Surf band substitute: NEED TIPS

Hi everyone!
I've been asked to substitute for a surf band's upcoming bar gig and the first rehearsal is coming thursday.

Been watching Daniel Glass's drumeo video on "the surf beat", but do you have any cool tips and tricks to go about on practicing or bands to check? Excited to learn more about this style!




Platinum Member
just make sure your "wipe out" is up to par, cause it'll get called. He's also demonstrating it a little swingy for my tastes. Preference thing maybe. He explains it as I would "a pushy" feeling.


Platinum Member
It’s good that you want to absorb the style, and are open to getting the nuances down. There are some cool things in that video: the ghosted 8th notes on the snare, and the option of playing the bass drum on 1 and 3, or on all the quarter notes. These are details that you can explore, when you have more time.

But first things first: learn the songs on the band's set list. Ask for the list from a previous gig, and then get to work. Write out the main beats and tempo, and chart the song forms if it will help. Make note of breaks, big fills, any sections without drums, etc. Become able to hum or sing the lead guitar riffs, in order to better familiarize yourself with each song. And remember that even though you learned the song from a recording, it may be a bit different on the gig. Tempos may be faster or slow, solos may get extended, and you may have to watch the other players for endings. Be prepared, but also be flexible.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
The few surf beats you'll need are super simple, and fills are normally relegated to a bar of 16ths (snare, or snare-to-snare-fl.tom) or 8ths (snare & tom together.) I didn't watch the video, but when I saw that it was 7 minutes, I knew it was about 6 minutes too long (sorry Daniel, you know I love you!)

Wipeout will be required, and make sure you get it right. Most drummers do not know the correct way to play it, despite the accents being simple and consistent (taken from an old drum cadence.) Also good to know the breaks in Walk Don't Run. Simple, but easy to get wrong if you don't know what they are.

There's a great 'busy' surf beat at the beginning of
if you absolutely need it. I use it between songs in a surf medley one of my groups does. :)

Amazing stuff everyone, thanks!! The set list has been send and I'm blasting those tracks now

Keep it coming and I will let you know about the progress!


Silver Member
What Bermuda said re the basic beat and fills.

Listen to a lot of Dick Dale's songs, what the drummer is doing and any fills to get a sense of how the solos are expressed within the different drum set components. Very basic beats, no double bass crazy speed, keep it simple and lock in with the bass player!!


Silver Member
In that cool Daniel Glass video he plays the 2 eights on the snare pretty sharp and straight.. I tend to accent the 2nd eighth a bit to give it a bit of a kick - like in the Heavies video (early Frank Zappa?? Wow). Either way works.. but I'm not a fan of accenting the 1st eight and letting the 2nd drift off.. makes it sound muddy; not articulated enough.


Senior Member
As far as Dennis Wilson and Hal Blaine swinging it ... neither of them are considered surf music drummers by surf music fans. Real surf music is very straight and rigid


Gold Member
When I listen to surf music, I hear the sixteenths as swung a bit, especially in the guitar double pick solos, but also in the drum fills, which is probably why the eights need to be perfectly straight.


Silver Member
Listen to old Beach Boy records and you'll learn everything you need to know. Period. Surfin' is the only life, the only life for me, now surf.
Thanks very much everyone! Due to the virus-I-shall-not-name, the gig has been cancelled... But I'll dig into this style a lot more! I feel like it's a great basis for a lot of 50s/60s/70s stuff (obvious, but never realised it)


Junior Member
I really would recommend getting Wipeout as part of your set.

It's great for stamina, gives you strong singles on the toms and is generally a great workout.

People go loopy in the crowd when I start the tom pattern.

Just remember your accents and use a China where you can. It sounds like the surf breaking on the shore!!