Making sure that you’re always broadening your skills as a beatboxer is a must. One simple way to do that is to practice both ‘on‘ and ‘off‘ beat rhythms. Most beatboxers and drummers are drawn to one more than the other. For example, a beatboxer that regularly beatbox’s ‘on‘ the beat might find it difficult to do an ‘off‘ beat rhythm and vice-versa. Whichever you are drawn to, make sure you practice both!

So, what exactly are ‘on‘ and ‘off‘ beats? Let’s take a look!



Put simply, ‘on‘ beats are the sounds that land ‘on‘ the count of the rhythm.

So if the count of the rhythm is 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 (and so on) and we beatboxed B T K T to the exact same count, it would look like this:

(‘B‘ is the Bass Drum, ‘T‘ is the Hi-Hat and ‘K‘ is the Snare)


(Listen to audio clip above)



'Off' beats are the sounds in the rhythm that land anywhere in between one count and the next.

So if we add an extra hi-hat in between every count we would have sounds that land 'on' and 'off' the beat and it would look like this:


(Listen to audio clip above)

That's basically how on and off beat rhythms work. To summarise, anything that lands 'on' the count of the rhythm is 'on' the beat and anything that lands 'off' the count of the rhythm is 'off' the beat. If you are totally new to thinking about your beatbox rhythms using numbers and knowing what is 'on' and 'off' the beat, don't let it worry you, you'll get the hang of it. In fact, I usually don't think about all this when I'm beatboxing but it really helps to know it. Working like this can help you to develop your timing and, like I said before, help to broaden your style.


Every sound in Red is 'on' the beat to a count of '1, 2, 3, 4'. Each sound in Black is 'off' the beat as they don't land on either 1, 2, 3 or 4. Try counting along to the audio clips to the count of 1,2, 3, 4. You will know if you are counting correctly if the sounds in Red land on each number. So in the first rhythm B = 1, K = 2, T = 3, K = 4.


1. B  T  T  T  T  K  T  B  T  T  T  T  B  T  T  K  T  B  T  T


2. B  T  T  PF  B  T   B   PF  T  T


3. T  T  B  PF  T  B  T  T  B  B  T  PF  T  T  B


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Danny - School Of Beatbox

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