old school blues drumming?


Can you recomend me some old school blues tracks, that have standard blues drumming.something to work on


"Uncle Larry"
Old school blues drumming technically isn't hard, it's the feel you have to cop to play authentically. You are mainly just keeping time, regulating the dynamics, and make the others look good. While staying in the background. Modern blues drumming is more up front in the mix, and crisper sounding.

If you listen to Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James, you'll find that the drums are just there to keep time basically.

But the best way to learn blues is simply listen to them, as much as you can, because technically, there's no heavy lifting. But what it does require is feel, dynamics, restraint, great meter, good touch. You need to know the standards, and like Moon said, practice all the different shuffle variations. Playing a shuffle and feeling the shuffle.....separates the men from the boys. You have to feel every note in blues, especially the slow 12/8 blues.

I highly recommend getting Sirius XM satellite radio. Great blues channel plus at least one channel for every other genre too. It's like $120.00 a year here in PA, great investment.

Doctor Dirt

Tradional Blues isn't much shuffles its more implied. Tradional is brushes not much hihat and your meter on the kick is 4 or 1n3. Try to find the earliest recordings from Louis Jordan, if you can find the archives then it goes back to Cris Columbus on drums hes a master brush man. I think the second drummer was Shaddow Martin another great feel and time keeper but when you hear them it seems their not doing much but some of that brush work is what the modern (1950) jazz players are putting down.
If you come into the modern era of blues you can listen to the Muddy Waters Band and Howlin Wolfs Band too. To move up from that listen to Albert Kings recordings thats mostly Al Jackson Jr. on drums (Booker T & the MGs) Al was the arrainger, enginner and director of the band. Also Freddy Kings recordings, thats when the shuffles come into play. If you can pop ride in 4 and kick in 4 then work your quarters on the snare for a double shuffle the double them up to a double double shuffle you have a great background in shuffle playing. Its not just hihat work its quarters played with both hands and feet. True Chicago and Kansis City playing has alot of different shuffles to learn then you throw in Texas and you'll have a few plate fills. I get a kick out of drummers who are pretty good players who think shuffle music is easy, like anything else as you dig deep theres more material than you think. If you ever had to play with Lil Milton or Roy Gains you'd better come ready cause them shuffles can wear you out. Your left hand will be tight no matter who you are I assure you. I've covered both of those seats and at the beginning of those tours I knew I was out of shape for them guys, love em but double double all night long from dragin to flyin is abit much. Doc


Platinum Member
I'm surprised nobody mentioned Eric Clapton,or the Allman Brothers.Check out "The Allman brothers live at the Fillmore east".Even if you're a traditional blues man,you have to love that album.Two drummers Butch Trucks,and Jai Jaimoe Johanson.

For Clapton,the drummers number in the dozens,Steve Gadd,Jim Gordon,Steve Ferrone just to name a few.

And listen to BB King....anything by BB King.And remember..nobody loves you but your momma...and she could be jivein' too.

Steve B


Platinum Member
And listen to BB King....anything by BB King.
Agree. If you play like the guys in BB King recordings you are a functional blues drummer. A nice starting point is the Best of BB King.

It's not traditional but I'm very keen on the way some funk drummers like Steve Jordan (with John Mayer) and Bernard Purdie play the blues.

Kenny Allyn

Senior Member
Just gonna throw this out there ...

When working in the blues genre pay very close attention to the interplay of the drums with the bass player.
In real life I am a bass player and blues is what I do, all the great blues drummers know that the bass can and will lay back on
some of the beats, (sometimes waaay back) it throws a lot of would be blues drummers off their game,
not to worry, we know how and when to sync back with you.

It's so much of what gives blues that real feel, I often describe it as ... Imagine a 48 Ford pickup on a bumpy rutted road,
the fenders and body shake and rattle in every rut throwing gravel and dust in all directions but still hanging togther going down the road ...
that's blues old or new.



Platinum Member
Study John Lee Hooker. His time is all over the place. If you can follow him, you can play in any blues situation.

I also recommend Zoro's book as mentioned by Liebe above: "The Commandments of Early Rhythm and Blues Drumming." An excellent source to get aquainted with the many styles of shuffles, timing and song formats.