Are you looking for some beginner drum beats to get you started? We've got your back!
When learning to play drums, it's natural to feel overwhelmed by all the different kinds of beats and fills.
In this post, we will cover 20 beginner drum beats that will serve as a solid foundation for you to continue honing your drummer skills. If you are new to our blog, read our beginners' guide on how to learn to play the drums.
We will also cover the following:
Basic Drum Pattern Characteristics
Most, if not all, beginner drum beats share a few characteristics:
- They are usually one measure long and repeated over and over to make them simple to play and memorize
- They require the least level of limb coordination and may not even involve using all four limbs
- With a few notable exceptions, most songs have the same 4/4 time signature
Beats for beginners complement a wide range of songs, particularly those in pop or rock. You can play several pieces by learning a single simple drum beat. Any drummer serious about learning to play the drums should be exposed to various musical styles. Your goal is to be as adaptable as possible so you can play with a range of musicians and explore your potential.
Despite their ease of learning, these basic drumming patterns help improve hand-foot coordination, develop muscle memory, and simplify the learning process of intermediate beats. Once you've mastered this range of simple drum beats, you'll have no trouble gradually increasing the complexity of the beats. There isn't enough time to master every drum beat or fill in the universe, but getting started with these drumming patterns will be fun and worthwhile.
Easy Drum Beats Tips and Tricks
Simple drum beats are frequently the most effective. Because basic beats do not distract the listener from the music, they are popular with the public and with bands.
But first, a few ground rules when learning to practice drum beats:
Isolate your Limbs
Start with the body of the beat and work your way up to the details. At the start, it can be helpful if you focus on the bass drum and snare.
Experiment with Speed
Begin slowly and gradually increase speed, repeating as needed. You don't have to play these at top speed straight away. The BPM (beats-per-minute) markers are only guidelines. These grooves will work in both faster and slower tempos.
Practice with a Metronome
Playing with a metronome is key to developing your sense of timing as a drummer. It will help you stay on schedule by improving your ability to keep the timing on point, even when you eventually stop using a metronome.
Experiment with Different Dynamics
Practice and experiment with loud, medium, quiet, and everything in between sounds. Remember that not everything should be at the same volume. If you encounter an accented note, distinguish it from the non-accented notes.
However, you can also leave some room for fun and experimentation. At first, try to play these beats precisely as written, then experiment with relocating them around the kit or adding some fills. When you're feeling good, put on your headphones, turn on your favorite music, and play along.
Start With These Basic Drum Beats for Beginners
The following simple drumming patterns will structure a solid foundation to master beginner drum patterns.
We will describe 20 beats in detail to get you started, but you can also check out this free tutorial on beginner drum beats for additional practice and video demonstrations.
The sheet music for the basic drum beats can be found here.
Beat 1: 4 on the Floor
The 4 on the floor beat is an easy type of drum beat where the bass drum is hit on each quarter note in a 4/4 measure. Accents can be played using the snare and hi-hat, by hitting the snare on the 2 and 4, and hitting the (closed) hi-hat on every eighth note. This pattern became popular in 1970s disco music. The term "four-on-the-floor" was frequently used at the time because the rhythm is performed by hitting the bass drum pedal on the floor four times.
Click here for a video demonstration of the 4 on the floor beat.
Beat 2: Dance Beat
Dance evolved from rhythm & blues and funk. Dance music patterns are often simple, easy to comprehend, and fun to dance to. The dance beat is very similar to 4 on the floor, with the exception that the hi-hat is only hit every 2nd eighth note, or on the ‘&’.
Click here for a video demonstration of the dance beat.
Beat 3: Everyone’s First Drum Beat
Another beat where the hi-hats are hit every eighth note, everyone’s first drum beat is different in its kick pattern. The bass drum is hit on the 1, the 3, and the 3&, and the snare is hit without the bass drum on the 2 and the 4.
Click here for a video demonstration of everyone’s first drum beat.
Beat 4: Everyone’s Second Drum Beat
This drum beat is nearly identical to the previous one, except for an extra bass drum on the 1&. The snare is hit on the 2 and 4, and the hi-hat is played on every eighth note. In essence, this makes this particular drum beat repeat every half measure, which can make it sound slightly more monotonous.
