Difficulty LevelLearn how to play this classic drum beat from the song Toxicity by System Of A Down, performed by the great drummer John Dolmayan. This drum groove occurs during the verses.


“Toxicity” Free Video Drum Lesson

View the video on YouTube HERE – Learn How To Play Drums Song Toxicity Video Drum Lesson (System Of A Down & John Dolmayan)


“Toxicity” Drum Notation

"Toxicity" (System Of A Down) Drum Beat Free Drum Lesson Notation Sheet Music Transcription Notes


Why It’s Great

System Of A Down are famous for mixing heart felt melodies with a rock sensibility and this track is no exception. Drummer John Dolmayan gives another stellar performance, this time in the time signature of 6/8.


How To Play It

Occurs during the first verse at 0:38. The whole song, apart form one small section towards the end, is played in the time signature of 6/8. This can also be thought of as playing in triplets, as essentially the music can be counted in groups of three.

John plays steady eighth notes on the hi-hat and lays down a fat backbeat on beat 4 of each bar.

Bars 1, 2 and 3 are played exactly the same as each other, including the extra snare drum that falls in between the hihats on the ‘+’ of beat 5. The bass drum is played on beat 1, the ‘+’ of beat 3 and beat 6. A snare drum ghost note is also played on the ‘+’ of beat 2, in between the hi-hats.

Bar 4 uses a rather clever idea where the drum beat seems to turn itself around at the end. John replaces the snare drum played previously on its own on the ‘+’ of beat 5 with two thirty second ghost notes, played with just the left hand. These ghost notes fall just before the bass drum on beat 6 which is then followed by a new snare drum note on the ‘+’ of beat 6 right before beat 1 of the next bar. This is a really cool and effective idea played with grace and control.


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