Just started drum lessons? Looking for some easy drum beats to get you started? We’ve got you covered! Here, San Diego, CA drum teacher Maegan W. breaks down five easy drum beats for beginners…
Believe it or not, the easiest drum beats are often the most effective. Easy drum beats don’t distract the listener from the music, so they’re not only crowd favorites, but band favorites as well!
Playing the right easy drum beats will add to a song and allow the crowd to dance and sway with little thought or effort. In fact, it’ll be nearly impossible for the crowd to not dance along to the music.
Here is your drum key:
Top line x = hi-hat or ride cymbal
Middle line x = snare
Bottom line o = bass drum
You’ll use this drum key for all five of these easy beats.
Ready? Let’s get to it!
1. The “Two and Four” Drum Beat
1 2 3 4
x x x x
This is the first beat most drummers learn, and it actually comes fairly naturally. The snare falls on the two and four (this is also called the backbeat). The bass drum fills in on the one and three. The hi-hat or ride cymbal falls on all four beats.
This beat can be played to almost any song on the radio, as well as many more complex songs. The trick is to stay in the pocket and play with precision and enthusiasm. Listen to the music and try to add to the feel and power.
The most classic example of this beat is in “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. Many AC/DC songs have this beat, too. You’ll notice that even the same simple beat can sound very different depending on the song.
2. “Four on the Floor”
1 2 3 4
x x x x
o o o o
This beat is like the two and four, except you play the bass drum on all four beats. Your hi-hat or ride cymbal lines up directly with the bass drum on all four beats. The snare or backbeat still falls on the two and four.
To make this beat sound clean and powerful, make sure there’s no flaming; flaming is where one strike falls just before or after another. We want the beats to line up perfectly for a nice, fat sound.
Practice this with a metronome first. Start really slow so you can train your muscles and your ears. I do this at speeds as slow as 45 beats per minute (bpm). This sounds crazy, I know, but my sound is solid and clean. As you progress, increase your speed by five bpm at a time. When you work your way up to 120 bpm, you’re ready to play this with music.
3. “One Drop”
1eta 2 ta 3eta 4
x *** x ** x*** x
o o o o
Notice how all of these easy drum beats have numbers in their titles? That’s because drumming always comes back to counting, especially when you’re learning a new beat or song; count, count, count! Yes….count out loud.
This drum beat is very common in reggae music. It’s also the most common way to play a half-time feel. Simply move the snare hit to the three. Don’t play the two and four on the snare in this beat, just the three. This will create an illusion of a slow tempo, but it fits into the music at the same speed.
You can play this drum fill with various bass drum and cymbal or hi-hat patterns. Most common is a “four on the floor” bass drum pattern, with a skipping-type hat pattern. You can stay consistent, or accent the other instruments. For example, play a skip/swing hi-hat pattern of 1eta 2 ta 3eta 4 (playing only what is written etc).
When you play this beat, play your crashes on the “a” of four with a snare hit instead of a bass hit. Most crashes/accents fall on the one and the cymbal lands with the bass drum.
4. “Boom Boom Clap”
1 + 2 3 + 4
x x x x
o o o o
This is an easy one to recognize, it’s in thousands of songs, but it’s probably most recognizable in Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Again, this can sound different depending on which music you play it with. This fill is the same as the “two and four” beat, except we add a bass drum hit on the “+” of one and the “+” of three.
The snare stays on the two and four, and the hi-hat can be played on the quarter notes (1 2 3 4), or on the 8th notes (1+2+3+4+). This drum beat comes in handy when you want to play a simple, powerful beat that will get the crowd pumped up.
Remember, however, you can still use this beat if you’re playing something mellow and smooth. All you have to do is lighten up your dynamics; play it soft and slow and it becomes an entirely different groove.
This beat sounds just like it’s name, “boom boom clap.” Make sure to let this beat breath by giving each note and each rest full space. This beat may be simple, but in order for it to work well, it must be played in time.
Last but not least….
5. “Boom Clap Boom Boom”
1 2 + 3 4
x x x x
o o o
For this beat, play the snare on the two and four, the hi-hat or ride on the 8th notes (1+ 2+ 3+ 4+), and the bass drum on the one, the “+” of two, and the three.
Remember, in order for this beat to sound impressive and professional, play it without flaming, play it with authority, and play it with pride. I f you play these easy drum beats like they’re boring, people will pick up on that vibe. If you have a blast while you play, then everyone else will, too! As drummers, it’s our responsibility to set the tone. It’s not what you play….it’s how you play it.
See if you can find some songs with this beat and try to jam along. It’s fun to play because it has a lot of momentum.
Once you’ve practiced these, go ahead and try these easy drum songs for beginners.
Let us know what you think of these drum beats. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.
Need some help getting started? Search here for a drum teacher near you!