Home>Instruments>Drums>How To Play AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” On Drums

How To Play AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” On Drums How To Play AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” On Drums


How To Play AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” On Drums

Written by: Damara Barrow

Learn how to play AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" on drums with step-by-step instructions and tips. Master the drumming techniques and rock out to this classic hit!

(Many of the links in this article redirect to a specific reviewed product. Your purchase of these products through affiliate links helps to generate commission for AudioLover.com, at no extra cost. Learn more)

Table of Contents


Are you ready to rock out to one of the most iconic rock songs of all time? "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC is a classic anthem that never fails to get the crowd on their feet. As a drummer, mastering this powerhouse of a song will not only showcase your skills but also bring an electrifying energy to any performance.

In this guide, we'll dive into the exhilarating world of drumming to "Highway to Hell." Whether you're a beginner looking to tackle your first rock song or an experienced drummer aiming to add an electrifying classic to your repertoire, this step-by-step breakdown will help you master the driving rhythm and explosive fills that define this legendary track.

So, grab your drumsticks, set up your kit, and get ready to unleash your inner rock star as we explore the exhilarating beats and electrifying fills of "Highway to Hell" on drums. Let's dive in and embark on an epic rhythmic journey that pays homage to one of rock 'n' roll's greatest hits.


Getting Started

Before diving into the intricate drum patterns of "Highway to Hell," it’s essential to prepare your drum kit and familiarize yourself with the song’s structure. Start by ensuring that your drums are properly set up and tuned to achieve the distinct, powerful sound that characterizes the rock genre.

Take a moment to listen to the original recording of "Highway to Hell" to internalize the song’s driving rhythm and overall feel. Pay close attention to the dynamics, accents, and nuances in the drumming, as these elements contribute to the song’s energy and impact.

As you immerse yourself in the song, keep in mind the importance of maintaining a steady tempo and solid groove throughout. The foundation of any great drum performance lies in the ability to lock in with the rest of the band and drive the music forward with unwavering precision.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with the song’s structure, including the verse, chorus, and bridge sections. Understanding how the various parts of the song fit together will provide valuable context as you learn and practice the specific drum patterns and fills that complement each section.

Now that you’re mentally and physically prepared, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, channel your inner rock spirit, and embark on the exhilarating journey of mastering the drumming intricacies of "Highway to Hell." With dedication and a passion for powerful drumming, you’re well on your way to delivering an electrifying performance of this timeless rock anthem.


Learning the Main Groove

The driving force behind "Highway to Hell" lies in its infectious main groove, which propels the song with relentless energy. As a drummer, mastering this foundational rhythm is crucial to capturing the song’s unmistakable vibe and keeping the audience engaged from start to finish.

The main groove of "Highway to Hell" centers around a powerful and straightforward rock beat that forms the backbone of the song. Start by focusing on the kick drum pattern, which typically follows a steady four-on-the-floor rhythm, driving the song forward with each thumping pulse.

Next, emphasize the backbeat by accentuating the snare drum on beats two and four, creating a driving, head-bobbing feel that anchors the song’s momentum. Ensure that your snare hits cut through the mix with a commanding presence, adding to the song’s overall impact.

Complement the kick and snare pattern with a consistent eighth-note hi-hat pattern, maintaining a steady flow of crisp, driving beats that weave seamlessly into the groove. The hi-hat serves as the glue that holds the rhythm together, providing a continuous pulse that keeps the song moving forward with unwavering intensity.

As you delve into the main groove, focus on maintaining a solid sense of time and groove, ensuring that each drum and cymbal articulation contributes to the song’s overall power and drive. Pay attention to the dynamics, aiming to build and release tension at strategic points to enhance the song’s impact and keep the energy levels high.

By honing in on the main groove of "Highway to Hell" and internalizing its pulsating rhythm, you’ll lay a solid foundation for the rest of the song, setting the stage for explosive fills and dynamic transitions that elevate the overall drum performance to electrifying heights.


Adding Fills

Once you’ve solidified the main groove of "Highway to Hell," it’s time to infuse the song with electrifying fills that punctuate its driving rhythm and add a dynamic flair to your drumming performance. Fills serve as exhilarating embellishments, injecting moments of intensity and creativity into the song while showcasing your technical prowess and musicality.

When incorporating fills into "Highway to Hell," it’s essential to strike a balance between precision and spontaneity, seamlessly integrating fills that complement the song’s structure and enhance its overall impact. Begin by identifying strategic points within the song, such as transitional moments between sections or leading into climactic choruses, where well-placed fills can elevate the musical tension and captivate the audience.

