Rock Drumming System

Learn how to play Rock Drums in 7/8 Time Signature

Most rock drummers will play the regular rock bets in the common standard time signature of 4/4. This time signature in fact is what most rock beats are constructed around right? Well, that is not entirely true at all. Some of the best rock beats I have heard are done in odd time signatures like 7/8. Learning how to play rock drums in 7/8 time signature will really open the doors for any rock drummer. To truly be a great rock drummer, you must be able to play rock in all its’ forms, not only in 4/4. So let’s take a few moments to learn how to rock out in the signature of 7/8. Let’s try and make this odd time signature no so uncommon.

At first, a lot of drummers will back away from this task, not knowing anything about 7/8 time. The truth is 7/8 is very easy to play along to. We should start out by counting it. For a full description on how to count odd time signatures, click on this lesson on counting odd time signatures. Briefly, 7/8 is counted just like 4/4, only you count 7 beats instead of 4. So if you are counting quarter notes, you would count it like this:


Do not say the word seven, as it is a two syllable word that will throw you off! So before you move on to these beats, become fairly comfortable with counting in 7/8 time!

Now let’s move onto the beat. Remember to start things out really slow, do not move ahead to fast or you may miss the concept of the 7/8 feel all together. When you play your hi hat, you will not notice any change in time signatures at all, do not worry though. The change comes from the bass drum and snare. The difference between any time signature is the time in which the pattern repeats itself. With this next example you will notice that after 7 counts the beat repeats itself, hence the term 7/8. Try this 7/8 beat on your hi hat and snare.

You can feel a difference already by playing that. The snare hit is on the 3 and 7 counts. Now try adding in the bass drum. We will start very basic, by adding it on the 1 and 5 count of the beat. Make sure you are counting out loud when you play this beat so you do not mess anything up.

This is a very basic 7/8 groove that should be mastered by every drummer. When you start playing around with odd time signatures you will be surprised at the improvements you will see in every other aspect of your drumming. Your sense of time will be boosted a lot. Practice this groove until you can play it no problem without even counting. Soon the 7/8 odd time signature will not be odd to you anymore. Soon you will be able to move onto playing fills in 7/8, which is the next step in mastering odd time signatures!

By: Dave Atkinson

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