How to Play a Flam Drag – The Ultimate Guide

November 15, 2023

Struggling with how to play a flam drag? I get it, it’s tricky, but I’ve cracked it and I can help you do the same.

By the end of this article, you’ll have the skills to make those flams and drags stick, leveling up your drumming game.

Here’s the quick scoop: Start with a flam, add a same-hand diddle, then a tap, and repeat on the other hand.

Ready to nail this rudiment? Let’s start.

how to play a flam drag

What is a flam drag?

A flam drag is a drumming rudiment combining a flam followed by a drag (double stroke) played with the same hand that executed the flam’s grace note.

Understanding the Flam Drag Components

Before attempting the flam drag, you must be comfortable with its fundamental elements: the flam and the drag (or diddle).

  • Flam: A flam consists of two notes almost played simultaneously. It has a primary note, which is louder, and a grace note, which is softer and played just before the primary.

  • Drag (Diddle): A drag or diddle is two consecutive notes played by the same hand at a double stroke speed.

Combining these two, the flam drag introduces an accented note (the flam), followed by a diddle on the same hand that played the flam’s grace note, then a tap with the other hand, alternating between the hands for successive repetitions.

Step-by-Step Guide to Playing the Flam Drag

  1. Start with the Flam: Begin by practicing a flam, focusing on producing a distinct grace note followed closely by a louder primary stroke.

  2. Add the Diddle: Directly after playing the flam, perform a diddle with the hand that played the flam’s grace note.

  3. Follow with a Tap: After the diddle, execute a single tap with the opposite hand.

  4. Alternate Hands: Now, switch to the other hand and repeat the pattern. If you started with a right-hand flam, followed by a right-hand diddle, and a left-hand tap, you would now do a left-hand flam, a left-hand diddle, and a right-hand tap.

  5. Practice the Pattern: Chain these elements together to form a continuous pattern: flam (right), diddle (right), tap (left), flam (left), diddle (left), tap (right), and so on.

Tips for Mastering the Flam Drag

  • No Accents: Initially, practice all the components at the same volume. Aim for a mezzo-piano dynamic level to ensure control and evenness.

  • Add Accents: Once comfortable, add accents to the primary notes of the flams without changing the volume of the diddles and taps.

  • Stay Low: For the taps and diddles, keep your sticks close to the drumhead. This technique helps in maintaining speed and control.

  • Dynamic Contrast: Focus on creating a noticeable dynamic contrast between the accented flams and the unaccented diddles and taps.

  • Slow to Fast: Start practicing slowly to ensure accuracy and gradually increase the tempo as your comfort with the rudiment grows.

  • Metronome Practice: Use a metronome to keep your tempo steady and to practice at various speeds.

  • Consistency: Strive for consistency in the execution of the grace notes, accents, and taps.

  • Apply to Musical Context: Once you’ve got the hang of it, try applying the flam drag within different musical contexts to understand how it can enhance your playing.


In conclusion, mastering how to play a flam drag will enrich your percussion skills with its unique blend of rhythm and dynamics, providing a standout sound in your drumming repertoire.

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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