Tom Petty's "American Girl"

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
Anyone else have trouble with the groove on this song? I love the song, but I'm having a bad time of it learning the goove. There's a disconnect someplace. I've pulled it up on YouTube and Online Drummer and I even downloaded the MP3 from Amazon, yet I still can't get the groove down. The drum notation is written in 4/4 yet it's got the cut time symbol and it's played in cut time, or so I believe it is. It's the same groove the entire song, two measures repeated, but the first measure is a real challenge. Everyone on YouTube makes it look so easy. Ha!
 

huskytool

Member
You have to play it lagging a bit, think Charlie Watts of the rolling stones. I had the concern when asked to play for a gig, but found it rather quickly when playing with the band.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Anyone else have trouble with the groove on this song? I love the song, but I'm having a bad time of it learning the goove. There's a disconnect someplace. I've pulled it up on YouTube and Online Drummer and I even downloaded the MP3 from Amazon, yet I still can't get the groove down. The drum notation is written in 4/4 yet it's got the cut time symbol and it's played in cut time, or so I believe it is. It's the same groove the entire song, two measures repeated, but the first measure is a real challenge. Everyone on YouTube makes it look so easy. Ha!
It is a cut-time beat meaning your bass drum hits 1, 2, 3, 4 and the snare hits the 8th notes in between while you play 8th notes on the hi-hats. Try running through a few bars with just that simple beat, then add the accent, then change the bass drum pattern to match the song.
 

denisri

Silver Member
Very straight forward beat....it's somewhat up tempo for pop rock. Get your hands going...then add bass drum and associated hat high accents. The song is in 4/4. Denis
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
The parts are simple, but getting Stan's feel is tough.

He really pushes some parts, then pulls on others. The main verse/chorus is almost like an out of control punk feel.
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
I was always tempted to try to meek the kick on the 4 a double (2 16 ths), any chance that's causing an issue. Always sounded that way to my tinnitus.
 

Skitch

Pioneer Member
Thi is a pretty straight forward groove. Think of the hands pretty much never changing - quarters on the hi hat, 2 and 4 on the snare then the bass drum on beat one, the a'nd" of two, the "and" of three, then beat 3 of the second bar. Then you can work on opening the hi hat on beat three of the second bar.

Stan is an excellent drummer and I really dig the work he did with Jackson Browne. He also credits Ringo for the groove he came up for "Breakdown".


Mike

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Skitch

Pioneer Member
Try to think of this way:

Quarters on the hi hat, 2 & 4 on the snare - this really never changes for most of the song. Then you can add the kick drum on the downbeat of the first bar as well as the "and" of 2, the "and" of three, then beat 3 of the second bar. Once you have mastered that, you can add the open hi hat on beat three of the second bar, closing with beat 4 along with the snare drum.

I really dig Stan's work with Jackson Browne and he even credited Ringo for inspiring the groove on Tom Petty's "Breakdown"


Mike

http://www.mikemccraw.com
http://www.dominoretroplate.com
http://www.patentcoachmike.com
http://www.youtube.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.myspace.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikemccraw
http://twitter.com/mikemccraw
http://www.skillpages.com/mike.mccraw
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
Back in the 80s I played this song all the time and had no issues. Then recently I started playing it again and had troubles. I was even having problems determining precisely when to start the drums at the beginning of the song, after the opening guitar chords. Then the beat with the snare and the bass was throwing me off, so I simplified the bass part until I got the timing of the snare down correctly, and then built back up the full bass part.

On the surface it seems like a simple enough song, but it really isn't.

I gave up singing background vocals on the song also, because they were throwing off my timing.
 

PeteN

Silver Member
weird...this is a pretty simple beat for me, but hey some other things I see drummers doing with ease whether it's a beat or chops based will sometimes have me struggling. We're all wired a bit different, some things take time to register I guess.

Love this song!!!!
 
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