12 Impressive Drum Beats and Patterns (With Sheet Music)

12 Impressive Drum Beats and Patterns

Do you want to learn some cool and exciting drum grooves? You’ve come to the right place. I’ve been playing drums for a good number of years, and there are a few beats that I’ve figured out that sound really impressive. 

I’ve written out 12 of them for you to learn. They’re mostly aimed at intermediate and advanced drummers, as they include a range of different techniques and skills on the kit. If you’re a beginner drummer, you may find them quite tricky. 

Remember to play them slowly at first and then gradually speed them up. Good luck! 

Beat 1

Impressive Beat 1

The main idea with this first drum groove is that it’s linear. That means that you don’t play any drums or cymbals at the same time. The great thing about linear ideas is that they’re easy drum beats, but they can be much harder to master. 

It’s also a half-time groove, meaning you only have one loud snare drum in the bar to create a backbeat. 

The rest of the bar is filled with bass drums, ghost notes on the snare, and hi-hat strokes. You’ll also be playing between those as a constant stream of 16th notes. However, you’ll leave one sixteenth note as a rest after the main backbeat on beat 3. 

Beat 2

Impressive Beat 2

This next groove is inspired by Steve Gadd. It utilizes the idea of playing inverted double strokes between your snare drum and hi-hat to create a beat. 

Like the last groove, it’s going to be a half-time beat with one main snare drum note on beat 3. On beat 1, you’re going to play the hi-hat and kick drum. You’ll then play ghost notes on the snare on the “e” and “and” counts of beat 1. 

On the “a” count of beat 1, you’re going to play the bass drum and hi-hat again. You’ll repeat that pattern for beat 2, but you’ll omit the hi-hat note on the last beat of the grouping. This will allow you to move your right hand over to the snare to get ready to play that main backbeat accent. 

Beat 3

Impressive Beat 3

Moving onto something completely different, this groove is going to sound very beefy and powerful. To play it, you’re going to rest your right hand on the floor tom. 

For the first half of the beat, you’re going to alternate between your floor tom and bass drum. You’ll then play the floor tom and snare drum at the same time on beat 2. 

Things will get busier on beat 3 where you’ll double up the number of notes. Use two hands to play two strokes on the floor tom followed by two kick drum hits. Do that again before playing the floor tom and snare drum at the same time on beat 4. 

Anyone hearing a drummer playing this will be very impressed!

Beat 4

Impressive Beat 4

Here’s another busy groove with a lot of depth in how it sounds. It’s also a linear idea, meaning nothing gets played at the same time. 

You’ll start with a kick drum on beat 1. Follow that by playing a rack tom and then a floor tom. Then, you’ll play a kick drum before landing with a flam on the snare on beat 2. 

You’ll keep repeating that idea as the bar goes on, but you’ll change where you’re playing around the toms. 

This is a groove that sounds incredible when you play it at high speeds. It also looks really cool if you do big arm movements while playing around the kit. 

Beat 5

Impressive Beat 5

Here’s a powerful groove that could easily fit into any rock or punk song. You have three hi-hats in a row in the first beat. You may want to play those all with one hand, but it will sound more powerful if you alternate your hands there. 

You then have a snare drum and open hi-hat at the same time on beat 2. You’re going to immediately close the hi-hat on the “e” count of beat 2 to make it sound distinct. 

After that, you have more alternating hi-hat notes before playing two snare drum notes on beat 4. The first one will land on beat 4 itself, while the second one will land on the “and” count of beat 4. You’ll also open the hi-hat again with that one. 

Beat 6

Impressive Beat 6

This groove is inspired by Benny Greb. It’s similar to the beat he plays in one of his songs called Soulfood. 

Instead of the backbeat snare drum notes landing on beats 2 and 4, they’re going to land on the “and” counts of those two beats. This makes the groove sound a bit more driving. 

You also have a repeating syncopated hi-hat pattern that is a bit different from your standard repeating 16th notes. Finally, you’ll fill in the gaps with ghost notes and kick drum strokes. 

Beat 7

Impressive Beat 7

This groove is a half-time shuffle. I’d typically say that a half-time shuffle is a decent intermediate groove that most people know of. However, this one has a bit of a twist. Once again, we’re going to apply the whole linear idea. 

This will sound like a normal half-time shuffle, but you won’t play any of the notes at the same time. This makes it sound slightly more advanced and technical, which is cool! 

It also opens you up to play the same stickings around the kit to get more out of the groove once you’re comfortable with it. 

Beat 8

Impressive Beat 8

For this groove, we’re going to incorporate 32nd notes. These are incredibly quick notes that make the beat sound quite dense. Think of drummers like JD Beck, Steve Gadd, and Louis Cole. They regularly play grooves like this, with JD Beck being a particular standout. 

The 32nd notes are only going to come on beats 1 and 3, though. You’ll go back to playing 16th notes on beats 2 and 4 to give your hands a bit of a break. 

The hardest part of the groove will be playing those quick notes on the hi-hat, so I recommend using your fingers more than your wrists when playing them. 

Beat 9

Impressive Beat 9

Once you’re comfortable with beat 8, you can try this one out. Beats 1 and 3 will be the same as what we played in the last groove, but now you’re going to play even more 32nd notes on beats 2 and 4. 

The trickiest part of this groove is playing the ghost notes straight after the backbeats on beats 2 and 4. That’s already quite hard to pull off, but the fact that the groove is much faster makes it a lot worse. 

Once you have the whole groove perfected, you can start speeding it up. It sounds the best when you play it really quickly. 

Beat 10

Impressive Beat 10

Here’s a heavy drum groove that you’ll often hear in metal tunes. I’ve written it out so that you play it with your hi-hat, but it sounds even better when you swap that out for a thick china cymbal. 

You’re going to play matching eighth notes on the hi-hat and bass drum for the whole bar. While you’re doing that, you’re going to play an array of snare drum notes at varying dynamic levels. 

The accents on the snare drum will create an overriding rhythm, which is the main goal of this whole groove. 

Beat 11

Impressive Beat 11

This groove sounds amazing as both a groove and a drum fill. You’re going to play it in a 16th note triplet subdivision, meaning there are a total of 24 notes in the bar. 

You’re also going to rest your right hand on the floor tom and your left on the hi-hat. You’re then going to slowly play the pattern. 

The one area where you may get caught is when you need to play two kick drums in a row. It will be a bit easier to play with a double pedal. Otherwise, you’ll need to use some sort of foot technique to play it comfortably. I personally use the slide technique! 

Beat 12

Impressive Beat 12

This groove is quite similar to the one we played near the beginning of the list. It also seems like a fairly basic drum beat. However, I’d say it’s one of the hardest drum beats out there to master. 

You’re just going to play alternating 16th notes between your floor tom and bass drum. You’re then going to play the snare drum on beats 2 and 4. It’s easy enough when playing slowly, but the goal is to play it at a really high tempo on the drum kit for a long time. 

You’ll quickly find that it’s not as easy as you’d expect. 


All the grooves and drum patterns I showed you in this list included a range of ideas, including linear patterns, double kicks, and ghost notes. If you want to create your own cool drum beats, you can focus on those specific ideas to go a bit deeper. 

For now, work on perfecting all of these ones to test your abilities. They’re guaranteed to impress your friends and family when you play them! 

My last piece of advice is to always use a metronome when learning them. That will really help solidify your timing.

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