I have always fancied learning drums but the only reason I stayed away is that they’re extremely bulky. You need a big room to keep it, they can be expensive, transportation is an issue, and above all, the sound can make even the calmest neighbors frown. If you are a beginner, these reasons are enough to pick another musical instrument like a guitar or the ukulele. But do not worry, you still can enjoy the drum sounds and make beats without investing any time or space. Confused? Here are the 10 best drum apps to get good at drumming.
Difference: Finger Drumming App vs Real Drums
Well, there is no comparison in terms of feel, since you are simply tapping the screen to create sound. However, accurate responsiveness and real drum-like sounds make apps a good alternative. Most users also simply want to try their handout before buying real drums. Although drum apps won’t allow you to improve your hand coordination, they are great to ascertain if you have a sense of rhythm or not. You can also check out digital drums that allow you to plug your headphones and practice in silence. Here are two Amazon bestsellers you can check out.
I’m going to cover an array of apps to displace real drums with your phone. You’ll read about apps like beat maker machine, metronome, lo-fi drum pad machine, real drum apps, and ones that help you learn the basics. If you wish to create songs, you can also check out must-have apps for every musician.
1. Learn How to Play Drums
You actually need to know the basics of drumming to be able to understand how everything works. Learn How to Play Drums, as the name suggests, teaches you to play drums via animations instead of letting you actually do it. The app gives you six genres like Rock, Jazz, Blues, Funk, Latin, and Fusion to choose from. Once you choose a genre and difficulty level, the app shows you the music being played on the drum via animation in real-time.
Although not a drawback, I wish this app updates to a better UI. Also, if they could add a drum that can be played along with the staff notation, I’d gladly keep this app on my phone. Nonetheless, it’s a good app if you want to get into the head of a real drummer, but remember the key to getting better is always practice!
- Great for visualizing a drummer play the song
- Multiple genre support
- Easy to hard tutorials
- Lacks real drums
- UI isn’t that great
2. Simple Drums Rock
The first question that comes to my mind when I think about a drum app is “How close it is to a real drum set?”. Simple Drums Rock, not only has high ratings on the app store but it is able to simulate real drums with near perfection. To give you an idea, you get all the parts of a drum like double bass, snare, multiple cymbals, etc. Tapping on individual drum parts lets you create the desired sound. This app also lives up to my expectations as the tap-to-sound delay is non-existent. Therefore you get a very quick touch response.
In case you are someone who loves custom sounds like rainfall, bird chirps, etc. You can replace individual sounds with whatever you like. Hence, you don’t have to be restricted to the six drum sound options. Although the basic version of the app is sufficient for most, you have the option to remove ads at $2.
- Real drum stimulation
- Six drum variants to choose from
- Drum pitch can be tweaked
- In-built track recorder
- Banner ad at the top
- A full-screen ad pops up when you open the settings menu
- Available only on Android
Download Simple Drums Rock
3. Real Drum
Unlike Simple Drum Rock, Real Drum is present both on Android and iOS. Similar to the previous drum app, you get a drum-based UI and the option to record sound. The feature that makes this better than the previous one is multiple drum kit options. This basically means that changing the standard drum kit will not only make it look different but sound different too. For example, a standard drum kit can be swapped with jazz or death metal sound. Besides the standard drumkit, a new kit is updated every week, so you never run out of fresh sounds.
Real Drum has a great UI with some features missing like volume for individual drum parts. You’ll also be annoyed with ads whenever you change the drum kit. So, I highly recommend paying $2.5/month to remove them and have an extra metronome feature.
- Available on both iOS and Android
- New drum kits every week
- Inbuilt loop and lesson section
- No volume control for individual drum parts
- Intrusive ads
4. Drum Pad Machine
If you don’t want to play drums but still wish to give beat-making a shot, the Drum Pad Machine is a good option. When you open the app, it shows you colored grids with single tiles. Tapping on the tile which is in the same color scheme will give you similar sounds. These sounds are designed in such a way that whichever tile you click plays it in a rhythm, so you will sound good with any permutation and combination. If even that doesn’t instill confidence, you can learn basic beat-making with the tutorial section.
What I like the most about the app is its ability to change the sound in the entire grid. So whether you’re interested in Hip-hop beats, Trap music, or EDM, you can experiment with them all. I personally suggest trying the app first regardless of the ads. If you get fluent in making beats, the Pro version comes at $12/annually. This not only removes ads but gives you access to all the sounds and packs that are updated every week.
- Great for beat-making
- Beat-school helps you learn
- You can unlock sounds by watching short videos
- In-built recorder
- Great for EDM, dubstep, and hip-hop artists
- Doesn’t have the classic drum sound
- Long full-page banner ads
While the previous app gives you loops in the form of grids you can play yourself. This drum app already has pre-made grooves which can just be played as loops. So, you’re dealing with repetitive sounds (loops) and grooves (feel of the sound). You can practice playing other instruments along with the loop or use it with a split-screen with other real drum apps. The app is not just restricted to patterns. You can change the tempo of any given loop. If you have any other instrument, let’s suppose the guitar. You can choose from different styles of music along with the time signature.
