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Play Drums!

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Can you keep a beat? Read the guide below to learn some basic patterns and find out how much you’ll have to spend (and what you should buy) if you want to become a drummer.

 

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You can get started learning the drums with a pair of sticks and a practice pad for around $30. Drum set prices range from several hundred to several thousand bucks. The basic kit has a bass drum (or "kick drum"), a snare drum, and three tom toms: hi tom, mid tom, and low tom.

In addition, you'll have these cymbals: a hi-hat, a ride cymbal and a crash cymbal. Consider buying your drums used at first. And don't overlook the importance of a cushioned and adjustable drum "throne"-- a regular chair won't cut it.

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Stick choice depends on your style of music. For heavier music like rock or metal, try heavier sticks. Good general sticks for beginners are "2B" in thickness.

A good stick exercise is "snap-ups," which teaches you how to let the sticks naturally bounce up, or rebound, off a drum. Use a full wrist bend on each stroke-- the arm only moves in reaction to the wrist. While you play, the hand should stay flat (horizontal to the floor). The elbow and shoulder should be relaxed and close to the body. The tip of the stick should hit the center of the drum. Use a mirror to see if the stick's moving straight up and down. And try to keep a steady tempo (speed).

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We'll use these notations:
CC: Crash Cymbal
RC: Ride Cymbal
HH: Hi Hat
SD: Snare Drum
HT: Hi Tom
MT: Mid Tom
LT: Low Tom
BD: Bass Drum

(For those who know a little music theory, each dash (-) below represents a 16th note, and therefore each pattern is two measures long. If you don't know any music theory, don't worry-- you can still play along.)

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HH: x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x-
SD: ---- x--- ---- x--- ---- x--- ---- x---
BD: x--- x--- x--- x--- x--- x--- x--- ----

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HH: x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x-
SD: ---- ---- x--- ---- ---- ---- x--- ----
BD: x--- ---- ---- ---- x--- ---- ---- ----

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HH: x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x-
SD: ---- x--- ---- x--- ---- x--- ---- x---
BD: x--- --x- x--- ---- x--- --x- x--- ----

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HH: x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x-
SD: ---- x--- ---- x--- ---- x--- ---- x---
BD: x--- ---- x-x- ---- x--- ---- x-x- ----

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HH: x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x- x-x-
SD: ---- x--- ---- x--- ---- x--- ---- x---
BD: x-x- ---- x-x- ---- x-x- ---- x-x- ----

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