Junior Member
Hi All,
I am looking to learn the Bo Diddley Beat. Not sure of the Sticking Pattern?
Anyone who can provide me with more information to learn this would be greatly appreciated.This is what I have found so far.


|| R – l – r– L – r – l – R – l – | r– l – R – l – R – l – r – l – ||



"Uncle Larry"
The sticking pattern can be anything you feel comfortable with. I play all the accented notes on the same hand, they don't alternate perfectly, I have to play 2 hits with the same hand in order to get the accents right. But as long as you get your 5 accented notes in there, the sticking is a personal choice.

I do it like this:
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Doctor Dirt

That would be Frankie Kirkland on drums from Chess records with the great Otis Spaun on piano. . Bo had a different line up for the road though and Bo and Frankie came up with what is known as the "jungle beat"! Personally I hated that thing but if you played in the 50s and 60s you better know the bit and the accents. Traditionally its played hand to hand. Its been used on alot of tunes through out the years. Doc


Platinum Member
I always played it as accented singles. It never occurred to me to play the first bit of it as R l l triplets, as per Larry's post.

I don't play the accents all the same - I play the third and fifth accents a tad harder than the others. In the original a fair bit of the energy comes from the 8th note pulse on the bass drum.

Love John Densmore's BD beat in Who Do You Love


Senior Member
Same clip that I posted before, but this one appears to be in synch:

If it's what I've jotted down, then it's sightly different from what was posted initially.

It looks like he's splitting the rhythm between the snare (with the wires off) and the hi tom...or he might just be using different areas of the tom for tonal shading. Also, there might even be a little tambourine resting on the snare? (or could be something else that's being used for muting?)


I was told there was a section on Magic Carpet ride by steppenwolf that had the bo diddley beat in it but I never heard it like this? hmmmmm? I have to go back and listen to that one, I used to play it but I think I played the 3-2 clave on the ride.

Pat Petrillo

Silver Member
This thread reminded me of the field recordings album, Living Country Blues USA. The fife & drum track by Othar Turner called Bouncin' Ball features the basic Diddley beat. It was a collaboration with the Rising Star Fife Band. Did some googling and came across some more recent material, which has nice variations and the sticking is easy to cop:
Not the Bo Diddley beat..this is more the march tradition...

The "Bo Diddley" comes from the Mardi Gras Indian Beats..Iko Iko..That was first..


"Uncle Larry"
Not the Bo Diddley beat..this is more the march tradition...

The "Bo Diddley" comes from the Mardi Gras Indian Beats..Iko Iko..That was first..
Agree w/ Pat. Both vids showed a beat that was similar, but not it.

I think it's safe to say that there's no one right way to play this beat. Some people use more notes, some use less notes and more space. Even the amount of accented notes may vary. But it is most definitely a 3 against 2 feel.