The app doesn’t come with intrusive ads but features that can help you practice like tap tempo and automatic BPM speed will cost you a one time fee of $4.
- Rich loop database
- Tempo tweaking option
- Patterns have multiple time signature
- No recording option
- Can’t actually play the drum yourself
6. Drum Tuner
We hear guitarists adjust their knobs after every song. Similarly, drums need to be in tune to be able to match the pitch of other instruments. A handy drum tuner app lets you do the same. It asks to create a new account but you can sign in with Facebook straightaway. You start by choosing the type of drum. Then play the drum for the app to detect the fundamental tone and the lug pitch. You can further set this as a target pitch and tune the lugs accordingly. You can also change the sensitivity depending on the ambient noise level.
The app is extremely convenient if you’ve multiple drums or if you play for multiple bands as you can save multiple kits and choose from predefined presets. The app isn’t free so you get a full-fledged seven-day free trial after which you have no option but to upgrade at $7.99 else it’ll be deactivated.
- One-stop solution for drum tuning
- Create tuning presets
- Tutorial video for tuning
- Might be of no use to beginners
- No free version
7. Dragon Drum Machine | Glitch Lo-Fi
Everyone loves a vintage vibe. Sounds that are not only glitchy but have technical flaws such as background noises and hums. If you’re particularly interested in creating a Lo-Fi drum sound, Dragon Drum Machine is by far the best I could find. There are three drum synths namely bass, snare, and a hi-hat. You can easily create a unique sound as all of these drums have individual sequencers and the effects are also independent. For example, you can have an extreme delay on the bass and snare but have a low intensity on the hi-hats.
There is a global effect control as well with tape distortion, bit-reduction, reverb, etc. So you can sculpt the drum sound in real-time. If you are familiar with sequencing or you have a little bit of knowledge about rhythm, you can undoubtedly create unique sounds. But if you want to save the project and record it live, you will have to upgrade to the full version for $2.5.
- Only good Lo-Fi drum machine
- Multiple sequencers
- Global effect control
- Only available on iOS
- Not for someone looking for a traditional drum sound
Download Dragon Drum Machine
8. Drum Machine
Drum Machine is a highly rated drum pad app that allows you to play most kinds of vintage drum sounds. You’ll find eight touch-sensitive drum pads with the ability to change or modify the sound of each individual pad. You’ll also find a quick record and play option right above the drum pads. This makes it extremely easy to record and play drums in a loop.
A user can easily replace the default pad sound with plenty of other inbuilt options. If the pre-loaded sound does not suit your playing style, you can also upload or record you own audio for each pad. Apart from that there are tons of small but useful add-on features. For example, you can add effects (reverb, echo, vibrato, etc), pan the audio left/right, change tuning, etc.
- Record option (play it as a loop)
- Multiple sound effects
- Easy to learn (simple UI)
- Banner ad at the top (homepage UI)
- Only available on Android
- Quick patch (sound) change option would’ve been great
- Pad velocity option doesn’t work
Download Drum Machine
9. Garage Band
Most iOS users must already know about Garage Band. Also considered as a little brother to Logic Pro (a pro-grade DAW), it comes pre-installed in Mac and is completely free on mobile as well. In terms of drumming, you can choose between different drum sounds, add effects, create a live loop, and of course record your performance with ease.
It’s only available for iOS users. So if you are on Android, here are the best Garage Band alternatives you can check out
Since it’s not a dedicated drum app, you will find plenty of other instruments, sound packs, and an array of 32 recording tracks at your disposal. Moreover, with the recent iOS 14 updates, you get the ability to record from third-party music apps directly in Garage Band.
- 32 tracks for recording
- Multiple instrument option
- Free of cost
- Only available on iOS
- Steep learning curve for someone looking for a drum app
Download Garage Band
10. The Metronome by Soundbrenner
Why a metronome app in the list of best drum apps? If you are someone who simply wishes to practice timing, a metronome app is a better option. Unlike other drum apps, it comes without any bells and whistles. Just set the tempo and you are good to go. This app is one of the best metronome apps I’ve tried. It’s has a simple UI and most of the app can be managed through the home page itself. You can set the tempo, tap tempo, change the metronome sound and time signature.
Apart from that, the app can also be paired up with a watch-like wearable that vibrates to keep you in rhythm. If you have an Apple watch consider yourself lucky. There are plenty of apps specially made for the Apple Watch as well. You can tweak the tempo, change the sound, save the tempo speed, etc. So if you have an Apple Watch here are the best Apple Watch metronome apps you should try.
- Simple UI
- Lot of options to tweak the sound, speed, etc.
- Can be paired with a wearable
- Nothing much to complain about
Closing Remarks: Which is the Best Drumming Apps
If you’re serious about learning drums, I suggest enrolling in formal drum classes. If you just want to try your hands on it, Real Drum app is a great option. For someone who wants to produce beats and experiment with multiple sounds, the Drum Pad Machine packs up a lot. You can even record and set the tempo which is great if you are a singer-songwriter. Drum Tuner and How to Learn Guitar are great but you’d only need them if you have a drum or you want to figure out how drums actually sound along with a song.
Also Read: 5 Best Music Production Apps on Android