Clave with Meinl Pedal Mount

 

Meinl Pedal MountA Meinl PM-1 Pedal Mount attached to a Latin Percussion LP1207 Medium Jam Block along with a Gibraltar 6711DD bass drum pedal and a LP 4 Sided Gajate Beater is what I use to play Clave patterns with my left foot for Afro Cuban style music. I had never been sure exactly what to do with my left foot on the hi-hat for Salsa music. For years, I have seen and heard drummers play the Clave rhythm with their foot using a pedal mount. I thought it was really cool. So I decided to incorporate it into my own drum set playing.

2-3 Son Clave rhythm played with left foot:
2-3 Son Clave Pattern
3-2 Son Clave rhythm played with left foot:
3-2 Son Clave Pattern

In addition to these Clave patterns, I play a traditional Afro Cuban bass line on the bass drum:

Salsa Afro Cuban Bass Pattern

Next the hands. With my left hand I play Conga style patterns:

A. Basic (1 bar) Tumbao Conga Pattern:

Basic Tumbao Conga Pattern

B. 2-3 Two-Drum (2 bar) Tumbao Conga Pattern:

2-3 Two-Drum Conga Tumbao Conga Pattern

C. 3-2 Two-Drum (2 bar) Tumbao Conga Pattern:

3-2 Two-Drum Conga Tumbao Conga Pattern

Finally, with my right hand I play Cascara, Mambo, or Campana (Bongo) patterns:

2-3 Cascara Pattern:

2-3 Cascara Pattern

3-2 Cascara Pattern:

3-2 Cascara Pattern

2-3 Mambo Bell Pattern:

2-3 Mambo Bell Pattern

3-2 Mambo Bell Pattern:

3-2 Mambo Bell Pattern

2-3 Campana Bongo Bell Pattern:

2-3 Bongo Bell Pattern

3-2 Campana Bongo Bell Pattern:

3-2 Bongo Bell Pattern

Each of the previous pattern elements are stylistically correct when applied to drum set. By using a Meinl PM-1 Pedal Mount attached to a Latin Percussion LP1207 Medium Jam Block to play the Clave with my left foot makes my playing more dynamic, interesting and authentic. However, be advised: Developing the independence necessary to play the Clave with your left foot takes time and practice. It was hard to get out of the habit of playing the hi-hat on all four beats or on beats 2 and 4. I had to start by practicing ONLY with my feet. And then try to incorporate my hands – sometimes one at a time – one pattern at a time. But stick with it. It is well worth it. Below are some exercises using these pattern combinations:

Afro Cuban Salsa Son Clave Foot Exercises

You may also want to see: Salsa Foot Clave Exercises, and Afro Cuban Clave Essentials