The “Basic” Basic Rudiments + EXTRAS

Carl warming up

Carl warming up

The foundations of any instrumental performance are always crucial. Paul Baloche calls it the “blocking & tackling” of good musicianship… you HAVE to do some basic things to create a strong foundation in your playing. If you have had any formal training as a drummer you probably studied the 40 International Rudiments. I do recommend downloading the FREE pdf file from the Percussion Arts Society website.  You should work on these to develop the drumming vocabulary you need to play almost any combination of ideas.

If you are just getting started with rudiments, or if you just want the “basics” of the basics I recommend this simple approach: Work on a simple combination of patterns that will create a strong foundation for the others. Because almost all music can be broken down into “duple” time ( which is subdividing or feeling everything in “2”)… or in “triple” time which is felt in “3”, you should practice basic sticking patterns counting with different subdivisions in mind.  *For instance the “duple” time list goes like this:

Counting 1 e & ah 2 e & ah 3 e & ah 4 e & ah  — play the following patterns/ repeating as many times as you like… I’d say at least 2 bars/ but 4 bars is better…. or until you feel you have it under control. – YES, USE A METRONOME – Start slow at first, and then everyday pick different tempo markings and learn to control the patterns at whatever speed you choose. **You may also play these on a practice pad if you like, but also be sure to have time playing the patterns around the drum set too.**

A Single Stroke Roll – R L R L   R L R L  R L R L  R L R L,

a Double Stroke Roll – R R L L  R R L L   repeat….;

then a Paradiddle – R L R R  L R L L    repeat….;

then a few variations – R R L R  L L R L ……..  R L L L   R L L L…….   R R R L  R R R L…..   L R R R  L R R R ……                                 L L L R  L L L R ……    R R R R  L L L L.

For the triplet feel you can count – 1 la lee  2 la lee  3 la lee  4 la lee,   etc. etc.    OR 1 trip let 2 trip let…  OR even – tri-pa-let  tri-pa-let     & so on. Whatever counting method helps you focus on a triplet feel is fine. Now play these patterns:

A Single Stroke Roll —  R L R  L R L  R L R  L R L     repeat….

A TRIPLE STROKE Roll  — R R R  L L L  R R R  L L L     repeat….


NEW – * A PARADIDLE-DIDDLE – R L R R L L    R L R R L L  /                                                                                                       OR – start it left handed – L R L L R R  L R L L R R

AND  variations —   R L L  R L L…….  R R L  R R L…….    L R R  L R R …….  L L R  L L R ………   R R R  L L L ……  *NEW –  ALSO TRY playing doubles in a triplet count  R R L L R R   L L  R R L L  – You can count this as 1 & 2 & 3 & // or tri-pa-let  tri-pa-let… etc.

ONE MORE NEW EXERCISE: Many of you asked how to get you kick drum involved in these patterns. You could have the feet play a constant groove as you play the hand patterns. **Simply walking on the main counts : kick on 1, hat on 2, kick on 3, hat on 4.  OR… Kick drum on all 4 pulses (1/4 notes) ; hi-hat on 2 & 4. These are very common. Try any foot pattern you like, but start with these simple ones first.

Also try playing the sticking patterns with the kick drum as part of the pattern… Such as the “R’s” being your hands & the “L’s” being the kick. This is a great foot coordination exercise.  Yes, you could use the hi-hat foot as part of the pattern, but let’s start with the kick for now.   (As a hi-hat primer you could play constant 1/4 notes or 1/8 notes with your hi-hat foot as you play these hand & kick combinations. BUT, only do that after you’ve got the other parts working smoothly. / It’s OK to build one piece at a time.)  OK… here we go…. **A very popular fill idea is to play 2 notes with the hands & 2 with the kick:  R L k k  R L k k  — that’s right, left, kick, kick, etc.  Count 1 e & ah, 2 e & ah, & so on. You can also start with the kick & finish with the hands, or any combination you like, but start with this basic stamina builder. YES, use a metronome. AND… lastly try playing a group of 6 notes… 4 with the hands 2 on the kick…   R L R L k k  R L R L k k.  Be sure to count this pattern in a “3” pattern — 1 & 2 & 3 &    OR  “I like” — tri-pa-let  tri-pa-let.     OK,,, that’s plenty to build upon.

