This is me playing Stewart Copeland’s drum part over a drumless version of “Can’t Stand Losing You” by The Police.
As a teenager I spent a couple of months listening to a “Best Of” record from The Police. I loved the way it sounded and identified completely with the angsty lyrics about lost and/or unanswered love. 15 years later I discovered them again. This time I did not identify with the lyrics at all, although I did think they were masterfully funny and cleverly written. But the music, oh the music and especially the drum parts… What the actual F***?!? As a teenager I never realised what made the songs so engaging and now, as a 30 year old professional guitar player who recently took up finger drumming, I heard the perfect, minimalist orchestration of the three band members playing together and was totally blown away.
On top of that I found that a lot of Stewart Copeland’s drum parts were perfect study material for my new finger drumming endeavour. Everything he plays is original, musical, fresh and at the same time very playable if you’re just starting out as a finger drummer. So I found some tutorials online by ‘normal’ drummers explaining the parts and tought myself how to translate these parts to a midi pad controller.
It’s safe to say that by studying Stewart’s playing for a couple of months I’ve made the biggest leap forward in my young finger drumming career so far and I highly recommend everyone who’s into (finger)drumming or grooving in general to devote some of your time to study some of his work. It will make you grow as a musician for sure.
How to play
Note that playing this song correctly is basically impossible for beginners, so you might need to start out with some easier stuff first before you’re capable of playing something like this.
Feel free to join one of my free finger drumming courses that I offer on this website.
– In this video I play an Akai MPD218 with Addictive Drums Drumming software and it sounds great! For more info on what gear and software I recommend and/or use myself, you can check out this article.
– I used QFG’s standard pad-layout with two alterations: A shallow rimshot instead of the usual sidestick pad on the right and the ride cymbal should specifically be the ‘bell’ hit. The complete layout looks like this:
For more information on setting up a rig for finger drumming and all the basic finger drumming techniques, I highly recommend checking out my free beginner lessons here.
These are the main grooves I used. I did not include all those fast fills and small variations. Maybe one day I’ll make a complete tutorial series (including explanation video’s) about this song and add them then.
This is the main intro hi hat pattern, leaving out the kick on the first beat right after the fill.
Crashing on the 4, a typical Copelandism, before moving on to the next groove.
The verse groove involves some nice interplay between the snare, hi hat and low tom.
Before going into the pre-chorus, hit the snare with a flam.
Pre chorus: Rocking out on an open hi hat with your main hand and crashing mostly with your other hand.
The chorus rocks out irregularly on the ride bell and sometimes there’s a cymbal hit. I’m not writing that out completely. This is the main pattern though.
Finally after repeating all of this, you can play the bridge which starts off like the intro but then switches into a different pattern half way when the bass starts playing continuous 8th notes. Start the pattern with a kick drum on the “One a” and from then on keep repeating the 2nd line with the kickdrum on the “a Two”
Those are all the main patterns played in this video. If you have any questions or remarks, the best way to get a reasonably fast response is to leave a comment on Youtube.
Till next time!