Extreme Finger Drumming: Green Day!

This is me rocking my interpretation of Tré Cool’s drum part over a drumless version of “Basket Case” by Green Day.

Unlike a lot of boys from my generation I was never that interested in punk rock as a teenager. As soon as I picked up the electric guitar at age 15, instead of cranking up the distortion, I would diligently practice all the major 7th chords and melodic minor scales my teacher told me to learn.

I felt really good about myself. A little superior even, since I had yet to come across another youngster who would answer the question “So, what music do you like” with a casual sounding “Jazz”, followed by an intellectual stare into the distance.

If I happened to come across a song like “Basket Case” I would dismiss it in a heartbeat. “This is is just the Pachelbel canon with some simple powerchords” I would say, and I would tell myself I was beyond stuff like this. It wasn’t until years later, after teaching countless Green Day songs to my guitar students upon request, that I started to listen to them differently. I started to notice the energy they were played with, to appreciate the “Fuck it” attitude that seemed to ooze out of every single one of their songs. And slowly but surely, a little fire started burning. A desire to stop being a little whimp and just rock out.

At this point I had practiced finger drumming for a couple of years and when I stumbled upon a drumless version of “Basket Case” I decided to go for it and practice until I felt I could reproduce that raw energy I’d gotten to like so much. It took me quite a while and even though I’m not really copying Tré Cool’s drum part one-on-one in this cover I’m very happy with the result. And, completely in line with the punk rock mentality I tried to mimic: I don’t give a f*ck what anybody else thinks about it 🙂

Enjoy the song! I’ve written down the pattern to the signature fill of the song below in case you want to challenge yourself a little bit. A complete lesson may follow in the future, but I’m a bit reluctant to do a simple 5 minute lesson on this thing since it actually involves a lot of training and dedicated practice of elementary finger drumming techniques to be able to play at these speeds. So I think I’m going to develop some kind of “Advanced techniques and speed course” first in which I explain how to get to this level of speed and execution. And then, after that’s out there, I’ll take some time and break down this entire song.

For information on pad layout, basic techniques, equipment and more you can sign up for one of the free courses on this website or read this article introducing you to all basic finger drumming techniques.


The infamous “Basket Case” drum fill ▼

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