Blues Drumming

Blues Drumming

Blues is a style of music developed by African-Americans in the Southern part of  the United States.  Early blues was acoustic and developed into an ‘electrical’ style circa 1950’s.  The songs were an expression of both the suffering and spirituality of those folks forcibly removed, sold and treated shockingly by the inhumanity of the ‘white folk’.  As a form of music, blues shares characteristics inherent to rhythm and blues, jazz and rock ‘n roll.

The characteristics of blues drumming are a direct link with its cyclic 12 bar nature.  As a drummer, the approach to blues is usually a shuffle beat, a 6/8 or a funk type 4/4.  As an aside, the world of blues forms part of a wide and complex whole which can be studied here  The timeline of blues development can be studied here  The way a drummer approaches blues is to generally start soft and mellow.  The energy the drummer provides builds with each cycle and usually ends with a drum full, which is a miniature drum solo where the drummer frees the music from the groove and leads it to the next cycle.  Each cycle builds character and intensity leading to more frenetic drumming, drum fills and frequency of drum fills.

Here are some examples of blues drumming by some of the past masters


Recommended Listening

Further Reading

Learn  blues drumming with West London Drum Tutor, Drum Lessons in Harrow, Greater London, UK

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