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  • Writer's pictureDave Harris

Guest Post - Matt Dudley

This week we're delighted to present a guest blog by Matt Dudley of Matt Dudley Drumming.

Matt is from across the Pond - Lake Waccamaw North Carolina to be exact, and has been a drum and percussion teacher since 2003.

As well as his website and blog, Matt also has a podcast - Behind the Kit - that you can check out here.

Matt's been kind enough to lend us one of his own blog posts on The Purdie Shuffle, but first a bit more about him...

Matt, how old were you when you started drumming, and what attracted you to drumming in the first place?

"When I was 8 years old, I can remember walking in front of the TV and seeing Metallica's video for the song "One". The song was at the bridge where the famous double bass part was being played and it stopped me in my tracks. I thought to myself that the drummer was some type of superhero behind that monster Tama kit. I was hooked!

"Besides that specific moment my brother played a big part in influencing me to play drums. He played snare for the high school marching band and I would sneak into his room when he wasn't around to play his snare. Ha!

"He eventually found out and began to teach me hand technique, rudiments, and how to read music."

Sounds like a great brother to have!

What's been your highlight since you started?

"Honestly...being able to do make a living off of playing drums without having to work a full time job.

"I've been teaching and performing full time since 2010 and it took me working hard every day since 2003 to make that happen. I love what I get to do!"

And where's the best venue you've performed?

"There is a place close to my hometown in Little River South Carolina called The Star Tavern where they have live music 7 days a week. It's almost like the bar from the show in the 80's called Cheers where "everybody knows your name".

"I've played with the sax player from James Brown there, as well as the sax player from Roy Orbison. You never know who you'll run into and play with on their open jam sessions!!!"

Looks and sounds awesome - I wish I was closer!!!

What is your favourite drumming gear that you own (or have owned in the past)?

"My Ludwig Acrolite snare.

"It's an early 90's model in black galaxy sparkle. I have a P-86 throw-off that a friend sent me from across the way, along with some pure sound snare wires and can get about any sound I need from that drum.

"It's versatile and a workhorse for the type of gigs I do!"

Ludwig Acrolite snare drum
Ludwig Acrolite snare drum

Every drummer has a go-to snare that they love!

So what has been your worst ever gigging moment?

"In 2014 I was hired to play drums for a traveling brass quartet and I didn't get the music until the night before.

"Let's just say it was a train wreck at rehearsal and the performance was only hanging by a thread lol!

"I pulled it off but it was unfamiliar territory that I should have subbed out to someone else.

"Lesson learned..."

That sounds like a nightmare!

Finally, what would be your top tip for people starting out in drumming?

"Take it all in slowly. This isn't a race.

"Figure out how to hold the sticks properly and strike the drums/pad, then learn the four basic stroke types.

"After that, learn to read music so that you have a good understanding of what you are playing and listening to.

"I'd say that would be a great start and go from there. It's a lifelong journey that you'll never finish but you'll be glad you started.

"Work hard and stay humble."

Great advice, Matt. Thank you!

And now down to business...


The Purdie Shuffle From The Hands' Perspective

This is a breakdown of the famous groove from Bernard Purdie from the hands perspective. I wanted to capture what each hand does in hopes of helping those who haven’t learned this groove yet. If you are not used to the standard shuffle then I would take a moment to get that aspect down first.

Step 1. Play a shuffle pattern with the right hand. There is a push/pull technique that I use that’s like the Gladstone technique. It keeps my hand from getting tired and it’s pretty efficient. You can see that at the beginning of the video.

Step 2. Add a ghost note (tap stroke) in between each 2, such as the “a” in “trip” “a” “let” or… R l RR l RR l RR l R. Keep these tap strokes low as to add texture to the groove. If the height is too high it won’t come across well.

Step 3. Now we add the accent, or down stroke on beat 3. This step is where our stick heights come in handy. When you place the accent on 3 you also have to keep that stroke low so that you can execute the tap stroke immediately after the down stroke.

Take step 2 and practice until you get the pattern memorized and feeling good. Next add the accent and move it to the kit. Have fun!

We're really grateful to Matt for his input and a really useful lesson. If you'd like to write a blog post for us, feel free to drop us an email!

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