by Rich Redmond

Flams are fun! A flam is defined as a soft stroke, or grace note, and a louder main stroke played closely together to sound like one. Flams can be closed (less space between strokes) or open (more space between strokes). Classical flams are executed by playing the grace note softer than the main note. In rock music, flams are often played with the grace note and main note at the same volume. Experiment with both techniques.

Exercises 1–10 are basic patterns that serve as our building blocks. I then put them together to create more complex phrases in Exercises 11–17.

Many of these exercises have a rock ’n’ roll feel and sound. But you can use them in jazz, funk, or fusion settings by experimenting with dynamics, touch, subdivision, and the tuning of your drums. Try playing the phrases on high-pitched drums for use in a bebop setting.

I hope these exercises inspire you to spice up your drumming with flams. Flam it up!

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