Category: drumming tips

Groove Workshop: Bernard Purdie, the Oldschool Studio King – Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady”


Welcome to “Legendary Drummers – Legendary Grooves, edition #7!
Today’s protagonist is a truly legendary player, but also a highly controversial personality: Mr. Bernard “Pretty” Purdie.

There is no doubt, that his drumming has left a strong mark in the history of popular music, especially in Soul and Funk, but the creator of the “Purdie Shuffle” has also drawn a lot of negative attention over the years by his egocentric behaviour, exaggerated story telling and most of all by his clearly unproven claims about having recorded for the Beatles.

Nevertheless, Purdie is correctly considered one of the greats of all time, and his many influential recordings speak a clear musical language. In this bonedo exclusive workshop we are taking a close look at his drumming on Aretha Franklins iconic Track “Rock Steady” (1971), which features an irresistible Funk-Groove, that couldn’t be more typical for “Pretty’s” infectious playing, consisting of rolling ghosted snare drum notes and subtle hihat-openings, as well as a break beat section with a groove that turned out to be one of the most sampled grooves of all times.

As usual with this workshop series, you will find transcriptions, detailed groove-analyzes and re-recordings of the beats by your’s truly !

Have fun studying and playing the Funk of the legendary Mr. Bernard Purdie!

Video Workshop: Moving Paradiddles – Moving Feet. Can You Play It?


I like to practise my drums. Always have. It feels great, to tackle a technical or cognitive skill that couldn’t be achieved at the time, but after some focused and disciplined work on the instrument, is really owned.

To make practising not only fun, but also noticeably effective, I prefer using and coming up with conceptional workouts and excercises, that can offer a wider range of improvement in the long run, as opposed to simply appoach the obvious deficit.

In this new video workshop series, exclusively for bonedo drums,  I would like to present you some of my personal conceptional approaches, that have helped not only me with my own development on the drums, but have proven to be extremly useful to legions of ambitious students that I have had the privilige to teach over the years in various institutions and situations.

We all are aware of the importance of control, interdependence and balance on the kit; and the ability to percieve rhythmical structures from different perspectives. Though, from time to time we find ourselves confronted with the weak spots in our playing – and if so, it can make us feel frustrated. Even if our fellow musos don’t twig the stress we are going through with a certain groove, fill or other musical challenge, we know for ourselves  – because we have learned to hide the deficit and fight ourselves through the moment.

The here presented workout, which I call “Moving Paradiddles – Moving Feet”, is just one of many ways to train and improve the mentioned skills on the drums. The written workshop with the musical notation on bonedo is in german language only, but here you can find the english video version.

As with all practice, you can look at this concept as just some dull excercise – or you can understand it as a musical routine, a little piece of music, that you create while practising and which you can play with touch, sound, creative orchestration and instrumental joy. It’s up to you.

I recommend to place your focus on precision over speed, and constantly monitor yourself. Continuously check, how souvereign and comfortable you feel in terms of body balance, control and perception of where you are in the bar. And count out loud.
Play the excercise at  a very low volume as well as with fierce energy, just like you would play any music. And practise with a click – and definitly without!

The question is: Can you play it – and can you play it relaxed?
After a while, you will – and it can turn out be tremendously helpful with your playing

After you mastered it, go ahead and modify the excersise, change it up and make it your own. There are no limits to your creativity.

I hope you will enjoy this workout.

Groove Workshop: The Unique Touch Of James Gadson – Vulfpeck’s „Running Away“


This time I want to introduce you to one of the most recorded drummers in R&B, Soul and Motown: Legendary Drummers – Legendary Grooves # 6, presenting James Gadson.

Having been successfully active for far more than half a decade as a session drummer, producer, composer and even singer, Gadson is truly one of a kind.
Now, being in his autumn years, he is still a sought after musician, also hired by comparably younger artists such as Justin Timberlake, Beck, Feist and D’Angelo, to give their music the special „Gadson-Feel“.

In 2017 he was asked by Vulfpeck to join forces for a live studio session recording the song „Running Away“ for their latest album „Mr. Finish Line“, alongside guest-guitarist David T. Walker (Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder). What a wonderful piece of music they created here for us…

His groove and feel are once more simply impeccable, and so „Running Away“ is not only a timeless piece of new, classic soul music, but also a great stage for displaying Gadson’s huge talent to shape the feel of a tune with his magic touch.

Check out the workshop with a detailed groove analysis and some re-recordings of his contribution to this future classic, exclusivly at bonedo drums – and  simply enjoy learning from a groove-giant.

Groove Workshop: Vinnie Colaiuta & the turning 7 – Sting’s “Saint Augustine in Hell”


In the fifth edition of my workshop series “legendary drummers – legendary grooves” we are talking about the master of masters, the one and only Vinnie Colaiuta and his “turning  Ride-Cymbal-Bell” within the infamous 7/8 groove from  the song “Saint Augustine In Hell” by his long time employer, Superstar Sting.

There are countless musical reasons for the legendary status Vinnie has earned for himself in the drumming community over the decades, his breathtaking, virtuos and yet stunningly tasteful playing has inspired and impressed legions of drummers worldwide.

The workshop is dedicated to the groove for the song “Saint Augustine In Hell”, found on the 1993 Grammy Award winning Album “Ten Summoner’s Tales”. The fairly simple 7/8 groove is a perfect example for Vinnie’s ability to contribute exactly what a song needs, yet  adding an innovative touch including style and finesse.

As far as I recall, there has not been a comparable groove before this, utilizing the “moving ride cup in quarter notes” ; an idea which generates the illusion of a straight pop song-feel, playfully avoiding the usual clunkyness of an an odd meter beat.

