The drag family of drum rudiments encompasses ten of the 40 drum rudiments. Like all other families of drum rudiments, this one has a rudiment that’s featured on the remaining drum rudiments of the family. In the case of the drag family that rudiment is the drag ruff (also known as ruff or simply as drag).
The drag ruff works a lot like the flam. It has two or more grace notes that are followed by a primary stroke. Two-stroke grace notes are played with bounced double strokes. You can add an undisclosed number of grace notes by buzzing them, that is, by using the multiple bounce roll, or buzz roll, instead of a double stroke roll.
We advise you to learn to play the drag ruff with either drum rudiments as grace notes - this gives you way more options. Hence, it’s imperative you work on your double stroke roll, multiple bounce roll, and single stroke roll drum rudiments before taking a stab on the drag ruff. The sheet music below shows a very simple drill to work on your hand-to-hand drag ruffs. Play the drag ruff as notated and with buzzed grace notes.
Practice this rudiment slowly at first. Your should be mainly concerned in getting consistent sounding drag ruffs as you move from hand to hand. Whether you play buzzed or double stroke grace notes, focus on getting them as consistent as possible from drag ruff to drag ruff. The exercise above may be very simple, but it’s the foundation for all other drum rudiments from the drag family. Once you have this exercise happening with quality and control, move on to the next section on drag ruff drum beats and drum fills.
Exercise #1 is a modified basic 8th note rock drum beat that incorporates a bunch of drag ruffs. The drag ruffs are played on the hi-hat on all the “ands”, and between the hi-hat and the snare drum on counts 2 and 4. The bass drum pattern here is fairly simple. You can play around with different bass drum patterns once you have the basic pattern under your belt.
The next drum beat is another 8th note drum beat. It has the drag ruff played on the snare drum on counts 2 and 4. The hi-hat is played on all the 8th notes of counts 1 and 3, and on the “ands” of counts 2 and 4. The bass drum pattern gets a little busier here. As you can see on the sheet music below, it’s played on counts 1 and 3, and on the “and” of 2.
The drag ruff is incorporated extensively on this next drum fill. The grace notes are kept on the snare drum, while the primary stroke is performed on the hi-tom, the snare drum, and the floor tom. Once you’ve mastered this drum fill, play the exact fill with the grace notes buzzed instead.
Exercise #4 adds some very interesting nuances to the mix. The first two counts have the grace notes played on the snare drum with the left hand, while the right hand plays the primary notes on a crash cymbal and in unison with the bass drum. There’s one more drag ruff played on the snare drum on count 3, and a 16th note single paradiddle going down the toms on count 4.
The drag ruff is used all over the place and in every style of music you can think off. It’s a very cool drum rudiment to enrich the sound of drum beats and drum fills. Before moving on to learn how to play the single drag tap, experiment adding drag ruffs to some of the drum fills and drum beats on this website.
Drag Based Rudiments
|Drag Ruff||Single Dragadiddle||Single Ratamacue|
|Single Drag Tap||Dragadiddle #1||Double Ratamacue|
|Double Drag Tap||Dragadiddle #2||Triple Ratamacue|