Learning 7/8 Odd Time

Easy Drumming That Sounds Hard

Learning how to play in an odd-time signature can be a bit challenging at first. This is especially true if you’re only used to playing in 4/4 time. In this free drum lesson, Jared Falk teaches you how to play your first 7/8 drum beat and drum fill, and a couple of exercises that will help you develop the feel for playing in 7/8 odd-time signature. He also goes a little bit into how the numbers of a time signature relate to the way you count it out, and to what you see in a measure of music.

Most professional drummers tend to split odd-time signatures into groups of two and three counts. If you feel like counting to seven is a little too much, split this odd meter into smaller groupings of 8th notes like 2-2-3. This way, you can count patterns in 7/8 like so: 1 2-1 2-1 2 3.

You can use any drum beat and drum fill featured on this website for coming up with some fresh ideas in 7/8 odd-time signature. How do you achieve that? Glad you asked! The top number of 4/4 means that there are four counts in a measure. The bottom number of 4/4 means that the quarter note takes those counts. In a measure of 4/4 time you have eight 8th notes. So you can actually think of 4/4 as being 8/8. If you remove one of the 8th notes from 8/8 you get 7/8. By removing a single 8th note from any pattern in 4/4 time you get a new one in 7/8 time. If you’d like to explore this concept right away, use the drum beats from the free drum lesson “Beginner Cross Sticking” to get started.

Once you’re done with this free drum lesson, we encourage you to check the free drum lesson “Beginner 7/8 Drum Fills“. This free drum lesson is the first of a series of three that will have you learning beginner to advanced drum fills in 7/8 odd-time signature.