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Books & Gear Recs

For a little financial perspective: during the 2014-15 school year, the average full-time University student at a four-year public university in the United States spent $1225 on books and supplies; at four-year private colleges $1244 - Chicago Tribune statistics Aug. 2015. I am confident YSU percussion majors pay less, nonetheless, percussion education expenditures are significant, as they include mallets, sticks, instruments, ear plugs, metronome, audio/video recorder, etc.


·       Concert Snare Drum

Each student should own a concert snare drum distinct from any marching or drumset style drums you own. You have two basic options. One, is to purchase a dedicated concert snare drum from Black Swamp Percussion, Pearl, Majestic, or Yamaha. Two, is to convert an existing drumset style snare drum to a concert drum.

•Viable shell sizes include 4x14, 4.5x14, 5x14", 5.5x14, 6x14, and 6.5x14.

•Shell - wood (maple, birch) or metal (brass, bronze, copper, aluminum, steel), 8 or 10 lugs.

•Hoops - 2.3mm triple flange steel or brass, or die cast (zinc or aluminum)

•Strainer - If you need to retrofit a strainer on the drum, the Dunnett R4 new models are great as is the Inde SB1U strainer. Both have adjustable mounting brackets to accommodate different vertical hole spacings in the drum shell. Dunnett also makes dedicated models to fit certain common brand drums.

Conversion Process:

   •Install Remo Hazy Diplomat Reso (Snare side) head.

   •Install Remo Coated Ambassador or Skyntone batter head

   •Install a mute atop the batter head. This can be homemade or commercially purchased.

   •Install concert snare cables. Two options: If your snare strainer accommodates them, a wrap-around style snare assembly - a combination of blue coated and uncoated stainless-steel cable (Black Swamp brand) will yield superior snare response. If the Black Swamp dual snare unit will not fit, the Grover Jazz Bright model cables mounted in snare end-plates will fit any drum but sacrifice some snare response compared to the Black Swamp.


Concert snare drum and stand. In order to practice rudimental and symphonic repertoire a relatively dry sounding concert drum is a centerpiece of a percussionists instrument collection. Several options exist: Ideally, one should own a dedicated concert snare drum by Black Swamp, Pearl Philharmonic, Majestic, Pearl Symphonic, Grover, etc. Another option is to convert a standard drumset or other snare to a concert style drum. Such drums are usually 14 diameter and run 5-6.5” depth. Conversion involves purchasing appropriate batter and resonant heads, cable snares, and batter head dampening  I recommend keeping the drum in a soft-bag case. A concert snare stand, such as the Pearl S-710, is distinct from a drum set snare stand in that it sets higher for standing. 

·       Gum Rubber Practice pad and stand (use your concert snare stand). Bring practice pad, stand, and concert snare sticks to Seminar, Private and Group Lessons. Gum rubber practice pads such as Vic Firth, Salyers - silicone, Reel Feel, HP Percussion, etc and snare drum stands are also fine for other uses. 

Recommendations: gum rubber surface, 10-14” diameter range; note that smaller 6-19" pads don’t contain enough mass to sit still on another surface and often possess a peculiar rebound quality. 

•Prologix, Logixpad 12”, ca. $6012” playing surface, Top surface features a green, 5.5mm, unique playing area for optimum rebound, Bottom surface features a 5mm recycled playing area for a second sound option, Non-marking, Poly-Tech rim for precision rim shot execution and cross-stick simulation, High-quality Baltic birch base for durability and tone, American made from Stow, Ohio..

•Evans Reel Feel (HQ 12) 12” two-sided, gum rubber and neoprene, ca $36. 

•Vic Firth Double Sided-gum rubber and neoprene, 12”, PAD12D, ca. $42

•Salyers 12” Silicone surface, $30.

•Aquarian 12” Tru-Bounce, $39.

•Off World Percussion Invader, V3 Gum Rubber Practice Pad, V3GR, includes wood rim, $64.

•Meinl, MPP-12, 12” gum rubber, $37.


