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Post Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:09 pm

I'm trying to get better at what I guess you'd call a Flam...hitting a drum almost, but not quite, at the same time with both sticks.

I've been doing them a long time on the snare. But I've been noticing a lot of my favorite songs/drummers will use flams during busy fills on the toms. It's a really powerful, aggressive sound when a few of the toms have a flam on them.

From playing along to CDs, iPod, etc....I've been able to make it sound similar to what I'm hearing on the album. But I'm just wondering about proper technique. I'm wondering if I'm feeling too much tension/stiffness....when you're doing a flam in the middle of a tom fill, you're hitting it twice the amount you would without the flam (mehhh....so hard to type out and have it make sense....) So in that process it's making me feel like there's a limit to how quickly I can do 2 consecutive hits with one hand.....

Just looking for some pointers. I can't afford to take lessons right now, but I want to avoid improper technique. Thanks. It's really hard to type descriptions of drumming....hopefully I made sense.....
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Post Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:44 pm

Hey there. There are many types of flams. Basically, some are more spaced out than others. In other words, there's is a bigger (or shorter) delay between hits. It all depends what you are trying to achieve. I've used flams for many years. I've experimented with shorter and longer delays. A good trick it squeezing bass drum hits in between each of the beats in a flam. Listen to guys like Neil Peart and you'll now what I mean. Anyway, the stiffness you feel will go away after a while. All it means is that you are not fluid enough yet. Eventually, like with any other drumming technique, you'll be able to play them effortlessly and without thinking too much. When you get to that point you'll notice the stiffness will have gone away. Just keep practicing them and incorporating them in different styles and beats.
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session drummer
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Post Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:31 am

drumming adept
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Post Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:39 pm

rudiments. big time help for me when i was struggling with flams.
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drumming adept
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Post Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:30 am

what i was always told is that flams are a function of stick height and nothing more. if you want a flam, raise one stick higher than the other and then attempt to hit at the same time. since one has a farther distance to go it will hit slightly later. this will sound good once you have practiced it about 10000 times at differeing speeds and volumes.
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Post Sat Feb 16, 2008 4:06 pm

Maybe this may help.

Regardless if you are attempting to play a tighter or looser flam you still have two distinct hits on the drum. I hear several individuals play the movements and create what is referred to as a flat sound or flat flam etc... This is done for two reasons. The first being, the down stroke hand is not at a steady speed going down and is more of a forced stroke. The other is because the grace not hand is being raised therefor hitting at the same time. (So if yopu are coming up to come down on the movement.)

I suggest this movement to assist my students.

Flam on the right hand followed by 3 consecutives strokes with a high bounce. (Just a grouping of 4 1/8 notes etc...) Flam on the right hand with 3 consecutives taps on the left hand with low taps. The key to your succes with flams is having the proper positioning no matter what style you are playing. Try this and I feel you may see an improvement. Repeat on both hands.

Break the flams into two movements. The stroke and the tap. The more spacing you place on the down stroke will certainly determin the openiness of the movement. The higher the stick is up, the fatter the sound will come. If the stick hight is lower, more of a choppy tighter sound will be produced.

Hope these suggestions may help you...



groove master
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Post Sat Feb 16, 2008 11:15 pm

Think of it as both of your hands playing follow the leader!
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groove master
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Post Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:27 pm

i play this bad ass flam fill. it goes something like this...
flam - bass
flam - snare
flam - bass
flam - tom 1
flam - bass
flam- tom 2
flam - bass
flam - floor tom

do it pretty fast and it sounds really awesome
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groove master
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Post Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:39 pm

DRUMSMYWIFE wrote:Think of it as both of your hands playing follow the leader!

that works lol.
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drumming adept
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Post Tue Feb 19, 2008 10:38 am

Flams aren't guesswork. There's very specific notation for the grace note in a flam. A lot of people are unaware you can even play flams with the grace note after the attack note.

Danny Tomlinson has written a great book on flams. It's comprehensive. I suggest picking it up.