7 Basic Drum Rudiments and Why They Matter

Ever wondered what makes great drummers stand out? It all starts with the basics: drum rudiments. Learn about seven foundational patterns, why you should practice them, and two well-respected sources on the topic. Drum roll, please!

Drum rudiments serve as a blueprint for understanding sticking patterns, which are simply combinations of these primary sequences.

Although basic at first, these stepping stones gradually escalate in complexity. As you improve, you can figure out complex stroke and rhythm combinations, progressively building skills.

In this guide, we’ll look into the heartbeat of drumming, discussing definitions, importance, resources, and 7 must-know types of drum rudiments.

Read on!

What are drum rudiments?

Drum rudiments are the core patterns that form the backbone of drumming. Think of them as the drumming DNA: basic yet capable of infinite combinations, empowering drummers to craft complex beats and fills. Mastering these patterns lays the groundwork for navigating rhythmic sequences with confidence.

Why you should learn them as a drummer

No matter your drumming skill, learning and practicing rudimental drumming is non-negotiable. Here’s why:

  1. Technique: It optimizes drumstick control and hand dynamics for precise, versatile drumming across genres;
  2. Dexterity and coordination: It helps with limb independence and evens out hand strength;
  3. Speed: It gets easier to play at different tempos while ensuring clarity;
  4. Muscle memory: Regular practice embeds patterns into your muscle memory, boosting creativity and reducing cognitive load in performances;
  5. Musical vocabulary: Rudiments enrich your drumming expressions, from fills to complex solos;
  6. Timing: Paired with a metronome, rudiment practice can really lock in your timing, enhancing rhythmical intuition.

Important references for drummers

From the standardization of drum rudiments to in-depth guides and demos, there are some great tools out there to help you refine your drumming techniques and expand your skill set. Next, we’ll share two invaluable resources.

PAS International Drum Rudiments

The Percussive Arts Society outlines 40 key drum rudiments, with additional ones serving as variations of these. While conquering all 40 may be a lofty goal, this list is a fantastic starting point for anyone looking to level up their drumming game.

These standard types are neatly sorted into four groups:

  1. Roll rudiments, with 15 sequences (1–15);
  2. Diddle rudiments, with 4 types (16–19);
  3. Flam rudiments, with 11 patterns (20–30);
  4. Drag rudiments, with 10 types (31–40).

Stick Control, by George Lawrence Stone

A classic from 1935, Stick Control made it to Modern Drummer’s top 25 books of all time. You can think of it as the ultimate workout manual for drummers.

This book isn't about flashy solos but rather the basics of stick-holding and drum striking. It focuses on core drum rudiments, extensive exercises, weak hand development, and versatility across the drum kit and musical styles.

7 drum rudiments to master first

Next are seven basic rudiments that every drummer should know. Each one offers unique rhythmic patterns and challenges that will help you become a more skilled and versatile drummer.

Keep in mind:

  • R means right hand;
  • L means left hand.


1. Single-stroke roll

Simple and versatile, the single-stroke roll alternates hands evenly on the drum surface. The challenge lies in increasing speed and starting with the non-dominant hand.

Beginners can start on a practice pad, allowing the drumsticks to bounce naturally off the surface.


2. Double-stroke roll

The double-stroke roll is a critical foundation for other sequences. This technique involves producing two strokes with one hand, and then two with the other.

It’s important to ensure that the second stroke does not sound softer than the first. This can be achieved through practice and emphasis.



3. Single paradiddle

After figuring out the double-stroke roll, focus on the single paradiddle. This pattern combines single and double strokes, which you can adapt in numerous ways on the drum set. You can use it to create rhythmic fills by adjusting the sequence’s accents.


4. Double paradiddle

The double paradiddle, a six-note drumming sequence, allows for a triplet rhythm and consistent backbeats. This makes it essential for creating rhythmic patterns. Its versatility also ensures smooth backbeats during drum fills.


5. Para-diddle-diddle

The para-diddle-diddle can open up numerous rhythmic patterns on the drum kit. Essentially, it’s a paradiddle with an extra double stroke.

Practicing with para-diddle-diddles can increase mobility around the toms and expand your drum-fill repertoire.



6. Flam

Crucial for some advanced and hybrid rudiments, the flam consists of two hits, one performed with each hand, but with a minor lag between them. The first hit, a grace note, is much softer than the second one.

Try practicing multiple flams within a measure — this should help you improve the switching of leading hands.



7. Drag

The drag resembles the flam, but includes an extra note between hits. Perform a soft double stroke with the initial hand, then a stronger hit with the other.

Mastering this gives you a great tool to enhance most sequences and create impressive snare drum accents.


How can Moises help with drum rudiments practice?

Drum backing tracks are game-changers for your practice sessions. They let you wrap the sequences and techniques you’re mastering into a realistic musical setting.

Lining up with just a metronome may feel like a never-ending drum solo without an audience. So, when you pinpoint songs that feature the rudiments you’re currently working on, flipping on Moises to jam alongside the music is a clever move.

This approach not only tunes your skills but also keeps the groove alive. Plus, practicing your favorite songs makes learning way more engaging and fun.

AI Audio Separation is Moises’s core feature. It isolates and mutes any song’s drums, providing the perfect backing track. Other helpful features include:

  • Smart Metronome: Whenever you upload tracks to separate, Moises creates a synchronized click track to help you stay in the pocket;
  • Audio Speed Changer: Moises lets you speed up or slow down tracks, with the metronome following suit. This is great for getting the hang of new techniques, sticking patterns, or challenging yourself with tempo increases;
  • Song Sections: Our AI swiftly detects song parts and lets you loop them, which is ideal for mastering challenging rudiments.
  • (NEW) Drum Parts Separation: Moises now also features a special separation model for Pro subscribers: separate kick drums, toms, snares, hi-hats, and cymbals into individual tracks for a more in-depth study of the drums.


In a nutshell, drum rudiments are the fundamental building blocks of drumming. Rudiment learning enhances your technical skills and expands your rhythmic vocabulary, enabling you to create more complex beats and fills. Practice consistently and focus on control rather than speed at first. As it gets easier, you can start speeding up and applying these sequences creatively across your drum set.

Want to learn more about creating backing tracks? Click here!

Camila Miranda

Brazilian, with a background in Psychology and currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in Communication & Marketing. Music lover, with my voice being my primary instrument, but I can also play the guitar — and I've played around with the bass. Proud mom to many pets and an enthusiast of tattoos and hair makeovers.

You may also like to read