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If you are looking for the best drum books, then you’ve come to the right place. We have compiled some of the top picks that are indispensable for any drummer out there.
The best drum books cover topics like proper techniques, rudiments, popular grooves and beats, warm-up exercises, and more. They will also contain notation and illustrations to help you understand the concepts better.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced pro, these books have something to offer everyone. Read on to discover our recommended drum books that can help you become a better player.
What are the Best Drum Books?
How I Tested and Selected the Best Drum Books
I’ve worked through dozens of drum books since I started playing, and some of them stuck out much more than others when thinking about how much value they offered.
There are still a few drum books that I pull out to work through exercises, and I’ve owned those for almost two decades.
When considering drum books for this list, I mainly checked how much value they offered. I then looked at how easy they were to use, and I followed that by seeing how fun they were to work through.
Some drum books are incredibly useful, but they’re not that much fun, so I made sure to find a good balance when compiling this list.
In-Depth Drum Book Reviews
In first place for the best drum book for beginners is the legendary Stick Control For The Snare Drummer. This drum book is widely regarded as the all time greatest instructional drumming book created – also known as the ‘bible of drumming’.
When I first learned to play the drums, this was the book that my drum teacher swore by. I didn’t agree with him at the time, as the book didn’t involve playing any fun grooves. However, I quickly realized how useful all the hand exercises were, and they definitely made me a better drummer.
This is one of the best drum books, and it’s entirely focused on building and developing hand technique and drumstick control. Let me just say, it does exactly that!
As the name suggests, this book was originally intended for snare drummers. But it has become an institution within the drumming world. Every great drummer has completed the exercises within this book.
With consistent and dedicated practice, you can expect to build precision, speed, control and coordination by working through the hundreds of sticking patterns found within the book.
The drumming book contains an enormous list of rhythmic exercises with different combinations of sticking patterns that are suitable for all levels of drummers.
Working through stick control for the snare drummer with a metronome and a practice pad is the best way to improve your timing and feel as well as hand dexterity and precision.
It’s without a doubt one of the best drum books and at a very affordable price; it’s an indispensable tool for any progressing drummer.
- Suitable for beginners to advanced drummers
- Particular emphasis on improving the weaker hand
- Affordable and incredible tool
- No exercises for foot development - only hand exercises
Tommy Igoe’s Groove Essentials is a legendary drum book that includes over 6 hours of music and sheet music to play along to. This really is one of the best drum books for building a strong musical identity and sense of groove.
This book was more up my alley when I was first learning to play. It’s highly practical, teaching you how to play grooves in dozens of styles. It still remains one of my favorite drum books to this day.
Groove Essentials includes 47 grooves with over 100 variations to practice to and 88 play along tracks that can be streamed or downloaded. This book really is an interactive groove experience for beginners right through to experienced drummers.
This drum method book is an exceptional system for teaching you how to be not only a great drummer, but also a tasteful musician!
Groove Essentials will help to instill a strong sense of feel, timekeeping and musicality that will allow you to be a dependable and rock-solid drummer within a band setting.
From simple rock beats to jazz shuffles, this drum book will show you how to play it all, accompanied with professional charts and great sounding backing tracks.
It will help to build your musical skills, creativity, improvisation and understanding of phrasing.
If you’re looking for one of the best drum books that is an absolute must-have then Groove Essentials has got to be on your list.
- Interactive groove experience with play along music
- Teaches you how to be a tasteful drummer in a band
- Improve your sight reading with professional charts
- Swift changes in musical styles can be challenging
Advanced Techniques For The Modern Drummer by Jim Chapin was written in 1948, and it is still the number 1 best-selling drum set book in the world.
As a matter of fact, this drum method book has been loved by many greats including the legendary John Bonham – who used this book to enhance his independence.
This is a fantastic drum book that will help to improve all areas of your playing, from stick control, power, and speed to independence and coordination. Included with the book are 2 CDs so you can hear how the patterns are intended to be played.
This drum book is designed with jazz drum set players in mind, but the exercises will help all types of players. The exercises can be quite challenging as the book progresses, so it is ideal for experienced players too.
When I first wanted to learn how to play jazz, this was the book that was recommended to me. I remember struggling with the exercises on the very first page, but I was eventually able to play them, and my jazz comping abilities got a lot better thanks to the book!
This may not be the best drum book for the complete beginner, but it is a classic that still proves itself as the best-selling drum book in the world. It’s definitely worth the investment!
- 2 CDs included to listen to the rhythms
- Improve coordination and subdivision awareness
- Independence will give you the winning edge
- Focused mainly on jazz music
- Challenging for beginners
Progressive Steps To Syncopation For The Modern Drummer contains a huge variety of rhythmic patterns that will challenge you to improve your ability to read music significantly.
