Flam Drag

Learn How To Play The Flam Drag Drum Rudiment!

So far, we have seen the flam being combined with the main drum rudiments that give name to each of the different families of drum rudiments – single stroke (single stroke roll + flam = flam accent, pataflafla), drum roll (double stroke roll + flam = flam tap), paradiddle (single paradiddle + flam = flam paradiddle). There is only one of these drum rudiments the flam hasn’t been combined with as of yet, the drag.

In this next free drum lesson, Lionel Duperron teaches you how to play a drum rudiment that combines the flam with the drag - the flam drag. After teaching you how to practice this rudiment on a practice pad, Lionel goes through a couple of drum beats and drum fills that apply the flam drag to the drum set.

The flam drag is usually played in triplets. Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that all the strokes in a flam drag are played as 8th note triplets, except for the “trip” of each count, which is a 16th note triplet double stroke. If you take the flam accent and the flam drag drum rudiments and put them side-by-side, you’ll notice that the main difference between them is really what it’s played on the “trip” of each count - a single stroke tap on the flam accent and a double stroke tap on the flam drag.

Flam Drag

The double stroke is represented with a diagonal line on the note stem on the sheet music below. So, you can play a flam drag from a flam accent. To do so, you just have to double the single strokes taps on the “trip” of each count of a flam accent. Learning how to play the flam accent, the drag, and the double stroke roll drum rudiments before taking on this free drum lesson, will get you playing the flam drag with a lot of control way faster.

After getting comfortable with the flam drag on a single surface, you can move on to learn how to apply it to the drum set. In the next drum beats the primary strokes of the flam drags are played as 8th notes. A single stroke grace note accompanies the first 8th note (flam) while a double stroke played as either a grace note or as a 16th note, accompanies the second 8th note (drag).

In the first exercise, we take a standard 8th note rock drum beat and spice up the hi-hat and snare drum patterns with flam drags. You can start practicing this pattern by playing the hand pattern of an 8th note rock drum beat – hi-hat on all 8th notes and snare drum on counts 2 and 4. After that, add a grace note on counts 1 and 3 on the hi-hat, and on 2 and 4 on the snare drum.

Flam Drag #1

Once you can play all of that comfortably, add the drags in. When you get a consistent hand pattern happening, add the metronome to clean up everything. It’s at this point that you can add the bass drum on counts 1 and 3. Focus on mastering this pattern first. You can add different bass drum patterns later on.

The next pattern we’re going to take a look at is played in 3/4 time signature. As we mentioned earlier, the drags here are played as 16th notes instead of as grace notes. The first flam drag starts with a flam on count 1 and ends with a snare shot on count 2. The second flam drag is syncopated. It starts with a flam on the “and” of count 2 and concludes at the “and” of count 3 with a unison stroke between the snare drum and the hi-hat.

Flam Drag #2

There are two flam drags played between count 1 and the “and” of 3 on the next drum fill. If you take the flams out of the exercise below you get a broken 16th note drum fill. Start by learning how to play the exercise without the flams. Play the 16th notes on counts 1 and 3 as doubles and the remaining strokes as singles. These doubles are actually the drags. Once you have that pattern down, add the flams where notated.

Flam Drag #3

The next drum fill has the same rhythmic pattern as the previous one. The orchestration of the pattern is what sets it apart. A cool thing to take from this exercise is the way Lionel substituted a hand stroke with the bass drum on the “e” of count 4. This is a great idea for coming up with great sounding new fills. Take any of the drum fills in the 40 drum rudiments and substitute some hand strokes with the bass drum. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with.

Flam Drag #4

Once you’re done with the flam drag, check the free drum lesson on the pataflafla. If you’ve checked that lesson already, then move on to learn about the single drag tap.