Popular Play-Alongs, Part 2: Pop-Punk

Donny Gruendler

October 2012

Jobbing Drummer

Popular Play-Alongs

Part 2: Pop-Punk

by Donny Gruendler

In our first play-along article (July 2012), we developed the proper performance technique, groove vocabulary, and sound to play a Top 40 Justin Timberlake–style tune. This month we’re going to work through a pop-punk chart titled “Fall in Beat.”


Pop-punk is a subgenre of alternative rock that combines the melodies, chord changes, and grooves of pop music with speedy punk tempos and loud, driving guitars. Green Day and Weezer were the first bands to popularize this style, in the early 1990s, and in recent years groups like Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco!, and My Chemical Romance became quite successful in the genre.

This tune has an ABABC form. Each letter represents a phrase comprising a particular melody, chord structure, and groove.

The A section features a straight-8th hi-hat pattern with quarter notes on the bass drum and an open hi-hat accent on the “&” of each beat. In order to correctly play this groove, which requires plenty of forward motion, you must avoid flamming between the bass drum and snare. Advertisement

The pattern in the B section has a double-time feel, which puts the snare on the “&” of each beat. This groove gives the illusion that the song speeds up, generating a lot of musical excitement. The hi-hat plays 8th notes, and the bass drum employs 16th notes that don’t always line up with the hi-hat.

There’s an additional eight-bar section (labeled C) added to the ABAB form. This part also has a double-time feel, but here you’ll be playing 16th notes on the ride while the hi-hat closes on the offbeats in unison with the snare.

Here’s a demo mix of the complete tune with drums.

 or download mp3 here

Here’s a mix minus drums for you to play along with.

or download mp3 here

Here’s the drum chart to the tune “Fall in Beat.” (Click to enlarge images)

Be sure to check out the complete article in the October 2012 issue of Modern Drummer for additional tips on how to play this tune.