Other useful practice pads/surfaces include:

•Remo Silent Stroke Mesh Drumheads - Convert any 8-14” diameter drum, whether snare or tom-tom, into a permanent practice drum. These are responsive-more so than most gum rubber pads, durable, and are excellent for developing long free strokes, rebound, Moeller techniques, finger stroke control, etc. Use any regular mylar resonant or batter head for the resonant side or omit the reso-side head. 

•Aquarian Super Pad, 14” neatly fits inside a snare drum counter hoop atop the drum and is an excellent softer surface, less responsive than gum rubber, for a quiet warmup at gig venues. 

•Movement Drum, 2-Sided pad.

•       Two standard drum keys. Bring to all applied percussion and PE classes & events. 

·       Hearing Protection - Ear Plugs - Hearos High Fidelity ear plugs or Vic Firth High Fidelity plugs. Both brands are virtually the same product, approximately $18, purchase no higher than 20-25 dB sound attenuation. Earasers Musicians Earplugs, $39 are also excellent. Cheap foam plugs are not acceptable for a musician, but good for string trimmers or chain saws. Bring to all lessons, rehearsals, etc.

·       Metronome - either a stand-alone electronic metronome such as Tama Rhythm Watch, Dr. Beat, or a mobile phone met app such as "Tempo" with headphones or musicians in-ear monitors.

·       Sticks, Mallets, Case: bare essentials 

1)      A large mallet bag or stick case: Humes & Berg GL 8010 Stick and Mallet Grip Bag, Vic Firth SBAG2, Mike Balter MBMC large mallet case, Innovative Percussion large mallet case, Lone Star Percussion - Tower stick & mallet bag, Ahead Armor AAJMT Drumstick Mallet Tower, Sabian SSB360 Stick Bag, etc. or a large briefcase for storing mallets.

2)                      Concert Snare sticks, view this video for comparison of SD-1 versus the SCS-1

3)                      Firth SD-1 maple = 16 3/8” length, 0.635 diameter, short and light weight or SCS-1 persimmon, 17”, .645 diameter medium taper.. I prefer the heavier weights.

4)                      Drumset sticks, Firth 5A size, 16” length, hickory, wood tip  I like standard 5A model acorn tip or 5A barrel tip, also Matt Gorstka Signature (5A gentel acorn tip), or George Kollias Signature (5A barrel tip), Tony Royster barrel tip, 5A nylon tip is acceptable for practice situations, provides extended durability and saves money.

5)                      Retractable Wire Brushes with wire end ring – Vic Firth Heritage Brush or Regal Tip equivalent

6)                      Vic Firth 5A Dual Tone, one side is acorn tip 5A, the other side a synthetic durable timpani mallet wrap,

7)                      Keyboard Mallets - show me what you own before buying anything new

8)                      Timpani Mallets - Vic Firth, Tim Genis Signature Series, Gen 5 Tonal = a good mallet to purchase right now. Later on, Tim recommends the purchase order of Gen 5 Tonal, Gen 6 Hard Tonal, Gen 1 Roller, Gen 7 Dolce Articulate.

9)                      Kratt Master Key F-F  chromatic tuning pipe. 

10)                    Soft hand towel for cleaning timpani heads.

·       Notebook - Three-ring notebook, 1.5" size with loose-leaf ruled 8.5x11” paper and Manuscript Paper, 8.5x11” loose-leaf manuscript paper, three hole punched


Hand fitness - Solid steel 2” Chinese exercise balls


Books I typically use with my new students for rhythm, snare drum, keyboard, timpani, and drumset. Most should be available from Steve Weiss and they are a great place to order your music, books, and mallets because they have most items in-stock and ship same-day. I also support Columbus Percussion, as my friend Jim Rupp is the owner and they are very helpful. Please call them to see what they have in-stock or can get quickly. See our website, Links tab, for listings of retailers. Amazon might provide better prices but only buy there if the items are actually in-stock; do not settle for non-stock items as some may take too long to arrive. 

Books typically used by freshmen 

GS sells direct to students:

•••Schaft, Glenn–Fascinating Rhythms 

•••Schaft, Glenn – Snare Drum Chops & Concepts, 2018  edition


Buy from retailers:

Garwood Whaley––Basics In Rhythm, 2003.

•••Stone, George Lawrence — Stick Control. 1935.

