What Is A Flam?

Are you curious to know what is a flam? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about a flam in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is a flam?

In the rhythmic realm of percussion, there exists a subtle yet powerful technique that adds flair and complexity to drum patterns—the flam. A flam is not just a drumming technique; it’s a nuanced art form that drummers use to create depth, texture, and a sense of dynamism in their beats. Let’s delve into the world of drumming and unveil the magic of the flam.

What Is A Flam?

At its core, a flam is a drumming technique characterized by the striking of two drumsticks in rapid succession, with a slight time delay between them. The result is a nuanced and layered sound, with one stick hitting slightly before the other. This technique introduces a sense of depth and richness to the drumming pattern, creating a more intricate and engaging rhythm.

Key Elements Of The Flam Technique:

  1. Two-Stroke Motion:

The essence of a flam lies in the two-stroke motion—two drumstick hits in quick succession. The first stroke, known as the primary note, is played slightly louder and precedes the second stroke, called the grace note. It is the subtle time gap between these strokes that defines the flam’s distinctive sound.

  1. Dynamic Control:

Achieving a well-executed flam requires precise dynamic control. The drummer must balance the intensity of the primary note with the softer grace note, creating a contrast that adds character to the overall sound. This dynamic interplay is what makes the flam a versatile and expressive technique.

  1. Placement within Patterns:

Drummers strategically incorporate flams within drum patterns to enhance specific beats or create rhythmic accents. Whether used in a marching band cadence, a rock drum fill, or a jazz improvisation, the flam’s placement can significantly influence the overall feel and groove of the music.

Types Of Flams:

  1. Single Flam:

In a single flam, the grace note is played with one drumstick, adding a touch of complexity to the primary note. This is a fundamental flam variation commonly used in various musical genres.

  1. Multiple Bounce Flam:

The multiple bounce flam involves a grace note played with multiple rebounds, creating a rapid succession of softer hits. This type of flam adds a dynamic and lively element to drum patterns.

  1. Drag Flam:

The drag flam incorporates a drag, which is a series of rapid grace notes leading into the primary note. This variation adds a cascading effect, contributing to a more intricate and rolling sound.

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Flam In Different Musical Genres:

  1. Marching Bands:

Flams are a staple in marching band drumming, providing the distinct and powerful accents that drive the ensemble forward. They add a sense of precision and excitement to the rhythmic cadences.

  1. Rock and Pop Music:

Drummers in rock and pop music often use flams to create impactful drum fills and add subtle embellishments to grooves. The technique’s versatility allows it to seamlessly integrate with various musical styles.

  1. Jazz Drumming:

In jazz, flams are employed to introduce complexity and nuance to improvisational drumming. Drummers use flams to accentuate specific beats and contribute to the fluid and dynamic nature of jazz rhythms.


The flam is not just a technique; it’s a rhythmic brushstroke that drummers use to paint the canvas of music with depth and expression. From marching bands to rock stages and jazz clubs, the flam’s versatility makes it a fundamental tool in the drummer’s repertoire. So, the next time you find yourself tapping your foot to a captivating beat, listen closely—you might just be catching the subtle magic of the flam in action.


How Many Beats Is A Flam?

A flam consists of two single strokes played by alternating hands (rL or lR). The first stroke is a quieter grace note followed by a louder primary stroke on the opposite hand.

What Is A Left Flam?

Playing a primary note with the right hand is called a right hand flam. A left hand flam is the exact opposite – primary note played with the left hand.

Why Do Drummers Use Flams?

Flams are the grace notes of drumming. As with any instrument, a grace note is a very short note that strikes just a brief moment before a principal note. By learning to play flams, a drummer can apply this grace note principle to a variety of drum beats.

What Is The Difference Between A Flam And A Drag?

The flam drag is almost identical to the flam accent but has a double stroke mid-triplet. First, play a single stroke roll in triplets. Then replace the first note of each triplet with a flam. Finally, add a drag – or double stroke – to the second note of each triplet.

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