Drag Ruff - Drum Rudiment
The drag ruff was one of the patterns chosen to take part in the 26 American Drum Rudiments by members of the National Association of Rudimental Drummers (N.A.R.D.) in 1936. The drag ruff was also featured in the 13 Essential Drum Rudiments. This was a subgroup of the 26 drum rudiments that encompassed the essential drum rudiments any drummer should know how to play. In 1984, the 26 drum rudiments were joined by 14 other drum rudiments, giving birth to the 40 International Drum Rudiments.
The drag ruff (also known as drag or half drag) is the most basic and important pattern in the drag family of drum rudiments. So just like with the flam in the flam family of drum rudiments and the single paradiddle in the paradiddle family of drum rudiments, you can expect the drag ruff to be featured on all the patterns in the drag family of drum rudiments.
The drag ruff features two or more grace notes that are followed by a primary stroke. The grace notes can be performed as bounced double strokes, or as an undisclosed number of strokes using the multiple bounce roll. It's important you learn how to play the double stroke roll and the multiple bounce roll before you give this lesson a go. Remember to practice these two ways of playing drags with every drum beat, drum fill and drag based drum rudiment it's featured in.
Practice the drag ruff slowly at first. Focus on getting consistent sounding drag ruffs as you move from hand to hand - whether you play buzzed or double stroked grace notes.
Once you feel confident with the drag ruff, you can move on to learn how to apply the drag ruff to drum beats and drum fills.
Exercise #1 is based on the basic 8th note rock drum beat. The drag ruff is played on the hi-hat on all the "ands", and between the hi-hat and the snare drum on counts 2 and 4. Start by playing the hand pattern on the hi-hat. Once that feels good, move the primary strokes on counts 2 and 4 to the snare drum. The bass drum is played on counts 1 and 3 here, but you can play around with different ideas on the bass drum once you have the basic pattern under your belt.
Exercise #2 is an 8th note drum beat. This pattern is very similar to the previous one. Take exercise #1 and move the grace notes on counts 2 and 4 from the hi-hat to the snare drum. Once you have that down, add an extra bass drum stroke on the "and" of count 2 and you're done.
Exercise #3 is an 8th note drum fill. The grace notes are all kept on the snare drum while the primary strokes are moved around the various drums. This drum fill will be way easier to perform if the grace notes are played with the weaker hand and the primary strokes with the stronger hand.
Exercise #4 is a 16th note drum fill. The primary strokes on counts 1 and 2 are played as unison strokes between the bass drum and a crash cymbal - this is a great way of using cymbals within drag based drum fills. Count 4 features a 16th note single paradiddle. Mixing drum rudiments is another great tool for spicing up any pattern you're working on. This exercise is filled with very cool nuances that are sure to inspire your own creativity.
The drag ruff is played in many different styles of music. It's mainly used as an embellishment in drum beats and drum fills. Before moving on to learn how to play the single drag tap, experiment adding drag ruffs to some of the drum fills and drum beats featured in this website.