Odd Time Drumming 5/8

Drum Beats


If your goal is to play anything like Gavin Harrison, Mike Portnoy or Neil Peart then you’ll have to step up to the odd time plate sooner or later. Odd time drumming can be a little tricky to get your head around but once you have it down it will add a whole new dimension to your playing.

In this lesson we’ll take a look at 5/8. There is an exercise pdf that you can download and some recommended listening to help you develop the feel so go grab your sticks and let’s do this:

How To Count
There are a couple of ways to count 5/8. You can count the obvious ‘one two three four five’ or you can break the five down into smaller cells ‘one two one two three’ … ‘one two three one two’. Choose the method that you prefer and stick with it for a while. You should only really need to count at the learning stage. With enough repetition you’ll feel the five grouping naturally.

Take a look at the PDF. You’ll see twelve grooves, of which the first six are demonstrated in the video (8 bars each). See if you can follow along and when you are ready give it a go. As always start really slow and build up the tempo from there.

I’ve left room on the PDF for you to create four of your own variations. Let’s see what you can come up with!

Download The PDF

One of the biggest mistakes drummers make when learning odd times is to over complicate it in their own minds. They get overly concerned about ‘the best way to count’ (there isn’t one!) and trip themselves up at the starting blocks. It really is all about the feel so take the time to listen to the music and you will find it a lot easier.

Recommended Listening
Do What You Like – Blind Faith
15 Step – Radiohead
Seven Days – Sting

Now Kill It! DN

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