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   Who said that the Drum Set must be played only with sticks?

   While it’s true that many drummers use sticks most of the time, there are so many more beaters to be discovered, which allow for a virtually infinite number of sonic combinations.

   Not to mention how easily we can incorporate small percussions and add even more layers of alternative sounds to the mix.

   This is why I wanted to collect a few unusual beats that utilize brushes, hot rods, mallets, shakers even jingle sticks to create original rhythmic soundscapes and inspire you to experiment with these fascinating possibilities.

   Here is the PDF with transcriptions of all grooves:

   From a technical standpoint using different beaters requires simply two adjustments:

  • We need to practice drum rudiments (at least the most important ones) while holding these alternative beaters, to get used to the different response and rebound.
  • We need to fine-tune the dynamic level of the feet, because usually beaters other than sticks produce softer sounds. Either we play Bass Drum and Hi-Hat pedals with the heel-down technique, or we develop enough control with conventional heel-up technique, so as to be able to play softer while maintaining the same accuracy.

   The beaters covered are:

  • Brushes.
  • Hot Rods.
  • Mallets.
  • Jingle Stick.

   The small percussions used are:

  • Shaker.
  • Pandeiro.

   Of course if we want to include small percussions we need at least a basic understanding of how to play them. The good news is that, being already drummers, it will take a very short time to get hold of the skills needed.

   After having learned the transcribed examples, the solutions that I recommend to try are:

  • Playing regular grooves with all of the suggested beaters.
  • Try combining different beaters, like using a brush in the left hand and holding a hot rod with the right, to create unusual and interesting grooves.
  • Don’t be afraid to break the rules. I like putting a Splash or a Tambourine on the Snare Drum, or placing a Pandeiro on the Ride (I did it in example number 10 and it sounds surprisingly good). Feel free to come up with the craziest ideas and test them to see what happens.
  • Experiment with orchestrations of the same solution until you find the one that sounds the best.

   Exploring these techniques is going to make a huge difference in the way we approach drum arrangements and in the ability to come up with creative and original drum parts for the music we make.

   For a more in-depth analysis of alternative beaters and small percussions applied to modern drumming, you can check out the method ‘Essential Styles – Expanding Your Versatility On The Drums’, of which there is a free excerpt here:

   And here is the link to the YouTube video in which I play the examples shown in the booklet. You can also click on each case in the PDF to access the related video demonstration.

   Related resources:
Discover Your Voice – Tips To Develop Your Unique Sound as a Drummer
‘Essential Styles – Expanding Your Versatility On The Drums
Musical & Creative Inverted Paradiddle Applications



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