20 Best Drum Patterns to Master in 2024

20 Best Drum Patterns to Master in 2024 20 Best Drum Patterns to Master in 2024

No matter how experienced you are as a drummer, it is essential to possess proficiency in various beats that commonly appear across different musical genres.

Familiarity with these drum beats makes you a more versatile musician and facilitates seamless participation in any gig that comes your way.

Today, we're going to explore some common drum patterns on a spectrum of difficulty levels. However, it's important to note that each one holds significant importance in any drummer's repertoire!

Let's dive in.

20 Common Drum Patterns

Four on the Floor

Now among every groove we're going to discuss today the most basic yet highly impactful one is the four-on-the-floor beat. While it may appear simple, its effectiveness should not be underestimated.

In instances where the drums need to be less prominent during a soft verse, employing this groove with only the bass drum can yield excellent results. To add further depth and variation to the groove, experimenting with hand patterns can introduce intriguing rhythmic nuances.

Straight Eighth Notes

Another one of the first drum patterns that every aspiring drummer learns holds tremendous significance and often serves as the foundation of any rhythmic journey.

Unsurprisingly, the straight eighth drum pattern stands as the most essential groove in drumming. This versatile beat can be applied to a wide range of pop and rock songs, seamlessly complementing the music. You can hear it above in the 1967 Beatles' hit, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

By practicing it diligently at various tempos, you will acquire one of, if not THE most, valuable drum patterns in your drumming arsenal, ready to be deployed whenever the need arises!

Straight Sixteenth Notes

Taking it a step further than your standard eighth notes, we have the 16th note groove.

The incorporation of 16th note beats (typically on the hi-hat) introduces an intriguing variation that feels much busier or more energetic than the 8th notes.

This particular rhythm exudes a heightened level of aggression, making it particularly suitable for up-tempo songs that demand an added punch and power in their musical delivery. You'll often hear this kind of groove in pop, rock, disco, and house music.

Deploying a straightforward 16th groove can infuse any composition with an energetic and dynamic quality, elevating its overall impact.

Disco Groove

Building upon the foundation of the four-on-the-floor rhythm, we encounter the unmistakable disco groove. Originating in the 1970s, this groove continues to find its place in numerous contemporary songs.

Characterized by its driving bass drum and a steady backbeat, the disco groove possesses an irresistible quality that beckons listeners to hit the dance floor. Its infectious rhythm and pulsating energy make it a popular choice for songs played in clubs, bars, and music festivals, as it's ultra-recognizable and easy for the ears to latch onto.

Basic Swing

The basic swing is the most fundamental jazz drum beat, serving as a starting point in the incredibly intricate art of jazz drumming. Given the complexity of jazz as a whole, it's crucial to thoroughly grasp its foundational elements so you have a good jumping-off point for anything else.

In this basic jazz beat, your right hand takes on a swinging pattern, gracefully dancing on the ride cymbal, while your left foot takes charge by closing on drum beats 2 and 4, accentuating the rhythmic pulse.

With the freedom granted to your left hand and right foot, they can dynamically adapt and embellish the groove, giving you more room for artistic expression that best suits the music at hand.

Mastery of the basic swing lays a solid groundwork for exploring the vast realm of jazz drumming.

Half Time Shuffle

The shuffle groove is one of the most advantageous rhythms to learn for drummers, as it provides a valuable opportunity for enhancing hi-hat technique and proficiency in playing ghost notes.

One particular variation of this groove is the half time shuffle, which emphasizes a single primary accent on beat 3 of each bar. The challenge lies in executing the ghost note immediately following the accent, which requires a decent level of precision and dexterity.

Mastering this intricate aspect of the groove contributes to the development of nuanced drumming skills and adds depth to your playing.


Emerging in the 1950s and 1960s, Motown represented a distinctive style of music characterized by an infectious and groove-centric nature. You no doubt know many of the memorable and soulful grooves produced during that era continue, many of which continue to resonate and find practical application in contemporary music.

The fundamental Motown groove presented here serves as a fundamental variation of a classic Motown drum beat, frequently found in old-school funk songs. Its infectious rhythm and undeniable appeal have ensured its longevity and relevance in the music landscape.

Bossa Nova

The Bossa Nova stands as a fundamental Latin drum beat, renowned for its distinct rhythmic characteristics. This groove showcases a repeating bass drum pattern that interplays with a recurring cross-stick pattern, resulting in a seemingly intricate yet captivating groove.

Commonly associated with hotel lounges and elevators, the Bossa Nova has found its place in more relaxed and laid-back settings.

Of course, there are many variations of bossa nova, though the one above is a great place to start. Listen to the song example to get a good idea of the feel!

Train Beat

The train beat finds its prominent place in numerous country and indie songs, delivering a dynamic and propulsive rhythm. This pattern centers around the snare drum, incorporating a blend of ghost notes and accents to create its distinct character.

When playing the train beat, focus on producing soft and subtle ghost notes, which serve as the foundation of the groove. These ghost notes set the stage for the impactful accents that punctuate the rhythm. By contrasting the intensity between the ghost notes and accents, you can achieve a more captivating effect, driving the groove forward with better energy and precision.


Reggae music epitomizes the laid-back vibe, and the reggae drum pattern, otherwise known as the one-drop groove, encapsulates that essence. This rhythmic pattern features a single bass drum note per bar, precisely landing on beat 3.

While the technical execution of the groove itself is relatively straightforward, capturing the authentic laid-back feel poses the biggest challenge.

