Flamacue - Drum Rudiment

The flamacue 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 flamacue 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.

If we took the flamacues notated on the sheet music below and removed the grace notes and the accents, we'd be left with five-note single stroke rolls. Therefore, it's important you learn how to play flams and the single stroke roll before going through this free drum lesson.


The flamacue is a very unique and challenging drum rudiment. It is a good idea to take a step-by-step approach if you want to play the flamacue accurately. Start by practicing a consistent sounding five-note single stroke roll. You can do so by keeping the sticks approximately at the same height after and before you perform a stroke. Add the flams once you have that down. The next step is to practice the transition between the first flam and the accent. You should practice this transition on its own, before incorporating it to the final pattern. Once you have all of those steps mastered, you can finally practice the flamacue as notated on the sheet music below.

When you feel confident with the flamacue, you can move on to learn how to apply the flamacue to drum beats and drum fills.

Exercise #1 is a 16th note drum beat. A good way to approach this drum beat is to play the hand pattern on the hi-hat at first. This will enable you to focus on the dynamics of each note you perform. Once everything is solid, move the hands to the snare drum on counts 2 and 4, and to the "and" of count 4 on the floor tom. After you're able to play the hand pattern, add the bass drum on all quarter notes.

Flamacue #1

Exercise #2 is a 16th note drum beat. You can find the flamacue between the "and" of count 1 and the "and" of count 2 - the flamacue is syncopated. Syncopating drum rudiments within drum beats is a great way of coming up with very cool patterns of your own. The bass drum stroke played on the "and" of count 1 should line up perfectly with the primary stroke of the flam and not with the grace note. Remember this whenever you see a bass drum stroke played in unison with a flam.

Flamacue #2

Exercise #3 is a 16th note drum fill. You can find a flamacue between counts 1 and 2. As you may have noticed, this drum fill comprises bass drum strokes. Adding the bass to drum fills will make a huge difference in the way they feel and sound. Playing the bass drum instead of hand strokes is also another great technique for giving new life to your drum fills.

Flamacue #3

Exercise #4 is a 16th note drum fill. This exercise features a flamacue on counts 1 and 2. Throughout the third count we have a flamacue being played. However, once we get to count 4 Lionel plays a 16th note single stroke roll instead of a quarter note flammed stroke as expected.

Flamacue #4

Once you've mastered this drum lesson, check the free drum lessons on the flam paradiddle and the single flammed mill next.