Quick & Easy Drum Charts


Senior Member
Hi Everyone -
if you've ever had to learn a lot of songs quickly, you may have considered how to make a drum chart to help you. I've been in this situation a lot so I thought I would start sharing some examples on "The Drumming Blog."

The first article/example is here:
How To Make A Drum Chart #1


Senior Member
Definitely an essential skill for aspiring working drummers to learn.

For quicky charts I use a picket fence system (I: llll V: llll llll, etc.), with single letters for cues where needed. It keeps them clean, and easy to read under stage lights.

For rests, I use an underscore (_) for full measures, and a dash (-) for half measures.

If the song(s) have signature grooves, or fills, that I am iffy on recalling, I will notate them. Otherwise, these simple charts do the trick.

I also do as much listening as possible before the gig. Songs I am less familiar with become the soundtrack to my life.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Short of writing-out standard notation, I think we develop our own system that we can recognize when we see it on the job. Yours is not dissimilar to mine, although I tend to write on staff paper. And yours is slightly more literal than mine, but in the case of Girl U Want (DEVO, see below) I happen to know the song and my chart is more for a guide/arrangement than to show what to play. I already know it's a straight beat, where the crashes and fills go, and that 'punches' refers to those two bars before the first verse. So if someone else who doesn't know the song tried to use my chart, they wouldn't get much help from it.

Just for fun I added the performance!



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Senior Member
hi Bermuda-
thanks for sharing.
i like your system...makes sense to me.
and I agree, generally speaking, most likely no one but me will understand my chart......but that's OK....