Drumming Terms Made Easy: What Is A Groove?

Drum groove explained

What is a groove in drumming?

If you’re new to playing the drums, this question will pop up sooner or later.

I will explain the term in this beginner’s guide today.

Let’s go! 🙂

That’s A Groove In Drumming!

When drummers talk about a groove, they mean a repetitive rhythmic phrase.

Here’s a famous example for a drum groove:

Drum groove for beginners

Notice something?

Standard rock or pop drum grooves most of the time include certain instruments like

  • the kick or bass drum,
  • the snare and
  • cymbals like the hi-hat or ride.

Also, you could exchange the cymbals for the floor tom.

Sure, drum grooves can include other toms as well.

However, that’s not too common when talking about standard rock or pop grooves that are beginner-friendly.

Please notice:

If you play an afro-cuban or latin drum grooves, you’ll sometimes find many toms in them.

As most drum beginners start out with rock or pop drumming, however, I won’t go further into them.

Such styles are more intermediate, sometimes even advanced.

We’ll focus on beginner grooves made easy instead – and fills.

Talking about!

Drum Grooves Vs. Drum Fills

Beside of grooves, you’ll also play fills or fill-ins on the drums.

Let’s compare them for better understanding:

See the difference between the groove and fill?


The groove in the first bar has

  • a clear repetitive structure, especially with the hi-hat
  • as well as no rests or pauses.

The drum fill in bar two, however, is made of

  • many more different instruments or sounds and
  • has different layers, but no repetitive structure like the hi-hat


For beginners, rock and pop drum grooves are likely to look a lot like this one here:

Easy beginner drum groove

If you can remember it, you’ll have an easy time telling grooves and fills apart.

You will also hear the difference.

But wait:

We’ve talked about grooves and fills …

What about drum beats?

Are Drum Grooves And Drum Beats The Same?

Maybe you’ve heard a drummer say something like:

“Woah, that’s a fabulous beat!”

What does she or he mean by that?

Basically, drum grooves and drum beats are just other terms for the same thing.

However, drum rhythm is not a synonym.

That’s because a rhythm could be either a groove/beat or drum fill.

Remember this:

Drum beats and grooves are terms describing the same thing.

A drum fill is like a rhythmic transition, which I’ve already written about in this article.

Why It’s Important To Know What A Groove In Drumming Is

There’s always more to learn when playing the drums.

It all starts with curiosity and passion.

However, knowing the right drumming terms is crucial as well.

After all, you want to know what you’re playing.


Understanding what you’re doing as a drummer is a huge advantage from day 1.

So, whenever you don’t know a certain drumming term, dig deeper.

Make sure to properly understand and learn your drumming terms!

Knowledge will boost your confidence when used wisely.

Drumming makes no difference.

Being a German drummer, I’d like to share a little side note here:

“Das Schlagzeug groovt aber mal sowas von!”

This German sentence means:

“The drums are massively grooving!”

‘To groove’ also means that the music not only sounds, but also feels superb.

A drumming musician can not only play grooves for this reason.

She or he can groove while playing a groove.

Good to know.

So, let’s groove! 🙂



[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Author: Manu Holmer

Hi, I'm Manu Holmer, nice to meet you! As a professional drummer and drum teacher, my vision is to help others transform their lives with the power of music. Let's not only play the drums. Feel the rhythm & and walk to our own beats!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *