Thoughts on pad layout

Hey folks. I came across a YouTube video yesterday where another finger drumming tutor argued some points about pad layout. I am not sure if I should link the video here. Not trying to create any drama.

He also plays acoustic drums on Maschine but has a different pad layout. The main point is that he thinks the “mirror layout”, which I find similar as Rob’s, limits the possibilities with advanced techniques. He came from a real acoustic drumming background, and his layout allows both hands to be totally independent, which mimics the “real” drumming. He then showcases a very complex solo and argues it would be hard to achieve with “mirror layout” because that would require a lot of alternately hitting the same pad with both hands, so both the fingers and the brain maybe are locked to that, sacrificing the potential of independently playing.

I am not questioning anything from the QFG course. No doubt that Rob is a very skilful player and an excellent tutor. And the other tutor was also to trying to sh!t on anything. Just from a professional (or academic😂) perspective, what do you think of that argument? I’d very much like to hear some opinions. Cheers.


The weird thing about the argument of the pad layout being “wrong” is that the layout has actually nothing to do with the playing style.

Basically the argument is:

  • The independent hands method of playing is better than the alternating hands method.
  • Therefore a layout that facilitates playing with the alternate hands method is an inferior layout.

This argumentation completely ignores the fact that you can play with the independent hands method on a layout that also facilitates alternating hands.

Like saying:

  • A vegetarian diet is healthy.
  • My restaurant does not serve meat.
  • Therefore it is better than this other restaurant that serves both meat and vegetarian dishes.

Ok and finally, I have to admit I know which video you’re talking about and the main thing that makes this stuff sound so virtuoso is actually the fact that he’s playing “rudiments”. Patterns between your two hands that create all of these cool sounding variations.

For example, instead of just doing RLRLRLRL you play RLLRLLRL or something like that.

I agree about rudiments being very important in taking your drumming a step further than just basic beats and fills. It doesn’t really have anything to do with drumming a basic beat with “independent hands” though. You can play rudiments on the QFG pad layout as well! You can play a basic beat the way I play it and then move into some complex rudiment pattern and then back into a basic beat and it will sound exactly like what the dude demonstrates.

Rudiment playing is taught in the building fills course and Next Level Beats course by the way. If you learn some of those patterns, and then play them fast, you got yourself some “bro, this shit is fire” playing.

I do understand what he means with regards to"always" using the alternating hands method. But what he means is if you always play the downbeat with your right hand and the upbeat with your left hand (filling in the gaps), then you don’t train your left hand to also be able to play powerful, well placed hits. But again, just like with the vegetarian restaurant, you can train to do both.

I personally use the independent hands method when it’s convenient (with the QFG layout). Especially when you need a large dynamic difference between for example the snare and the hi hat, this way of playing will make that possible. I do mention this in the new version of my beginner course by the way.

I do think I have to add one or two moments in the Grooving & Improving course and breakbeat course that mention this other way of playing and explain how it can be beneficial. Right now it’s mostly the Bossa Nova course that has this, as well as some of the playalong songs in the Monthly Challenge. So it is there, but it’s not very upfront all the time. This is how I learned it myself though… Alternating first and then slowly but surely bringing in that hand independence.

Ok and now actually finally

  • I fundamentally disagree with using the “real drummers do this” argument as a way to say your method of finger drumming is superior. Finger drumming is like the table tennis of drumming. If you want to get good at tennis, practice tennis. If you want to get good at table tennis, practice table tennis. They’re related, sure, but the physics of it are just different. Sometimes the argument holds up, but sometimes it does not… so it’s probably better to just look at how we want to do things with a clear mind and without worrying about real drum kits or real drummers too much. While of course stealing all of the handy tricks that real drummers invented and that we actually can use :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot for your detailed explanation! That argument was really efficiently anxiety-evoking for a rookie. Now that everything is clear, I should go back to regular exercise and learning😆

BTW I really appreciate the way you explain and also teach things. It is always simply and clearly stated, no BS, while also manage to emphasise the important parts without any unnecessary repeats.


Thank you! Have fun with the lessons and make sure to let me know if you have other questions or concerns, or you see another video from someone saying everything you do is completely wrong :slight_smile:


hi. I’d like to add that i also watched that “other” video. And I also had this confusion and thought may be that guy was right since he played really “cool”. I even bought his pro course and tried it. Oh boy what a bad experience it was for me after Rob’s school. This guy though whith great drumming skills is definitely not as good at teaching and making courses. Quiet sloppy.

His course lacks so many things, some of them are good audio and video quality but mainly teaching music. The worst thing is that one video about layouts led me astray and I lost time which I could spend on Rob’s course. Fortunately I came back eventually.

But in anycase I just wanted to say that both layouts can be easily used. Here is an expamle of a pro beat maker using mirror layout: Moskvin - NY2023 (Sampling Club) - YouTube and V1BATTLE bass loop live fingerdrumming - YouTube

1 Like