The Complete Idiot's Guide to
Playing Drums

Corrections and Clarifications

As happens with any printed work, a few errors slipped into the initial printings of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing Drums. The errors in the first edition have all been corrected in the second edition. The errors in the second edition will be corrected in subsequent printings.

This page lists all the mistakes or confusing passages I know about. If you happen to come across any other errors or confusing sections, please feel free to email me at I appreciate your feedback!

Corrections to the Second Edition

  • Chapter 9, p. 97, Exercise 9.14: On the third downbeat of each measure, the count (wording above the notes) incorrectly defines the beat as silent. This is wrong; the third beat should be counted (and played) in both measures of the exercise.

Corrections to the First Edition

  • Introduction: Drumguru George Lawrence ( informs me that my old 1970s Polaris drumset was actually made by Pearl--back in their "pre-quality" days. I didn't know that! 

  • Chapter 2, p. 18 & p. 41: Ludwig's Rocker Pro series has been renamed the Classic Birch series. The same specs and prices apply.

  • Chapter 5, p. 58: Some manufacturers recommend against using Comet and other cleansers on your cymbals, as the chemicals can be so abrasive as to actually damage the ridges on the cymbal.

  • Chapter 5, p. 61: Different types of drumheads from different manufacturers can be very confusing. (In fact, I was so confused that I said that Remo Emperors were single-ply heads; they're not, they're double-ply.) So here's a slightly different way to categorize the various head types, that hopefully is a little more useful:   

    • Single-ply thin. With a single-ply head, there is only one layer of Mylar. The very thinnest heads, such as Remo Diplomats, are best suited for bottom-only use--they're extra resonant, but not very durable.

    • Single-ply. Single-ply heads have a sharp attack and a good amount of ring, but they aren't as durable as double-play heads if you're playing really loud and hard. Single-ply heads, such as Remo Ambassadors and Evans G1s, are good all-around heads, and are preferred for most recording and close-miked situations.

    • Double-ply. Double-ply heads, such as Remo Emperors and Evans G2s, have two layers of Mylar. This thicker construction makes them dryer (less ring), diminishes the attack, and also makes them more durable--which is important to hard rock drummers. 

    • Muffled. These are heavier heads that produce a more mellow sound with less sustain, typically due to some sort of muffling device built-into the head. These heads, such as Remo Pinstripes or Evans Genera HD snare batters, are very dry sounding, with very little--if any--ring. 

    • Hydraulic. These heads, which place a thin layer of oil between two layers of plastic, are the fattest, "thumpiest" heads available, and they're also extremely durable. If you like this sound, check out Evans Hydraulic models; this company made its reputation manufacturing high-quality hydraulic heads.

    I also have a much greater appreciation for coated heads, and how they can take the "edge" off a very harsh or ringy tom. Coated heads give a slightly "rounder" sound that can really make a big difference in a lot of playing situations. (I recently switched from clear Remo Ambassadors on my toms to coated Evans G1s--and the difference in warmth and "roundness" is amazing! 

  • Chapter 5, p. 67: The use of felt strips for muffling is dismissed as outdated by some modern drummers. It was a popular method in the 60s and 70s, and many of today's drummers feel that the felt strip interferes with the seating of the head to the drum's bearing edge, and thus makes the drum slightly more difficult to tune. I don't necessarily agree with this, although I no longer use felt strips, myself. (I find that muffling can be better controlled by a careful head choice.) Note, however, that some drum manufacturers still ship bass drums with either felt-strip muffling or a small hole in the resonant head. So, as with all things drumming--you be the judge!

  • Chapter 6, p. 77: Another great studio drummer who should be mentioned is the late Gary Chester. Gary was kind of the New York version of Hal Blaine, playing on tons and tons of classic pop tracks, including hits by the Angels ("My Boyfriend's Back"), the Archies ("Sugar, Sugar"), Burt Bacharach ("Promises, Promises"), the Chiffons ("He's So Fine"), Petula Clark ("Downtown"), the Cookies ("Chains"), Jim Croce ("Time in a Bottle"), Jackie DeShannon ("What the World Needs Now"), the Drifters ("Up on the Roof," "Under the Boardwalk"), the Exciters ("Tell Him"), the Isley Brothers ("Twist and Shout"), Ben E. King ("Spanish Harlem"), Curtis Lee ("Angel Eyes"), Little Eva ("Locomotion"), Laura Nyro (New York Tendaberry), Neil Sedaka ("Calendar Girl," "Breaking Up is Hard to Do"), the Shirelles ("Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"), Bobby Vinton ("Blue Velvet," "Roses Are Red"), and the great Dionne Warwick ("Walk On By," "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," "Say a Little Prayer," and many, many more). Gary was also a master educator, and his book The New Breed is a must-have instruction book for any serious drummer. When talking about the great studio drummers, Gary Chester deserves a place near the top of the list.  

  • Chapter 7, p. 83: It's Roger Hawkins, not Richard.

  • Chapter 13, p. 145 (plus the tear-out card in the front of the book): Traditional sticking for the single drag alternates between LLRL and RRLR. The LLRL LLRL sticking in the book is an alternative sticking. 

  • Chapter 23, p. 224: The "uncredited drummer" on Petula Clark's "Downtown" is none other than the late, great, New York session ace, Gary Chester.

  • Appendix D, p. 254: As can be expected when dealing with Web sites, several links have changed since the original printing of the book.

If you happen to come across any other errors or confusing sections in the book, please feel free to email me at I appreciate your feedback!


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Last modified: March 08, 2011