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spacerx img Latin Rhythms: Mambo
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Listen and memorize the sound. This pattern will suffice as a Mambo. Actually it is only half a Mambo beat, but it is the main half. We could use it on most mambo tunes. Learn this simpler form in step one and be able to play it rapidly from memory. Then, take your time and graduate slowly into the more complex versions (below.)

Listen! This is more like a true Mambo. It is the same as the beat above but now we are coming off the snare to play two notes on the high, mounted (small) tom (or any tom). Remember, you are using a Layover Rimshot on the snare. This means you will be using the butt of the stick to play the two tom notes.

Listen again. Toss in a couple of extra bass drum notes. There are many ways to configure the bass, depending on your own ability and the tempo of the song you may be playing. Don't forget! We are only human. There will be 'human' limits to our speeds, but this pattern is a great substitute for Cut-Time 2/4 (aka; basic dancebeat #5, 4th 4/4).

Listen to: Classic Mambo with a simplified quarter note bass drum. Now we have turned this into a two-bar pattern but it still sounds a lot like the one-bar version. I intentionally omitted the hi-hat notes from the above versions to keep things as simple as possible. You may want to practice kicking the hi-hat along with all the backbeats later. Remember, your right hand is playing on either the cowbell or the bell of your ride-cymbal.

VIDEO: Click here to see, and hear the above pattern using IE with WMP.

Video: For almost all handheld devices and other browsers.

Classic Mambo with a more complex bass drum pattern. Good luck! It's a mind blower! You are now working the hi-hat with your foot on the backbeats and playing double 8th note bass drum notes all the way through the pattern. Train yourself at very slow tempos in the beginning. Take heart in the fact that if you can play this one as it is written, you'll be at the top of the heap. This beat is for ultra heavy-weights only!

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: All of the above patterns may be used as substitute rhythms for cut-time 2/4 or very fast quarter-note 4/4, when playing extremely up tempo songs that are not at all Latin. Sometimes, these beats can act as life-savers on very long, cut-time 2/4 jams or jazz tunes. It is actually easier to play the right-hand Mambo-style rhythms at a quicker pace than the steady cymbal ride of cut-time 2/4.

When jamming at extreme tempos in cut-time 2/4, the right hand may become tired and begin to cramp during an especially long tune. A wise drummer will convert the right-hand rhythm to a quasi-Mambo, as a means to relax while maintaining those grueling tempos. The same may be said for certain Calypso rhythms. Even the upcoming 'Merengue' beat pattern may also sometimes be adaptable to the same conversion.

The point I am making here is to say that even though you may not be expecting to play an abundance of Latin style music . . . many of these Latin patterns are commonly adapted to other musical styles by omitting the rimshots and additional tom tom notes. They may be very usefully adapted as substitute rhythms for Cut-time 2/4, Quarter 4/4 and other common 'Pop' style dancebeats.

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