•••Peters, Mitchell — Intermediate Studies For Snare Drum, 1976. Excellent etudes for all levels.

•••Charles Wilcoxon — Modern Rudimental Swing Solos. 1941.

•••Johnson, Mark, Etudes, classical melodies, 136p., 2 mallet, rec. by Doug Walter,

•••Peters, Mitchell — Fundamental Method for Mallets. Vol. 1. Excellent introductory 2 and 4 mallet text.

•••Peters, Mitchell — Fundamental Method for Timpani. Excellent general text.

•••Rothman, Joel. Drumming and All That Jazz

•••Rothman, Joel, Mini-Monster Book of Rock Drumming, 1981

Recommended books:

Snare Drum Books

Bachman, Bill–Rhythm & Chops Builders, 2017

Black, Dave & Sandy Feldstein-Alfred’s Drum Method, Book 1.-beginner text

Cirone, Anthony — Portraits In Rhythm, 1966.

Delecluse, Jacques — Douze Etudes, 1964

Delecluse, Jacques — Keiskleiriana 1, 1987

Delecluse, Jacques — Studio M 1, 2004          

Delecluse, Jacques — Initium II, 1977, focus on subdivision

Delecluse, Jacques — Initium IV, 1978, focus on subdivision

Delecluse, Jacques —  Methode de Caisse-Claire, 1969

Firth, Vic  — The Solo Snare Drummer, 1968

Gadd, Steve – Gaddiments, 2021.

Gardner, Carl — Gardner Modern Method, 1919

•••Gauthreaux, Guy, II –- Six Classic Snare Drum Solos

Goldenberg, Morris —Modern School For Snare Drum, 1955

James, William–The Modern Concert Snare Drum Roll

Lane, Johnny Lee & Richard Walker–Rudimental Snare Drum Grooves, 2009

•••Percussive Arts Society–International Drum Rudiments, 1984. Compiled by Jay Wanamaker and Rob Carson 

Peters, Mitchell — Advanced Snare Drum Studies, 1971.

Peters, Mitchell–Elementary Snare Drum Studies, 1988. Excellent beginning level text.

•••Peters, Mitchell — Intermediate Studies For Snare Drum, 1976. Excellent etudes for all levels.

Peters, Mitchell — Etudes for Snare Drum. 2003.

Peters, Mitchell–Developing Dexterity

Pratt, John–The New Pratt Book, 1985.

Rich, Buddy, Hernry Adler, rev. Mackenzie–Buddy Rich’s Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiments, 1942, 2005

•••Schaft, Glenn – Snare Drum Chops & Concepts, 2018 edition

Sholle, Emil–Here’s The Drum. Vol. 1 & 2, 1959. Excellent beginning level texts.

•••Stone, George Lawrence — Stick Control. 1935.

Weiner, Richard — Etudes For Snare Drum, 2011. 

Whaley, Garwood–Primary Handbook for Snare Drum

•••Wilcoxon, Charley — Modern Rudimental Swing Solos. 1941.

Wilcoxon, Charley–All American Drummer; 150 Solos, 

Wooten, John - Drummers Rudimental Reference Book, 1992.

Drum Set Books

Appice, Carmine–Ultimate Realistic Rock

Berry, Mick, Jason Gianni, The Drummer’s Bible, 2004

Burns, Roy & Sandy Feldstein–Drum Set Music

Chaffee, Gary–Patterns Series–Sticking Patterns, Time Functioning Patterns, Technique Patterns

Chaffee, Gary, Linear Time Playing, 1993

Clark, Mike – ​Funk Drumming: Innovative Grooves and Advanced Concepts, 2005

Dahlgren, Marvin & Elliot Fine–4-Way Coordination

Davis, Steve – ​Jazz Drummers: Masters of Time

Dowd, Charles – ​A Funky Primer for the Rock Drummer

Duduka Da Fonseca and Bob Weiner — Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset (CD)

Brian Fullen — Jazz Standards for Drumset, Play-Along 

Guiliana, Mark, Exploring Your Creativity On The Drumset, 2016

Hartigan, Royal–West African Rhythms for Drumset

Joseph, Jonathan, Exercises in African-American Funk, Mangambe, Bikutsi, and the Shuffle, 2015

