7 Famous Grooves Every Cajon Player Should Know

Hello cajon drummers,

Today I’m going to present to you 7 popular groove patterns that I think you should know. These patterns were created by great drummers and I’m going to give you examples of songs where you can identify the grooves. All the grooves are my adaptation from the drum kit to the cajon.


1. Train Beat

This is the most popular groove in country music. But you can also hear this groove in other styles.

Famous songs you can here this groove are:

  • Country road by John Denver
  • I got a Woman by Ray Charles 
  • Folson Prison Blues by Johnny Cash

The secret of this groove is to keep the train rolling let’s say, playing the bass on the 4 beats of the bar. It works well in fast tempos at around 100bpm and faster. 

2. Bo Diddley beat

It’s called Bo Diddley beat because of the song Bo Diddley by Bo Diddley.

You can hear this groove in more recent songs like 

  • Valerie by Amy Winehouse
  • Faith George Michael

Bo Diddley brought Afro cuban rhythms to his music. And you can see by the the foundation of this groove that is based in a 3-2 clave pattern.

3. One Drop 

The one drop is the most famous reggae groove created by Jamaican drummer Carlton Barrett. Barret was Bob Marley’s drummer. You can hear this pattern in most of Marley’s music, like:

  • One drop
  • Three little birds 
  • One love

Different from most of popular patterns, This groove has the emphasis on beat 3 of the bar with the bass tone accent. .

4. Dem Bow

It’s very easy to recognise this groove because you hear that in a lot of new pop music. It was first introduced by Jamaican artist Shaba ranks with the song Dem Bow. You can also call it a Reggaeton groove because you can hear that in recent Reggaeton music like:

  • Despacito by Luis Fonsi
  • Calma by Pedro Capo

This is a repetitive pattern and because of this repetition works great as dancing groove.

5. The Emotional Pattern

You can hear this groove in very famous ballads like:

  • You make me feel like a natural woman by Carole King
  • If I ain’t got you by Alicia keys
  • Gravity by John Mayer.

This is a groove based in triplets and you can count it as 6/8 time signature. It works great in slow tempos and gives that emotional feeling 😉 I’ve posted a tutorial of this pattern last week, you can check it here.

6. The Shuffle groove

This is a groove rooted in jazz and blues and is also based in triplets. You can also hear this groove in a variety of musical styles.

Examples of songs are:

  • Sweet home Chicago by Robert Johnson
  • Gold on the ceiling by the Black keys
  • Pride and Joy Steve Ray Vaughan


I called this the “famous one” because I see similar grooves like this one in several songs, especially in funk music. You can hear this kind of grooves in James Brown tunes like the iconic “Funky drummer”.

This groove works great in middle tempos and I think you must know this one!

And that’s it. I had a lot fun making this video post. I hope you like it. Remember to get the pdf with all these grooves in the Free Area

If you want to get started and learn more cajon grooves you can start with my Free Cajon Starter Course.

Thanks so much for reading it! Leave your comment with your favourite grooves in the comments section below.

See you next time with another lesson.

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