Drum Books

Books to Practice With

To get better you have to practice. You don't have to take lessons or even read music, but both are quite helpful. I would really rather just play than read music, but there is a lot to master, even in the realm of simple rock and roll drumming, which is what I'm interested in. I have two books to recommend for anyone like me who really wants to get better at simple rock and roll drumming and is maybe having a hard time with it.

The Rock and Roll Bible (of Coordination) - Joel Rothman (about $10.00)

Just breaks it all down into all the varieties of simple logical patterns which must be mastered one by one. The secret in these books is the repeat sign at the end of each execise. You tend to want to just cruise through a page at a time, but you should play each one over and over even if you can play it OK. This book is a classic. He has lots of others, which are probably just as good. A couple that I know are Soul on Bass and Rudiments Around the Drumset. Here are a couple of possible sources for this hard to find (and maybe out of print) book:      ForeverDrumming.com      DrumPlace.com

The Encyclopedia of Groove - Bobby Rock (about $25.00)

When I took lessons, this was the book I used. My teacher said it was the main book he used. Another drummer had also recommended it. Unlike the more drill-oriented books like the one above, this one goes from easy to a little difficult in two pages. At least for me it was. The hangup for me was 16ths on the bass, which I'm still obsessed with working on. I'm still working on the first 8 or 10 pages. It doesn't hurt to jump ahead, like to the fills section. Comes with a CD.
Read about it or order it from Amazon. Or the author's website: BobbyRock.com

Books to Read

The Cymbal Book - Hugo Pinksterboer
1992 Hal Leonard Corporation ISBN 0-7935-1920-9 ($24.95 paperback) 212 pages
This is an awesome book! If you are a drummer at any level or at all interested in cymbals or drumming you will flip out over it. You will learn a lot every time you pick it up and read a few pages here and there. This book covers every aspect of the vast and interesting subject of cymbals very thoroughly. This is one of those special books that is obviously a labor of love. There's no point in anyone else doing a book about cymbals - it's been done. Get this book! (Excellent present for any drummer, beginner or master). Read about it or order it from Amazon.

Drum Tuning - A Comprehensive Guide to Tuning Drums - Larry Nolly
1994, 1988 Drumstix Publishing 28 pages (8.5" x 11" paperback $12.95) ISBN 0-9644658-1-7
Excellent book thoroughly covering the subject of tuning the drums in a drumset.
Read about it or order it from Amazon

Drumming At the Edge of Magic - Mickey Hart
Micky Hart was one of the drummers for the Grateful Dead. This is the story of his exploration into the history, spirit and mythology of drumming. Very interesting and highly recommended. Read about it or order it from Amazon

Planet Drum - Mickey Hart
Features tons of pictures of percussion instruments from around the world.
Read about it or order it from Amazon

The Drum Book (A History of the Rock Drum Kit) - Geoff Nichols
Mainly a picture book with lots of famous drumsets and famous drummer's drumsets. Has info on the history of the drumset and the major drum makers.
Read about it or order it from Amazon

Give the Drummers Some! (The Great Drummers of R&B, Funk and Soul) - Jim Payne
Interesting interviews with 24 different drummers. Includes photos, discographies, and a CD with examples of rhythms.
Read about it or order it from Amazon

And an Essential Video:

Of course, there's actually a bunch of drum videos which can be useful to see. I haven't yet started to look at drum videos. But I do have an excellent video on the subject of drum tuning:

Drum Tuning - Sound and Design by Bob Gatzen, published by DCI.
Lots of basic knowledge about an essential and mysterious subject. Read about it or order it from Amazon

There is also a video called Basic Drumset Tuning by Roy Burns, president of Aquarian Drum Heads. This is not a video about tuning drums. It is a 25-minute ad for Aquarian drumheads in which the subject of drum tuning is just briefly mentioned once or twice.

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Revised 06/05/03.      Links checked 12/08/99.