The Flam Tap is a fundamental rudiment in drumming that combines grace, skill, and control.
Its rhythmic pattern is widely used in various drumming styles, from marching bands to jazz ensembles. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of playing a Flam Tap, offering tips to master this essential technique.
Let’s dive in and learn how to play the flam tap.
What is the Flam Tap?
A Flam Tap combines two strokes: the flam and the tap. The rudiment alternates these strokes, typically played as a repeating pattern.
Components of a Flam Tap
- Flam: A flam is a drumming technique where two sticks hit the drum almost simultaneously but not entirely. It involves a primary louder stroke and a quieter grace note, which occurs almost immediately before the primary stroke.
- Tap: A tap is a quieter and softer stroke that follows the flam. It’s a controlled bounce of the drumstick, producing a softer sound.
The Flam Tap pattern can be summarized as Flam, Tap, Flam, Tap… and so on, alternating between the right and left hands. Regarding stick notation, it goes like this: Right Flam, Right Tap, Left Flam, Left Tap, and repeats – RrLlRrLl…
How to Play the Flam Tap?
Begin by playing the rudiment slowly. This helps in understanding the movement and coordination required between both hands.
Practice the Components Separately
Work on the flam and the tap independently before combining them. Ensure that you can perform both strokes comfortably and with control.
Practicing the Flam
- Focus on creating a distinct sound difference between the grace note and the primary note.
- Practice with each hand leading.
Practicing the Tap
- Work on the controlled bounce, ensuring it’s softer than the primary flam stroke.
- Maintain an even and controlled rebound with each tap.
Combine the Flam and Tap
Once comfortable with both components, combine them into the Flam Tap pattern. Focus on keeping a consistent tempo and volume between the flams and the taps.
Work on Hand Independence
Focus on what each hand is doing independently. You can isolate each hand and practice the pattern (accent, tap, grace note) separately.
Increase Speed Gradually
As you become more comfortable, gradually increase the tempo. Remember, consistency and control are more important than speed.
Experiment with dynamics by playing the Flam Tap softly, loudly, and at varying intensities. This will add expressiveness to your playing.
- Bounce Rudiment: The Flam Tap is considered a bounce rudiment. Allow the sticks to bounce naturally, especially for the tap.
- Consistent Flams: Ensure that the flams are consistent in volume and timing.
- Relaxed Grip: Keep a relaxed grip to facilitate the bounce and prevent fatigue.
- Metronome Practice: Use a metronome to keep your timing accurate and consistent.
- Rudiment Breakdown: Breaking down the rudiment and practicing each hand independently is a great way to improve not just Flam Taps but all drumming rudiments.
- Listen and Analyze: Listen to drummers who are proficient in Flam Taps. Analyze their technique and try to emulate their style.
Learning how to play the Flam Tap requires patience, practice, and a focus on technique. It’s a versatile rudiment that forms the foundation for more complex patterns and rhythms.
By following these steps and regularly practicing, you’ll develop control, speed, and finesse in your Flam Tap, enhancing your overall drumming skills.