I may earn a commission from the affiliate links on this site. Learn more›
It’s no secret that one of the best ways to improve your drumming is by learning and playing through instructional books. Many professional percussionists credit their success to using these resources.
So whether you’re a beginner drummer or an experienced player looking to expand your knowledge, there’s a book out there that can help you take your playing to the next level. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of 12 of the best drumming books available today. Check it out and find the perfect one for you!
1) The Drummer’s Toolbox
Drum Set Exercise Book with 100 Different Style Guides, Transcriptions, Song Recommendations, and Digital Resources - 435 pages
Brandon Toews’ instructive book The Drummer’s Toolbox offers a thorough introduction to 101 drumming styles from the past century. Drummers of all levels are encouraged to use the book to broaden their musical horizons and develop a broader range of playing styles. In addition, it serves as a comprehensive reference manual for learning and performing drums in any musical genre.
Drummers can learn how each musical genre developed and inspired the next in the book’s historical breakdowns for each style and sub-style. In addition, the best drum performances from every genre are included in the author’s meticulously crafted list of recommended listening material. The book also provides detailed breakdowns of the most significant drum grooves from the previous century, allowing drummers to visualize the rhythms.
Images of the most helpful drum set arrangements used in all musical genres are also included in The Drummer’s Toolbox, assisting drummers in selecting the appropriate equipment. To ensure that drummers get the most out of the book, it provides internet resources such as drumless play-along tracks, Spotify and YouTube playlists, and more.
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Brandon Toews has expertise as a performer, educator, and author. He has been playing the drums for the past 15 years and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in jazz and contemporary popular music. He has studied with numerous eminent teachers and musicians during this time. He is also the Product Director at Musora Media, Inc., the company behind the Drumeo, Pianote, and Guitareo online music teaching platforms, all of which have won awards.
2) The Best Beginner Drum Book
The Best Beginner Drum Book provides you with a clear path for learning the drums while avoiding the frustrating challenges that the majority of beginning drummers encounter.
Jared Falk and Brandon Toews are the authors of the instructional book The Best Beginning Drum Book. The book is intended to be the most straightforward manual for beginning drummers to pick up the drums and advance their drumming.
Everything from setting up your drums—including choosing your kit, setting everything up, and maintaining good posture and positioning—to hand technique recommendations for gripping your drumsticks correctly for each grip type, as well as guidance on mixing various grips, is covered in the book. To broaden your drumming vocabulary and internalize vital patterns for your beats and fills, it also teaches fundamental drum rudiments.
Every beginning drummer should read this book since it contains five essential techniques for playing more tastefully and artistically. Also, it includes The Stylistic Method, which makes it simpler for beginners to master any musical style. You produce a variety of drum beats in 5 primary genres using this method.
The Best Beginning Drum Book also includes information on note values and drum notation insights to help you read sheet music, comprehend patterns better, and pick up the drums more quickly. In addition, it includes rock drum beats and fills to help you hone your technique and play along with some of today’s most popular songs. It also discusses how to use all four limbs simultaneously and independently to gain independence when playing the drums.
The book also includes ten play-along tunes for constructing your own drum parts, using them in a musical context, and having more fun during practice sessions. Jared Falk has more than 15 years of experience with drummers from all over the world and is renowned for his straightforward teaching techniques and intense passion for the drumming scene. Brandon Toews is a seasoned author, educator, and performer living in Vancouver, Canada. He has played the drums for over ten years and has trained privately with several well-known instructors, including Jared Falk (Drumeo) and Brian Thurgood (Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, MacEwan University).
3) Stick Control
Stick Control is one of the most classic instructional books and is often referred to as the bible of drumming. First published in 1935, it remains one of the best drumming books of all time and is essential reading for any percussionist.
The book is divided into four sections, each focusing on a different aspect of Stick Control. In the first section, Stone introduces the reader to the basic principles of Stick Control. In the second section, he explores more advanced concepts such as dynamics and phrasing.
The third section consists of exercises designed to help the reader develop their technique. Finally, Stone provides training designed to improve coordination and speed in the fourth section. Stick Control is an essential book for any drummer who wants to improve their skills. In addition, it is a must-read for anyone serious about learning drums.
4) Ultimate Realistic Rock Drum Method
Carmine Appice’s Ultimate Realistic Rock Drum Method is one of the best-selling drumset books of all time. Appice is a master of rock drumming, and his book covers everything from basic rock rhythms to complex polyrhythms and double bass drum exercises.
So if you’re serious about learning drums, this is the book you need. Ultimate Realistic Rock is the gold standard for rock drumming, and it will help you take your playing to the next level. So don’t be without it – pick up a copy today!
5) Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer
Voted second on Modern Drummer's list of 25 Greatest Drum Books in 1993.
Any drummer worth their salt knows that Ted Reed’s Progressive Steps to Syncopation is essential reading. This classic drum book was voted second on Modern Drummer’s list of 25 Greatest Drum Books in 1993, and for a good reason.
Syncopation is a foundational element of drumming, and this book provides a clear and concise path for learning how to syncopate. It’s perfect for learning jazz comping and can also help strengthen your reading skills. If you’re serious about learning drums, Progressive Steps to Syncopation is a must-have.
6) Master Studies
Master Studies is one of the most iconic drum method books of all time that develops you hands for application in everything from classical, jazz, rock, to even rudiemental playing.
Master Studies is an iconic drum method book by legendary drummer Joe Morello. This workbook of material is perfect for use in practice for jazz, rock, or even rudimental playing.
Master Studies provides concise explanations of accents, buzz rolls, stroke combinations, fills, ostinatos, flams, and more. This book is perfect for learning drums with clear diagrams and plenty of exercises. Master Studies is a must-have for any drummer looking to improve their skills.
7) Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer
Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer is one of the most popular drum books. It was written by Jim Chapin, the father of jazz drumming, and it has helped countless drummers improve their skills.
The book covers many topics, from basic sticking and coordination to more advanced concepts like power and speed. It is an essential resource for any drummer who wants to take their playing to the next level.
Even if you are not a jazz drummer, the concepts in this book can be applied to any style of music. Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer is a must-have if you are serious about learning drums.
8) Portraits in Rhythm
Portraits in Rhythm is a drum book by Anthony Cirone designed to help drummers of all levels improve their skills. The book contains a series of Portraits, or exercises, gradually becoming more difficult as the reader advances.
Each Portrait is accompanied by a detailed description of the intended rhythm and tips on how to execute it. In addition, the book includes a section on learning drums, which provides essential information on posture, hand positioning, and other important concepts.
So whether you’re a beginner looking to learn the basics or an experienced drummer looking to take your playing to the next level, Portraits in Rhythm is an excellent resource.
9) Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset
Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset is a drum book by Frank Malabe and Bob Weiner. The book is designed to help drummers learn Afro-Cuban rhythms. It includes exercises, transcriptions, and tips on how to play Afro-Cuban rhythms.
The book is divided into three sections: Afro-Cuban 6/8 rhythms, Afro-Cuban 12/8 rhythms, and Afro-Cuban 16/8 rhythms. Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset is a great resource for drummers who want to learn Afro-Cuban rhythms.
10) The Sound of Brushes
The Sound of Brushes is a classic drum book by Ed Thigpen. The book covers a wide range of topics related to brushes, from choosing the right drum brush for your playing style to proper brush technique.
The book also includes transcribed solos and grooves from some of the world’s greatest brush masters, making The Sound of Brushes an essential read for any drummer serious about learning how to play with brushes.
The Sound of Brushes is not only an excellent resource for learning about brushes, but it’s also a lot of fun to read. Ed Thigpen’s wit and humor shine through on every page, making The Sound of Brushes a must-have for any drummer’s library.
11) Bass Drum Control
This book is a favorite among drummers for developing bass drum technique and increasing flexibility.
Bass Drum Control by Colin Bailey is a well-known drum book. It is often used by beginners who are learning drums, providing helpful information on how to control the bass drum. However, some experienced drummers also use Bass Drum Control to improve their skills.
The book covers various topics, including proper grip, stroke technique, and footwork. Bass Drum Control is an essential resource for anyone who wants to improve their drumming skills.
Thanks to Colin Bailey’s clear and concise instructions, it is easy to learn the basics of bass drum control. So whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, Bass Drum Control is a great way to improve your drumming skills.
Gaddiments is the first book written by legendary session player Steve Gadd, and it’s a must-read for any drummer who wants to improve their skills. Gadd draws on his decades of experience to share his insights on everything from hand technique to rudiments to drumming with feel.
And if that wasn’t enough, Gadd has also released an accompanying online video course that provides even more guidance on applying the concepts in the book.
So whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, Gaddiments will undoubtedly provide valuable insights on becoming a better drummer.
Learn 10 of Led Zeppelin’s most famous grooves in this FREE Drumeo series!
It’s been a long journey, but we’ve finally reached our list’s end. We hope you enjoyed it and maybe even found a new book to add to your practice routine. If you did, leave us a comment below and let us know which one is your favorite.
Maybe you don’t like reading music. In that case, don’t miss my roundup of the best online drum lessons available. If we missed your go-to instructional method book, let us know so we can check it out for ourselves. Thanks for reading!