Click here for a video demonstration of everyone’s second drum beat.
Beat 5: Classic Rock Beat
Most rock drum beats are in 4/4 time. Each of the four counts can be divided into two eighth notes. In the “classic rock beat”, the hi-hat is hit on every eighth note, and the snare drum is heard on the 2 and 4 (backbeats). The bass drum gives variation to this drum beat, and it is also hit on every eighth note, except the 2 and 4.
Click here for a video demonstration of the classic rock beat.
Beat 6: Classic Rock Beat 2
This rock beat is very different from the previous one. The snare is used to accentuate every beat, as opposed to the bass drum. The snare is played on the 1, 2, 3, and 4, while the bass drum is only played on the 3& and 4&. Finally, the hi-hat is hit every eighth note again.
Click here for a video demonstration of the classic rock beat 2.
Beat 7: Classic Half-time Beat
The classic halftime beat is an amazing drum beat for adding variation to a song, such as during a bridge or breakdown. Halftime essentially doubles the tempo resolution. As previously mentioned, the backbeat is usually played on the 2 and 4. In halftime, the distance is doubled, so the backbeat moves to the 3 (and the 7 in the second measure). For the classic halftime beat, hit the snare on the 3, the crash on every beat, and your kick drum on the 1, 1a, and 2&.
Click here for a video demonstration of the classic half-time beat.
Beat 8: Classic Halftime Beat With 16th Notes
This classic halftime beat is essentially the same as the previous one, but it replaces the heavy crashes on each note with a hi-hat on every 16th note.
Click here for a video demonstration of the classic halftime beat with 6th notes.
Beat 9: Classic Halftime Beat (Turned Into Normal Time)
The classic halftime beat turned into normal time moves the backbeat back to the familiar 2 and 4, which is when you hit the snare. However, the kick pattern from the classic halftime beat stays the same (1, 1a, and 2&).
Click here for a video demonstration of the classic halftime beat turned into normal time.
Beat 10: The “I am Going to Change Things Up” Beat
As the name implies, this beat gives a very different feel from the previous rock and halftime beats. The first backbeat is skipped, as the snare is hit on the 1, 2&, and 4. The crash is hit on every quarter note, and the bass drum is played every eighth note except 1, 2& and 4.
Click here for a video demonstration of the “I am going to change things up” beat.
Beat 11: The Bieber Beat
The Bieber beat brings variation to an otherwise simple beat by introducing dynamics to the snare hits. The backbeat is indicated by a strong snare hit on the 2 and the 4, while much softer snare hits are played on the 2a and 3e. The hi-hats are hit every eighth note, and the kick is played on the 1, 1&, and 3&.
Click here for a video demonstration of the Bieber beat.
Beat 12: The Bieber Beat (on Toms)
The Bieber beat on toms switched things up by indicating the eighth notes on the floor tom, as opposed to the hi-hat, and while the backbeat is still played on the snare, the 2a and 3e are played on the tom instead.
Click here for a video demonstration of the Bieber beat (on toms).
Beat 13: Pop Country Beat
The pop country beat is a very simpe 4/4 beat, where the second kick is delayed. The bass drum is played on the 1 and 3&, the snare on the 2 and 4, and the hi-hat on every eighth note.
Click here for a video demonstration of the pop country beat.
Beat 14: Pop Country Chorus Beat
The pop country chorus beat is similar to the previous beat, with the exception that the eighth notes are played on the ride, making it a good choice for choruses and breakdowns.
Click here for a video demonstration of the pop country chorus beat.
Beat 15: Double Time Beat
Double time refers to performing a rhythm twice as rapidly as the original rhythm. A full measure of this beat feels like two measures. The backbeat shifts from the 2 and the 4 to the 1& and the 2&.
Click here for a video demonstration of the double time beat.
Beat 16: The Jungle Beat
Due to its heavy reliance on toms, this beat gives a jungle feel - as the name implies. The bass drum and floor tom are hit together on every quarter note. The mid or high tom is played on an interval of 3/16th notes, so on the 1a, 2&, 3e, and 4.
Click here for a video demonstration of the jungle beat.
