How To Play “Jambi” By Tool

Aaron Edgar  /  Quick Tips / Sep 3

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Polyrhythms aren’t just for advanced drummers! Everyone has to start somewhere, and if you’re new to polyrhythms, Tool’s “Jambi” is a good place to get your feet wet.

This “four over three” pattern is arguably the most overused polyrhythm on the planet, and that’s probably because it sounds awesome and is easy enough for beginners.

In this video, you’ll learn to nail the main pattern in “Jambi” in four steps:

  1. Starting in 3/4, play 16th notes on your hi-hats, accenting the quarter note. Try it with a metronome, slowly at first, and repeating it until you’ve got it down.
  2. This polyrhythm fits perfectly into 3/4, so we’re going to create four evenly spaced notes across that bar of 3/4. Play the bass drum on every third 16th note.
  3. Once you’ve played through this a few times, forget about the 16th notes you were doing on the hi-hat. That part isn’t what Danny Carey does in the track; it’s just to help you nail the polyrhythm and understand where the notes fall in relation to one another. Pull those 16th notes and just play quarter notes on the hi-hat.
  4. Next, add in the back beat: play the snare drum every second quarter note, and finally move your right hand from the hi-hat to the china.

Click here for the download track so you can play along!

You can apply this polyrhythm all over the place. If you liked this lesson, check out Aaron’s course on Drumeo, “The Polyrhythms Of Tool”. It includes breakdowns for more songs, plus a bunch of playalong tracks at full and slower tempos to get you jamming.

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