Drum Exercise: “Flam Stack”

Posted on August 15, 2021

In the year since I’ve been blogging, it’s dawned on me that I haven’t shared any original practice materials on the site. Let’s change that this week with a little flam exercise I cooked up a few years ago and have since named “Flam Stack”.

The core of the exercise is pretty simple. It starts with flam accents in 3/8. Then we progressively build lead–hand flams with longer and longer time signature changes, using the flam accent at the end of each measure to flip the stickings.

It’s simpler than it looks since there’s a good groove to lock into when playing this. You can play each repeat as many times as you want — I usually do 4 times.

Speed is also at your discretion. Currently, the fastest I can play this (comfortably) is around 250 BPM. Lately, I’ve been using this more as a warmup than a speed–building drill; the time signature changes are a good way to get your hands and your mind loose, and you can set your metronome to a variety of subdivisions to further challenge your counting, even at a slow speed. Nonetheless, you could also just try to shred it as fast as possible.

Some other fun directions to take this include removing all the accents, or perhaps playing all the flams as cheeses. You could also play all the flam accents as flam drags.

Once I created this, I just had to come up with a name. Most drum exercises take their names from whatever skill they work on, or what they’re supposed to sound like. I just decided on “Flam Stack”, taking inspiration from the JAM Stack, because why not?

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