Of course you can play as many variations of the patterns as you choose, but I recommend starting with these. Also the classic drum book “Stick Control” by George Lawrence Stone is a great technique builder that would expand these ideas. But the idea of this post is to give you a vital starting point. Almost all other patterns will be built on these. OK… there ya go…. get to work and see how your control and stamina will grow. Be sure to count slow & steady at first. Then gradually build speed. Your goal is to keep it smooth and relaxed… NO TENSION!

Matched Grip

Matched Grip


Carl having fun at The Playground sessions

Carl at a session with kit & electronic gear

It’s a treat to work with such great people recording music, touring, etc. / Between takes or while someone is working on an overdub I’ll stroll around the studio and shoot a little video just to keep everyone smilin’ ! Sorry I don’t have a camera running while I record drum tracks… I’ll have to work on that. Many of you have said you want to see the drum tracks live while they’re happening… I’m workin’ on it. SMILE!  🙂

Paul Baloche/ Paul Wilbur/ and MORE – Tours, Seminars, & Sessions

Carl on the road.

I’ve been on many trips in a van packed w/ luggage.

WOW… this fall is packed with all kinds of fun & excitement. I’m workin’ hard to finish my new Drums In Modern Worship book. It should be released next year.  // Tours & seminars with Paul Baloche, Paul Wilbur, Leann Albrecht (yes, she’s my wife!) and other friends in ministry & music. Besides the travel I’ve been recording with some new up & coming artists as well as old friends that I’ve played with for years. **Leann’s even workin’ on some new tunes. So… join me when you can out there on the road or even come on into Nashville and let’s work on your project!!  🙂  Hey,,, you never know.   / Anyway… Leann & I need your prayers as we continue to journey down this road with the Lord… We know we can NOT do anything apart from HIM. But, we also know the great value of believers praying for each other on this earthly journey. There is a reason that the scriptures say to “pray at all times without ceasing…” and “…with every kind of prayer… and petitions…. and WITH THANKSGIVING!   And so… we are thankful & humbled by the Lord’s great work in us and all of His people around the world.  We look forward to the next adventure with HIM. Blessings everyone! See you soon. Peace, Carl —  Come on.. in the middle of your busy life, take a “praise break” with me!  LORD, YOU have saved us!! Glory to your name.

A Worship Drum Book

Carl & Yamaha Recording Custom

OK… So I’m writing a book about drums in worship. It’s turning out to be a bigger project than I expected. Why am I surprised? I’m writing, praying; writing some more; praying more… then editing. Going back adding things; expanding a chapter to include more that comes to mind. Adding photos… adding music sketches… Looking on line to research other drum writings, reading about worship trends; watching video clips…. THE WORKS! Lots of verifying my information and pondering my own history as a drummer.  Whew!!!!!!!!!    I’ve been playing in the “modern worship movement” for over 30 years. LOL… 🙂   There have been so many developments through that time…. but worship has been around since,,, well… the beginning. So there are spiritual things I want to share in this book; not just technical stuff. I pray it will help drummers connect to their calling as the Lord’s minstrels in the earth and also challenge them to be disciplined in their skill. Thank you for your prayers as I attempt to make this writing all that the Lord intends. Blesssings, Carl

Carl Workin' The Book

Carl Workin’ The Book

Live Recording from Dustin Smith in KC

Carl in worship

Carl in worship

I was honored to be a part of this new live recording from World Revival Church in KC with Dustin Smith and crew. It was special to be part of a team that really had not worked together that much before… I really had just crossed paths with some of the guys on the road or in Nashville, and several of us had never met.  And yet there was such a common passion to reach out to the Lord and honor Him with all that was within us. It is so encouraging to me to see so many people hungry for the presence of the Lord. “In HIS presence there is fullness (completeness) of joy.” Oh Lord, Let Your glory cover the earth!  Take a praise break with me and declare that He reigns. Peace, Carl  // You can find out more about Dustin at his web site.

