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Highly Suggested Drum Method Books


There are so many great study materials on the market today, it would be impossible for me to list them all here. To help me make my decision in figuring out what to place on the list, I chose to include only those study materials that have stood the test of time — they've been around for several decades (or longer) — which I personally own and glean from to this day.

My top pick drum and drumset books (listed below) cover a wide range of topics (sticking exercises, techniques, styles, etc.), are in no particular order, and often times come with companion CDs in new editions.

 

Stick Control for the Snare Drummer by George L. Stone

George Lawrence Stone's Stick Control is the original classic, often referred to as 'the bible of drumming'. In the words of the author, it is the ideal book for improving "control, speed, flexibility, touch, rhythm, lightness, delicacy, power, endurance, preciseness of execution and muscular coordination," with extra attention given to the development of the weak hand. This indispensable book for drummers of all types includes hundreds of basic to advanced-level rhythms, moving through categories of single-beat combinations, triplets, short roll combinations, flam beats, flam triplets and dotted notes, and short roll progressions.

 

Accents and Rebounds for the Snare Drummer by George L. Stone

George Lawrence Stones Accents and Rebounds, the follow-up to the classic Stick Control, builds on the basics with accent routines and more advanced rhythms to improve the players finesse and control. This book includes sections on accented eighths, dotted notes, and triplets, as well as rebound control and more. If you are a fan of Stick Control, then this method supplies the perfect next step for your practice routine. This updated edition adds Joe Morellos legendary arrow notation to help students incorporate the motions of the Moeller technique.

 

Master Studies by Joe Morello

This is the book on hand development and drumstick control. Master Studies focuses on these important aspects: accent studies, buzz-roll exercises, single and double-stroke patterns, control studies, flam patterns, dynamic development, endurance studies, and much more!

 

Developing Dexterity for Snare Drum by Mitchell Peters

Developing Dexterity for Snare Drum is a collection of stick exercises and patterns designed to aid the snare drummer in developing ease, control, smoothness, and evenness in his handling of the sticks. It has exercises covering a wide scope of technique including single strokes, rolls, flams, parradiddles, rebound strokes, finger strokes, and other aspects of snare drum technique. The number of possible combinations in a book such as this is infinite.

 

Progressive Steps to SYNCOPATION for the Modern Drummer by Ted Reed

Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer is one of the most versatile and practical works ever written for drums. Created exclusively to address syncopation, it has earned its place as a standard tool for teaching beginning drummers syncopation and strengthening reading skills. This book includes many accented eighths, dotted eighths and sixteenths, eighth-note triplets and sixteenth notes for extended solos. In addition, teachers can develop many of their own examples from it.

 

Wrist & Finger Stroke Control for the Advanced Drummer by Charley Wilcoxon

Written for the purpose of assisting the modern drummer in developing and achieving a higher degree of stick technique through the coordinated control of the forearms, wrists, and fingers.

 

Bass Drum Control (Revised Edition) by Colin Bailey

This perennial favorite among drummers helps players develop their bass drum technique and increase their flexibility through the mastery of exercises.

 

Essential Techniques for Drum Set: Book 1 by Ed Soph

The most comprehensive drum set text available. Written by world-renown performer and clinician Ed Soph, this book provides an intelligent and practical approach to drum set playing for performers at any level.

 

Advanced Funk Studies by Rick Latham

Advanced Funk Studies will help take your groove to the next level. With author and renowned drummer Rick Latham as your guide, you'll learn hi-hat, funk, and fill patterns. Many of the ideas in this book are derived from some of the most famous and proficient funk drummers. The accompanying audio CDs provide examples of the exercises.

 

Linear Time Playing - Funk & Fusion Grooves for the Modern Styles (with CD) by Gary Chaffee

An introduction to linear time playing. The first section contains basic exercises for linear playing skills: voice coordination, dynamic balance, accenting, and more. The second section deals with the development of time feels in the linear style, including 4/4, half-time, shuffle, and odd meter feels.

 

Time Functioning Patterns (with CD) by Gary Chaffee

Patterns is one of the most comprehensive drum methods available. Covering a wide range of materials, the books can be used in any order, or in any combination with one another. They are a must for developing the kinds of skills necessary for drum set performance.

Time-Functioning Patterns includes materials dealing with rock cymbal ostinatos, jazz independence, and the new linear phrasing concept that Gary developed.

 

Technique Patterns (with CD) by Gary Chaffee

Patterns is one of the most comprehensive drum methods available. Covering a wide range of materials, the books can be used in any order, or in any combination with one another. They are a must for developing the kinds of skills necessary for drum set performance.

In Technique Patterns, the student is challenged with a variety of routines designed to increase technical facility in the hands and feet. Included are exercises on finger control, endurance, multiple-note playing, hand-foot combinations, and more.

 

Future Sounds (with CD) by David Garibaldi

At long last, the secrets of David Garibaldi's groundbreaking funk/jazz fusion drumming techniques are presented in this innovative book and CD. Whether you play rock, heavy metal, jazz or funk, you'll learn to incorporate Garibaldi's contemporary linear styles and musical concepts into your playing and develop your own unique drumset vocabulary.

 

Modern Reading Text in 4/4 by Louis Bellson

This book has become a classic in all musicians' libraries for rhythmic analysis and study. Designed to teach syncopation within 4/4 time, the exercises also develop speed and accuracy in sight-reading with uncommon rhythmic figures. A must for all musicians, especially percussionists interested in syncopation.

 

Odd Time Reading Text by Louis Bellson

Now a standard in music education literature, this in-depth study takes the fear out of playing in time signatures other than 4/4. In a methodical manner, this book aids in rounding out any player's rhythmic and reading vocabulary. Perfect for all musicians wanting to play odd times with ease.

