Looking for some easy drum beats to get you started? We’ve got you covered!
Believe it or not, simple drum beats are often the most effective. Basic drum beats don’t distract the listener from the music, so they’re not only crowd favorites but band favorites as well!
Before you can learn these 5 drum patterns, you’ll need to check out the drum key below.
- Top line x = hi-hat or ride cymbal
- Middle line x = snare
- Bottom line o = bass drum
Are you ready to start jamming? Let’s get to it!
5 Simple Drum Beats for Beginners
1. The “Two and Four” Drum Beat
1 2 3 4
x x x x
This is the first of many drum patterns that students learn, and it 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, while the hi-hat or ride cymbal falls on all four beats.
This simple drum 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 use this beat, too. You’ll notice that even the same simple beat can sound very different depending on the song.
SEE ALSO: How to Read Drum Sheet Music
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. You 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. You can do this at speeds as slow as 45 beats per minute (bpm).
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 drum pattern 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.
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.
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
There are many simple drum beats but this one is perhaps the most recognizable. It’s in thousands of songs including 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.
RELATED: How to Play Drums for Beginners
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. If 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.
Once you’ve practiced each of these simple drum beats, go ahead and try these easy drum songs for beginners.
Let us know what you think of these drum patterns. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Need some help getting started? Search for a drum teacher today!