10 Must Own Books For Every Drummer

Below is a list of books that every drummer should own. These are standard in the industry and you should be able to talk about each of these fluently as well as knowing the strengths and shortcomings of each. You gain this ability by having worked through them and having applied them to your own playing. You don’t need to buy these all at once and the order I have listed below is my suggested order of purchase and focus. You don't need to complete each book before buying the next, but you shouldn't rush the process. If you pair the books with related YouTube content you will be making very good use of your time. With enough creativity, these books will last you a lifetime. Don't rush the process. Enjoy each book for the value they bring. 

  1. Progressive Steps To Syncopation For the Modern Drummer by Ted Reed: This is one of the most versatile and practical works ever written for drums. Created exclusively to address syncopation, it has earned its place as a standard tool for teaching beginning drummers syncopation and strengthening reading skills. This book includes many accented eighths, dotted eighths and sixteenths, eighth-note triplets, and sixteenth notes for extended solos. In addition, teachers can develop many of their own examples from it.
  2. Stick Control: For The Snare Drummer by George Lawrence Stone: This is the original classic, often called the bible of drumming. This is the ideal book for improving control, speed, flexibility, touch, rhythm, lightness, delicacy, power, endurance, preciseness of execution, and muscular coordination," with extra attention given to the development of the weak hand. This indispensable book for drummers of all types includes hundreds of basic to advanced rhythms and moves through categories of single-beat combinations, triplets, short roll combinations, flam beats, flam triplets and dotted notes, and short roll progressions.
  3. Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer by Jim Chapin: Jim Chapin, known as the Father of Jazz Independence," has written one of the most popular drumset books of all time. This classic work should be in every drummer's library as there is always something new to learn and develop from this masterful book. Whether for a beginner or an accomplished drummer, this system will greatly improve independence and coordination, sticking, power, speed, and endurance on the drumset. Dedicated to Sanford Moeller, this book proves Jim's teaching techniques like no other."
  4. Advanced Funk Studies: Creative Patterns for the Advanced Drummer by Rick Latham: This book will help take your groove to the next level. With author and renowned drummer Rick Latham as your guide, you'll learn hi-hat, funk, and fill patterns. Many of the ideas in this book are derived from some of the most famous and proficient funk drummers. The accompanying audio CDs provide examples of the exercises.
  5. The Sound of Brushes by Ed Thigpen: A step-by-step guide that develops total mastery of the art of brush playing. This new edition is updated and revised with a section on rock applications plus additional brush-stroke techniques. Ed Thigpen's thorough approach includes all patterns shown with full-size diagrams and accompanying CDs containing every beat, pattern, and play-along track.
  6. Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset by Fran Malabe: This book is invaluable to anyone interested in adapting these rhythms to the drum set. An introduction to Afro-Cuban rhythms by Frank Malabe and Bob Weiner, including the history, traditional instruments, and basic styles of Afro-Cuban music. The book explores the complexities of these various styles in a simple, understandable way.
  7. The New Breed: Systems for the Development of Your Own Creativity by Gary Chester: Gary Chester was one of the busiest studio drummers of the '60s and '70s and played on hundreds of hit records. His systems have been used and endorsed by drummers such as Kenny Aronoff, Danny Gottlieb, and Dave Weckl. This is not just another drum book, but rather a system that will help you develop the skills needed to master today's studio requirements. These systems are not designed to be played strictly as exercises but used as tools to develop new musical ideas that can be applied to any and all musical styles. By working with this book, you'll improve your reading, concentration, coordination, right and left-hand lead, and awareness of the click.
  8. Drum Wisdom by Bob Moses: This book presents unique and refreshing concepts about such topics as thinking musically, internal hearing, playing off of melodies and vamps, and much more.
  9. Future Sounds: A Book of Contemporary Drumset Concepts by David Garibaldi: At long last, the secrets of David Garibaldi's groundbreaking funk/jazz fusion drumming techniques are presented in this innovative book and recording. Whether you play rock, heavy metal, jazz, or funk, you'll learn to incorporate Garibaldi's contemporary linear styles and musical concepts into your playing and develop your own unique drumset vocabulary.
  10. Polyrhythms: The Musician’s Guide by Peter Magadini: Peter Magadini's Polyrhythms is acclaimed the world over and has been hailed by Modern Drummer magazine as "by far the best book on the subject." Written for instrumentalists and vocalists alike, this book with online audio contains excellent solos and exercises that feature polyrhythmic concepts. Topics covered include: 6 over 4, 5 over 4, 7 over 4, 3 over 4, 11 over 4, and other rhythmic ratios; combining various polyrhythms; polyrhythmic time signatures; and much more. The audio includes demos of the exercises and is accessed online using the unique code in each book. To see Peter in action demonstrating various polyrhythms, click here