Rim shots- how to practice precision?


Junior Member
Thanks for all replies so far...Hope we can keep this discussion going, as I think it's a topic that might be of interest to many drummers.

I've tried using thigh as a guide, but that's hit-or-miss [sic], because sometimes I am playing heel-up, sometimes heel-down, sometimes somewhere in between, and other times even my hi-hat thigh is moving all the time to play subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) patterns, degrees of more and less open or closed.

I am using matched grip. 2 snares to play: A Black Beauty with die-cast hoops; and a Supraphonic with flanged hoops. The flanged hoops do seem more forgiving for consistent rimshots, presumably because they flex a bit upon impact. That flex doesn't really help with quiet rimshots though, which are equally difficult to hit consistently on either snare.


Silver Member
Can't add much, but I will say this....

For me, one of the big issues I found was that the hoop height off the head has a big impact on the ease of getting a rim shot, the tone of the rimshot, and the consistency of the rimshot. (Cross sticking too by the way).

Early on I used a Rogers COB Powertone that I had put a GRETSCH die-cast hoop on (batterside) because I cracked the original Rogers hoop. I had a pretty good handle on my rimshots with this setup.

Fast forward to 1999 and my main snare was a Tama birch, also with diecast hoops-BUT the hoop sat much closer to the head. I had to learn all over again be ause my muscle memory had been programmed for the other drum and the higher hoop height. Also, obviously, the rimshot on a COB will have a distinctively different sound-and volume in particular, over a wood shell. At least in my experience.

I think that this factor contributes more than anything else to consistency-and is especially noticeable if you change snare drums often.


Junior Member
Re: Changing drums often.

I actually wonder if that might be a good idea, for really mastering rimshots. Maybe not right from the start, but eventually as part of the practice. To really develop the versatility, to play on any snare one happens to encounter.

It would help one be prepared for any situation, like playing on someone else's kit, or a studio kit, or in a jam session, etc.


"Uncle Larry"
So much depends on how you move the stick, that it's not feasible to give suggestions without video. A video would be a good starting point.

One thing I think could be a common thread is...when you come down with your default backbeat stroke....however you do that....the snare drum has to be pretty much the same angle as the stick, when the stick is about to hit the drum.

So a lot of it is observing your default stick angle and matching your snare angle/height to it.


Platinum Member
I have to echo Tony.

This is just one of those things there's no trick to. It takes muscle memory and repetition before you can do it with consistency you can rely on.


Senior Member
Glad to see this thread come up, as this is something I've been working on too. I guessed that it's just a matter of repetition, and that seems to be what most are saying. One thing that helped me out recently was adjusting my setup. A tip I got from a video in Weckl's online school is to set up the snare so that when you close your eyes and hit it with a full stroke, you get a rimshot with either hand. That caused me first to raise the drum, because my natural eyes-closed stroke was hitting nothing but air, and from there it was a matter of fine-tuning the tilt angle and position so that left- or right-handed, I'd get a rimshot with the stick in the center of the drum. I still have inconsistencies to iron out, but at least now the position of the drum for me is completely in favor of hitting rimshots.

I've mentioned this in other threads, but Dave's videos on drum kit setup and tuning are the best I've seen anywhere. Probably worth at least a month's subscription to watch those if you need help in those areas.


Senior Member
I’ve noticed that a snare set too high will promote a rim shot without trying for one. It is very much a factor of the angle of attack of stick to snare. The greater the angle, the less chance of a rim shot. The lower the angle, the higher the chance.
I don’t like rim shots. I know, I must be crazy:) Because of my preference, i tilt the snare towards me and set it a bit lower than most. Now I get center strikes effortlessly. When I do want a rimshot, I angle my stick to match the snare angle.
Of course it takes hours of repetition to gain consistency.