Help figuring out this groove (John Mayer - Paper Dolls)

Dignan

Silver Member
So I've been trying to figure out what the drummer is playing on this Mayer track. I really like this groove but can't figure out the snare part. I hear 4 on the floor and a fairly steady 2 and 4 but can't quite decipher the ghost notes and brush pattern.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJcci8YhqeA

I hear a brush but sometimes I hear what sounds like a stick too. Is the drummer keeping a brush pattern with one hand and playing back beat and hihat with a stick or are there likely two drum tracks overlapped? Anyone able to figure it out?
 

kyleshipton

Junior Member
Aaron Sterling who played on that track is well known for layering parts in the studio, as well as often putting in cool percussion overdubs too. Sounds like he's hitting a closed hat on the E of beat 1 and brushing over the snare to fill out the rest of the 16th notes. Accenting 2 & 4 on the snare too like you said. Then combining that with a ride cymbal part in the chorus's and adding in some toms later in the song. Definitely check out his playing and maybe find a live video of the track and see what he's playing.
 

Dignan

Silver Member
Thanks. I think you are pretty close to the actual groove. I've looked for video of Aaron or anyone playing this and can't find it. From the way you break it down, it shouldn't be impossible to actually play. Maybe with a brush in the left hand and a stick in the right so you can play the 2 and 4 and HH accents with the right hand. Then the right would also play the ride on the chorus. I'm away from home but will woodshed this when I get back. Thanks for the analysis.
 
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