'Enter Sandman' Style Tom Pattern

A simple eighth note tom pattern with a four on the floor using the song 'Enter Sandman' by Metallica as an example.

In this lesson you will be learning a groove inspired by the song Enter Sandman by Metallica. You can hear the groove at around 18 seconds into the video linked, which is part way through the intro. The groove in question is a simple one bar eighth note tom pattern that has a Four On The Floor kick pattern underneath it. The back beat in this part is also played on the toms and some movement in the left hand is used to add some interest to the pattern.

The intention of this lesson is to show very cool sounding parts can be created by using toms without needing to be too technical. The full groove looks like this:

A one bar groove using accent decoration

As you can see, this part is really straight forward. The tempo of the sog is around 125bpm and it is played very aggressively with lots of attitude. If you sped the groove up it would work well in a punk or more thrash metal style.

Spend some time learning this part, making sure the kicks all fall inline with those tom notes. When you are comfortable have a look at some of the simple variations on this part below.

Simple Variations

Below I have given some examples of how this part can be varied to create some similar patterns. I have included a note in each example explaining what has changed. Use these ideas to create further grooves. Remember, the idea of this lesson is to show how ideas can be combined so try mixing together some of the new ideas presented below.

Example 1

In the recording linked at the top of this page, at the end of each four bar block some snare and crash accents are added. An example of this is shown here. In these bars the tom back beat notes are removed.

A groove based on the Enter Sandman groove

Example 2

In this version I have added some snares to show how changing the orchestration a little can have a drastic affect on the sound of a part.

A groove based on the Enter Sandman groove

Example 3

This version of the groove has extra tom notes added in with the left hand, this would make a good subtle fill around that original groove.

A groove based on the Enter Sandman groove


  1. Learn all given examples up to a tempo of at least 125bpm.
  2. Experiment with creating your own grooves using the ideas presented.
  3. Try playing a long to the full Metallica song, a lot of parts after the intro are quite simple level 1 grooves.