Drum Arranging 101

Carl's happy tambourine

“I see you” , Tambourine Man

Sometimes a little change in sonic color or texture brings just the right amount of variety to a song. Many times I will just play a lite shaker part to start a song. Then add a tambourine in the next section. Finally the drums come in when the energy needs to lift more.

This song, “Loved By You,” from the the new Paul Baloche project (The Same Love) demonstrates this perfectly. A simple drum/ percussion arranging concept I’ve used many times, but it always seems to work. (*Well, usually it does unless the producer wants something else.  🙂  ***I also use the one handed cymbal roll that I demonstrated in a previous post. That technique allowed me to keep the shaker going. It takes a little practice to keep good time with one hand while they other is doing a “free-time” roll. Do this a lot in your practice time until you’ve got it. Don’t just try to “wing it” for the first time on your next gig.

Also you’ll notice that when the groove starts I keep it laid back & mellow. I used traditional grip and played with the butt of the stick on the snare… no rim shot. This song just needed to feel fat and groovy. I’m always thinking about the mood of a song and then adjust accordingly.


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About Carl

Carl has been a professional drummer & percussionist for over 30 years. He has played on over 80 Integrity Music projects; Maranatha Praise Band recordings 7 thru 10, & numerous other Christian, Pop, Country, Jazz, & Commercial projects.


  1. Mike Walker says

    Hey Carl,
    Speaking of drum arranging, I was wondering what your thoughts were on electronic drums. I was thinking it would be a good idea so I could have more instruments at my disposal. Let me know what you think.
    Mike Walker

  2. Rusty Parker says

    That was beautiful!!!

  3. As usual, this is a great post! Thanks for pouring back into the drumming community! True #WorshipDrummer 🙂

  4. This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally
    I have found something which helped me. Thanks
    a lot!

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