Learn How To Play A Flam Stroke
This is an essential drum rudiment that cannot be ignored. The flam stroke is a drum rudiment that can be incorporated into almost every drum beat, or fill. It can add power and warmth to basic strokes. Like the other essential drum rudiments, the flam stroke should be practiced just everyday with your usual drumming routines. It will develop a mixture of speed and independence for both hands.
With all rudiments we will start with proper stick grip. You will find you have more endurance and control when you are holding the sticks right. The principle is the same either way you hold your sticks. If you are using matched grip, you will want to try and make your weaker hand copy your dominant hand exactly – this is the same with the French grip. If you are using the traditional grip, you may notice your left hand must move in a different way then your right. Stick independence will come in time, and that is why you are practicing the flam stroke.
At first, you may find the flam stroke hard to practice at fast speeds. You may even find it difficult to practice on its own. This is because this drum rudiment is not really a pattern, it is more of a stroke. It consists of 2 hits with the stick that are not nessesarly on time.
The Flam Stroke
The trick to getting the best sound out of a flam stroke, is to get one stroke to sound like an echo of the other. To achieve this sound, start out with both sticks at the same height. Then, lower one stick by about 3 inches. Then, at the same speed, hit your drum. Notice how one hits right before the other? This is a Flam. You may have already been doing flams already, due to lack of coordination when striking the drum at the same time.
The flam looks like this:
rL rL rL rL rL or lR lR lR lR lR
Make sure you practice the flam both ways, with your right stick hitting first, and your left. These are used in many different applications around the kit. Weather you are using the toms, snare or cymbals, you can use them everywhere. For practicing, try to add them into your normal rudiments. For example, if you are practicing your double stoke roll, instead of tapping twice, try using flams. Here are a few excercises:
Here is a quick video example of the flam stroke on a practice pad:
There you have it. They are not too hard to learn, in fact you probably know how to do it. It is important to master this rudiment when you have, you will have much more control with your sticks, and will be able to make your kit sound that much better. Remember, use proper stick technique, and make sure that you tune your drums before applying this to your kit.
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