Malabe, Frank and Bob Weiner — Afro Cuban Rhythms for Drumset (CD)

Mayer, Jojo. ​Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer.Hudson Music (DVD)

Mintz, Billy, Different Drummers, 1975

Moio, Dom, Be-Bop Phrasing For Drums, 1997

Morgan, Tom–The Jazz Drummers Reading Workbook, w. download tracks, chart reading


O’Mahoney, Terry, Motivic Drumset Soloing, 2004

Pickering, John—Mel Bay’s Studio/Jazz Drum Cookbook. Excellent jazz comping patterns.

Ramsay, John – ​The Drummer’s Complete Vocabulary as taught by Alan Dawson

Reed, Ted—Syncopation

Riley, Jim Survival Guide for the Modern Drummer, PlayAlong

Riley, John–The Art of Bop Drumming

Riley, John – ​Beyond Bop Drumming
Riley, John – ​The Jazz Drummer’s Workshop – Advanced Concepts for Musical Development

•••Rothman, Joel–Drumming and All That Jazz (1st)

Rothman, Joel–Extraordinnarily Phenomenal Jazz Drum Book (2nd)

Rothman, Joel–Four-Way Independence For Jazz Drumming (3rd)

Rothman, Joel–Rock Bible of Coordination

Rothman, Joel–Jazz Bible of Coordination

•••Rothman, Joel, Mini-Monster Book of Rock Drumming, 1981

Smith, Steve. ​Drum Techniques and the History of the U.S. Beat​. Hudson Music (DVD). 

Smith, Steve. ​Drum Legacy: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.Hudson Music (DVD).

Stanoch, David–Mastering The Tables of Time, 2008

Thompson, Rich – ​Jazz Solos, volume 1

Uribe, Ed – ​The Essence of Afro-Cuban Percussion
Uribe, Ed – ​The Essence of Brazilian Percussion & Drum Set

Xepoleas, John, Essential Drum Lessons With The Greats, 2012

Zoro -The Commandments of R&B Drumming. R&B, Soul, and Funk ( CD).

Timpani Books

Carroll, Raynor–Exercises, Etudes, and Solos for the Timpani

Friese/Lepak-The Complete Timpani Method

Goodman, Saul–Modern Method for Tympani

Hochrainer, Richard–Etudes for Timpani, Vol. 1 & 2, German style setup so stickings are reversed

Max, Randy, ​Orchestral Excerpts for Timpani

•••Peters, Mitchell — Fundamental Method for Timpani. Excellent general text.

Stubbs, Amy, ​The Art of Timpani Mallet Making​: Stubbs Percussion, 2012

Tafoya, John, ​The Working Timpanist’s Survival Guide

Whaley, Garwood–Primary Handbook for Timpani, good beginner level text

Yanchich, Mark - Changing and Tuning Plastic Timpani Heads, DVD

Yanchich, Mark–Sewing Felt Timpani Sticks, DVD

Keyboard Books

Friedman, David — Vibraphone Technique - dampening and pedaling technique & etudes.

Gottry, Josh–Two Steps Forward, beginning 2-mallet method, 34 etudes, 6 solos, no nursery melodies.

Hammond-Wood, Jason, Mainstream Mallets, Tapspace Pub, transcriptions, w. opt pn. acc and contains pn audio tracks, rec. by Doug Walter

Heinrich, Panofka, Vocalises, Opus 81. w. pn acc, rec. by Doug Walter

Islas, Patricia–Momentum. 2020. method for two-mallets, exercises, etudes, and solos designed to develop the physical and musical skills necessary for self-expression through two-mallet percussion. The solos are physically challenging, musically mature, and composed to sound cool enough to be worth the effort.   

Johnson, Mark, Etudes, classical melodies, 136p., 2 mallet, rec. by Doug Walter, A collection of 85 traditional 2-mallet pieces for study, performance or sight-reading. This collection would be viable as either a basic method book or as a supplement to other mallet methods. Requires a 4-octave marimba, most pieces can also be played on xylophone and/or vibraphone.

