Finger Drumming Layout: Make Beats More Effectively

If you are looking at using a finger drumming machine, it may be a good idea to get to know the layout first. As a beginner, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the layout so you can be able to know where to go whenever you are recording something with it or just practicing.

We’ll discuss which layout will be perfect if you are a beginner. If you are advanced, you are free to mix it up as you please. For now, if you are just starting out, we’ll provide you with something relatively easy to do.

In the example we’ll be outlining, we’ll use a four-by-four layout. Some drumming pad layouts will be much larger than others.

We’ll also go into a couple of finger drumming techniques that you can use as you are practicing. Now, let’s dive right in and show you how it’s done.

Drumming Layout You Should Follow

Below is a diagram based on the drumming layout you should have set up for your drum machine. Please consider the following below:

Low TomMid TomHigh TomCymbal 1
Hi-HatOpen Hi-HatHi-HatRide
Cymbal 2KickKickCymbal 3

What you are looking at is a simple pad layout that is friendly for beginners. Your snare and kicks will be located as the middle buttons in the last two rows; this is the closest layout you can get as if you are in front of a standard drum set.

When you sit in front of a drum set and look at this layout, the rest seems pretty self-explanatory in terms of placement. So now that you know what layout you can use let’s get into some of the technicals.

What Do You Need?

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You’re going to need a pad controller that will allow you to operate the drum pad. Since we are using a four by four setup, you’ll want a pad that has sixteen buttons in total.

Of course, you’re also going to need drum kit software as well. There are plenty of programs out there that are free or paid, so choose one based on your needs, preferences, and budget.

If you are looking for something free, Steven Slate has a software that you can try out.

Finally, you’re going to need to use a computer and the audio interface you are using. At this point, you may already have this with your current PC setup.

Finger Drumming Techniques And Tips

When you start with finger drumming, it’s crucial to think about using your fingers. You want to ‘hit’ the drum pad with your finger, not press down on them. Depending on the drum pad device you are using, most of the buttons will be sensitive to the touch.

When starting, it’s vital to get the basics down, especially with your hand movements. When using a finger-drumming kit, you’ll want to move your wrist in a downward motion.

Think of it like touching keys on a screen as you do with your phone. You can practice basic drum beats as you get to know the layout. For example, you can tap kick, and snare, then mix it up a bit (i.e., kick, snare, kick, kick, snare).

Don’t worry about being too flashy or making crazy beats as you start. You’ll be able to learn them as you go along. For now, you want to stick to the basics and incorporate more sounds as you go (such as cymbals and hi-hats).

We highly recommend that you do one 20 minute session five days a week.

With practice, you can step it up a notch to make more movements with your hands. That way, you can pull off some sick beats. Instead of carving up a standard drum set, you’d be doing it with a flourish of one hand.

Seems impressive, right? But again, it’s best to start slow and practice consistently.

Start with your right hand when you are working with the basics. There will come a time when you can incorporate your left hand to make some variations. When you become more advanced, you can create beats that mix with other musical sounds.

What Can You Do With Your Drum Beats?

As mentioned, you can record them as a standalone track that you can mix with later on. One of the things we recommend is to consider what genre of beat you are using. 

You may create something more exotic like Afro-Cuban beats as well; this may include doing a little reconfiguration of your drum pad so you can use different sounds like maracas, hand drums, and other instruments.

Once you have created your percussion beats and mixed them with other music, you can drop them anywhere on the Internet. It can be on SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube, or anywhere you can easily upload music.

Whether you do this for fun or just to make a little side income selling your work, a drum machine might be something you love using.


We hope this guide on finger drumming is helpful. We also think the basic drum layout that’s being used may be the best of the bunch, especially if you are using a four by four pad setup.

There are drum pads available with more buttons. With that, the layouts become a bit more complicated. If you are starting, we highly recommend getting a drum machine that has a four by four set up for simplicity’s sake.

Remember, practice a few times a week so you can be able to create some awesome beats over time. It may cut the learning curve down compared to regular drumming. But doing it on a drum pad is just as fun.