You should always be looking for ways to improve your drumming, no matter how long you’ve been playing. One of the best ways to learn how to become a great drummer is reading books. From learning to read music to practicing exercises, you can find all the tools to becoming a great drummer by reading about the craft from industry experts.
At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we value music education. We believe that spreading the right information can any drummer with their technique. That’s why we’re here to recommend 7 important drum books you should read to become a pro drummer today.
1. Stick Control for the Snare Drummer by George Lawrence Stone
Originally published in 1935, Stick Control has become known as the bible of drumming. It was written by George Lawrence Stone, an American drummer and educator. His students include influential drummers like Joe Morello and Vic Firth.
Though the book specifically teaches the snare drum, the book is extremely useful for learning how to play any drum on a set. Stick Control is filled to the brim with drum exercises, which get more difficult as you progress through it. Stone pays special attention to your weaker hand in order for you to keep good control of your grip.
Stick Control for the Snare Drummer is essential for building technique. Whether you use traditional or match grip, play rock or jazz, this drum book is a must-have. It continues to serve as a guide for percussion books today.
2. Ultimate Realistic Rock by Carmine Appice
Ultimate Realistic Rock is a book of drum set techniques written by Carmine Appice. Appice is a prolific drummer associated with rock music. He is best-known for playing in Vanilla Fudge, King Kobra, and Blue Murder. His classical and jazz-influenced drumming style inspired other famous drummers like Roger Taylor, Phil Collins, and Eric Singer.
The book is the updated version of the most popular rock drumming book of all time, Realistic Rock. It teaches the basic rock rhythms, rudiments, and syncopation exercises from the original. Appice has also written 20 new pages of material and included an educational CD with every copy of Ultimate Realistic Rock.
For the rock music lovers who play the drum set, Ultimate Realistic Rock is the ideal book to help you hit the ground running. We sell this book on the Drum Center of Portsmouth’s online store.
3. Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer by Ted Reed
Progressive Steps to Syncopation is dubbed as another one of the essential books for drummers. The book is filled with exercises that specifically address syncopation. ‘Syncopation’ is defined as putting stress or accents on parts of a piece of music where they wouldn’t normally occur.
Syncopation in drumming is what separates amateur drummers from the drumming greats. Reed’s book is meant to be worked through slowly and with care. It’s meant to help percussionists demonstrate the most control over their sticks.
4. Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset by Frank Malabe and Bob Weiner
This book strays from the standard American styles of drumming. Afro-Cuban Rhythms is meant for those who want to expand their knowledge of the genre. Afro-Cuban Rhythms explores styles like Congo and Merengue and breaks them down into a digestible way.
The book also includes historical information about each style. It also lets its readers know what kind of instruments are most used in the Afro-Cuban styles. This book is ideal for expanding your knowledge about rhythm styles.
5. The Commandments of R&B Drumming by Zoro
For percussionists who want to learn soul, funk, and hip-hop beats, The Commandments of R&B Drumming is a must-read. It’s written by Zoro, a famous percussionist who played with Frankie Valli, Lisa Marie Presley, and Sean Lennon, among many others. Modern Drummer magazine consistently names him the #1 R&B drummer, making him a great authority on the subject.
The book is broken up into three sections: soul, funk, and R&B. Zoro takes the reader through the evolution of each style, as well as artists and styles every drummer should know. The Commandments serves as a thorough guide to grooving, told through Zoro’s unique lens.
6. The Sound of Brushes by Ed Thigpen
The Sound of Brushes is perfect for a percussionist who is looking to master playing with brushes. Brushes are an alternative to sticks that are quieter, but require a completely different technique than traditional sticks. Ed Thigpen aims to help intermediate percussionists pick up a unique drumming skill.
Ed Thigpen’s book provides large diagrams on how to physically play with brushes. Though brushes are mostly used in jazz patterns, Thigpen also covers how to use the brushes in rock, Latin, and R&B genres.
7. Bass Drum Control by Colin Bailey
Colin Bailey’s best-selling drum book, Bass Drum Control, covers the basic elements of bass playing techniques. Bailey is a jazz drummer with a long career of backing for musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. He became a faculty member for North Texas State University, where he went on to educate hundreds of musicians.
Bass Drum Control is used to develop single bass drum skills that can easily be applied to double bass drum playing. Like many other helpful books, this one also features a variety of exercises that should be taken slowly. Making your way through the whole book can drastically improve your foot development over time.
There is a huge selection of books out there to teach any drumming technique you want to learn. These 7 books are important because they cover a variety of styles, techniques, and genres within their pages. We know that these books offer everything you need to know to improve, and we recommend you pick up any of these choices!