Let’s start by knowing what the triplets are. In drumming terms, a triplet refers to a group of 3 notes that are played in a different duration compared to a regular beat. As a drummer, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with triplets (both basic and advanced triplets). Familiarizing yourself with the triplets offers almost the same value as mastering the drum rudiments.
You will find a group of notes known as Tuplets in music – they refer to groups of notes that are played employing various tempos compared to the other notes. The most common form of this group of notes is the Triplet. Sounds confusing? It doesn’t have to be. Okay, let me explain it further.
When it comes to music, the notes you can play include quarter notes, eighth notes, as well as the sixteenth notes. Alongside these, it is also possible to play triplets. In essence, you can play the following; the quarter note triplets, the eighth note triplets, as well as the sixteenth note triplets. As you already know, ‘triplet’ simply means three – which in essence is an indication that groups of three notes are being played.
How Triplets Look in Music.
It is very easy to spot triplets in music. You will see them in the form of group of notes featuring a number ‘3’ over top. It is possible to see all connected set of 2 triplets in a row, and still a ‘3’ over top. It simply indicates you are to play triplets. If you are just getting started in drumming, you need to familiarize yourself with music theory as well as the sheet music to learn more. Now, the way you read triplet’s note value does not differ from that of regular notes. Changes in note value will take place based on the number of tails. As a result, where the 1 tail applies, it means you are to play the eight note triplets.
Now that you know at least a little basic thing about the triplets, let’s move to our main topic of discussion, the basic and advanced triplets.
In this section, we will look at Bonham’s Drum Triplets that became a trademark and widely sought after among drummers.
Here are the steps:
We will start by dividing into the simplest possible form, and for the purpose of this section will only involve the base drum and the snare drum without changing the rhythm. In step one, our goal is to use the hands in playing triplets with the initial 2 beats, with the left hand leading, then using the bass drum to play the 3rd beat. It is highly recommended that you play the triplets in an even manner. By so doing, you will be able to achieve the coordination required between the hands and feet in order to advance to the next step.
This step involves varying the drums played on each set of triplets’ first two beats, with the aim of assisting the drummer to accomplish independent coordination between the hands and the feet.
So, this is how it will work here:
First Triplet Set:
Snare; snare; then bass drum
Second Triplet Set:
Rack tom; rack tom; then bass drum
Third Triplet Set:
Floor tom; floor tom; then bass drum
Fourth Triplet Set:
Rack tom; rack tom; then bass drum
When it comes to John Bonham’s triplet, the trickiest thing is perhaps the crossing of your right hand over your left hand in an alternating manner when transiting from the floor tom to the rack tom. So, begin in the crossed position starting with your left hand as it plays the floor tom, followed by your right hand on the rack tom, playing. The uncrossed position is the 2nd set of triplets and will start with your left hand playing the rack tom, followed by your right hand playing the floor tom. Do this pattern all over, transiting to uncrossed from the crossed position until you become comfortable with the moves.
In this lesson so far, I have showed you the following:
- How to alternate between your hands and your feet while playing triplets – that is using the Left Hand, Right Hand, then Base Drum.
- How to move the hand-played triplets to different drums with the third beat remaining on the bass drum.
- How to use the hands to play in a crossed and uncrossed alternating manner.
Go ahead and practice over and again to become a master of both the basic and advanced triplets. You will definitely be proud and excited at your accomplishment at every phase. And of course, you are gradually building yourself to becoming an elite player without knowing it. You can learn more on drumming techniques right here.