Top 25 Slang For Drums – Meaning & Usage

Drums, the heartbeat of any band, have their own unique language and slang. From terms that describe different drumming techniques to words that capture the essence of the instrument, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to tap your feet and dive into this listicle that unveils the top slang for drums. Whether you’re a seasoned drummer or just starting out, this article is sure to drum up some excitement and expand your musical vocabulary.

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1. Skins

This term refers to the surface of the drum that is struck to produce sound. “Skins” is a slang term commonly used by drummers to refer to drumheads.

  • For example, a drummer might say, “I need to change the skins on my snare drum.”
  • In a discussion about drumming techniques, someone might comment, “He really knows how to make those skins sing.”
  • A drummer might ask, “Do you prefer coated or clear skins for your toms?”

2. Sticks

These are the tools used by drummers to strike the drumheads and produce sound. “Sticks” is a common slang term for drumsticks.

  • For instance, a drummer might say, “I need to buy some new sticks before the gig.”
  • In a conversation about drumming styles, someone might mention, “He has incredible speed and control with his sticks.”
  • A drummer might recommend, “Try using lighter sticks for a more delicate touch on the cymbals.”

3. Kit

This term refers to a collection of drums and cymbals that are set up together for a drummer to play. “Kit” is a widely used slang term for a drum set.

  • For example, a drummer might say, “I just bought a new kit with a 5-piece configuration.”
  • In a discussion about drumming equipment, someone might ask, “What brand of kit do you recommend for a beginner?”
  • A drummer might comment, “I love the sound of my vintage kit. It has so much character.”

4. Chops

In the context of drumming, “chops” refers to a drummer’s technical skill and ability to perform complex rhythms and techniques.

  • For instance, a drummer might say, “He’s got serious chops. His solos are mind-blowing.”
  • In a conversation about practicing, someone might ask, “How do you develop your chops?”
  • A drummer might comment, “I’ve been working on my chops for years, and I’m still learning new things.”

5. Groove

In drumming, “groove” refers to the rhythmic feel and flow of a musical passage. It describes the sense of timing and the interaction between the drums and other instruments.

  • For example, a drummer might say, “That song has such a tight groove. It’s impossible not to move to it.”
  • In a discussion about playing in a band, someone might comment, “The drummer really locks into the groove and drives the song.”
  • A drummer might recommend, “Focus on playing with a solid groove. It’s the foundation of any good rhythm section.”

6. Snare

This is a type of drum that is typically made of wood or metal and has a series of wires or cords stretched across the bottom head. It is known for its distinctive crackling sound.

  • For example, a drummer might say, “I love the crisp sound of the snare drum in this song.”
  • In a discussion about drum kits, someone might ask, “What kind of snare are you using?”
  • A music producer might comment, “The snare really drives the rhythm of the track.”

7. Kick

The kick drum, also known as the bass drum, is a large drum that is played with a foot pedal. It produces a low, deep sound and is a fundamental part of the drum kit.

  • For instance, a drummer might say, “I need to work on my kick drum technique.”
  • In a conversation about drumming styles, someone might mention, “He has a powerful kick drum sound.”
  • A music critic might write, “The kick drum provides a solid foundation for the song.”

8. Double bass

This refers to a drum set up that includes two bass drums instead of the usual single bass drum. It allows for more intricate and faster bass drum patterns.

  • For example, a drummer might say, “I love the speed and power I can achieve with double bass.”
  • In a discussion about drumming techniques, someone might ask, “Do you prefer playing with a double bass setup?”
  • A music teacher might advise, “Practicing double bass exercises can greatly improve your foot coordination.”

9. Blast beat

A blast beat is a fast and aggressive drumming technique commonly used in extreme metal genres. It involves rapid alternating hits between the snare drum, bass drum, and hi-hat.

  • For instance, a drummer might say, “I’ve been working on my blast beats to improve my speed.”
  • In a conversation about metal music, someone might mention, “The drummer’s blast beats really add intensity to the song.”
  • A music journalist might write, “The blast beat is a signature element of extreme metal drumming.”

