A Beginner’s Guide To Finger Drumming

Finger drumming looks exciting, has a way of captivating a crowd, and is a great skill that fosters hand and muscle coordination. It is a vital aspect that goes into hip hop music, making it quite a recent addition to the realm of music production. It was first introduced in the 1980s and since then has picked up the pace and found its way in almost every top song today. 

And, what makes this technique versatile is its ability to create endless possibilities to add depth and dimension to all types of music. The myth about finger drumming being limited to beatmakers is what has, in recent years, been debunked. Finger drumming can be learned and enjoyed by anyone! All that is needed for it is passion, an eye for creativity, and a love for diverse music patterns. So, if you are inspired by a friend or famous beatmaker to get your fingers drumming away to bring live performances and studio productions to life, then here is a comprehensive breakdown of what all finger drumming encompasses. 

To get started, read ahead for more. By the end of this article, you are sure to be mentally ready and equipped with the relevant tips, tricks, and nuances that go into making finger drumming a possible career. 

What Is Finger Drumming?

To put it short, finger drumming is a recent but quite popular subset that has found its way into music production. The way this works is by using your fingers to produce drum patterns on electronic drum pads. This can even lead to the creation of entire beats as well, making it a lucrative way to produce music and add energy to performances. 

Everyone likes to have a good beat to any music or song they are listening to, and for this purpose, finger drumming is the way to go. It’s a lot less strenuous to learn that an actual drum where a lot more energy and effort is put in. And, if you have prior drumming experience, then finger drumming should be a breeze. If not, you don’t need to worry. You can begin from scratch by learning the Standard Drum Rudiments and then building your way up from there. 

Affordable Finger Drum Accessories and Instruments 

If you are looking for durable and reliable accessories for finger drumming, then there are a few that you should definitely check out. Once you have these basic tools in place, you can get started on finger drumming without delay. 

  1. 16 Pad Beat Machine at Minimum 

If you are just starting, then a 16 pad beat machine will work just fine. You can get the MIDI MPS, Push, or Machine pad for this. They are easily accessible and available online or at music stores near you. The most common drum pads are the Akai Professional MPD218 and Ableton Push 2. They are portable, water-resistant, and economical. You can even get your hands on a used model if you are on a low budget, however, make sure it is 100% original and in mint condition. 

  1. High-Quality Speaker

There is no need to invest in an expensive speaker. If you already own one that connects with an aux cord or has Bluetooth features enabled, then using this should suffice. Just make sure the sound produced by the speaker is loud and clear, and able to surround the area intended with your beat. 

  1. Stable Internet Connection

By having a stable internet connection, you can ensure a smooth flow of music while performing. For this, you can invest in a portable internet device. This can help you set up your finger drumming station wherever you may be.

  1. A Journal For Tracking Beats and Progress

As you create every new beat, you want to keep a track of it. For this, noting it down on a notepad or journal can help. It can help you track your progress as well, along with giving  you a clear idea of where you stand. 

Finger Drumming Tutorial For Beginners 

Here is a step-by-step guide for how to finger drum if you are a beginner. 

Step 1: The 2 Finger Drum

You want to start with using the drum pad for simple and easy beats. Using the Maschine drum pad can work best for this as it allows you to create beats using two fingers. You can load in sample projects and play along to pick up the pace. You can even record your session and listen to it again to check how accurate you were and which areas require practice and improvement. 

For your hand movement, you want to let the energy flow from your wrist. In addition, tapping on the drum pad is what you want to focus on. Try to avoid pressing on the pad as you would for a button. You want to hit onto the pad, not press on it. For instance, you can think of the drum pad the way the drum works, not the way a piano works. Once you get the hang of it, you are sure to create a powerful beat in no time. For this, practice makes perfect, so keep practicing. You are sure to get the hang of it eventually! 

Apart from this, you want to enjoy yourself. Try to keep your mind at peace and don’t over-stress. Allowing the music and beat to flow from within you will not only improve your hand coordination, but also strengthen your muscle memory. In this way, learning complicated beats is sure to become a breeze. 

