Borrowing Smooth Santana BeatNate Brown
Learn a great rock and Latin fused drum beat from the song Smooth by Santana.
Throughout most of the song drummer Rodney Holmes lays low, playing simple grooves that keep the song moving along. But, when Holmes reaches the outro, he unleashes the classic Santana we’ve all grown to expect.
The beat below is my favorite one-bar selection from the outro of Smooth. Keep in mind that there is a lot of variation with the ride bell patterns throughout the outro. If you’d like to see all of those variations, check out our full sheet music below.
This groove is a perfect example of the song’s fusion of rock with a Latin feel. There’s a classic rock back-beat on beats 2 and 4. The bass drum is a common rock pattern. However, the ride-bell pattern brings a Latin flavor, almost in the form of a straight-up 3-2 clave … only the 4th stroke of the clave is missing.
This groove can be re-orchestrated around the kit to create new beats. Try moving the right stick to the hi-hat and accenting the hi-hat where the ride bell strokes are. You can also move the ride bell strokes around the toms to create new-sounding grooves.
If you come up with a cool variation of this groove, please share it with us. We enjoy hearing from you!