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A rimshot is a percussion technique used to produce an accented snare drum backbeat. The sound is produced by simultaneously hitting the rim and head of a drum with a drum stick: "the sound is part normal snare and part loud, woody accent,"[1] "generally sharper, brighter and more cutting,"[2] as this produces large amounts of overtones.[3] The stroke is used on the snare in rock, pop, and blues and on the tom-toms in Afro-Cuban music and reggae.[2]

In marching percussion there are three types of rimshots. The most common is the "normal" rimshot, which is played with the tip (bead) of the stick held about three inches from the rim. This produces a prominent, accented tone. The second is the "ping shot", where the bead is struck about one inch from the rim. This produces a high pitched sound. The third is a "gock", which is produced by hitting the bead of the drum stick at the center of the drum while the rim is percussed with the distal shaft of the stick (near the hand). This makes a lower sound.

In Latin percussion, timbale players use rimshots near the edge of the head, but these sound very different from gocks in marching percussion.

In orchestral percussion, a rimshot is performed by placing one drum stick with the stick head near the middle of the drumhead, and the shaft pressed against the rim, and striking with the other stick. This produces a less powerful, but more precise and accurate rimshot than its marching cousin. This is known as a "stick shot".

The rimshot should not be confused with the cross stick technique, in which the tip of a drumstick is placed on the head near one of the bearing edges and the shaft of the stick is struck against the rim opposite the tip, thus creating a dry, high pitched "click" similar to a set of claves.[4] The stroke is used to simulate claves in Brazilian bossa nova and also used for ballads in rock, pop, and country.[2]

Drummer Gene Krupa is credited with having invented the rimshot.[5]

More general use of the term[edit]

The musical phrase played on percussion instruments used to punctuate jokes is known in percussions as a sting. This is often (incorrectly) called a rimshot although many versions of it do not include a rimshot in the technical sense.[6]


  1. ^ Miller, Michael (2003). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing Drums, p.206. Penguin. ISBN 9781592571628. Additionally, using a traditional grip the left stick may be stuck into the drumhead and struck with the right stick.
  2. ^ a b c Shepherd, John (ed.) (2003). Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World: VolumeII: Performance and Production, Volume 11, p.158. ISBN 9780826463227.
  3. ^ Strong, Jeff (2011). Drums For Dummies, p.39. ISBN 9781118068618.
  4. ^ Miller, Michael (2004). Playing Drums. Alpha Books. ISBN 159257162X. [page needed]
  5. ^ "Gene Krupa". Sputnik Musik. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Of Stings and Rimshots", SoundandtheFoley.com. Retrieved 17 July 2012