Beat 17: Cross Stick Beat
The cross-stick beat is played by placing your stick halfway across the drum head, one end projecting over the rim. Then, raise and lower the stick in a lever-like motion, hitting the rim. For this beat, hit the bass drum on the 1 and 2, a rimshot on the 3 and 3a, and the hi-hat on every eighth note.
Click here for a video demonstration of the cross stick beat.
Beat 18: 4 On The Floor (Halftime Version)
The four on the floor in half-time is played by moving the backbeat to the 3 (and the 7 in the next measure).
Click here for a video demonstration of 4 on the floor (halftime version).
Beat 19: Your First Ghost Note Beat
A ghost note is a note which is played quietly between the main notes or accented beats. These notes may go unrecognized by the listener, yet they fill out the rhythm and offer depth and dimension to the music. In your first ghost note beat, you can use one hand to play ghost notes on the snare on every second sixteenth note (the 1e, 1a, 2e, 2a, etc.), while using the other hand for the hi-hat on the eighth notes and a strong snare hit on the backbeat.
Click here for a video demonstration of your first ghost note beat.
Beat 20: Anthem Tom Beat
Last but not least, the anthem tom beat is a powerful drum beat that might feel slightly more complicated. The snare is played on the backbeat again, but the 1, 1& and 2a are played with strong double tom hits. The kick and single tom hits complete this beat.
Click here for a video demonstration of the anthem tom beat.
Simple Drum Beats Advice to Keep in Mind
Let's be honest - If you are a beginner drummer, you have picked the best instrument, no question about it! The drums are an essential part of the rhythm process, as they can be found in any music. Musicians rely on the drummer to keep the rhythm and everyone in sync. In other words, drums are the centerpiece of the actions and the glue that holds them together.
Now that we have covered the beginner drum beats, keep reading to find some top-shelf tips on learning faster, creating productive habits, and making fewer errors from the start.
A crucial part of playing the drums is proper drum kit layout. The truth is that most novice drummers set up their sets incorrectly.
Spend some time checking how your favorite drummers have their drum kits set up and keep re-arranging the set until it feels comfortable. All of the drums and cymbals must be easy to reach. Point the toms towards you, and ensure that the snare drum rests correctly between your legs and above your knees.
Work on Your Hand and Feet Independence
Many factors contribute to becoming a great drummer. Good technique, playing feel, timekeeping, originality, and outstanding coordination are among the most noteworthy factors to keep working on.
Playing the drums requires the use of your hand and feet (together or autonomously). Most beginning drummers make mistakes when learning new rhythms and basic drum patterns that need the hands and feet to perform independently. You can add some non-contact sports to your routine to work on your coordination.
Don’t Overtighten the Cymbals
Do not overtighten cymbals! Beginner drummers sometimes clamp down the cymbals to the degree that the sound is muffled and the cymbal cracks.
A cymbal should be free to swing and flex. Make sure there is no metal-on-metal contact between the cymbal and the stand by using felts (they come with the stand) and only slightly tightening the wingnut.
Select Your Favorite Bass Technique
When it comes to playing a bass drum pedal, technique is everything. The bass drum is the fundamental driving force behind every drum beat. The bass drum should be played with assurance and power. There are two bass drum techniques: heel up and heel down. Do not feel the urgency to master both equally. It is best to pick whichever one you are more comfortable with and continue to practice it.
Neither option is superior to the other. Picking your technique is a matter of personal preference and comfort. Many beginner drummers tend to pick heel up because it is easier to use more force when playing the bass drum.
Aim and Hit the Middle of the Drums
Another component of playing that many new drummers struggle with is hitting the drum in the middle of the skin. Practicing your aim is critical for developing a solid technique and sounding like a professional.
We hope you found this collection of drum beats and general tips and tricks useful. If so, we invite you to check out the Drum Beats Online Academy, where we have all the resources available to help you improve your drumming.
After teaching people to play the drums globally, we are confident we can help you. You'll quickly progress from simple drum beats for beginners to intermediate rhythms and complicated drumming patterns.
Drumming is challenging, so don't be too hard on yourself. It's normal for beginners to make errors. You can become an exceptional drummer if you practice regularly and pick up some guidance and suggestions along the road.
It's time to begin practicing these drum beats and join the Drum Beats Online Academy for a more streamlined learning experience.