10. Offbeat

In drumming, the offbeat refers to the weak beats or the notes that fall between the strong beats. It creates a syncopated rhythm and adds a sense of groove and anticipation to the music.

  • For example, a drummer might say, “I like to accentuate the offbeat to give the music a funky feel.”
  • In a discussion about drum fills, someone might mention, “He played a killer offbeat fill in that song.”
  • A music producer might comment, “The offbeat rhythm really drives the energy of the track.”

11. Syncopation

Syncopation is a musical term that refers to the deliberate shifting of accents or emphasis to weak beats or offbeats. It creates a sense of unexpectedness and adds a dynamic and groovy feel to the music.

  • For example, in jazz music, syncopation is commonly used to create a swinging rhythm.
  • A drummer might say, “I love adding syncopation to my beats, it gives them a unique feel.”
  • In a drumming workshop, an instructor might explain, “Syncopation is a key element in Latin American percussion, such as the samba and bossa nova.”

12. Shuffle

Shuffle is a drumming technique that involves playing a rhythmic pattern with a swing feel. It creates a laid-back groove by emphasizing the offbeats and adding a shuffle-like swing to the music.

  • For instance, in blues music, the shuffle rhythm is often used to create a relaxed and swinging feel.
  • A drummer might say, “I love playing shuffles, they have such a cool groove.”
  • In a band rehearsal, a guitarist might say, “Let’s add a shuffle rhythm to this song, it will give it a bluesy vibe.”

13. Flam

A flam is a drumming technique that involves playing two slightly offset strokes with one hand. The first stroke is softer and precedes the second, creating a distinct sound with a quick burst of volume.

  • For example, in marching band music, flams are often used to add accents and create a sense of excitement.
  • A drummer might say, “I’ve been working on my flam technique, it’s a great way to add dynamics to fills.”
  • In a drumming tutorial, an instructor might demonstrate, “To play a flam, start with a soft tap followed by a strong stroke with the same hand.”

14. Drag

A drag is a drumming technique that involves playing a quick, softer note before a main note. It adds a subtle ornamentation and a smooth transition to the main note.

  • For instance, in jazz drumming, drags are often used to create a swinging feel and add complexity to the rhythm.
  • A drummer might say, “I like using drags to add some flavor to my beats.”
  • In a drum lesson, an instructor might explain, “To play a drag, start with a quick tap followed by a stronger stroke on the same drum or cymbal.”

15. Paradiddle

A paradiddle is a four-stroke drumming pattern that alternates between single and double strokes. It is one of the most basic and commonly used rudiments in drumming, providing a foundation for developing hand coordination and speed.

  • For example, in rock music, paradiddles are often used to create fast and rhythmic drum fills.
  • A drummer might say, “Practicing paradiddles helped me improve my hand independence.”
  • In a drumming workshop, an instructor might teach, “The paradiddle pattern is RLRR LRLL, with R representing right hand and L representing left hand.”

16. Cowbell

A percussion instrument consisting of a metal bell attached to a handle. It is often used to keep time in various styles of music, especially in Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms.

  • For example, “More cowbell!” became a popular catchphrase after a Saturday Night Live skit featuring a fictional band that insisted on adding more cowbell to their song.
  • In a discussion about percussion instruments, someone might say, “The cowbell adds a distinct rhythm and groove to the music.”
  • A drummer might comment, “I always make sure to have a cowbell on my drum kit for that extra layer of percussion.”

17. Woodblock

A percussion instrument made of a hollow block of wood that is struck with a mallet or drumstick. It produces a sharp, resonant sound and is often used in orchestral and traditional music.

  • For instance, in a symphony orchestra, the woodblock might be played during a dramatic moment in the music.
  • A percussionist might say, “The woodblock adds a unique texture to the overall sound of the ensemble.”
  • In a discussion about different percussion instruments, someone might ask, “What’s the difference between a woodblock and a temple block?”

