This excerpt is taken from the complete article that appears in the October 2016 issue, which is available here.

Strictly Technique

Swiss Rudiments

Part 1: Basil Drumming Basics

by Claus Hessler

Welcome to the first of a four-part series on Swiss rudiments and Basel drumming. In this lesson I’ll focus on some specialties of the Basel style that aren’t usually included in the standard list of forty Percussive Arts Society rudiments. The accompanying video, available at, demonstrates this style’s feel and includes some additional explanations.

To increase authenticity I’m using a notation method, developed by the late, respected Basel instructor Dr. Fritz Berger, that’s similar to how the Swiss might write these patterns. In this lesson’s key, notes above the staff line indicate right-hand strokes, while notes below the staff line indicate left-hand strokes. The small lines attached to the tops of some note heads indicate flams.

One major difference between U.S. and Swiss traditional rudimental drumming is the prevalence of a pattern known as the doublé (pronounced “doo–blay”). This figure is basically an inverted flam tap but with a special phrasing. Exercise 1 will help you develop a better understanding of this pattern. In this exercise, I’m using a strategy Jim Chapin developed in which he collapsed rudiments by changing the distance between a rudiment’s strokes without altering the sticking.


For the complete lesson with transcriptions, check out the October 2016 issue, which is available here.

Learn more about the October 2016 Issue of <Modern Drummer magazine featuring Toto’s Shannon Forrest