How to Play the Flam Accent Grid

Dc header how to play the flam accent grid

There are a handful of grids that every rudimental drummer should know and the Flam Accent Grid is definitely one of them. The Flam Accent Grid is essential for every rudimental drummer to know because the Flam Accent itself is an extremely common rudiment and is also the base of many other rudiments (Flam Drags, Flam Fives, Cheese, Chuta Chits, etc.). By learning and perfecting the Flam Accent Grid, you will improve your overall understanding of the rudiment which will help you improve many other areas of your rudimental drumming. Now that you know why this grid is important for you to learn and how it will help you improve your rudimental drumming, let's get into the nuts and bolts of it.


How to Play Flam Accents

The Flam Accent Grid is built on top of two things: the Flam Accent rudiment and the Triplet Grid. If you already know what a Flam Accent is and feel really comfortable playing them, feel free to skip this section. If you don't know what a Flam Accent is - no worries! A Flam Accent is simply a grouping of three notes played with alternating sticking and an accent and a flam on the first note. To get a really good understanding of what a Flam Accent is and how to play it, be sure to watch this quick video lesson: 


How to play the Triplet Grid

Once you understand what Flam Accents are and feel comfortable playing them, it's time to learn the Triplet Grid. If you already know what the Triplet Grid is and can play it consistently well, feel free to skip to the next section. If you don't know what the Triplet Grid is - we're here to teach you! Watch this video lesson to learn what the Triplet Grid is and how to play it:

There are two video lessons referenced in the Triplet Grid video that will help you better understand the Triplet Grid. If this is the first time that you've learned a grid, you should definitely watch these two lessons before diving into the grid itself:

  1. What is the Grid?
  2. What is the 421 Formula?

By watching these two videos before learning any type of grid, you will set yourself up with a strong foundation for every grid that you learn in the future.


Learning the Flam Accent Grid

When you're comfortable with both Flam Accents and the Triplet Grid, it's time to learn the Flam Accent Grid!  Since you've spent time learning and perfecting both foundational aspects of the Flam Accent Grid, it should be relatively easy for you to learn. Watch this video lesson to learn the Flam Accent Grid:


The mechanics of the Flam Accent Grid are what typically take some "getting used to." It's very important that you learn and isolate each of the three groupings individually and practice them slowly.  Pay attention to your heights and the way you rebound at these slow tempos so that you can really figure out how each grouping works.

Flam Accent Grid Patterns

There are three patterns in the Flam Accent Grid.  Being able to isolate them individually and break them down will help you improve the overall quality of your Flam Accent Grid.  Here they are written out for you:

Once you have worked out these three patterns on their own, plug them into the 421 Formula. Practice playing each section on its own a number of times before you play the entire grid all the way through.


5 Key Points to Focus on with the Flam Accent Grid

There are five key points that you should focus on to help you learn the Flam Accent Grid quickly and effectively.  By focusing on these five points as you learn and practice the exercise, you will develop a deep understanding of how to play the Flam Accent Grid at a high level.  The five key points are:

  1. Maintain a steady triplet rhythm throughout the entire Grid
  2. Play with excellent heights (Accents, Taps, and Grace Notes)
  3. Listen for consistent flam quality
  4. Ensure that all of your accents are the same volume from hand to hand and section to section
  5. Stay relaxed

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Pat McLaughlin

3 April 2013 in Exercises
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Pat McLaughlin

Pat McLaughlin is the founder of Drumline Chops.  He graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in music education and is currently the percussion director at West Bloomfield High School.