 

Polyrhythms - The Musician's Guide Book/CD Pack by Pete Magadini

Polyrhythms is written for instrumentalists and vocalists alike, this book/CD pack contains excellent solos and exercises that feature polyrhythmic concepts. Topics covered include: 6 over 4, 5 over 4, 7 over 4, 3 over 4, 11 over 4, and other rhythmic ratios; combining various polyrhythms; polyrhythmic time signatures; and much more. The CD includes demos of the exercises.

 

Essential Styles - Book 1 (Book/CD) by Steve Houghton

This book with play-along CD teaches 30 essential grooves from today's jazz and popular styles. The book includes written-out charts of each selection and performance tips for both drums and bass. All of the grooves have been recorded with a rhythm section and woodwinds, with drums mixed on the left channel and bass on the right, so either instrument may be dialed out. In addition, many of the tracks contain open choruses of comping so any instrument can practice playing solos! Essential Styles emphasizes the most important aspects of solid group playing — locking-in between the drummer and bassist — providing a strong rhythmic foundation and creating an authentic feel for whatever the style demands.

 

Essential Styles - Book 2 (Book/CD) by Steve Houghton

This book with play-along CD teaches 20 essential grooves from today's jazz and popular styles. The book includes written-out charts of each selection and performance tips for both drums and bass. All of the grooves have been recorded with a rhythm section and woodwinds, with drums mixed on the left channel and bass on the right, so either instrument may be dialed out. In addition, many of the tracks contain open choruses of comping so any instrument can practice playing solos! Essential Styles emphasizes the most important aspects of solid group playing — locking-in between the drummer and bassist — providing a strong rhythmic foundation and creating an authentic feel for whatever the style demands.

 

One Surface Learning by Roy Burns and Joey Farris

An easy approach to improvising, hand technique, and drumset coordination. This book/CD package applies rhythmic and rudimental patterns to the drumset. An excellent approach to creating new drumset ideas for both the student and the professional.

 

Studio Funk Drumming by Roy Burns and Joey Farris

A professional rhythm workbook researched from commercially released records as played by today's top studio drummers. The styles covered include commercial funk rhythms, reggae (authentic and funk), unusual time signatures, funk sambas, southern funk beats, and fusion funk.

 

The New Breed by Gary Chester

Gary Chester was one of the busiest studio drummers of the '60s and '70s and played on hundreds of hit records. His systems have been used and endorsed by drummers such as Kenny Aronoff, Danny Gottlieb, and Dave Weckl. This is not just another drum book, but rather a system that will help you develop the skills needed to master today's studio requirements. By working with this book, you'll improve your reading, concentrator, coordination, right and left-hand lead, and awareness of the click.

 

Advanced Techniques For the Modern Drummer by Jim Chapin

The classic jazz independence book is now new and improved and with two CDs! Jim Chapin, known as the "Father of Jazz Independence," has written one of the most popular drumset books of all time. This classic work should be in every drummer's library as there is always something new to learn and develop from this masterful book. Whether for a beginner or an accomplished drummer, this system will greatly improve independence and coordination, sticking, power, and speed and endurance on the drumset. Dedicated to Sanford Moeller, this book proves Jim's teaching techniques like no other.

 

Funkifying the Clave (Book/CD) by Lincoln Goines and Robby Ameen

Designed for drummers and bass players, this book/CD lays out a step-by-step approach to combining Afro-Cuban rhythms with rock, funk and jazz.

 

Afro-Cuban Rhythms For Drumset (Book/CD) by Frank Malabe and Bob Weiner

An introduction to Afro-Cuban rhythms, including the history, traditional instruments and basic styles of Afro-Cuban music. The book explores the complexities of these various styles in a simple, understandable way. The companion audio is invaluable to anyone interested in adapting these rhythms to the drumset.

 

Brazilian Rhythms For Drumset (Book/CD) by Duduka Da Fonseca and Bob Weiner

A solid and extremely valuable guide to applying traditional Brazilian rhythms to drumset. It delves into the complexities of Brazilian rhythms and also helps explain the background and influences of the rich musical history of Brazil. Includes samba, partito alto, bossa nova, baiao, caterete, maracatu, marcha, frevo.

 

Ultimate Play-Along for Drums - Volume 1 (Book/CD) by Dave Weckl

A truly exceptional package allowing the beginner to intermediate drummer to practice with a pre-recorded band. The seven tracks cover a wide range of styles such as straight eighths, sixteenth feel, rock shuffle, rock ballad, Latin, straight-ahead jazz, and rock & roll. Includes a "roadmap" chart for each tune.

 

Ultimate Play-Along for Drums - Volume 2 (Book/CD) by Dave Weck

This package has been developed so that the beginning to intermediate drummer can practice in a wide range of styles along with all-star musicians Mike Stern on guitar and John Patitucci on bass. The styles covered include straight eighths, shuffle (blues), sixteenth-note feel, hip-hop (jazz funk), pop ballad, reggae (shuffle), and rock. Contains perforated ""road map"" charts for each tune.


Use the links above to purchase any one of these items, paperback or Kindle versions, through the Drummer Cafe!


Bart Elliott

Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician and founder of the Drummer Cafe. His 35+ years in the music industry, over 100 albums to his credit, as well as his understanding of contemporary and classical music, makes him a complete and skilled master musician. A highly sought after drummer and percussionist, both live and in the studio, Bart is widely known as a top music educator and gifted teacher, appearing as a guest artist and clinician throughout the USA.