What Are Drum Chops & How To Improve Your Drum Chops ?

By JohnPascuzzi

A drummer’s speed, technique, power, timing, dynamic range, and independence are all characterized by their drum chops. It includes all aspects of a drummer’s technical knowledge.

It is crucial to hone your drumming talents to expand your skill set and expressive potential.

Drummers with advanced technical skills can play song rhythms and fill more naturally, making it easier for them to get into the groove and perform “in the pocket.”

A great drummer requires many skills, including solid drumming chops.

We will provide you with additional information about drum chops in this post, but we will also talk about how you should not always place too much emphasis on them when honing your skills as a drummer.

What Are Drum Chops?

What Are Drum Chops
What Are Drum Chops

Played around the drum kit are musical phrases known as “drum chops.” They might be straightforward melodic phrases or quick bursts of notes (often linear patterns). They may be swift or slow. You can practice them on your own or play them along with any song. Learning drum chops is a great way to improve your listening abilities while allowing you to express yourself freely on the drum kit.

The idea that drum chops are “the fastest thing you can play” is a typical fallacy. There is, however, always a melodic method to the craziness for drummers like Eric Moore.

When Should You Start Working On Chops?

Before diving too far into chops while initially learning an instrument, it is crucial to master the sound technique and fundamentals is crucial. Playing in time is the most crucial thing a drummer can accomplish. Save the chops for after if you are still working on keeping a steady beat.

However, after you have mastered a few fundamental beats and rudiments, the world of drum chops will be your oyster. For more seasoned musicians, mastering these techniques might open your ears to musical possibilities you were not even aware of.

*** Read more: How To Tune Drum Set? For Beginners

Hand Exercises

The basics are the basis of everything. Sometimes, when you hear a drummer play a phrase that seems absurdly complex, they only use different variations of fundamental rudiments all over the kit. Some of the more well-liked ones are ruffs, drags, flams, and paradiddles. Learn more about them!

Additionally, it is critical to develop skills with both hands and avoid becoming overly reliant on one. Even though it might be pretty irritating, working on your weaker hand is a significant key to improving, as some of the best technical drummers in the world will tell you.

Foot Exercises

When practicing musical phrases, it is crucial to remember your feet. It can sound amazing by simply inserting a single bass drum note in the phrase’s midsection. It is crucial to practice playing both with your toes up and your heel down on the bass drum pedal. Additionally, more complex ideas, like the slide technique, can improve your playing accuracy and speed. Try playing some basic foot exercises, whether you play a double pedal or a single pedal.

Putting It All Together

You will be prepared to experiment with some musical ideas near the drum kit once you have spent some time working on each of your limbs individually. Grab some ideas here, or select a short statement that includes your hands and feet. It is crucial to begin slowly and increase the tempo gradually. Once you take your time, anything seems doable! Keep your body comfortable, sit up straight, and try to prevent unnecessary movement if you want your phrase to be precise.

How To Make Your Chops Sound Interesting? 

How To Make Your Chops Sound Interesting 
How To Make Your Chops Sound Interesting

#1. Play Around With The Rhythms

Phrasing and note grouping are the two most important aspects of the drumming technique. The greatest ones frequently consist of “permutations,” slightly modified variations of the same notion.

Rhythmic displacement is taking a musical phrase and moving the entire thing ahead or back by one 16th note. You can listen to it at half speed or twice as quickly.

You can employ polyrhythms, which entails simultaneously playing in two separate rhythmic subdivisions (for example, playing in 4/4 time with your hands while playing in 3/4 with your feet).

You can also alter your rhythmic groupings to make the phrase more intriguing. When practicing drum chops, a typical error is simply playing everything in 16th notes. Consider playing your sentences in triplets. You will find that you suddenly have access to an entirely new set of ideas if you continue to use the same adhesive and maintain the same sequence for the notes.

#2. Change The Texture

Inventing the texture is another critical component in creating interesting drum chops. Sometimes all it takes to give your phrase new life is to move where you play specific notes on the kit.

