As with any other musical instrument, mastering the drums and becoming an expert player takes ambition, time, dedication, and a whole lot of practice. In order to achieve an advanced level of playing, you'll need to work hard at refining the craft of drumming for a number of years. However, that doesn't mean that you (or anyone) can't learn to play a relatively simple drum rhythm that's actually quite popular and common in many famous rock tunes.
Most rock music is written in 4/4 time. If you're not familiar with time signatures like this, the bottom number indicates what kind of note we're using to subdivide the beat. In this case, the "4" indicates quarter notes (an "8" would indicate eighth notes, a "16" sixteenth notes, and so on). The top number tells us how many of that particular note will be found in a measure of music bearing that time signature.
In 4/4 time, there are 4 quarter notes per measure. 6/8 time would indicate that there are 6 eighth notes per measure, 3/4 that there are three quarter notes per measure, and so on.
As I mentioned, 4/4 is the most common time signature found in most rock music and so it's a good idea to be familiar with it.
So, let's get to learning that simple drum beat. If you have a drum kit, that's great but you don't even need any real equipment at all to get the feel of this beat. To start off, take your right hand and tap out an even rhythm on a desk or table. Every four beats you tap will equal one measure of music (that's right, these beats are representing those quarter notes I talked about earlier).
If you do have a drum kit to play on, you'll want to play these hits on the high hat.
Next, we'll add in the bass drum. If you have a kit, you'll obviously be using your foot on the pedal to trigger the drum; if you don't have a kit, simply tap or stomp your foot on the ground. For this beat, you should hit the bass drum or tap your foot on every first and third beat of the measure.
So, you'll hit the hi-hat/desk with your right hand while you hit the bass/floor with your right foot. Then you'll hit the hi-hat/desk by itself and then repeat the process.
To finish up the beat, we'll add in our snare drum with your left hand. Again, this can be a table or desk or an actual snare if you have a drum kit.
For this beat, you'll want to hit the snare on beats two and four along with the hi-hat.
So, our beat becomes bass plus hi-hat followed by snare plus hi-hat followed by bass plus hi-hat followed by snare plus hi-hat.
This is one measure of music which you then should repeat.
Congratulations, you've played a common rock drum beat.
If you'd like to spice things up, you might add a cymbal crash on the "1" of each measure (assuming you have an actual drum kit).
You might also want to try playing eighth notes on the hi-hat while leaving everything else the same. In that case, you'll be hitting the hi-hat 8 times per measure instead of four and instead of counting "1, 2, 3, 4" for each measure you will count "1 &, 2 &, 3 &, 4 &" where the "&," represents lone hi-hat hits without the bass or snare.
You can find many songs by many groups featuring this simple beat and very similar to this one.
The key here is, even though the beat is simple, it works perfectly with the music. Try jamming along to some standard rock type tunes and you'll see what I mean. Have fun with this simple yet effective rock drum beat!
It's worth noting that this rock beat is the most fundamental drum beat and everything else including more complex beats and fills are formed from it and are variations of it.
If you want to take this a step further you can find more detailed information as well as access audio demonstrations through the book Rock Drumming Foundation available on.