Morgan, Tom–The Musical Marimbist, 20 two-mallet etudes, grand staff, 4.3oct.

Lipner, Arthur–The Vibes Real Book

•••Peters, Mitchell — Fundamental Method for Mallets. Vol. 1. Excellent introductory text. Include 2 and 4 mallet sections.

Peters, Mitchell — Fundamental Method for Mallets. Vol. 2. Excellent intermediate text. Include 2 and 4 mallet sections.

Roulet, Patrick, Intermediate Studies for Developing Artists on Keyboard Percussion, rec. by Doug Walter

Stevens, Leigh Howard — Method Of Movement. Definitive treatise on four mallet technique and exercises.

Wessels, Mark–A Fresh Approach to Mallet Percussion, Beginner level text, 2 mallets.

Whaley, Garwood–Primary Handbook For Mallets, 1980. Excellent beginner text, 2 mallets.

Whaley, Gardwood–Fundamental Studies For Mallets, 1974. Companion to Whaley-Primary Handbook. Short etudes by various composers.

Hand Percussion

Kalani-Hand Percussion, 2008. Overview of 47 instruments

Spiro, Michael–Conga Drummer’s Guidebook.

Gajate-Garcia, Richie–Play Congas Now


Bellson, Louis & Gil Breines–Modern Reading Text in 4/4

Bellson, Louis & Gil Breines–Odd Time Reading Text

Chaffee, Gary–Rhythm & Meter Patterns

Stanoch, David–Mastering The Tables of Time, 2008

Whaley, Garwood–Basics In Rhythm

Whaley, Garwood–More Basics In Rhythm

Orchestral Repetoire

Carlyss, Gerald, ​Symphonic Repertoire for Timpani: The Brahms & Tchaikovsky Symphonies 

Carlyss, Gerald, ​Symphonic Repertoire for Timpani: The Nine Beethoven Symphonies

Carroll, Raynor, ​Orchestral Repertoire for the Snare Drum
Carroll, Raynor, ​Orchestral Repertoire for the Glockenspiel (Vol. 1&2)
Carroll, Raynor, ​Orchestral Repertoire for the Xylophone (Vol. 1&2)
Carroll, Raynor, ​Orchestral Repertoire for the Bass Drum and Cymbals
Carroll, Raynor, ​Orchestral Repertoire for the Tambourine, Triangle and Castanets

Cirone, Anthony, ​Symphonic Repertoire for Cymbals
Cirone, Anthony, ​Symphonic Repertoire for Snare Drum
Genis, Tim, ​Symphonic Repertoire for Percussion Accessories
Tafoya, John​, Beyond the Audition Screen
Van Geem, Jack, ​Symphonic Repertoire for Keyboard Percussion

Resources Guides:

Blades, James. ​Percussion Instruments and Their History​. Westport, Connecticut: Bold Strummer, Rvsd 2005.

Cook, Gary–Teaching Percussion, Enhanced Third Edition, 2019.

Schick, Steven. ​The Percussionist’s Art: Same Bed, Different Dreams.University of Rochester Press, 2006.

Siwe,Thomas.​ ArtfulNoise:percussionliteratureinthetwentiethcentury.UniversityofIllinoispress, 2020.

Udow, Michael. ​Percussion Pedagogy: a practical guide for studio teachers.Oxford University Press, 2019

Drumset Gear Recs:

Headphones for hearing protection and audio play-along - Sony ATH M50 X, these are over-the-ear to limit incoming external sound, comfortable for long periods, and have excellent audio quality.

Bass Drum Pedal - Pearl P 2050B Eliminator Redline Belt Drive Single Bass Drum Pedal

Bass drum beater - Slug, Jazz model, white 2-sided - felt and plastic, light weight

Hihat stand - Tama, Iron Cobra 200, 5-level tension adjustment, double braced

Throne - Roc n Soc, Bicycle seat, Hydraulic lift

Yamaha Crosstown - Aluminum single-brace cymbal stands

Yamaha - steel, single-brace cymbal stands

Lone Star Percussion - Tower stick & mallet bag

Instructional videos:

John Good, How To Tune Drums - toms, SD, BD, from DW

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