Step 2: Finger Drumming With Both Hands 

Once you have perfected creating beats using two fingers, you can move on to finger drumming using both hands. This may seem a bit overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Think of it as a milestone that you need to overcome. You’ve almost reached the stage where you can call yourself an expert. Thus, now is not the time to give up. 

There are two ways in which you can play with both hands. Either together, or alternatively. To play using both hands, start with an easy pattern, such as going for 4 or fewer strokes on one pad. You can place the right hand on pad 4 and the left one on pad 1 simultaneously. You can then play these together and switch if needed. This may seem boring and monotonous at first, but this is a great way to build motor patterns. 

Step 3: Finger Drumming With Alternate Hands 

To do this, you want to take it slow as well. Watch a few videos and take notes. You want to observe the hand movements in the videos as well. Watch how each hand moves in harmony one after the other. The right hand is what you want to use for the 8th note groove, while the left hand focuses on the 16th note. This method is used by most beatmakers to create rhythms that are classical in nature. 

Here’s a quick guide. You can start by playing a simple groove with your right hand. Let’s say, you focus on pads 1 for the kick, 2 for the snare, and 3 for the hi-hat. While your right hand plays these beats, you can fill in with 16th notes using your left hand. In this way, you can pick up on complex beats in a shorter period of time. However, remember that the groove you play with using your right hand should always stay the same to prevent mishaps. 

Step 4: Advanced Patterns

With the basics perfected, you can move on to complex patterns such as the Loop on The Fly or note repetitions. Having these techniques added to your finger drumming skills can fast track your way to success. Who knows, your beat may find its way into hip-hop music that tops the charts one day. So keep on practicing and build up the momentum. 

You can even sell your beats online using various digital platforms such as BeatStars and Airbit as well. Most upcoming beat-makers rely on these channels to make themselves known and bring their creations to the limelight. Don’t forget to copyright your beat though, you don’t want anyone using it without giving you due credit. 

Tips To Make Your Finger Drumming Journey Easy

To ease your finger drumming journey, and make it an effortless path to success, there are a few tips and tricks that you can follow. Let’s have a look at some of them – with them on your mind and practice routine, you can expect the desired results in no time. 

  1. Finger Drumming Exercises Are Important 

You want to take a break when needed and engage in the right exercises to regain the energy needed to play. This is not just for your fingers where you can experience a “typewriters cramp” as it is called, but also your brain. Overdoing it and not giving your brain any rest can render your efforts and practice useless. Instead, practice for a specific period of time every day. This will vary according to how quickly you catch up on the beats. If your friend or peer practices 8 hours a day, it’s not necessary that you need to do the same as well. For you, 2 hours may be enough to get the right notes and beats on point. 

So, remember to stretch your shoulders periodically and use a stress ball to keep your wrist and finger muscles in check. Do this gently while exerting little pressure, you don’t want to pull a muscle before your next finger drumming session. 

  1. Be Mindful Of Your Fingernail Size

If there is one tip that you want to always follow, it is keeping your fingernails short. Having long fingernails can not only impact your playability but also distort the beat being produced. This is because the hardest part of your fingertips is sure to be obstructed by the fingernail. This can even cause inflammation on your fingers as tapping hard on the drum pad can push your fingernails further back into their roots. Thus, keeping your fingernails trimmed at all times is important. 

The Bottom Line – It’s Never Too Late To Get Started!

And there you have it. All you need to know about finger drumming. To get started, you can get in touch with an expert who can guide you on the basics. From then on you can finger drum without the need of any instructor. Play around and experiment with different beats and tunes. You can share your progress and creativity on various social media platforms to get the confidence and motivation to explore new areas of opportunities. In addition, there are a lot of videos online where different techniques and beats are taught in a simple and easy-to-follow format. Be sure to check those out as well! One of the most famous platforms for this is Melodics

For more information and tips on music, recording techniques, and product reviews for various musical instruments and accessories, visit our website. At MultiTrack we offer a wide range of resources that can help clarify all your queries related to music. And our tips are directed at helping you cut costs and explore affordable and budget-friendly options for investing in musical instruments. With us as a mentor and guide, you can expect your music knowledge capacity to soar high!

For more information, you can even get in touch with us by dropping us a message. Our team will be happy to answer all your concerns and help you get your music career kick-started with the right techniques and energy!