‘and’ which happens an eighth note later.

That’s just one example and a simple one at that. My point is that your options are virtually unlimited when it comes to how creative you want to get with your grooves.

And that’s where this post comes into play. If you want to improve your grooves but don’t know what sort of practice routines you should or could be using, let’s look at this one. It’s awesome for building leg independence because it breaks away from the typical bass pattern of falling on the downbeat.

This exercise will help you develop the freedom you are looking for on the kit. The freedom to be able to improvise on the drums and musically utilize your bass notes, while not having to think about it. The goal is to just let it flow and throw out those bass notes at will, all while never breaking the groove you’ve got going.

Here’s how it sounds at 60, 90, and 120 beats per minute respectively:

And this is what the exercise looks like:

How to Improve Drumming Technique: Playing the Bass Drum on the 'ands'. Rock beat drum pattern with bass strikes on the 'and's.

As you can see, the hi-hat is playing steady quarter notes on each beat while the snare drum is playing on beats two and four. The bass drum is playing steady quarter notes as well, but they are landing on the ‘and’ of every beat.

In case you’re not sure how to count this, it should be counted as one-and-two-and-three-and-four-and, etc. That would be one measure.

Or another way of stating that, is there are two measures above, each consisting of 8 eighth notes or 4 quarter notes. You can tell each measure apart by the vertical barline on the staff that separates the two groups.

I recommend you start playing this slow, but if you feel comfortable starting at a faster pace go for it, just make sure you are playing it smoothly and in time.

And for an added bonus, if you have a double bass pedal, switch it up and use your left leg to really step up your bass drumming skill and limb independence.

Also, be ready to practice this a lot. There are no shortcuts when it comes to improving your skill on the drums. Time and sweat are the currency of mastering the drums.

How to improve drumming technique: playing the bass drum on the 'ands'. Kid playing the drums.

Now that you’ve seen this example exercise (which revolves around eighth notes) to help boost your bass drum skill, you’ll next be introduced to a more advanced exercise similar to this but revolves around sixteenth notes instead.

Think of this exercise as your introduction to the next concept that will allow you to inject even more creativity into your new grooves.

But unfortunately, that will have to wait until the next post. I’m a firm believer that brain overload is not good and will only serve to make a person go into shutdown mode.

So with all that being said, I hope you enjoyed this exercise and found it to be useful. Until next time, keep being awesome!

What to do next?

If you are brand new to music, music production, or are interested in learning to play the drums, you can check out my article: How to Use a Metronome for Drums

You might also want to check out this article: Acoustic Vs. Electronic Drums – Which One is Right for You?

If you are looking at buying your first drum set or any other musical instrument for that matter, take a look at Zzounds. They have a variety of acoustic drum sets and electronic drum sets for purchase.

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Andrew has been a life long lover of music. Although starting his musical journey on the guitar, (we won't talk about his skills on that particular instrument) he found his true passion was for drumming and making music to share with others. He also enjoys writing blog posts about off the wall subjects that are very much real—such as Bigfoot, UFOs, and what's up with European mayonnaise. Why is it sweet???
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