Neil Peart

Drum Lessons with the Greats 2

This paperback book and CD was written by John Xepoleas and published in 1997. As of 2008, it's currently is out of print, although you can get it from second-hand sellers on Amazon and eBay.


The book contains written transcriptions, audio examples, and text from Neil Peart. It also contains examples from Tim Alexander (Primus), Jonathan Moffet, Will Kennedy, Chris Parker (studio) and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater).

Click the links below for Windows Media Audio (.wma) examples. The file size is listed after the title in parenthesis. The accompanying text is my own, not what is written in the book:

  1. Leave That Thing Alone drums only (4 MB) -- Neil plays through the entire track from the 1992 Rush release, Counterparts. Listen closely and you'll hear the wind chimes that were part of this kit.

  2. The Drum Also Waltzes (2 MB) - Neil plays through this part of his drum solo from the Counterparts tour.

  3. Fill from Show Don't Tell (200 KB) - This fill comes from the rideout section of Presto's Show Don't Tell, which demonstrates Neil's creative use of ruffs (triplets). (Note that the audio mistakenly identifies this song as "Show and Tell.")

  4. Triplets on Snare 1 (300 KB) -- Neil demonstrates how playing a triplet at the beginning of a roll shifts the downbeat from the left and right hand. Read more about this technique in this Modern Drummer Ask a Pro column.

  5. Triplets on Snare 2 (300 KB) -- More triplets on the snare, but this time he plays one after another -- in much the same way as he does in the first drum solo fill from YYZ or the opening of The Digital Man. You can also hear how stacking triplets (technically a "ruff") on top of one another creates a strange over-the-bar-like feel.

  6. Last Drum Break from YYZ (230 KB) -- Listen how he starts the descending fill with a triplet, which ends with his left hand on a cymbal crash.

  7. Quadruplets (230 KB) -- This is a roll played between the bass drum and toms. Typically, Neil starts quadruplets with his hands first -- not his feet.

  8. Quadruplets with Snare (330K) -- Like the first quadruplets example, this one is the same -- except the right hand is alternating between the floor tom and the snare.

  9. Quadruplet fill from Roll the Bones (200 KB) -- In this fill, Neil uses a combination of quadruplets and triplets. Note that he hits the snare and the crash cymbal together on the third note of the triplets.

  10. Groove with Rising Triplet Feel (380 KB) -- Neil shows how he uses a triplet with the bass drum, ending with the snare and crash (another ruff).

  11. Fill with Rising Triplets (160 KB) -- Neil throws in the rising triplet on the bass drum, but ends with a triplet played between the floor tom and bass drum.