Are you a working drummer who doesn’t often play latin but wants to make sure you can get through the gig if you get the call? Juan Mendoza is here to save the day with five cool latin grooves every drummer should know – even if the style isn’t your bread and butter.
Don’t have a cowbell? You can play the 8th notes on the hi-hat, but make sure you keep it “delicate”, especially in the song’s verses! Add the bass drum on the 2+ and the 4+.
One variation is to sub the 1 and 3 with a long quarter note buzz (to emulate the sound of a güiro).
Your left hand moves from a cross-stick on the snare to the high tom, then back again. Your right hand plays a ride pattern over top. Add the bass drum on 2+ and add your left foot on the hi-hat on 2 and 4. (Juan moves the hi hat to the 1 & 3 to make it easier to hear the downbeat when breaking down the rhythms.)
In this 6/8 groove, notice where the right hand accents are. Fill in with ghost notes on your left hand. You’re essentially playing a double paradiddle with a variation at the end. The pattern is RLRLRR LRLRLR RLRLRR LRLRLR. No cowbell? Put your right hand on the ride cymbal.
Add a kick on the downbeat and again on the last note of the second bar as a pick-up. Your left foot keeps time on the hi-hat.
Your right hand keeps the pattern going on the cowbell (or ride), with your left hand moving from the snare to the toms. The key to the Mozambique is the funky bass groove. And always keep your left foot going on the hi-hat.
With your right hand playing the pattern on the cowbell or ride, make sure you’re getting two distinct sounds: the accent from the mouth of the cowbell (or bell of the ride) and the other notes from the top of the cowbell (or bow of the ride). Your left hand alternates between ghost notes and accents while a few bass drum punches anchor the groove. Keep your left foot going on the hi-hat, or add a clave for an additional challenge!
While there are many other important latin grooves you should learn, these five will give you a good foundation as a working drummer. You can build from there!
* FREE VIDEO SERIES *
Fastest Way To Get Faster
The Fastest Way To Get Faster is a 10-Day routine that will help you rapidly improve your speed around the kit. You will need to practice hard, stick with it, and push yourself.
David Raouf /
5+ Ways To Recycle Your Drumsticks
Got old drumsticks lying around? Don't throw them out! David Raouf demonstrates some easy ways to give sticks a second life.
Dave Atkinson /
Playing One Song 5 Different Ways (Beginner To Pro)
Want to play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana but you're a total beginner? Here's how to start learning it - and then nailing it!
Jared Falk /
The 5 Most Overused Drum Fills
Just because a fill is overused doesn’t mean it’s bad – it’s probably popular because it’s effective! If you’re like most drummers, you probably have your go-to fills or patterns that you naturally play without thinking. If you aren’t sure, record a few of your practice sessions and you might start to pick up on […]
Jared Falk /
Practice Spaces Of The Pros
Where do pro drummers practice? Watch 10 of your favorite players take you on a tour of their home studios.
Enter your email address to be notified every time we release new free drum lessons.
Don’t worry, we value your privacyand you can unsubscribe at any time.
By signing up you’ll also receive our ongoing free lessons and special offers. Don’t worry, we value your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.