From Sticks To Brushes: Techniques From The Masters

Learning to play with brushes is essential for every jazz drummer. Photo courtesy of

Some of the best drummers in the world exist in jazz music.  And to be a jazz drummer, you have to know how to play with brushes.  Now, you aren’t going to see a lot of “How to play with brushes” books out on the bookshelves because, as Charli Persip says in one of his videos, brushes are a personal art form.  A drummer puts a lot of his own character into playing the brushes.  So I collected a series of master drummers that show you some examples of their own brush playing.  There are also some special performances at the bottom so make sure you read all the way to the end.  Enjoy!

The first video comes from the great drummer, Joe Morello.  Morello was an original member of the Dave Brubeck Quartet and shows us his brush style of drumming at

The next video comes from jazz drummer, Charli Persip.  Persip has played and learned from a lot of the classic jazz players and shares his experiences at

One of the great jazz drummers today to have taken the stage is Jeff Hamilton.  Hamilton has an authentic brush technique that he shares with us at

I have collected two video performances of brushes on just the snare drum.  This shows just how much a drummer can do with a pair of brushes and one drum.  Check it out at

The second performance video features two great drummers, Jeff Hamiilton and Steve Smith.  Both are masters with brushes and they have fun showing it to us at

Even if you aren’t looking into jazz drumming, there is a lot to learn from all these master drummers.  Plus, the brushes offer a very unique sound that every professional drummer needs to be familiar with in his or her career.  I hope you enjoyed these videos, because I enjoyed collecting them for you.



Leave A Reply (7 comments so far)

  1. casey

    Hey Chris – Thanks for this article. I’m studying jazz drumming and trying to learn how to use brushes. It’s not as easy as the pros make it look. When I play it sounds like I’m scrubbing with an SOS pad – LOL! I enjoyed the Salt & Peanuts video.

  2. maxthedrummer

    important facet of drumming a lot of guys overlook it…

  3. Mike

    Yo, Chris, this was perfect timing as we are working on a slow Basie piece now. Thanks for your help, and I will definitely point my students to your site.

  4. Glad to be of service my friend! 🙂

  5. mike stebela

    keep those videos coming. really great.

  6. Thanks Mike! 🙂

  7. Gail

    Brushes have a distinct sound and feel and a descriptive vocabulary. Side to side: (foundation/warm sound). Keeping one brush in contact with head, for continuity. 4 key components: (technique, groove, creativity and musicianship).