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Mastering Rudiments - Flams
by Bob Carroll

There are four different families of rudiments: Rolls, Drags, Paradiddles, and Flams. I like to combine rolls and drags into one since they use the same concept. You should spend time developing as many basic rudiments in these families as possible. Use a metronome, play on a practice pad, make sure your note are even, and try to play them on the drumset as well.

Flams are the the most widely misunderstood rudiments. To explain how to flam and to play a single flam is actually very easy. Applying them in patterns such as the flam tap and flam accent gets more complicated. To start out all you need to do is have the correct hand position and your probably 80% of the way to a perfect flam! To play a right flam start with your right stick pointing up in a vertical position and your left stick 1 inch off of the drum head. Now hit both sticks on the drum using the same speed. You just played a right flam! The left flam is the same but you must switch starting positions so you left hand is vertical and your right hand is close to the head.

As you get better and better you can move the top stick down a bit while still maintaining a perfect flam. Remember you want one stick to hit right before the other stick, but they should still sound like one note. If you hit the sticks at the same time you will kill the vibration in the head and it will sound and feel weird. If you give too much space in between the stick hits it will sound like two notes.

Flams are basically decorated accents, throw them in on certain notes to accentuate them. Also practice flams around the drum set, you can try splitting the two hits on different drums! Good Luck Practicing!

Bob Carroll

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