In this free drum lesson I’ll be showing you another extract from the book teaching the famous drum beat from the song Amen Brother by The Winstons.
This drum beat is commonly known as the “Amen Break” and helped to spawn the entire musical genre of Drum And Bass. This drum beat has been sampled a million times before and then sped up to be used in countless dance tunes.
You’ve probably heard this drum beat before and not even realised it!
“Amen Break” Drum Beat Demonstration
View the video on YouTube HERE – Learn How To Play Drums Song The Amen Break Video Drum Lesson (The Winstons & Gregory Coleman)
Why The “Amen Brother” Drum Beat Is So Great
A six-second drum sample from the b-side of a chart-topping single from 1969 that created a new musical genre. This
sample was used extensively in early hip hop and sample based music, and became the basis for drum-and-bass and
jungle music. It has since become to be known as the “Amen Break”.
A six-second clip that spawned several entire subcultures? Not many drummers can claim to have done that!
How To Play It
The famous Amen Break occurs at 1:28. This four bar pattern involves Gregory playing eighth notes on the ride cymbal
throughout, apart from one crash cymbal on the ‘+’ of beat 3 in bar 4.
Bar 1 and 2 are played exactly the same as each other with a snare drum backbeat played on beats 2 and 4 of the bar.
Two extra snare drum notes are played in between the ride cymbal on the ‘a’ and ‘e’ of beat 2 and 3 respectively.
Two sixteenth bass drum notes are played straight after the second of these snare drums, starting with the ride cymbal
on the ‘+’ of beat 3. The bar ends with a quiet ghost note on the snare drum, in between the ride cymbal, on the ‘a’ of
Bar 3 is played exactly the same except that only one bass drum is played on the ‘+’ of beat 3 and not on the ‘a’. The
snare drum is also cleverly displaced back one eighth note to the ‘+’ of beat 4, pushing the groove in an interesting
Bar 4 has an extra snare drum played on the ‘e’ of beat 1 followed by two bass drum notes, played in exactly the same
way as beat 3 for bars 1 and 2. As previously mentioned, the crash is played on the ‘+’ of beat 3, after the two snare
drum notes that fall in between the ride cymbals. The bar ends with another displaced snare drum backbeat, moved to
the ‘+’ of beat 4 as heard at the end of bar 3.
Little did Gregory know that what he played would be so influential but one thing is known; he was way ahead of his
time considering this was recorded way back in 1969!
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