This is the one book that opened up new ways of playing the drums for me, and it allowed me to expand my musical ideas.
Syncopation For The Modern Drummer includes an enormous array of exercises featuring all different subdivisions and dotted notes to strengthen your understanding of syncopation and timing.
For beginners and experienced drummers alike, this drumming book is really practical and it’s super rewarding to learn from. It will build and develop control, limb independence, and feel when practiced to a metronome.
Syncopation For The Modern Drummer is another must-have and one of the best drum books to open up a whole new world of rhythmic possibilities.
- Fantastic subdivision exercises
- Strengthen understanding of syncopation & time
- Improve all areas of your playing
- Not suitable for complete beginners
- Challenging but rewarding
- Requires immense patience
4-Way Coordination is another one of the best drum books designed to provide a drummer with the tools to develop a high level of control between both the hands and feet.
The book guides you from simple patterns all the way to advanced polyrhythm exercises, which will be difficult even for experienced players!
This really is an amazing drumming book that contains the best drum exercises to strengthen coordination and limb independence.
The most skilled drummers display incredible precision with both hands and feet, and this book will challenge you to play a variety of independent exercises with greater accuracy.
This was another book that really challenged me when I worked through it. It made me realize how I struggled to keep my left foot going while playing with all my other limbs, and it helped dramatically to improve that skill.
Demonstrating independent control of your separate limbs whilst playing the drums is a coveted skill that will put you in the highest bracket of drummers. If you want to expand your repertoire and improve your coordination tremendously then 4-Way Coordination is just the ticket.
The exercises within 4-Way Coordination are indeed challenging, but dedicated practice will provide you with immediate and lasting results – significantly improving your ability behind the drum set.
- Expand your drumming repertoire
- Build weak hand and foot control
- Independence is the key to drumming success
- Requires lots of experimentation and patience
Drum Books Buyer's Guide
Drum books are incredibly valuable tools for developing skills on the drums. They provide a wealth of information that can help both beginners and experienced drummers alike become better players.
With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the right book for you or the person you are buying for.
It is important to know your skill level (or the person you are buying for) when it comes to reading drum notation. If you do not know how to read notation, I put together a handy guide here on how to read drum sheet music for you to read.
You’ll want to consider the following things so that you know you’re buying the right book for your needs and skill level.
Does the book cover the particular topics and skills you are interested in learning? Will it be engaging enough for consistent practice?
Is the book too advanced for someone who is just starting out, or can it be used by a wide range of skill levels? Is the book too advanced or too basic for your current playing level? Reading a book that is not up to your skill level can be unhelpful and even discouraging.
Does the book contain lots of notation to make learning easier? If so, can you or the person you are buying for understand it to a satisfactory level?
Are there audio tracks to make practicing easier and more effective? If you or the person you are buying for are better at learning by listening and repeating back what you hear (like myself), then you may want to buy a book that has audio provided.
Depending on your budget, it’s important to compare prices and find the best value for money when buying a book.
Benefits of Reading Drumming Books
There are numerous benefits to be had from investing in a new drum book. With regular dedicated practice, they will provide you with the knowledge and techniques to help you become a better drummer.
They can even open up new sides to your playing that you may not have known existed. With the right book in your hands, the possibilities are endless!
Here are some of the elements of your playing you can expect will improve by reading drumming books and committing to regular practice.
- A strong sense of feel, timekeeping, and musicality on the drums.
- Learning rudiments, grooves, and other basic techniques with muscle memory.
- Building your speed and accuracy through regular practice.
- Ability to play a wider range of musical styles with accompanying sheet music and audio tracks.
- Complete independence of all four limbs with fluidity and control.
- Improved confidence as a drummer and musician.
What Book Should I Buy a Beginner Vs An Experienced Drummer?
Drumming books should also be tailored to your experience level as a drummer—whether you are an advanced player or just starting out.
For beginners, a great place to start is with an instructional book that focuses on playing basic techniques and rudiments. This will teach you essential sticking patterns, beats, and grooves that form the foundation of any drummer’s playing.
These books will also cover basic concepts such as notation, timing principles, and various types of beats.
Crucially, they will also help you develop hand-eye coordination and muscle memory, so you can play accurately and fluidly.
Advanced players will benefit more from books that focus on special techniques, improvisation, and coordination.
When choosing a book for yourself or someone else, you may want to consider the author’s background and experience in playing drums.
Overall, the best drum books offer plenty of exercises and notation to help players understand the material better. Oftentimes they also include audio or video content so that you can practice along with a demonstration.