Playing Drums Slow

A basic New Orleans feel is on top; I played this in the chorus. I play the Money Beat during the verse. Slowness begets power here.

A basic New Orleans feel is on top; I played this in the chorus. I play the Money Beat during the verse. Slowness begets power here.

Playing a very slow and steady beat did not appeal to me when I was younger but as I’ve mastered the drums more I’ve come to love them. Slow beats allow each note to ring out and stand alone, making the music sound very powerful. John Bonham often is slower than he sounds, but the power he has keeps the energy very high.

Slow beats give the other musicians in your band a chance to really fill out the sound. As a drummer a very slow beat is a great way to unconventionally capture people’s attention. Big, slow beats are hypnotizing and get the crowd swaying. My first step towards falling in love with slow beats came from trying to emulate some of Stanton Moore’s New Orleans style beats. In the song I’ve attached below I play a 3 Clave on the bass drum, upbeats on the high hat, back beats and chatter on the snare, and eighth notes on my ride cymbal. I wrote the gist of the chorus drum beats in the chart attached to this blog post.

In the verse, I play a straight money beat. It’s a very slow money beat. This song is played around 88bpm.

You will know you’re getting good when you can make the money beat sound great when played at a slow tempo. I’ll have some nuances on this kind of beat later, but I’ve included the money beat in the attached chart. It’s very stripped down and leaves you exposed. Your perfection or mistakes will be readily visible to anyone who hears you play the money beat. These are some popular songs that shows some people play the money beat better than others: Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, Sex Type Thing from STP.


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