Sunday, July 17, 2016

New Orleans street beat - Stone method

This is the first of two pretty-easy methods for developing a New Orleans-style street beat— or rather, for expanding on it, and playing it in a “modern” way. They'll also be good for getting a type of coordination into your playing which is normally not systemically developed— I haven't seen another system for it, anyway.

With this type of groove there will be lots of snare drum accents in unison with the bass drum. Here's a classic, straightforward way of playing it, as done by Zigaboo Modeliste on Hey Pocky A-Way, performed by The Meters:

It's extremely effective, and more people should play the groove that way, but where it gets a little more interesting, with more musical possibilities, is when you separate the bass drum notes and snare drum accents, so you get a two-tone melody going between the drums:

To begin developing this, we'll make a technical study using the book Stick Control. Based on the patterns from the book, we'll add accents and bass drum notes to a basic, alternating-sticking snare drum rhythm. We'll add a bass drum note where there's an R indicated, and add a snare drum accent where an L is indicated. Don't change the sticking for your hands— you maintain a constant RLRL sticking for the entire method.

Swing the 8th notes slightly— listen to that Meters track above about a thousand times to get a feel for it. As noted on the pdf, Stone exercises starting with RLRR, RLLR, and RRLR, and also exercises 65 and 67 will be most useful as actual performance vocabulary. Pay attention to how the parts interact. Go for accurate unisons between the bass drum and unaccented snare drum, and get a solid lock between the accented snare drum and the bass drum— they should fit together to make a solid, swinging steady 8th note rhythm.

Burn through this warm-up fast— coming next week is a Reed-based method which is much more musical and realistic for actual playing.

Get the pdf


  1. Uli Vienna12:07 AM

    I am so thankful for that! I will work on it !
    Thanks a lot!

    You are a Guru like John Riley!


  2. Haha, I don't know about that, but thanks Ulrich!