Experiment with a variety of fill patterns, incorporating combinations of snare rolls, tom accents, and cymbal crashes to create dynamic and engaging transitions. Consider the song’s energy and trajectory, aiming to build anticipation and excitement as you unleash powerful fills that propel the music forward with unwavering momentum.

While executing fills, maintain a keen sense of rhythmic precision, ensuring that each fill seamlessly resolves back into the main groove without disrupting the song’s flow. Embrace the opportunity to showcase your individual style and creativity, infusing the fills with your unique musical personality while remaining faithful to the song’s driving spirit.

As you explore the art of adding fills to "Highway to Hell," embrace the freedom to experiment and tailor your fills to suit the song’s dynamic landscape. Whether unleashing thunderous tom fills, lightning-fast snare flurries, or explosive cymbal crashes, let your fills serve as exhilarating highlights that amplify the song’s electrifying energy and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

With strategic and tasteful fill placements, you’ll transform your drumming performance into a captivating journey that seamlessly blends the song’s infectious groove with electrifying moments of rhythmic intensity, solidifying your role as a driving force behind the timeless anthem that is "Highway to Hell."


Putting it All Together

As you embark on the exhilarating journey of mastering "Highway to Hell" on drums, the true magic unfolds when you seamlessly weave the main groove, dynamic fills, and unwavering energy into a cohesive and electrifying performance. Bringing all the elements together elevates your drumming to new heights, capturing the essence of the iconic rock anthem with precision and passion.

Start by internalizing the song’s structure and dynamics, envisioning the seamless transitions between the main groove, fills, and accentuated moments that define the song’s climactic peaks. Embrace the ebb and flow of the music, allowing each section to build organically while maintaining a relentless drive that propels the song forward.

As you navigate through the verses, choruses, and bridge sections, focus on seamlessly transitioning between the main groove and exhilarating fills, ensuring that each fill enhances the song’s impact and sets the stage for the next rhythmic onslaught. Embrace the opportunity to inject your individual flair into the performance, infusing each beat and fill with your unique musical identity.

Throughout the song, prioritize maintaining a commanding presence and unwavering precision, anchoring the music with a solid groove that serves as the heartbeat of the performance. Emphasize the song’s infectious energy, driving the rhythm with unyielding determination while leaving room for expressive fills that captivate and exhilarate the audience.

Ultimately, the true artistry lies in your ability to channel the raw power and spirit of "Highway to Hell" through your drumming, delivering a performance that pays homage to the timeless anthem while showcasing your technical prowess and musical sensitivity. Embrace the song’s electrifying energy, infusing each beat and fill with unbridled passion and unwavering commitment.

By putting it all together with finesse and artistry, you’ll unleash a drumming performance that captures the essence of "Highway to Hell," leaving an indelible mark on your audience and solidifying your place as a driving force behind the iconic rock masterpiece.



Congratulations! You’ve embarked on an exhilarating rhythmic journey, delving into the heart-pounding world of drumming to AC/DC’s timeless anthem, "Highway to Hell." As you reflect on the intricacies of the song and the electrifying drumming techniques that define its iconic sound, you’ve not only honed your skills as a drummer but also embraced the raw power and unyielding energy of rock ‘n’ roll.

By mastering the main groove, infusing the song with electrifying fills, and seamlessly weaving it all together into a cohesive and commanding performance, you’ve unlocked the potential to captivate audiences and leave them in awe of your rhythmic prowess. Through dedication, passion, and a deep understanding of the song’s dynamics, you’ve transformed the drumming experience into an electrifying showcase of musicality and technical finesse.

As you continue to explore the vast landscape of drumming, remember the exhilarating journey you’ve undertaken with "Highway to Hell" as a testament to your growth and artistry. Whether performing for live audiences, recording in the studio, or simply jamming with fellow musicians, the skills and insights gained from mastering this iconic rock anthem will continue to resonate in your drumming endeavors.

With each thunderous beat and electrifying fill, you’ve paid homage to the legacy of AC/DC and the enduring impact of "Highway to Hell," infusing your own musical spirit into the timeless fabric of rock ‘n’ roll. Embrace the unbridled energy and raw power that define this classic anthem, and let it fuel your future drumming adventures with unyielding passion and unwavering commitment.

As you step off this rhythmic journey, remember that the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll pulsates within your beats and fills, ready to ignite the hearts of audiences and fellow musicians alike. So, grab your drumsticks, set the stage ablaze, and continue to unleash the electrifying energy of "Highway to Hell" with every exhilarating performance. The rhythm of rock ‘n’ roll awaits, and you’re poised to drive it forward with unrelenting power and unbridled passion.

Related Post