Difficulty LevelIn this free drum lesson I’ll be showing you another extract from the book teaching the famous drum beat from the song Funky Drummer by James Brown.

I first heard this drum beat being played on a kids program called the Powerpuff Girls (my sister used to watch it, OK?!). I didn’t realise it at the time of course and I only found out later that it was indeed the legendary drum beat by Stubblefield that had been sampled and then sped up. You’ve probably heard this drum beat 100 times before and not realised it too!


Funky Drummer” Drum Beat Demonstration

View the video on YouTube HERE – Learn How To Play Drums Song Funky Drummer Video Drum Lesson (James Brown & Clyde Stubblefield)


Why The “Funky Drummer” Drum Beat Is So Great

“I want everyone to lay out and let the drummer go!” says James Brown just before Cylde Stubblefield unleashes one of the most sampled drum beats of all time. Deceptively laid back, Clyde’s innovative hi-hat, bass and snare drum patterns from 1969 set a pattern for funk for decades to come.

Funky Drummer Free Drum Lesson James Brown


How To Play It

Occurs during the first drum break/solo of the song. Sixteenth notes are played on the hi-hat with the right hand and subtle single sixteenth note opening’s on the ‘e’ of beats 2 and 4. The first hi-hat opening is played on it’s own whilst the second opening is played at the same time as the bass drum on the ‘e’ of beat 4.

The snare drum ghost notes can be tricky to line up with the hi-hat. The hardest ghost note to play is the one on the ‘a’ of beat 3 because it is immediately followed by the accented note on beat 4. This requires a nimble left wrist in order to play a quiet snare drum note followed immediately after by a loud snare drum note.

Remember to accent (play louder) both snare drum notes on beats 2 and 4 to create the correct feel.


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