Vintage Studios in Nashville

It’s pretty common to see old houses in the Nashville area and right on Music Row that have been converted into amazing studios and publishing offices. I like working in my home studio (Highland Farms Studio)… I can work on projects at my own pace and experiment a little more. It’s also nice to come up for a break and have lunch with Leann or go for a walk. //  BUT, the studios in Nashville are really amazing. Some of them are huge with multiple tracking rooms, and are exciting facilities to create music together with some very talented people. It is also very typical to see old houses that have been converted into working studios. They offer a little more relaxed vibe, but are also very well equipped. Check out this little tour I did while working at Sixteen Ton Studios on Music Row. *Lots of vintage gear (*even some pre-amps from Abbey Road) … a very cool lay out of the house… and the old tube board that I was told was from Columbia Records studio… One of the 1st on the Row. Join me for this fun walk through.

Drum Lessons & DVDs

Carl at a session with kit & electronic gear

I’ve been getting more calls for drum lessons and clinics. Even though I travel a lot teaching at seminars I still like the individual, hands on drum lesson. Although my schedule doesn’t allow me to do that on a regular basis I still squeeze in a SKYPE lesson or even a “live” lesson in my home studio.

Feel free to contact me if you’d like to schedule a lesson on line or in person here in Nashville, OR even on the road at an event in your town. Sometimes I can squeeze in a private lesson at a conference if there’s time & space. Contact Me. 

If you want to see what happens at a seminar event on the road check out my DVD teaching series. These DVDs allow me to expand the material I teach at clinics without time constraints. They really focus on learning the craft of drumming… Not as much concert footage, but more explaining of what you need to learn. You can study at your own pace and on your own schedule. Each one offers something unique. See details at the web site store. To The Store!

Drum Arranging 101

Carl's happy tambourine

“I see you” , Tambourine Man

Sometimes a little change in sonic color or texture brings just the right amount of variety to a song. Many times I will just play a lite shaker part to start a song. Then add a tambourine in the next section. Finally the drums come in when the energy needs to lift more.

This song, “Loved By You,” from the the new Paul Baloche project (The Same Love) demonstrates this perfectly. A simple drum/ percussion arranging concept I’ve used many times, but it always seems to work. (*Well, usually it does unless the producer wants something else.  🙂  ***I also use the one handed cymbal roll that I demonstrated in a previous post. That technique allowed me to keep the shaker going. It takes a little practice to keep good time with one hand while they other is doing a “free-time” roll. Do this a lot in your practice time until you’ve got it. Don’t just try to “wing it” for the first time on your next gig.

Also you’ll notice that when the groove starts I keep it laid back & mellow. I used traditional grip and played with the butt of the stick on the snare… no rim shot. This song just needed to feel fat and groovy. I’m always thinking about the mood of a song and then adjust accordingly.


One Handed Cymbal Roll

So many of you have asked about this roll I do on cymbals or even on the drums. Using a marimba/vibraphone technique I learned from John Kasica of the St. Louis Symphony. It was standard training for classical percussionists during my college years. It probably is still part of the training. Thanks John. / It’s been so useful in drum set playing as well. When playing a groove or time pattern with one hand I can use this technique to create the normal cymbal swell without loosing a time element.  Be sure to work on “locking” the one mallet into position and then using the other to move according to the distance needed. Also be sure to balance the wiggle or waving motion so your roll sounds smooth. Also work on doing this with both hands. Blessings on your roll!  Wooooshhhh!

NEW VIDEO w/ Paul Baloche “Oh Our Lord”

It’s important to remember that all of the learning, the training, … the whole journey is about declaring the greatness of the Lord to the earth. Psalm 34: 1 – 3  “I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;  let us exalt his name together.”   So… Join me, Paul, and all our friends for a “praise break.” // Psalm 8:1 – Oh Lord how majestic is Your name in all the earth!!!