The blues portion of the Drumming System is pretty intense. When I think of the blues, I think of B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Freddy King. Some people argue that Led Zeppelins earlier hits were not rock-n-roll songs, but actually blues songs. The history of blues is so big that it would take several encyclopedias to cover it.
Blues drumming rhythms are typically based around eighth note triplets. Sometimes drummers will be asked to play a 12/8 feel. Twelve eighth note triplets feel exactly the same as 12/8. So if someone asks you to play a 12/8 beat, it’s a straight ahead (4/4) triplet beat.
The shuffle is the most popular blues drum groove. It’s basically a broken triplet pattern played on the hi hat. Rather than straight triplets (1 trip let 2 trip let 3 trip let 4 trip let), you take out the second note (trip), and have broken triplets (1 let 2 let 3 let 4 let).
In the Drumming System, the beginner blues beats are simple. Keep in mind that blues music is very quarter note based, even if you want to play with a triplet feel. It then shows you the basic shuffle and how to get it going with the snare. It sounds like a horse trotting when done correctly. As you continue, the beats get more complex.
The intermediate blues beats get fancier with the snare and bass drum. Adding an open hi hat to the shuffle adds some nice flavor. Also you’ll learn how to add two snare drum notes back to back and two bass drum notes back to back.
The beats for advanced players are FAST! A 12/8 feel fast will sound great, but it’s not easy. The ride and hi hat pattern is also broken up. Some of the grooves include the ride and the bell. There’s even a pattern that includes left foot hi hat on the last triplet of every beat. This is a Steve Gadd idea and a really cool sounding groove.
This might be one of the more challenging sections of the Drumming System. Remember that with practice, anything is possible.