How to Play Funk Drums

If you want to play funk drum rhythms, a background in rock helps immensely. Rock and funk drumming have a lot in common, including intense sounds and escalated rhythms. In many ways, funk drumming sounds harder and heavier than drums used in rhythm and blues music. Here's how to play funk drums.

Play syncopated notes off beat. When counting off a piece of music, hit the bass drum between numbers when you count beats.

Practice funk drums with the hi-hat first, then go on to play the bass drum part and finally the snare drum until you master each part. Put them all together and play the composition straight through.

Try new funk drum rhythms gradually. Start at a slow pace, then build up the speed every time you practice. Relax when drumming at a faster tempo.

Separate the beat into its various components. Practice a funk beat using only the hi hat, snare drum or ride symbol. Play right hand and left hand strokes on a single drum or surface until you've mastered the count and proper pressure, then slowly put them together.

Experiment with different funk drum grooves. Play a Cascara beat, an Afro-Cuban groove by using the left hand on the snare drum. Add an extra bass note to spice up the sound.

Beat funk rhythms on the hi hat, followed by 3 fast hi hat beats. Then end with an open hi hat stroke. Practice with a bass player to complement the sound.

Approved by Jesse Anderson