March 30, 2008

Learning to Be a Better Rock Band Drummer

If, like me, you’re a total beginner when it comes to drumming, I can’t recommend Harmonix’s Top Tips for Drummers enough. It’s absolutely essential. I wish it was printed out and shipped inside every copy of Rock Band!

I’ll summarize the major points for all those aspiring fake plastic rock drummers out there.

Kick Pedal Foot Advice

  • Your leg should form a right angle when using the kick pedal.
  • Do not lift your foot off the pedal until you have to.
  • Always keep your foot resting on the pedal between hits.
  • Only let the pedal go up a tiny bit between hits.
  • For Expert-level drumming with lots of kick pedal, try switching to heel-up vs. heel-down, as illustrated below.

Heel-down kick pedal approach, best for easy-hard

drums, kick pedal heel down approach

Heel-up kick pedal approach, best for expert

drums, kick pedal heel up approach

Stick Hand Advice

  • Try to use your fingers and wrist, not your forearm. Play smooth, not hard!
  • Your sticks should “bounce” back to their starting point.
  • There are many recurring patterns in drumming; learn to recognize those patterns.

For advanced players, don’t miss this outstanding ScoreHero forum post on stick technique.

Drum Position Advice (not in the article, but it should be)

  1. Secure your drums to the floor so they don’t slide around on you.
  2. Set the drums to the correct height (lowest drum slightly higher than your knee) and distance (roughly an arm’s length, fully extended).
  3. Get a comfortable seat and adjust it so your knee is at a right angle. Ideally, buy a real, adjustable height drum throne!

In general, practice, practice, practice! Rock Band has an outstanding practice mode — use it!

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