How-to play a convincing snare drum rimshot on 2 & 4 and get your dream snare drum sound. Video evidence on what your backbeat sounds like without…and with…..a rimshot.


Why do so many drummers insist on tapping 2 & 4 on the center of the snare batter head, avoiding catching the rim like the plague? Afraid of frightening the natives? Scaring them off with those daunting harmonics that lie near the edge of the drum?



The rimshot can be frightening. Many drummers, young and old, tell me they refuse to play rimshot backbeats lest they excite the wrath of their fellow musicians, neighbors, etc.


Meanwhile, the same drummers ask for advice on their favorite snare drum sounds. Invariably, when they bring media so I can hear their drummer in action, I’m aring rimshots on 2 & 4.



Without the rimshot, it is true that you can get a pretty fat snare tone. But remember that fat turns into flab when you add other instruments. Flab tends to promote inertia.



I’ve described all this elsewhere in these pages. This video footage took me 12-takes, not to get it right—as you know, I leave in warts and all—but because the rimshot is so important and I don’t want to screw-up the explanations and examples (as it is, however, I make a non-fatal mistake when speaking of “….dead in the middle….” around 0:25. You’ll see, and hear, past this inadvertent twist of tongue).



Many drummers stay away from the rim because in home rec rooms and project studios, the rimshot, at first listen, seems spitefully loud, sharp, and replete with annoying, jagged overtones. I dunno, I like those tones but, then again, I take the point.



And the point is that drummers need to get out of their closets more and see how their sounds meld with those of fellow musicians.



And how consistent rimshot backbeats can turn mundane into marvelous.