Younger drummers sometimes struggle with triplet phrases, as there are few styles of popular music today that employ triplets as a basis for the feel. However, we have to be ready for these musical situations when they arise. Older rock, country, and jazz tunes are largely based on triplet subdivisions. The phrases throughout this lesson have a great, natural swing, and they’ll help you become comfortable with triplets.

We’ll use an alternating, hand-to-hand sticking in these exercises. The key to making these patterns swing is to play the unaccented notes as low taps and the accented notes as full strokes. At first, play the rhythm on one surface before voicing the accents around the toms. And be sure to cycle through various bass drum and hi-hat patterns to make these figures practical in a musical setting. The ultimate goal is to apply these phrases to musical situations with other musicians. Start slowly, focus on accuracy, and get swinging!

Building Blocks


Rich Redmond drums for country star Jason Aldean, is an award-winning clinician, and is an active session drummer in Nashville and Los Angeles. His recent book/DVD, FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids (coauthored with Michael Aubrecht), is available through Modern Drummer Publications.