The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums, 2nd Edition

You’re no idiot, of course. You know that there’s more to percussion than just hitting the drums and cymbals in a wild frenzy. The drummer is a crucial part of a band’s rhythm section, keeping time for other musicians.

Stay with the tempo! The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums, 2nd Edition, will show you exactly how to buy, set up, tune, and play your drums — and even take a few solos! In this revised and updated edition, you get:

  • How to read basic music notation, time signatures, and charts
  • Exercises and solos you can use to practice at any level, from beginning to advanced
  • Advice for playing fills and solos — and a variety of musical styles
  • Interviews with legendary drummers Hal Blaine, Kenny Aronoff, and Terri Lyne Carrington
  • Make some musical noise!

Here’s more of what’s in this best-selling book:

  • Learn about famous drummers in history
  • Find out what kinds of sets you can buy at various budget levels
  • Learn how to choose, tune, and maintain your heads, shells, and lugs
  • Discover the 40 basic snare drum rudiments
  • Practice open and closed rolls and syncopation
  • Learn how to move from the snare drum to the entire drumset
  • Discover hundreds of practical rock, country, jazz, and Latin beats
  • Show off your skills with a solo
  • Listen to exercises and solos on the accompanying CD — and play along with both rock and jazz tunes!


The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums, 2nd Edition, is composed of 28 chapters, each of which concentrates on a different aspect of playing drums. The chapters are organized into five general parts, as follows:

  • Part 1, “Let There Be Drums!,” describes what it means to be a drummer, how to buy your first drums, and how to tune and take care of your drums.
  • Part 2, “Bang the Drum Slowly: Snare Drum Basics,” shows you how to read music, how to hold your sticks, and how to play basic patterns on snare drum. You’ll progress from quarter notes to rolls to the rudiments, using a series of exercises and drum solos to hone your skills.
  • Part 3, “You Got the Beat: Drumset Basics,” puts you behind the kit and teaches you how to play all those drums and cymbals at the same time. You’ll learn all sorts of different beats that you can use on your own gigs, including rock, country, soul, jazz, Latin, and odd-time grooves.
  • Part 4, “Wipe Out: Advanced Drumset Techniques,” goes beyond basic beats into fills and solos. You’ll even learn how to play with brushes and mallets, and when not to play on a song.
  • Part 5, “Drummers Rule! Drummers Speak!” talks about some of the more influential drummers in history, and includes interviews with drum legends Hal Blaine, Kenny Aronoff, and Terri Lyne Carrrington

And don’t forget the accompanying audio CD, which includes all the exercises and solos in the book — as well as two songs you can play along with!

What Drummers Are Saying About The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums

“Thanks for your great book. I will recommend it to everyone.”

Hal Blaine, legendary studio drummer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee

“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums is an excellent overview of what it means to be a drumset player. Michael Miller’s method of teaching drumset fundamentals is similar to the system that my first teacher used that helped me develop a solid musical foundation.”

Steve Smith (Vital Information, Journey)

“This book is not just for complete idiots… partial idiots like myself will find it to be a useful reference and instructional resource. It’s easily the best ‘how to’ book since Ventriloquism for Dummies.”

Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz (The “Weird Al” Yankovic Band)

“Whether you play drums for a hobby or for a profession, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums is a must for anyone wanting to learn more about drums and drumming.”

Johnny Rabb (Jungle/Drum ‘N’ Bass for the Acoustic Drum Set)

“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums is a fantastic and extremely comprehensive book that is a must-have for any drummer.”

Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth, Maynard Ferguson, Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band)

“Within these well-scripted, glue-bound pages is an incredible amount of material that may come in handy for any level of drummer/percussionist. The depth to which each concept is explored is extensive, and sidebars contain additional advice and information. On the whole, this is a nice addition to your percussive library…”

Modern Drummer Magazine

Author: Michael Miller

Publisher: Alpha Books

Published: January 2004

Page count: 281 pp. w/ audio CD

Price: $21.95

ISBN: 159257162X

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