Drumming is the life blood of music, and the blues are no exception to this. Whether it be keeping tempo or setting rhythm, the drums are the voice that, even when subtly voiced, create the backbone for all modern music.
With these simple blues drumming techniques, you will be fast on your way to becoming a knowledgeable blues drummer.
First off, you will need a metronome before approaching the blues. Just like all styles, the blues need a steady tempo for the other voices to work off of. If you don’t have a metronome, you can easily find one online for free to help you learn to play drums.
Something you must understand is that blues drumming isn’t the flashiest style of drumming. A lot of times, you will be keeping the flow of a song, or ‘the groove.’
Once you take into consideration that the blues is an emotional form of music, that observation should be extremely blatant and self explanatory.
The first thing you will need to focus on is your power. Since the blues is about feeling and mostly sad, longing emotions, you should understand how to best represent this feel. Hammering your snare drum with all of your force won’t do justice to such a delicately emotional form of music. Practice keeping proper control of your power. Make sure that not only you can tell the difference between your grace notes and regular notes, but also any potential listeners as well.
After all, the blues are a universal recognition of our deepest emotions. After you get your power under control, the next blues drumming technique you need to understand is the importance of the bass drum. Most styles of music have a prominent drum voice that drives a piece for tempo.
Using your metronome set at a comfortable pace, practice keeping a steady quarter note rhythm of bass drum. Once again, the blues are about feeling, so try to suppress the urge to give the bass a heavy metal kick if that is what you are most used to.
In the world of the blues, the drums are a simple instrument. When playing blues drum fills, use a linear style. Feel free to accent notes, or use grace notes, but remember to keep your fills linear. If you don’t know what linear is, that’s okay; linear drumming simply means that you use one voice at a time.
Once again, if you are a hard rock or heavy metal drummer, try to resist the temptation to accent fills with the bass drum. Since the blues are about feel, you will come to notice upon listening to many blues bands that fills are few and far in between. This is because, as stated earlier, the drums are not the primary voice in the blues.
This does not mean you need to limit yourself though; you can add fills, but if you find yourself adding them consistently, keep in mind that you will be taking away from the feel of the piece. Be conservative.
The blues are fun and easy, and as a drummer, it may be hard to resist the urge to show off. Remember to take it slowly, keep it simple, and have fun!
#1 – Basic Blues and Shuffle Rhythms to Get You Started
Besides being one of the most basic forms in modern music, the blues shuffle rhythm is well-known and popular among musicians. If you are interested to jam around with other musicians, this is a MUST-read.
#2 – Half Time Shuffles to Build Up Your Groove Vocabulary
No, we aren’t talking about soccer here. To explain briefly, a half time blues shuffle essentially means that we are dividing the time signature by 2. This enables us create unique sounding grooves.
#3 – Intermediate Beats For Slightly More Advanced Players
Once you have mastered the basic 12 bars blues rhythm on your drums, let’s take things a little further as we look at more advanced blues drumming beats in this lesson.
#4 – Drum Fills to Bring Life Into Blues Music
Learning to play fills is all about getting that the timing and inception correct. Unlike other styles of music like rock or metal, fills are used to add emotions and not to overpower a song.
#5 – Learn to Play in Odd-time With 6/8 Drumbeats
When you are first introduced to blues music, it is normal for you to feel odd if you had only been playing in 4/4 timings so far. While the 6/8 beat may seem a little weird at first, it can sound really tasteful when you get the groove right.
#6 – Where And When To Play Fills So That the Music Flows
In a piece of music, a drum fill can be added at various sections to break up the different portions of a song and also to create a smooth transition. This article will reveal the nuts and bolts of helping you piece everything together.
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