18. Tambourine

A percussion instrument consisting of a circular frame with metal jingles or discs attached to it. It is played by shaking, tapping, or striking the instrument to produce a jingling sound. The tambourine is commonly used in various genres of music, including rock, folk, and pop.

  • For example, in a live band performance, the lead singer might grab a tambourine and play it during a catchy chorus.
  • A musician might say, “The tambourine adds a bright and lively element to the song.”
  • In a discussion about percussion techniques, someone might mention, “I love the sound of a tambourine roll in a song.”

19. Maracas

A pair of handheld percussion instruments usually made of hollow gourds or plastic shells filled with small objects, such as beads or seeds. They are played by shaking them back and forth to create a rattling sound. Maracas are commonly used in Latin American and Caribbean music.

  • For instance, in a salsa band, the percussionist might play the maracas to add a rhythmic groove to the music.
  • Someone might say, “The maracas bring a festive and energetic vibe to the song.”
  • In a discussion about different types of percussion instruments, someone might ask, “What’s the difference between maracas and castanets?”

20. Djembe

A rope-tuned skin-covered drum played with bare hands. It originates from West Africa and is known for its deep, resonant sound. The djembe is often used in traditional African music and has gained popularity in various genres worldwide.

  • For example, in a drum circle, someone might play the djembe to provide a steady rhythm for other participants.
  • A percussionist might say, “The djembe has a rich and earthy tone that adds depth to the music.”
  • In a discussion about different types of drums, someone might ask, “What’s the proper technique for playing the djembe?”

21. Skinsman

This term refers to a drummer, specifically focusing on the fact that drums are typically covered with animal skin. The term “skinsman” emphasizes the importance of the drummer in a band or musical performance.

  • For example, a music critic might say, “The skinsman really stole the show with his incredible drum solos.”
  • In a conversation about a new band, someone might ask, “Who’s the skinsman in that group?”
  • A drummer might proudly introduce themselves by saying, “I’m a skilled skinsman, ready to rock any stage.”

22. Beatbox

Beatboxing is a vocal technique where a person uses their mouth, lips, tongue, and voice to imitate drum sounds and create rhythmic patterns. A “beatbox” is someone who performs beatboxing.

  • For instance, “He amazed the crowd with his beatbox skills, creating complex drum beats using only his voice.”
  • In a discussion about different musical talents, someone might say, “I can play the guitar, but I wish I could beatbox like a pro.”
  • A beatboxer might invite others to join in by saying, “Let’s have a beatbox battle and see who can come up with the sickest beats!”

23. Thumper

This term refers to a drummer who plays with a lot of power and intensity, often producing loud and impactful beats. A “thumper” is known for their ability to create a strong rhythmic foundation for a band.

  • For example, “The thumper in that band really knows how to drive the music forward.”
  • In a discussion about drumming styles, someone might say, “I prefer a thumper who can really make the drums shake.”
  • A drummer might proudly describe themselves as a thumper by saying, “I bring the thunder with my hard-hitting drumming style.”

24. Boom

This term refers to a drumbeat that is played with a strong and impactful sound. “Boom” is often used to describe a deep and resonant drum sound that adds a powerful element to a musical piece.

  • For instance, “The drummer added a booming beat to the chorus, making it even more epic.”
  • In a conversation about favorite drum parts, someone might say, “I love it when the drums go boom in that song.”
  • A drummer might explain their playing style by saying, “I like to bring the boom and make the whole room feel the rhythm.”

25. Basher

Similar to “thumper,” this term refers to a drummer who plays with a lot of force and intensity, often producing loud and powerful beats. A “basher” is known for their ability to create a strong impact and energy in their drumming.

  • For example, “The basher in that band really knows how to make the drums explode with energy.”
  • In a discussion about drumming techniques, someone might say, “I love watching a skilled basher unleash their power on the drums.”
  • A drummer might proudly describe themselves as a basher by saying, “I bring the heat and leave a lasting impression with my hard-hitting drumming style.”
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