How to Play the Hardest Drum Songs

Uncover the secrets to mastering the best and hardest drum songs, featuring iconic tracks from Led Zeppelin, Rush, and Meshuggah. Dive into expert tips for drummers at all levels.

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Conquering some of the Best and Hardest Drum Songs

Hey groovers! Today, we’re diving into the heart-thumping world of drumming with a spotlight on what many consider the best and hardest drum songs to master. Whether you’re a seasoned drummer or just starting, these tracks are not just about rhythm; they’re a test of skill, timing, and musicality. If you are ready for the challenge, join us and explore with us why these ten drum songs are revered as the toughest and most iconic in the drumming community and how you can conquer them.

The Legends and Their Timeless Beats

“Fool In The Rain” by Led Zeppelin (John Bonham)

At the top of our list for the best and hardest drum songs to master, “Fool in the rain” is a masterclass in Bonham’s legendary half-time shuffle. Its complexity lies in maintaining a smooth flow while incorporating ghost notes and syncopated hi-hat work.

Mastering the best and hardest drum songs "Fool In The Rain" by Led Zeppelin (John Bonham)

Play “Fool In The Rain” by Led Zeppelin in Drumap, adjust the speed and follow along with the metronome.

  • Why It’s Iconic: it demanded from Bonham precision in ghost notes and syncopated hi-hat patterns.
  • Historical Insight: Bonham was inspired by Purdie Shuffle, adding his own rock flair to create this masterpiece.
  • Learning the Beat: Start by isolating the shuffle rhythm and practice ghost notes at lower dynamics.
  • Recommended Gear: A solid Ludwig kit with responsive hi-hats for the intricate cymbal work.

Drumming Tip: Focus on the independence between your limbs. Practice the shuffle and ghost notes separately before combining them.

“50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon (Steve Gadd)

Steve Gadd’s drumming on this track is iconic for its unique use of the hi-hat and snare to create a compelling, laid-back groove that’s harder than it sounds.

Drum notes and drum scores to learn from the best drum songs. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon (Steve Gadd)

Play “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon in Drumap, use it in your next practice and get access to over 150,000 drum samples and rhythms

  • Why It’s Iconic: Gadd’s groove on this track is celebrated for its inventive hi-hat and snare work, setting a laid-back yet complex rhythm.
  • Historical Insight: Gadd’s pattern was a spur-of-the-moment creation that perfectly complemented Simon’s lyrics.
  • Learning the Beat: Master the hi-hat pattern first, then add the snare drum nuances.
  • Recommended Gear: A crisp-sounding snare and versatile hi-hats.

Drumming Tip: Use a metronome to nail the groove’s laid-back feel. Start slow and gradually increase the tempo.

“Bleed” by Meshuggah (Tomas Haake)

Coming down on our list of the best and hardest drum songs to master, this song is a monumental challenge due to its relentless, complex double bass drumming and polymetric patterns. It demands endurance and the ability to keep track of the song’s underlying rhythm.

Mastering the best and hardest drum songs "Bleed" by Meshuggah (Tomas Haake)

Play “Bleed” by Meshuggah in Drumap, get groovy and use it in your next practice or create your drum notes for free.

  • Why It’s Iconic: This track challenges drummers with its double bass drumming and complex polymetric patterns.
  • Historical Insight: Haake crafted a rhythm that tests endurance and the ability to maintain complex patterns over extended periods.
  • Learning the Beat: Break down the polymetric patterns and practice the double bass drumming separately.
  • Recommended Gear: Double bass pedal with a sturdy kick drum for the relentless bass pattern.

Drumming Tip: Build endurance by practicing double bass techniques daily. Use a metronome to keep time and gradually build up speed.

“Burn” by Deep Purple (Ian Paice)

Fast, aggressive, and filled with Paice’s signature grooves and fills, mastering this song means keeping up with its high energy from start to finish.

Mastering the best and hardest drum songs "Burn" by Deep Purple (Ian Paice)

Play “Burn” by Deep Purple (Ian Paice) in Drumap, adjust the speed and follow along with the metronome.

  • Why It’s Iconic: Paice delivers fast, aggressive grooves filled with signature fills, demanding energy and precision throughout.
  • Historical Insight: Paice combined rock licks energy with jazz finesse to create this dynamic performance.
  • Learning the Beat: Focus on mastering the main groove before tackling the fills.
  • Recommended Gear: A versatile kit that allows for quick transitions between explosive fills and grooves.

Drumming Tip: Stamina is key. Incorporate endurance exercises into your practice routine to maintain the song’s high energy.

“Wipe Out” by The Surfaris (Ron Wilson)

The fifth and last on our list for the best and hardest drum songs to master, a classic test of endurance and speed, famous for its unforgettable solo that has challenged drummers for decades.

Mastering the best and hardest drum songs "Wipe Out" by The Surfaris (Ron Wilson)
The fifth and last on our list for the best and hardest drum songs to master, a classic test of endurance and speed “Wipe Out” by The Surfaris (Ron Wilson)

Play “Wipe Out” by The Surfaris in Drumap, adjust the speed and follow along with the metronome

  • Why It’s Iconic: Known for its unforgettable solo, this song is a test of speed and endurance.
  • Historical Insight: Wilson’s solo turned “Wipe Out” into a drum-centric track that has inspired generations of drummers.
  • Learning the Beat: Start with the solo’s basic rhythm before increasing speed.
  • Recommended Gear: A snare drum that can handle rapid strokes and dynamic shifts.

Drumming Tip: Practice in short bursts to build speed without sacrificing control or dynamics.

Tips for Conquering These Songs

Challenging yourself to play some of the best and hardest drum songs of all time is no joke, let us give you a hand and tips for conquering them:

  • Start Slow: Begin by playing these challenging parts at a slower tempo. It helps in understanding the nuances and builds muscle memory.
  • Focus on Technique: Pay attention to stick control, especially for songs requiring a delicate balance between power and finesse, like “Fool In The Rain.”
  • Break It Down: Isolate the tricky sections, and practice them individually. This approach is particularly useful for songs with complex structures like “The Dance of Eternity.”
  • Stamina and Endurance: For songs like “Bleed,” work on building your stamina through endurance exercises. Consistent practice of double bass patterns is key.
  • Play Along with the Music: Once comfortable, play along with the tracks to get a feel for the dynamics and energy of the song.
  • Record Yourself: Listening back to your playing can highlight areas that need improvement and track your progress over time.

Wraping up!

Mastering these drum songs is a formidable challenge that goes beyond technical skill; it’s about capturing the essence and emotion behind the beats. By delving into the history and nuances of each track, you gain not only the ability to play these songs but also a deeper appreciation for the art of drumming.

Embrace the Beat, and Happy Drumming! As you tackle these iconic drum songs, remember that the journey is as rewarding as the destination. Each beat and rhythm you master brings you closer to the ranks of the legends who inspired them. Keep practicing, remain patient, and let the rhythm lead your way to drumming excellence.

Elevate Your Drumming Skills with Drumap Ready to transform how you write, share, and explore drum notes? Download Drumap, the Grammy Academy awarded music app, and join a vibrant community of drummers and percussionists. With Drumap, you have access to:

🎶 Over 150,000 drum samples and percussive rhythms.
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💡 Inspiration and tips from master drummers across all genres.

Get ready to take your drumming to the next level. Get expert tips on coordination, drumming techniques, improvisation and more in the post titled “Charting Your Drumming Journey”. / Written by: Raul Rodrigues: CEO of Drumap, Drummer, Music School Director and Mariano Steimberg: Drum Professor at Berklee College of Music, Valencia Campus.

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