How to Play Jazz Beats on Drums

Almost all drummers are taught playing the standard rock beats. However, playing jazz beats on drums is in many other manners different from playing the standard rock beats. Consider the variety of jazz music, playing jazz may vary from song to song. Additionally, musicians offer a number of style choices, thus adding more variety to jazz drumming. However, there are some basic jazz beats which are the same in every song. If you want to play jazz beats on drums, you will demand to master those beats before moving on to more complex beats.


  • 1

    Make yourself aware of the fact that in order to play any type of drumming accurately, your hands and feet must work simultaneously. The regular 4/4 jazz beat will be provided by the right foot which you need to place at the bass or kick drum. The high hat will be covered by your left foot.

  • 2

    As for your hands, they will accomplish the accents in the jazz song being played. The swing rhythm on the ride cymbal can be played using with the right hand whereas the snare drum can be played with the left hand. You will need to play the toms with both your hands when required.

  • 3

    You will need to perform the ‘trading fours’; a technique which is used by all jazz drummers in order to breaks up the jazz beats into a quantity of signatures. ‘Trading fours’ requires the drummer to break up four bars of 4/4 in many other manners. A professional may also trade 8ths and 16ths if required.

  • 4

    You cannot overrule the importance of ride cymbals in playing jazz since the cymbals hold pivotal importance when a drummer is playing jazz. The choice of cymbals is entirely up to the drummer. However, most drummers make use of a darker sounding ride.

  • 5

    Choosing the suitable sticks is very important. Prefer sticks of light or medium weight because they will work better than sticks of heavy weight. If you want to add a peculiar sound to your drumming while you play jazz, consider investing in brushes and mallets.

  • 6

    You need to make sure that the listeners hear as much of the bass as possible. In order to accomplish this, you must hit the drums lightly while playing jazz most of the times because if you hit the drums hard as in rock drumming, your listeners will be deprived of the bass which in turn is a vital element in jazz drumming.

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