Difficulty LevelIn this free drum lesson I’ll be showing you another extract from the book teaching the drum beat from the song 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon.

The great Steve Gadd was the session drummer featured on this classic. Gadd is a genius, there can be no denying that. This amazingly musical drum beat stands out as a master class in drum beat construction!


50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” Drum Beat Demonstration

View the video on YouTube HERE – Learn How To Play Drums Song 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover Video Drum Lesson (Steve Gadd & Paul Simon)


Why The “50 Ways” Drum Beat Is So Great

This drum groove is a firm favourite among drummers. Gadd’s inimitable pattern carries the song, a snare roll with accents on the bass drum and hi-hat off-beats, showcasing his intensely musical approach to drumming.

50 Ways To Lave Your Lover Free Drum Lesson Steve Gadd


How To Play It

Occurs at the beginning and during all the verses. This type of drum beat is commonly known as a Linear drum beat. A linear drum beat is simply a pattern where most or all of the drummers limbs play on their own and not at the same time as each other. In this example of a Linear drum beat we have a line of sixteenth notes, in the first half of each bar, played between the bass drum, hi hat foot, hi-hat with left hand and the snare drum.

Beat 1 (1e+a) is played the same in both bars. The bass drum foot and hi-hat foot are played at the same time on beat 1 followed by the hi-hat, snare drum and hi-hat with the foot. The left hand plays all of the hi-hat notes that aren’t foot pedal activated. This is how Gadd plays it and he certainly looks comfortable when doing so. If you do not feel comfortable playing left handed, then you can swap the hands over and play the snare drum with your left hand and all hand hi-hat notes with your right hand as normal. It’s totally up to you.

Beat 2 is also the same for both bars and includes another line of four sixteenth notes played on the hi-hat, snare, hi-hat and bass drum, in that order. Notice how the bass drum on the ‘a’ is followed by another bass drum on beat 3. These two bass drum notes push the rhythm into beat 3 of both bars.

In the first bar, the floor tom is struck at the same time as the bass drum on beat 3. In bar 2 this floor tom note is omitted.

Bar 1 has a line of four sixteenth notes, starting on beat 4, with the first sixteenth note (beat 4 itself) doubled into two thirty second notes, making five notes in total. Both thirty second notes are played with the right hand.

Beat 4 of bar 2 is slightly different to bar 1. The floor tom as well as another low pitched tom are struck at the same time on beat 4. If you haven’t got a second floor tom then use the medium tom or any other tom tom you like. Make sure both toms are struck at the same time and not flammed.

The last part starts on the ‘+’ of beat 4 and consists of two doubles playing four thirty second notes in total. The sticking is RRLL and these four snare drum notes should take up the same space as two sixteenth notes.

A classic drum beat that can’t fail to turn heads!


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