This bonedo drums -exclusive workshop, featuring another timeless masterpiece, comes, as usual, with transcriptions, groove analysis as well as authentic re-recordings by your’s truly. Take the opportunity and learn from the drumming genius of a unique drumming hero, and let yourself be inspired for coming up with your own odd meter creations.

Wishing you great fun with the work of a true legend – Vinnie Colaiuta!

Groove Workshop: The total Funk of Nate Smith – “Barbara”


This bonedo drums workshop-series  is called “Legendary Drummers and Grooves”. So it is pretty obvious, that a drummer, who is commonly known as “The Legendary Nate Smith” needs to be featured here at some point.

This is part 4 of the series, and Nate has been all over social media in the past years; his infectous and explosive mix of Funk-Jazz-Rock-Loop-Style-Drumming has earned him his well deserved “legendary” nickname and status amongst fans and colleagues.

Now Nate has caused another big stir by his involvement with members of the  beloved “Vulfpeck”: Bassist Joe Dart, guitarists Corey Wong and Mark Lettieri (Snarky Puppy) together with Nate formed a Vulf-Records-project named “Fearless Flyers”, and what they play is some serious Funk!
In their hard grooving track “Barbara” – featuring Ghospel-Icon Sandra Crouch on tambourine – Smith lays down an irresistable high-energy-groove-improvisation, which I here would like to bring to your attention in greater detail.

In this further bonedo-exclusive workshop we will take a look at transcriptions of he impressive Drum-Intro and the track’s main groove as well as some re-recordings, all done with great admiration by your’s truly.

I personally found it extremly inspiring to take a close look at this special drummer’s very individual and unique approach to our instrument – i hope you feel the same!

Have a look, have a listen, enjoy!



Groove Workshop: The magic of Manu Katché – “Somewhere Down The Crazy River”


This third edition of my little workshop-series “legendary drummers – legendary grooves” – exclusively for bonedo drums – is dedicated to another true drumming hero of the eighties and nineties: Manu Katché, french top-player with westafrican roots. Manu has proffered quiet a few legendary grooves to the world in the course of the years, for example while working with Peter Gabriel, Sting, Dire Straits, or for the 1987  Song  “Somewhere Down The Crazy River”,  a release on selftitled Album “Robbie Robertson”.  For the dark, atmospherical track, Katchè created a dense,  mysterious Groove, which leaves a heavy impact on the composition and stronly shapes it`s overall appearance.

The creative combination of tom-accents, snare-off-backbeats and touchy ride-bell-work  casts a spell over each groove-loving listener. When I heard “Somewhere Down The Crazy River” for the first time many yeras ago, i was  instantly drawn to it`s unique feel and was really intrigued.

In this bonedo-workshop you will find, as usual, transcriptions, simplifications and re-recordings by your’s truly, which should hopefully help making this extraordinary beat more transparent and explain, how Manu built the legendary groove.
Have fun checking out another drumming masterpiece!

Groove Workshop: How John “JR” Robinson created Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love”-Intro


Sometimes you hear a piece of music – and feel instantly intrigued. Intuitivly you know, that you just stumbled over something magic. When I heard Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” featuring John “JR” Robinson on drums for the first time as a fifteen year old, it was exactly like that for me. The percussive, dense and atmospherical feel, created in a mix of lively tracked drums and programmed percussion simply blew me away – and confused me. What’s the ingredients? What’s the patterns? And: Where the funk is the “one”?

Today, many moons later, I take the opportunity to write yet another groove workshop for bonedo drums exclusively, this time shedding some light on the mystery of this grammy award winning groove masterpiece, created  by one of the greatest players in the history of the modern drum kit.

You can find the original recording, a video with John explaining the process in the studio plus my re-recordings and transcriptions of the “Higher Love” -Intro right here at the bonedo workshop (sorry, german language only).

All you can do in one day – if you are Vinnie!


We all know, Vinnie Colaiuta is a scary monster on the drums. There is no doubt that he is amongst the very greatest of all time – and this recent session-video gives an insightful impression of his true mastership. Vinnie is tracking for Brian Eisenberg Jazz Orchestra , playing elegantly relaxed, tasteful, musical and overall impressive beyond belief.. He recorded the whole album within one day – and at 2:24 introduced this hilarious (but also helpful) brushes-to-sticks-move. His black shirt helps to “support the illusion” in forefield. Damn.

Here is the full Vinnie-in-the-studio-video from Brian Eisenberg.

Groove Workshop: Michael Bland in the studio with Vulfpeck.

During the last weeks a youtube clip of american funk combo Vulfpeck drew a lot of attention from the drumming community. Firstly, because the Michigan based band once more demonstrates their exceptional feel, tightness and funkyness, what, in my eyes, makes them one of the most interestings acts of these days; but also because of their guest drummer`s extraordinary performance: Michael Bland, mostly known for his long year engagement with Prince & The New Power Generation, nails the supposedly simple and “unclicked” groove for their new track “Hero Town” in such a relaxed and yet impressive way, that it brings a smile to every dedicated groove connoisseur. “Deep pocket drumming” at it`s finest – including Michael`s rather unusual stick-holding-technique. I wrote an exclusive workshop for bonedo drums with examples of some of Bland`s typical grooves and fills as well as a transcription and re-recording of the eight bar drum-solo. Check it out on bonedo drums!

Drumtrainer Berlin is online


since a couple of weeks drumtrainer berlin is online. at there is tips & tricks & performances by many outstanding drummers – and i am happy to be one of them. i recorded a three-part lesson on concepts interpretating musical phrases at the drumtrainer studio (german language only). you can watch the course-teaser for free, all course-modules are available for just a few bucks – if you are a member (from € 1.- / month). come on and explore the all new drumtrainer online and find out about the fine national (rubow, pfennig, lehrmann and many others) and international drummers  (carlock, lewis, robinson …) sharing their knowledge.