acoustic folk drumming?


Junior Member
I have a guitarist that has asked me to provide back up percussion for his solo acoustic singer songwriter stuff. We will be doing his originals and covering some stuff like Dylan, Old Crow Medicine Show, Bon Iver, and other acoustic stuff. I have a cajon, and things I can pull from my kit (tambourine, shaker, jam block, cowbell, etc.)

Any advice on going from a full drum kit background to playing this kind of style? I want to strive to become a really tasteful and well rounded "percussionist" (Not just drummer anymore lol!) Any bands or percussionists doing this sort of thing I should check out?


Gold Member
You have lots of flexibility with a cajon if you add brushes to the mix. Shakers add a nice texture too. Instead of a shaker, I use an ankle seed rattle (you can get them from Drumskull Drums or a similar item from Meinl) to add a timekeeping element to the groove for some songs when I play the cajon or frame drum.

If you are familiar with frame drums, a tar and a riq (similar to a tambourine but with a membrane) add great variety. I sometimes play my tars and bendirs with brushes depending upon the song in order to get a sweeping sound like I get with a snare drum.

Therefore, you can do a lot at an acoustic gig with minimal instruments:
Ankle seed rattle

Look for the YouTube videos of Riq Solo Nasser Salameh and Glen Velez Frame Drum to get idea of these fantastic and relatively inexpensive instruments. Caution, frame drums can be addictive (I think I own around 14 from 24" to 6" with jingles, bells, snares, etc.)



Silver Member
I have done a lot of coffee shop gigs with cajon and my friend singing/acoustic guitar. Sometimes I will put egg shakers in my sock and it works like an ankle rattle.

If you have the opportunity to jam with him before hand, that would be great to get some ideas. Or try jamming with some recordings. You'll be surprised how far a paradiddle can go.