How to Play Digs and Stirs on Drums

Do you want to become a jazz drummer? If you want to play digs and stirs, also called ‘stirring the soup’, is considered to be one of the greatest standards for a jazz drummer. It helps you create the whooshing sound on the snare that is extremely popular and famous in almost every era of jazz music. While stirring is quite easy, combining stirs and digs together is quite a difficult job and it is hard to master as well. You will require drums brushes and a snare so that you can execute this technique.


  • 1

    You must start off from the stir, as the digs always come later. Hold the brushes as gently as possible and don’t try to tightly grab them in your hands. Now, both the brushes should be held right across each other; it means that the brush on your left hand should be sliding clockwise, while the one in your right hand should be going counter-clockwise. Both the brushes will be taking care of one half of the drum each; with the left brush covering the bottom half of the snare drum, while the right brush will be covering the top half. Make sure that the brushes do not hit each other.

  • 2

    The second step is how you master the dig. It is as basic as it can get. It’s just like you are hitting the drum with the brush. You don’t have to swing the brush like you would use a drumstick; as an alternative, you start off around two inches above the drum head and then you strike it down.

  • 3

    Now, you must combine both the actions together. Starting off from step one, use your left hand to stir the second half of the drum so that you can make the dig. A right-handed drummer would be hitting the hi-hat during the time this is happening, whenever it is required. Always try to stir the ride and dig the snare. However, later, you are supposed to apply both, dig and stir, on the same.

  • 4

    After you have learned how to dig and stir together, it is time for you to start practicing. The stir should always be in even strokes each and every time you try to make a full sweep on the drum. It will always be easier for you to use dig during rhythms.

  • 5

    Now, try to mix it all up. It shouldn’t always be as smooth as it sounds. You can always use an uneven beat; however, always try to use the same beat in the same tempo.

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