How to Play a Drag on Drums

How to play a drag on drums. Black drum kit.

I know it needs to be said, so let’s get the obvious pun out of the way so we can start learning.

You: ask “How to play a drag on drums?”

Me: “I’ll show you, but it’s a real ‘drag‘ to learn!”

I apologize for that…

Anyway, a drag is a fun rudiment that you’ll begin to get more familiar with as you continue studying the drums.

Drags are similar to flams, so if you aren’t familiar with what flams are, you can go check out my post What is a Flam on Drums?

As mentioned, drags are like flams but drags take a slightly different approach. As you probably know, flams consist of a light grace note which is struck just before the primary note.

A drag consists of either two grace notes struck just before the primary note for an open drag, or alternately, the grace note can be buzzed before the primary note for a closed drag.

Drags are good rudiments to learn early on because they are used in lots of modern-day songs.

Dani California from the Red Hot Chili Peppers is a good example of a song that uses the drag rudiment. Check it out below.

I’ll add a couple of audio clips below so you can get a better understanding of what a drag sounds like, and then I’ll explain how to play a drag on drums.

Drag on the snare only

Drag on the snare and toms

So again, a drag is like a flam except it starts with two grace notes before the primary note.

I recommend practicing these with a metronome, making sure every alternating drag starts with the opposite hand. And, to clear up any confusion you might have, a right-handed drag means playing the two initial grace notes with your left hand just before playing the primary note with your right hand.

The same goes for a left-handed drag. Begin by playing the initial grace notes with your right hand just before playing the primary note with your left hand.

Whatever hand plays the primary note is what dictates whether you are playing a left or right-hand drag.

So there we go. Quick and to the point. Drags are fun and a great way to easily add some extra dynamics to your playing.

I hope you enjoyed the lesson and can walk away knowing you’ve learned a little bit more about the coolest instrument in the world.

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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