How to play Cold Sweat by James Brown on the Drums

It’s time to get funky!


In this video, I show you how to play Cold Sweat by James Brown on the drums. Clyde Stubblefield is a fantastic drummer! He always seems to have that perfect feel of when to stay in the pocket and when to really funk things up. The real secret here is in the high hat.

I show you how you can build the beat from the ‘bottom up’ in this video. I feel the most challenging part of this beat is knowing when to open and close the high hat while playing the syncopated rhythm. This beat is for intermediate drummers and can be learned by practicing it slowly and then bringing it up to tempo.

For all my musician friends who read music, here is the breakdown of the main beat. The entire beat itself is a two measure pattern that repeats.


  • High Hat – All eight notes. Open high hat on beats 1, and of 3, and of 1, and of 3.
  • Snare – Attack on beats 2, then a ghost note on the last 16th note in beat 2 as in 2e+a, the and of 4, then on beats 2 and 4 in the second measure.
  • Bass Drum – Attack on beats 1, 3+, 1+, 3+.

I hope this helps! Have fun with it and good luck!


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