Metal Drumming: 3 Essential Tips for Beginners
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 4 min read


  1. Find the right drum set
  2. Practice your speed and timing
  3. Listen to a wide range of metal music

Diving into the world of metal drumming can be both exhilarating and a bit daunting. But don't worry, we've got your back! If you've been wondering "how to play drums for metal?" you've come to the right place. Here, we'll share some easy-to-follow tips to get you started on your metal drumming journey. So, let's dive right in!

Find the right drum set

First off, the drum set you choose can drastically impact your sound and playing style. Here's what you need to know:

Understanding Drum Types

There's a wide variety of drums out there, but if you're learning how to play drums for metal, you'll want to focus on a set that can handle the genre's intensity. A typical metal drum kit includes a bass drum, snare drum, toms, and cymbals.

  • Bass Drum: This is the big drum that sits on the floor. It provides the low-end thump and is often played with a foot pedal.
  • Snare Drum: The snare sits between your knees and is responsible for the loud, sharp sounds. It's the drum you'll probably hit the most.
  • Toms: These drums add depth to your drumming. They come in different sizes and can be mounted or floor-standing.
  • Cymbals: These are the shiny, round things you see in a drum set. They add color to your sound and come in a variety of types, including hi-hat, crash, and ride cymbals.

Choosing the Right Size

When it comes to size, bigger isn't always better. While some drummers may prefer larger kits, it's essential to choose a kit that you can manage comfortably, especially if you're just starting. Consider factors such as your physical size, reach, and the space you have available for your drum set.

Know Your Budget

Drum sets can range in price, from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. It's a good idea to set a budget before you start shopping around. While it's tempting to go for the top-of-the-line option, remember that learning how to play drums for metal isn't about having the most expensive gear. It's about developing your skills and style.

Trying Before Buying

Finally, if possible, always try before you buy. Each drum set will have a unique feel, so it's essential to find one that feels right to you. Visit a local music store and spend some time playing different sets. This will also give you a chance to ask any questions you might have and get advice tailored to your specific needs.

So there you have it—your first step towards learning how to play drums for metal. Remember, the perfect drum set is out there waiting for you. All you have to do is find it!

Practice your speed and timing

Now that you've got your drum set sorted, it's time to focus on the heart of metal drumming—speed and timing. Here's how you can fine-tune these skills:

Start Slow

Contrary to what you might think, learning how to play drums for metal doesn't mean diving headfirst into breakneck speeds. It's important to start slow. This helps you develop a solid understanding of rhythms and beats, and it gives your muscles time to get used to the movements.

Use a Metronome

A metronome is a drummer's best friend. This handy tool keeps a steady beat, helping you improve your timing and rhythm. Start with a slower tempo, and gradually increase it as you get more comfortable. Remember, speed isn't the end-all-be-all in metal—consistency is key.

Master the Double Bass

Double bass drumming is a staple in metal music. While it may seem intimidating at first, with practice, you'll be able to execute rapid-fire beats with ease. Start by alternating hits on the bass drum with each foot. As you get comfortable, try speeding up while maintaining a steady rhythm.

Practice Regularly

Regular practice is essential in learning how to play drums for metal. Try to set aside dedicated time each day to practice—it doesn't have to be hours on end, even 15-30 minutes daily can make a significant difference. Consistency helps build muscle memory and improves your skills over time.

Remember, every great metal drummer was once a beginner. It's okay to make mistakes and struggle a little. It's all part of the learning process. Keep at it, and soon, you'll be drumming those high-speed beats like a pro!

Listen to a wide range of metal music

Now that you've honed in on your speed and timing, it's time to broaden your horizons. If you're wondering how to play drums for metal, immersing yourself in a variety of metal music is a must. Here's why:

Understand Different Sub-Genres

From thrash to death, doom to power, metal music boasts an array of sub-genres, each with its own unique drumming style. By listening to a wide range, you familiarize yourself with these diverse styles. This not only expands your musical palette but also offers inspiration for your own drumming.

Identify Drum Patterns and Techniques

As you explore different metal tracks, pay attention to the drumming. Can you identify the drum patterns used? What about the techniques? Listening closely helps you understand how these elements come together to create that distinctive metal sound. It's like a masterclass in how to play drums for metal!

Analyze the Greats

Every genre has its legends, and metal is no exception. Listen to the likes of Lars Ulrich, Mike Portnoy, or Dave Lombardo. Analyzing their work can provide valuable insights into successful metal drumming. Notice their speed, timing, and how they use their drum set. What can you learn from them?

Appreciate the Music

Lastly, but importantly, remember to enjoy the music. After all, your passion for metal is likely what drew you to the drums in the first place. As you listen, let the powerful beats, fast tempos, and raw energy inspire your own journey in learning how to play drums for metal.

Listening to a wide range of metal music isn't just about enhancing your drumming skills—it's also about deepening your connection with the genre you love. So, plug in your headphones, hit play, and let the music guide you!

If you're a beginner metal drummer looking to improve your skills and take your drumming to the next level, check out Debbie Knox-Hewson's workshop, 'How to Get Better at What You Do - Go from Good to Great!.' This workshop offers valuable insights and techniques that can be applied to your drumming practice, helping you become the best metal drummer you can be.