The Versatile Drummer Alfred and the National Guitar Workshop are pleased to present a new book in the Versatile series designed specifically to improve the versatility and ease of all drummers: The Versatile Drummer.

A popular collection featuring book and CD sets, the Versatile series is designed to improve the skill and variety utilized by musicians everywhere.  Versatility means being well-rounded, adaptable, and open-minded. Drummers are often called upon to play in a wide range of styles and genres. This is especially true in today’s eclectic music industry, where the most exciting new bands tend to be those who fuse a variety of musical styles to create a unique sound. The Versatile Drummer is for drummers of all ability levels looking to expand their musical knowledge and increase their skills, which, in turn, helps get more gigs. The book is designed to unleash the inner musician and teach drummers to be flexible, adaptable players. A CD demonstrating the musical examples in the book is included.

Features: Practical advice for becoming a versatile and in-demand drummer · Exercises to strengthen essential reading skills · Techniques for developing a solid, consistent groove · Practice tips to speed development · Styles including rock, funk, blues, shuffle, Afro-Cuban, reggae, hip-hop, reggaeton, jungle, drum ‘n’ bass, bossa nova, samba, and jazz · Suggested listening for bands and drummers in each style.


The Versatile Drummer reminds me of a resource that might be used by, what I call, a "club drummer". The term club drummer was popular back in the 60's and 70's and referred to a drummer who played in a music group that covered many different styles and music genres. Today it would be synonymous with drummers found in party bands, lounge bands, variety bands or corporate bands.

The book starts out with a basic introduction of drumset notation and reading rhythms. Chapter 2 covers a variety of sticking exercises, much like what you might find in Stick Control. Chapter 3, eighth-note Rock beat; Chapter 4, sixteenth-note Rock and Funk beats.

Chapter 5 gets into triplet based grooves such as Blues and Rock shuffles and other swung grooves. Chapter 6 gives a genearl overview of Afro-Cuban grooves such as Mambo, Songo, Guaguanco, Mozambique and others. There's also a brief explanation of clave and cascara. Chapter 7 is entitled "Contemporary Drum Styles" which covers Reggae, New Orleans beats, Soca, Hi-Hop, Jungle/Drum 'n' Bass, Bo Diddley grooves and 7/8 beats. Chapter 8 gives an overview of Brazilian rhythms; Bossa Nova, Samba, Baião and Batucada. Chapter 9 gets into Jazz; timekeeping, comping, phrasing and odd time. Chapter 10 is entitled "Groove Embellishments" gives a few ideas on thirty-second-note and sixteenth-note triplet ideas.

The Versatile Drummer is well organized and laid out. The book assumes that you are already familiar with the basics, such as setting up the drumset and holding the drumsticks correctly. The supplemental CD doesn't include every notation example, but does a nice job of covering the basic patterns and a few augmentations. Just under 100 pages in length, it's obvious that purpose and intent of The Versatile Drummer is to give a basic, general overview of each music genre and style. This is perfect for a beginner or perhaps a drummer who has been playing nothing but Rock, but would like to expand their knowledge of other styles and grooves within those styles. So if you are new to some (or all) of these styles, having never heard or played them, this would be a nice book to start with. You'll learn the basics of each style so you can create a rhythmic dialogue with other musicians. I think other instrumentalists would benefit from this Book/CD as well. It would expose them to the basic rhythms and grooves used in a wide variety of styles, aiding them with coming up with parts that fit the groove ... not to mention understanding what the drummer is doing.