Free Drum Lesson: Beginner Lesson 2 – Basic Drum Beats And Grooves

Difficulty LevelThis lesson introduces you to some of the most basic and popular drum beats used by drummers. If you find that you are able to play these ideas already then you can skip straight to the intermediate lesson by clicking here.

The beats on the left (first bar) are played with Eighth notes on the Hi-Hat while the bar on the right uses Quarter notes on the Hi-Hat.

Both drum beats on the left and right are the same but with different Hi-Hat ostinatos (repeating pattern) played over the top with the right hand.

You should aim to make each of these beats feel totally natural. Once you feel comfortable playing each of the bars on their own you could then play the two bars one after the other in a loop. Aim to loop the two bars until you can change from one Hi-Hat pattern to the other with minimum mistakes…or none, ideally!

The drum beats with Quarter notes on the Hi-Hat can be played much faster than the Eighth note grooves simply because the right hand is having to play less notes. This is a really useful aspect of the Quarter note Hi-Hat pattern as it means that these rhythms can be used in up-tempo music.

OK, let me introduce you to the drum beats…


Drum Beat 1

Basic Beginner Drum Beat

Well, what to say about this beauty. It’s been used by drummers so many times that it’s impossible to count the number of songs it features in. Very popular in all genres of music, it supplies forward momentum with the Bass drums ‘pushing’ into the Snare drum on Beat 4.


Drum Beat 2

Basic Beginner Drum Beat

This is very similar to Drum Beat 1 but has a different feel to it. The Bass drum falls after the Snare drum on the “+” of 2 and into the downbeat on Beat 3 which gives it a kind of ‘sluggish’ feel, like the Bass drum is dragging its heels slightly. This doesn’t mean it should sound sloppy though as the notes have to be played evenly and in time still.


Drum Beat 3

Basic Beginner Drum Beat

A very popular groove this as the Bass drum on the + of 3 rolls into the Snare drum nicely creating forward momentum. Careful with the Quarter note rhythm as the two Bass drums need to fall evenly between the Hi-Hats.


Drum Beat 4

Basic Beginner Drum Beat

This is the first drum groove with two Bass drums on the first beat creating a sturdy downbeat feel. The dominance of the Bass drum in the first half of the bar makes this rhythm a great one when wanting to anchor the first Beat of the bar to the music.


Drum Beat 5

Basic Beginner Drum Beat

Here we have Drum Beat 3 with the additional Bass drum note on the “+” of Beat 1. The Quarter note groove has three Bass drums between the Hi-Hats so be careful when aligning the right hand with the Bass foot.


Drum Beat 6

Basic Beginner Drum Beat

Drum Beat 2 has been taken further with this groove. The Bass drum rhythm has been repeated at the end of the bar. This can be a little tricky for pupils when trying to loop the bar as they tend to forget the Bass drum is also played on Beat 1. What people tend to play is the Bass drum on the “+” of 4 but then leave out the Bass note on Beat 1…careful with this.


Drum Beat 7

Basic Beginner Drum Beat

This is a very popular beat helped by its simplicity and driving nature. It really emphasises the downbeat of the bar.


Drum Beat 8

Basic Beginner Drum Beat

The Quarter note rhythm combines Bass drum patterns from Drum Beat 1 and 2 and can prove to be a little tricky due to the alignment of the Hi-Hats. Be careful to ensure that the Hi-Hats stay even on the downbeats and are not affected by the syncopated Bass drum.


Drum Beat 9

Basic Beginner Drum Beat

The Bass drum fills the gap between the two Snare drum notes on Beats 2 and 4. Careful with the Quarter note Hi-Hat groove though as the Bass drums sit either side of Beat 3.


Drum Beat 10

Basic Beginner Drum Beat

Another drum beat with a Bass drum on the “+” of Beat 4 to have a go at. This Bass drum at the end of the bar creates a groove that resolves nicely back onto Beat 1.


Drum Beat 11

Basic Beginner Drum Beat

This is a nice drum groove with a strong downbeat feel on Beat 1. All the Bass drum notes seem to lead into Beat 1.


Drum Beat 12

Basic Beginner Drum Beat

Any drum groove that has a Bass drum on the upbeat leading into a Snare drum downbeat is going to sound funky and this example is no exception. The Bass drum on the “+” of 3 gives this drum beat forward momentum and works really well with any music that needs a little push from the drummer.

PRACTICE TIP: Eventually you will want to be able to play all of these drum grooves in your sleep, upside down while juggling! Try playing each bar on its own until it feels totally natural then increase the tempo – aim to get faster over time with more practice.

Once you feel comfortable with each bar try combining the Eighth note Hi-Hat versions with its Quarter note equivalent and loop these around until the Hi-Hat change over is smooth and comfortable. Try playing these grooves with some simple drum fills found in the Basic Drum Fills lesson.



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