How to Play With Brushes And When to Use them!

The truth is, drumming in a way that holds your audience spellbound requires more than the regular drumming sticks. This is the reason for additional and extra-creative drumming tools such as drum brushes. If you want to take your drumming to the next level, then you need to employ the pros’ drumming tools and maximize them to the fullest.

Playing with drum with brushes is quite unique. It’s not the same as using drum sticks to play. This post teaches how to grip brushes, as well as how to engage them in playing drums.

By the way, when do you use brushes to play drum? Usually, brushes are played in jazz, ballads, as well as other softer pieces of music. But, there are also tons of uses of drum brushes. Some drummers even use them to play solos. Another use of these drumming tools is bring down volume, especially when drumming in a church or small hall.

Different Types of Brushes:

There are assorted types of drumming brooms (brushes). The varieties range from Dreadlocks to Livewires, Jazz Rake, Rock Rake, Split Brush, Heritage Brush, Wire Brush, and Legacy Brush.

How to Hold Brushes?

Learning how to hold brushes is a good place to start in learning how to drum with brushes. When it comes to how to hold brushes, there are different ways you can accomplish it. The grip for this purpose is just like the regular drum sticks. You can use traditional grip (this is the most common grip), or traditional.

And, don’t bother about looking for an ideal fulcrum point since finding one is not going to be very easy. It’s not like your regular drumsticks. The balance and weight of drum brushes differ significantly from regular sticks.

Many drum players would use one hand to hold their brushes, adopting the traditional grip methods, and would engage the matched grip with the other hand. When it comes to drumming with brushes, this method is somewhat popular. But, matched grip is also effective, it depends on what works best for each drummer. But the traditional grip may be more dynamic in that you can incorporate more advanced techniques like scraping and dragging.

Playing Brushes.

Drum brushes have a function that is completely different from the drumsticks. These brushes, which are also called brooms, are engaged for softer playing. In essence, the player needs to possess a feel for the tool (brush). Brushes are used to accomplish a lot of cymbal work.

Let’s start with cymbals: it is not common to find drummers using brushes on closed hi hats. The reason is simple, getting a reasonable volume from closed hi hats is very difficult. However, things are different when open hi hats are involved.

You will obtain a very great sound when you engage the crash cymbals and ride cymbals. Sweep the cymbal with the brushes, making sure that you are maximizing all of the spokes of the brush.

Toms and Snare: It’s also a different ball game when it comes to using your drum brushes on the toms and snare. The snare is the major drum that a player will play the brushes upon.

The feeling you get by playing the drum brushes on a snare is something not obtainable with the regular sticks. But, for the brushes to work well and produce the desired result, ensure your drum features a coated skin. What you should do is to press down on the drum brush to enable the spokes stretch out on your snare drum.

Subsequently, you should engage a circular movement to move the brushes around your snare. The sound you will get from this is the swooshing kind of sound, as though there’s a texture to it. Speed up to accent the quarter notes, and press harder in the course of the count. Linger on this technique to obtain a feel for the drum brush.

Reading the Brush Music.

Drum brush notation comes with lots of arcs. The time counting should be regular, while you watch out for the arcs. The arcs stand for a sweep with the drum brush. An arc will stand for a circle that you play on the drum using the brush. Therefore, count out those by playing spherical sweeps with the brush on your snare.
Here are a couple of examples of the brush notation:

Bear in mind that it may be very difficult to stumble on rudiments that offer substantial help when it comes to brush technique. But, you should focus on perfecting your brush control, which is a good thing to do.


Once you start making reasonable headway with the drum brushes, practice using them with a couple of solos and drum fills. Some drummers also engage brushes in playing Latin music. Indeed, it’s great fun practicing and experimenting with these.