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Classic Kick Drum

The classic kick (or classic kick drum) is an imitation of the kick drum on a drum kit or drum machine. This is one of the easiest sounds and one of the most important that a beatboxer can make.

The kick drum is the large drum set on the floor that is activated by stepping on a pedal that causes a mallet to whack the skin of the drum. This is why it is called a 'kick' drum. The deep booming tone comes from the drum's large size.

This is the most common way of making a kick drum sound in human beatboxing. It was the method first used by beatboxers such as Doug E. Fresh and Buffy from The Fat Boys back in the 1980s.

In phonetics, the Classic Kick Drum is described as a bilabial plosive. This means it is made by completely closing both lips and then releasing them accompanied by a burst of air. In the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as well as in Standard Beatbox Notation (SBN) the symbol { B } is used.

Standard Beatbox Notation (SBN)

{ B }

How it's done

The simplest way to make the classic kick drum is to say the letter 'b' but force the air out.

Fat Tony says, "Say the word "boo". Then take away the "oo" so you're left with a "buh" sound. Get this punchier by building up a little pressure behind your lips and you're done!"

To make it sound louder and punchier, you need to force the sound. This is where you let air vibrate through your lips - a bit like 'blow a raspberry'. Once you can do this, you make a very short lip oscillation.

  1. Make the b sound as if you are saying b from the word bogus.
  2. This time, with your lips closed, let the pressure build up.
  3. You need to control the release of your lips just enough to let them vibrate for a short amount of time.


Once you have mastered the { B } kick you can make a large number of variations by shaping the mouth and voicing or vocalizing the sound { Bh } or by adding a fricative such as { Bf } or { Bs } or { Bsh }.

Beat Pattern

This sound is good for forming one of the staple sounds as part of a kick, hi-hat and snare beat. Here is an example:

{ B - t B / K - B - / t B t B / K - ts - }

Classic kick video tutorial

Aspirated kick video tutorial


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