To master the laid-back feel of the one-drop groove, focus on the subtleties and nuances of your playing. Pay attention to the timing, dynamics, and accents within the rhythm. Aim for a relaxed and loose approach, allowing the notes to breathe and creating a sense of space in the groove.

It may take time to practice to internalize the feel and infuse your playing with the characteristic laid-back quality that defines reggae music, but the more you practice, the easier it'll feel!


Samba stands as one of the most vibrant and energetic Latin grooves, frequently employed in dance-oriented songs. This unique rhythmic style features a rapid tempo, driving the music forward with nothing short of infectious energy.

To play the samba groove, coordinate a repeating foot pattern between the bass drum and hi-hat. This interplay establishes a strong rhythmic foundation. Simultaneously, it's often good to have someone execute a clave pattern and emphasize the syncopated accents, which are integral to samba's lively feel. You can then fill in the remaining 16th notes with subtle ghost notes, adding depth and complexity to the groove.

Remember to maintain a steady and precise execution, especially at faster tempos.


The Soca groove, which is heavily influenced by African rhythms, exudes captivating energy. Its driving force lies in the constant offbeat snare hits that propel the music forward, complemented by a steady four-on-the-floor bass drum pattern.

Soca grooves typically thrive at higher tempos, providing the music with an exhilarating pace. To make these grooves more intricate, you can experiment with varying your hi-hat technique to introduce more engaging rhythmic textures and enhance the overall groove.

Slow Blues

The slow blues groove is a versatile rhythm often found in both blues and R&B songs. It bears a resemblance to a straight 8th beat, providing a solid foundation for many styles of music.

However, in the slow blues drum pattern, there are two hi-hat notes preceding each snare drum hit, distinguishing it from a traditional straight 8th beat. Mastering this drum beat is highly beneficial as it helps develop your sense of groove within different subdivisions.

By incorporating the two hi-hat notes, you cultivate a distinct rhythmic texture that adds depth and character to the groove. As you practice this slow blues pattern, focus on maintaining a steady and relaxed feel. Pay close attention to the timing and dynamics of the hi-hat and snare drum accents to make the rhythm sound more cohesive.

Double Time

Double time refers to a rhythmic technique where the standard note durations within a bar are doubled. In other words, the number of snare hits, for example, is increased from 2 to 4 within a single bar. This technique is commonly employed in fast-paced songs to enhance the rhythmic intensity and propel the music forward.

You'll find this drum pattern in a lot of pop-punk music.

The best way to explore double time is to find a song that switches from half or common time to a faster groove. It's also an excellent music production trick to amp up the energy in a track.

Hard Rock Groove

As you progress in your skills, you might want to explore grooves that have more complexity and interest. One such beat that is commonly learned is the offbeat snare groove, which you'll typically find in heavy rock tracks.

This drum pattern involves playing snare notes on the offbeats, creating a distinctly cool and energetic sound, especially when played with a heavy hand. A well-known example of a song that features this groove is Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

Hip Hop Drum Groove (Boom Bap)

The hip-hop drum pattern, or more specifically the boom-bap drum pattern, is a true emblem of 90s golden age hip-hop. It gained popularity by incorporating sampled breaks from old-school funk and jazz vinyl records discovered through crate digging.

Characterized by its distinctive 16th note kick and snare drum patterns, the boom-bap hip hop drum pattern creates a captivating and rhythmic groove, enhanced by a swung feel that captivates listeners with its rawness.

Given its enduring appeal, it's pretty telling why these timeless hip-hop drum patterns continue to inspire contemporary music even today.

Funk Drum Groove

Funk drumming has a distinctive style that showcases a lively and dynamic kick drum component, often emphasizing syncopated sixteenth notes while maintaining the essential snare backbeats found in basic rock patterns.

The hi-hat work in the above example, "Funky Drummer" is very important, providing a steady and syncopated texture to the groove. The drummer on the record, Clyde Stubblefield, incorporates variations of open and closed hi-hat patterns, adding dynamics and further enhancing the rhythmic complexity of the beat.


The trap beat has become an essential addition to any collection of popular hip-hop drum patterns, as it has permeated numerous music genres and can be heard across the charts today, even in unexpected places like country music.

Typically performed at around 140 BPM, the trap beat showcases heavily syncopated kick drum patterns that allow for endless variations in the hi-hat section. This rhythmic structure creates a sense of anticipation and provides a solid foundation for the distinctive trap sound. Think snappy snare drums and crispy hi-hats.

Renowned for its moody and powerful presence, the trap beat delivers a rolling and dynamic motion that complements melodic loop samples. It's a go-to choice for producers and musicians who seek to infuse any hip-hop drum pattern music with a sense of intensity.

Dem Bow

The Dembow drum pattern, initially made famous by its appearance on Shabba Ranks' track "Dem Bow," continues to captivate listeners with its infectious and dance-worthy rhythm.

Of course, you might also be familiar with this drum pattern on contemporary hits like "Despacito" or Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You."

The essence of the Dembow groove lies in its clever utilization of rhythmic groupings, specifically three, three, and two, which give it its distinctive and hypnotic quality. This pattern thrives at medium to high tempos and is often accompanied by straightforward and repetitive melodic elements.

12/8 Groove

When discussing drum patterns, emotions may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Typically, emotions in music are associated with vocals or melodic instruments.

However, 12/8 drum beats, to me at least, are invigorating.

It serves as a foundational element in the most impactful ballads across various musical genres, though is also a go-to for some of the hardest-driving tracks of all time.

"Hold the Line" by Toto and "Electric Love" by Borns are some of my favorites.

As its name implies, you truly feel the presence of each one of the twelve 8th notes within this rhythm.

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