So you want to learn how to drum? Or maybe, just maybe, you want to brush up on your chops? Either way, drag notes are a great place to start.
Well, I can tell you right away what they are not. Drag notes are not notes in which you drag the stick across the drum. They are, however, notes that are dragged out as in they lengthen the sound of a note.
Drag notes are double stroked notes. This means they are played by striking twice with the same hand, whether you are lefty or righty. These notes are played at twice the speed of other notes which are in the same time signature.
For example, let’s say you are playing eighth notes. Your drag note, in this case, would be a double stroked sixteenth note, followed immediately by an eighth note.
As with most stick techniques, the best place to start practicing is with your practice pad. It is important that your body remained relaxed while learning drag notes, as rigidity will only hinder your ability to perform the double stroke, making the strikes uneven in note value and putting unnecessary stress on your wrists, arms and shoulders.
To perform a drag note, the first thing you must learn is how to properly play a double stroke. Either use a hand held metronome, if you own one, or an online metronome. With your pad in your lap, perform a double strike with each hand. If your power is uneven, you will notice right away, as your notes will sound strange.
Download the pdf file for this lesson… (courtesy of Drum Rudiment System)
Start at a slow tempo, and work your way up in speed gradually. This is a hard technique to master, and if you noticed before I didn’t tell you to perform a double stroke with each hand but a double strike. This is because until you can maintain an even, consistent strike, you are not yet performing a double stroke.
This is not a racing contest either; this technique makes it very difficult to attain speed, as you are not actually bouncing your stick.
Once you can maintain an even double stroke, now you can learn the drag note. If you are a right handed player, lift your right handed stick to about mid chest level, keeping your left hand close to the pads. For a left handed drummer, lift your left hand to mid chest level with you right hand close to your pad.
Perform a double stroke with your off hand, letting your main hand drop, producing a simultaneous follow up note. Remember what you learned earlier; the follow up note will be twice the value of your double stroke. If you are performing an eighth note double stroke, your follow up stroke will be a quarter note. Be sure to let the note reach its proper value.
Once you have mastered the drag note with your main hand acting as the follow up note, challenge yourself by using your off hand to perform the follow up note. You will come to see that this is much more difficult, but it is important that you are able to play drag notes with both hands, as you want your skill to be as even as possible.
Remember; stay relaxed, and above all, have fun and experiment with different drum rudiments!
Drumeo is a step-by-step instructional program designed to help you get started with the basics and progress into an advanced drummer easily. It covers a wide variety of genres like rock, jazz and blues and lessons are broken down by topic.