Lesson 7: Finger Placement

Many different techniques and ideas exist for finger placement when finger drumming. This is our recommended base technique showing which pads to hit with which fingers. You can also switch to different styles when necessary, but for learning drum patterns, we believe this is the best way to go.

Right Handed Setup

If you are right-handed, you will probably feel most comfortable leading with your right hand. Your index finger should generally hit pad 1 (the kick drum), your middle finger controls pad 2 (the snare drum) and your ring finger is used for pads 3 and 4 (the hi-hats):

To hit the crash cymbal (top left pad) and kick drum at the same time, use your thumb for the kick drum and index finger to hit the crash:

Left Handed Setup

If you are left-handed, you will probably feel most comfortable leading with your left hand. Your ring finger should generally hit pad 1 (the kick drum), your middle finger controls pad 2 (the snare drum) and your index finger is used for pads 3 and 4 (the hi-hats):

To hit the crash cymbal (top left pad) and kick drum at the same time, use your thumb for the kick drum and index finger to hit the crash:

Using Two Hands

We recommend playing 1/8th notes with your leading/strongest hand and the 1/16th notes between the 1/8th notes with your other hand. By alternating hands like this, you can play patterns much faster. For your second hand, you can just use one finger to jump around and hit all the pads (whichever finger you feel most comfortable with).

To see this technique in action, check out this finger drum routine from DJ Chamber (featuring Jimi Needles on the turntables):

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