I recently started using drum software to create drum tracks for music I play on guitar. I know nothing of drum theory, so I feel rather lost.

Are there any online resources and/or books that would give me sufficient knowledge of drum theory that would give me better insight as to creating drum tracks?

  • Questions about requesting external resources are off-topic here.
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    Jul 8, 2018 at 0:00
  • @David Bowling, seeing as this question and its accepted answer are from 2014, there's gotta be a way to brand this question as historic, right? I think I've seen the "historic" label on this stack exchange before....
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    Jul 8, 2018 at 5:59
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    Jul 8, 2018 at 13:00
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    Jul 9, 2018 at 13:31

2 Answers 2


As a guitarist who also does some beatmaking/computer music production myself, I understand where you are coming from. I'm not a drummer, so I can't really offer solid theory per se, but I can give you some advice to get started.

Listening to beats in songs you like is a great place to start. Listen for the kick drum, snare drum, and hi-hats. For rock, pop, hip-hop, jazz, blues, and any genres that use a drum kit, those are the three main components that make up a beat. Even newer EDM type stuff is based on those three drums, with some variations thrown in.

Depending on which software you use I have found Youtube to be a pretty good resource for this kind of thing as well. For a more specific details, let me know what software you are using and what music genre you are aiming for.

Quick tip: Snare on beats 2 and 4, bass/kick drum on 1 and 3, and hihats on eighth-notes is the standard starting place for most rock/pop drumbeats. You'll recognize it once you hear it.

A couple ones I have found helpful on Youtube:


Point Blank

they both offer paid classes, but they have a lot of free content up on Youtube as well. I really can't overstate the usefulness of Youtube in this siutation.

Edit 2 after comment: I use Ableton Live which uses more of a grid-based approach, where you either play the keyboard or just draw in the notes one-by one on a rhythm grid. But in general, in hard rock or metal, its the same general beat I described, but usually they just do more with the bass/kick drum. In metal especially there is a lot of fast kick drumming, where they use two foot pedals or even two kick drums to punch out the rhythm in 1/8th notes, 16ths, or even 1/32 notes. Also they hit the snare on beats 2 and 4 as usual, and instead of a hi-hat they will ride the 1/8 notes on cymbals for a heavier sound. (standard rock example with fills / metal example / hard rock example with more kick/snare variations) Of course on top of the standard beat they will throw in fills that include more cymbals and the toms, but those are usually just variations used between sections and require more complex patterns and explanations.

From what I can tell, Ez Drummer uses a different approach where it has a lot of built in beats and loops that you play around with to find a combination you like. I don't see much about programming in beats yourself, and although I'm sure thats possible, for your purposes it seems more like you can just mix and match with the presets they have built in.

Again, with this type of thing its much easier to SHOW you than TELL you, so here are a couple examples:

And more where that came from: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ezdrummer+2+tutorial+

  • I use EZdrummer 2. My main obstacle is to translate the beat in my head to the software, but I get the feeling it will get better with time. I'm not aiming for a specific genre, but at the moment I'm trying to create hard rock/metal music. What software do you use? Sep 10, 2014 at 14:52
  • More above, but like any instrument, even virtual drums will take practice. The more beats you make and the more familiar you get with the software, the better you get at translating whats in your head to what comes out of your speakers. For your purposes it might help to try to tap out rhythms on a keyboard (you can use a MIDI keyboard, or some software allows you to use the computer keyboard). That might give you a more direct connection between whats in your head and what comes out. This is a skill all in itself that requires practice as well (see: finger-drumming/controllerism).
    – charlie
    Sep 10, 2014 at 20:49
  • I agree that using a MIDI keyboard would be a good idea, however I'd prefer if I could use my computer keyboard. What is that function called, using your computer keyboard instead of a MIDI keyboard? All results I find via google search are MIDI keyboard related instead of computer keyboard, perhaps I'm lacking the proper terminology? Sep 11, 2014 at 13:46
  • I don't think there is a standard name for it. Garage Band I believe lets you do it by default. Are you running EZ Drummer through GarageBand or by itself? Either way (two different links): homerecording.com/bbs/general-discussions/newbies/… ehow.com/how_6859493_do-ez-drummer-standard-keyboard_.html
    – charlie
    Sep 11, 2014 at 18:14

As a drummer, I'll recommend you the same thing as Charles did: listen to the songs you like and you want to get inspired from.

Now if you want some typical beats in every genre, from the easiest to the hardest, Onlinedrummer.com is a good website where you can find some drum beats, how it is written (drumly speaking) and how it sounds. When I lack inspiration, this is one of the website I'm visiting, they are really diversified.

Then if you want to make your drums sound better... Well it should exist plenty of tutorials teaching you how to build a good rock/jazz/blues/EDM drumkit, according to the software you are using.

But as Charles said: listen, listen, listen and listen to songs, this is the only way you will realize that the world of drums is really a coded world.


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