Part 1: How to Build Advanced Hand Technique Based on Simple Patterns

This is the first lesson in a three-part series that is to be used in conjunction with the “Rhythm Basics” educational pack we produced for the SYNKD customizable rhythm sequencer app, which is available for iOS devices. This app allows you to create and edit chains of rhythms comprising subdivisions from quarter notes to 32nd notes in any time signature, from 1/4 to 21/16. The Rhythm Basics pack contains nearly 600 fundamental patterns covering every note position of quarter notes, 8th notes, triplets, and 16th notes. This first article shows you several ways in which Rhythm Basics can be expanded to develop more advanced hand technique.

In Exercise 2, we’re simply playing alternating single strokes while accenting one of the rhythm chains from the “Rhythm Basics” pack (Example 1).

In Exercise 3, we’re using flams in place of the accents. Notice that we included sticking variations for this interpretation. The first and second stickings are alternating patterns starting with the right and left hands. The third and fourth sticking patterns use flam taps within the framework.

In Exercise 4, we’re using 32nd-note fill-ins for all of the unaccented notes. This exercise should be practiced with singles and doubles, as indicated in the stickings.

In Exercise 5, all of the accents are played as 32nd notes while the unaccented notes remain as 16ths. Again, practice phrasing the 32nd notes as singles or doubles.

Exercise 6 uses one note rate for the entire bar, which in this case is a 32nd-note subdivision. We chose a mixed paradiddle-type sticking that’s great for improving your diddle control.

The next group of exercises follows the same protocol as Exercises 2–6, but we’ve changed the rhythm chain to one that goes between 16th notes and triplets (Example 7). These types of phrases make for great timing and accuracy practice.

In Exercises 8–12, you have to shift between 32nd-note and sextuplet subdivisions.

Next time we will focus on some ways to interpret the Rhythm Basics patterns on the drumset.

Andy Shoniker is a member of the New York/Paris–based trio SOTL. He is also the creator of the SYNKD app for iOS. For more information, visit,, and