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Rock Drumming Beats (with eighth notes)

In this drum lesson, we are going to introduce the concept of playing eighth note beats as it relates to rock music. These are foundational grooves that you are sure to use for years to come, so take your time and learn them right - the first time!

Rock Beat #1

As with past "progressive" lessons, beat #1 is an important first step. If you are not familiar with counting eighth notes, read the lesson on understanding time. Then come back when you are ready.

The beat below is pretty straight forward. It includes eighth notes on the hi-hats, and simple snare and bass drum shots where the quarter notes would be.

rock beat 1

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Play through it at a variety of tempos. Focus on keeping the steady hi-hat strokes on the eighth notes, and lining the bass and snare drum shots perfectly with the hi-hats.

Rock Beat #2

In this second beat, you will be playing steady quarter note strokes with the bass drum. As with the beginner beats, try playing the first beat and then transitioning in and out of this variation.

rock beat 2

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If you are having any trouble with these rock beats, just slow everything down a little and be sure you are still counting out loud.

Rock Beat #3

Just when you were getting used to playing all the bass and snare drum shots where the quarter notes would be - things get more difficult. In this beat, you will be playing a bass drum shot on the "and of three". In other words, you will count "three and" playing the bass drum on both the "three" and the "and" counts.

rock beat 3

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This may be a little awkward at first, but just be sure you maintain the steady hi-hat strokes. Many beginners will slow down the beat around the three-count, but it is important that you maintain a steady groove. If you need to play that specific part of the beat at a slower tempo - slow down the entire beat to match.

Rock Beat #4

For this fourth variation, the bass drum has been moved from the "and of three" to the "and of two". It is a slight change, but makes the beat sound completely different.

rock beat 4

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Always remember to stay relaxed and loose behind the drum set. Focus on breathing deeply while you play, as many beginners have a tendency to hold their breath when having difficulty with a new beat or fill.

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