As a working drummer, you want to make sure not to take any style of music for granted or look past certain grooves just because they may seem easy or irrelevant to your particular goals. One common groove, especially on bar gigs and jam sessions, is the Bo Diddley beat. This beat is basically a 3/2 clave pattern played on the floor tom with room for many variations.

 This month we take a look at overlooked grooves and the subtleties needed to really make them work. This is part four of our four-part series for this month.

To develop this groove, start by playing the accent pattern on the floor tom with hand to hand sixteenth-notes (Ex. 1).

Ex. 1

Next, you can double the accent pattern with the bass drum (Ex 2).

Ex. 2

Add hi-hat with the foot on upbeats (Ex. 3).

Ex. 3


To create a “two” feel under the 3/2 clave accent pattern, play the bass drum on the downbeats instead of mimicking the accent pattern (Ex. 4).

Ex. 4


Another variation is to add the snare drum on the & of beat 4 (Ex. 5).

Ex. 5

Try incorporating two mounted toms (Ex. 6).

Ex. 6

This pattern with the mounted toms can also be played with less syncopation (Ex. 7).

Ex. 7

Stewart Jean is Program Chair for Drums at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA.


Lesson: Four-On-The-Floor Disco