How to become a one man latin percussion section


Senior Member
My band wants to cover Clocks by Coldplay. Specifically they want to cover the mambo/salsa version from the Rhythms del Mundo album.

We have no other percussionists. I'm at a loss as to which percussion parts I should try to emulate and which I can drop. There's just so much going on...

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Platinum Member
First up, I'd probably be looking to play something like this ...

8ths ride (maybe add some bell accents for spice) ... the extra wash might make up for loss of extra percussions somewhat.

If the others want to keep things clean, then hats or rim tap (or shell tap) or ...

If you have and 8 or 10" tom you could also ride on that, adding a rimshot or two for spice.

The other limbs could play ...

Kick on 1 and &3
Rim click on 2
Mounted tom on 4 and 4&

That wouldn't make me a one person percussion section, which would take more coordinated independence than I have, but if the groove is solid and smooth I expect those options could sound nice with the tune.


Senior Member
thank you for showing me this I cant wait to try playing along to this....maybe 1 2&3 4&1 on the hi-hat foot with 1 &3 &1 on the kick then play around with the hands with a rim click and a ride pattern...


Pioneer Member
That's a whole lot of different parts. There is the timbale which is basically only playing a quiet, but important cascara pattern through the verses, you could side stick your floor tom on your right hand to hit that. In the montuno/chorus section he's playing mambo bell. The congas are playing a standard tumbao, nothing you can really do to emulate that sound, I'd forget it. There are lots of heel/toe ghost notes for that pattern (with the hands)... There is a bongocero playing bongo bell over the montuno section, and someone picking up the guiro as well. Basically if you can play clave on the cross stick with your left hand, and switch between bongo and/or mambo bell for the chorus section with your right, then just hit the bombo with the bass (and of 3 and on top of the 4) you'd be catching the skeleton of what everyone is playing. But there really are 3-4 percussionists on this tune, and no kit whatsoever.

Good luck!
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Gold Member
Eighth notes on SD rim or shell, 2 on SD as rim click (stick across head and rim - I guess that's what you call it), 4& on small rack tom (occasionally vary to other toms), 1 & 3 on BD lightly. Maybe add HH with that. You can't replicate several drummers/percussionists exactly, but that would do in a pinch.