Try shifting one note to the hi-hat if your pattern is on the snare or toms. Alternately, you might play the bass drum with all left-hand strokes. You can use the drums’ rims or even the studio wall. Use your ears as a guide and experiment with various textures and instruments.

#3. Change The Sticking

New musical concepts can occasionally be sparked by using varied sticks while playing the same rhythm. Consider beginning your phrase with the opposite hand or switching to double strokes from single ones. Use the fundamentals as a springboard for original thought. You can even try sophisticated moves like spinning a stick or crossing your hands over one another.

*** Read more: How To Play The Cajon? Everything You Need To Know

How To Improve Your Drum Chops?

How To Improve Your Drum Chops
How To Improve Your Drum Chops

Technical prowess is everything in drum chops. As a result, you should always strive to have strong drumming fundamentals, such as speed, timing, technique, power, dynamic range, and independence.

Playing to your favorite music is not the only way to hone your drumming skills (although this can help when used in moderation to stretch your abilities and keep yourself motivated). A metronome is often used, along with diligent, disciplined, and consistent practice.

Chops Versus Groove

Although you should always work to increase your technical proficiency and drumming chops, this should not always be your primary goal.

Drummers who emphasize chops frequently neglect to perform appropriately to the music and with a steady groove. Drumming requires you to play “in the pocket.”

You might consider introducing extremely quick fills into songs where they are not musically acceptable if you can play at startlingly fast speeds.

As a result, you must have achieved a fair balance between your technical proficiency and overall musicality. This dispute is essentially between a musician and an instrumentalist.

Keep in mind that you are performing music to inspire and engage the audience as a whole. It is not always to stand out and flaunt your technological prowess.

The Importance Of Drum Chops In Different Genres Of Music.

Solid drum chops are essential, depending on the music you are playing.

Some musical styles, like contemporary metal, call for extraordinary drumming prowess in speed and stamina.

Jazz drummers frequently need to create a remarkable balance between powerful drumming talents and an innate sense of the groove.

Good drumming chops are occasionally necessary for modern drummers who play to click tracks and backing tracks, but mainly in the context of solid control and timing.

On the other hand, simple drumming patterns found in music styles like typical rock beats or four-to-the-floor rhythms do not call for much technical showmanship on the drummer’s part. This occasionally causes the music to suffer and can muck up the mix.

Therefore, all parts of drumming are knowing what kind of music you play, what genre you are playing, and how to apply your drum skills to the appropriate context.

*** Read more: How To Set Up A Drum Set? Step By Step Guide

Are Drum Chops Getting More Important?

Are Drum Chops Getting More Important
Are Drum Chops Getting More Important

Drum machines and auto-tune are two factors that have significantly changed what contemporary listeners anticipate from music.

The expectation of listeners that music should be precisely in time and aligned to the grid and beat of a bar has shifted due to drum programming. Audiences now anticipate precise tuning in everything because of auto-tuning.

The differences in production approaches between contemporary musical performances and recordings from around 40 years ago may astound you.

The ability of live drummers to closely mimic the timing, pace, and sound of synthetic drums, drum samples, and drum machines will consequently be expected by audiences.

Drummers are choosing hybrid drum sets more frequently to expand their sound palette. For instance, metal drummers who employ triggers or pop and electronic drummers who use samples and electronic drum pads.

However, it goes beyond the ‘kind’ of sounds alone. The skills of a drummer must change and advance to meet the demands of contemporary musical genres.

Notable Drummers With Amazing Chops

When it comes to good drummers, names like Chris Dave, Jojo Mayer, and Vinnie Colaiuta come to mind first. With these outstanding drummers, you could see what it truly takes to have incredible drum chops and knowledge of the drum set.


The most crucial element is to keep an open mind and attempt new things when experimenting with new concepts in the kit, because there are no rules. Developing your drum chops is an excellent way to broaden your musical horizons and advance your drumming once you can play with good time, taste, and dynamics.

*** Read more: How To Tune Your Drum In 7 Steps – 2022

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