The 3 Essential Drum Stroke Rebounds

Posted in Learn | Last Updated on October 19, 2019

Most drummers don’t know what type of rebounds they use when they play.

And while you shouldn’t be focused on the type of rebound you use for every single note you play as you play it, it’s important to have a deep understanding of what’s happening with the sticks when you drum.


Because as drummers, we create our sound by manipulating drum sticks.

That’s an obvious “duh” statement.

But the important thing to take away is that the better you know how to manipulate the drum sticks, the more control and consistency you’re going to have when you play.

Therefore, understanding how the stick rebounds and what type of rebound you’re utilizing to achieve a certain passage will significantly help you add definition and clarity to your playing.

There are three primary types of stick rebounds that you use when you play the drums.

Rebound #1: The Full Rebound

The full rebound is the most essential drum stroke rebound of the three and is used most frequently.

The definition of a full rebound is when the bead of the stick begins and ends the stroke at the same height.

An image displaying a full drum stroke rebound

Take note that the height and volume at which the stroke is played is irrelevant to the definition. This means that you can play a full stroke at a loud dynamic level or a sod dynamic level so long as the bead of the drum stick starts and stops at the same height.

Rebound #2: The Partial Rebound

The partial rebound is one of the most important rebounds for playing accents and decrescendos.

The definition of a partial rebound is when the stick begins at one height and rebounds to a lower height after making contact with the drum head.

An image displaying a partial rebound drum stroke

Many drummers refer to this as a down stroke but I prefer to think of everything in terms of rebounding because I believe it leads to smoother playing with warmer tone quality.

Instead of thinking of an accent as being forced down through the head, simply think of the stick rebounding to a lower height than where it started.

Rebound #3: The Extended Rebound

The extended rebound is the opposite of the partial rebound and is most important for accents and crescendos.

The definition of an Extended Rebound is when the stick starts at a lower height and rebounds to a higher height after making contact with the drum head.

An image displaying an extended rebound drum stroke.
This is how you go from playing a low tap to a higher accent.

Playing Downstrokes Isn’t The Answer

A lot of drummers think of everything being forced down through the drum head.

This mentality generally causes you to start with the sticks near the surface of the drum head, lift them up, play the note through the head, immediately stop the stick after contact, and then repeat the process for every note.

Playing with this style of drum stroke is not ideal because:

  • It’s not efficient – you waste a lot of energy stopping the stick after a note and then lifting it again for every note.
  • It causes tension in your hands – holding on to the stick and forcing these things to happen generates unwanted tension throughout your hands.
  • It produces poor tone quality – you end up choking the stick and getting a very tight sound as a result of the tension created in your hands.
  • It’s not healthy – ultimately the tension and force needed to play with this style of drum stroke will damage the tendons and muscles in your hands leading to tendonitis and carpal tunnel.

Why It's Important to Think in Terms of Rebound

Thinking and playing in terms of rebound has a number of benefits:

  • It keeps the stick in constant motion and creates a natural flow in your drumming.
  • It allows the hand to stay relaxed which creates a much more open and warm tone quality.
  • It doesn’t shift the way you have your pressure distributed in your hand so you can play with the same type of tone and technique across many different speeds and volumes.
  • It gets a better sound out of the drum. Sometimes playing really heavy down strokes into the drum can actually cause the drum to react oddly. Playing loosely with rebound can still get you incredibly loud volumes if needed but they will sound much more natural and not as rough.


Playing the drums while thinking in terms of rebounded strokes is certainly a shift of mindset. You’ll need to break things down and play them slowly as you digest the concept and become more comfortable using it in your playing.

The best way to learn how to play this way is to practice each rebounded stroke individually by playing just one note at a time. I personally grind out my techniques on practice pad, some may argue that doing it on snare drum is better, but I disagree. For the Full Rebound, play one note starting and stopping the stick in the same position. For the Partial Rebound, play one note starting high and then using the dead weight of your hand to control the rebound at a lower height. And finally, for the Extended Rebound start the stick at a lower height and then allow the rebound to come up a bit higher than where the stick started.

Note that for the Extended Rebound you may need to add a little extra velocity in your wrist as you move upwards to get it to rebound up to the height that you want. Getting a good understanding of how this works will take time but it is absolutely possible.

While it may feel odd at first, know that playing with this approach and style of rebounding will be much better for you in the long run. You’ll play with more ease, better tone quality, and less tension which are all great things for drummers to strive towards!

What do you think about this rebound approach to drumming? Leave your thoughts in a comment below!