Bass Drum Aficionado

Bonham's mastery of the bass drum was particularly noteworthy, with his signature double-stroke patterns and thunderous kick drum work setting the foundation for the band's monumental sound. There’s no better example of this than on ‘Good Times Bad Times’:

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Discipline & Nuance

Bonham's drumming was not merely about brute force; he possessed a remarkable sense of discipline and nuance, effortlessly transitioning between the bombastic and the intricate. His playing on songs like "What Is and What Should Never Be" showcased his ability to seamlessly shift between delicate, ride-cymbal-driven grooves and driving, powerful beats, all while maintaining an impeccable sense of timing and feel.

Style and Influences

Bonham's drumming style was heavily influenced by a diverse range of musical genres, including jazz, blues, and big band. His playing often incorporated elements of these styles, such as the laid-back, triplet-heavy feel heard in tracks like "The Lemon Song" and "Out on the Tiles." This blend of influences allowed Bonham to create a unique and instantly recognizable drumming approach that set him apart from his contemporaries.

Bonham's admiration for legendary drummers such as Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, and Max Roach was also evident in his playing. He seamlessly incorporated the techniques and rhythmic concepts of these jazz masters into his own style, often showcasing his prowess through intricate, melodic drum fills and solos. This synthesis of rock and jazz sensibilities made Bonham's drumming both technically impressive and emotionally captivating.

For a taste of one of Bonham’s key influences, check out Gene Krupa’s incredible drumming performance on The Ed Sullivan Show

John Bonham's Drum Set & Set Up

Bonham's drum setup was as distinctive as his playing style. He favored the rich, powerful tone of Ludwig drums, which he used exclusively throughout his career with Led Zeppelin. His kit often included an array of peripheral percussion instruments, such as congas, timpani, and a massive symphonic gong that he would sometimes set ablaze during live performances.

Bonham's mastery of his instrument was further highlighted by his innovative use of techniques like the "four-stick" approach, where he would wield two sticks in each hand to create a wall of sound. This, combined with his precise control of dynamics and his ability to transition between thunderous and delicate passages, allowed Bonham to craft drum parts that were both technically astounding and musically compelling.

Personal Life

Beyond his legendary status as a drummer, Bonham's personal life was marked by both triumphs and tragedies. He was known for his larger-than-life personality, his passion for vintage cars and motorcycles, and his unwavering devotion to his wife, Pat, and their two children, Jason and Zoë.

Tragically, Bonham's life was cut short in 1980 at the age of 32 due to an accidental death caused by alcohol poisoning. His untimely passing was a devastating blow to the music world, and it ultimately led to the dissolution of Led Zeppelin, as the remaining members felt they could not continue without their irreplaceable drummer.

What Artists Has Bonham Played With

Prior to his tenure with Led Zeppelin, Bonham had already established himself as a sought-after session musician and collaborator. He had played with a variety of artists, including folk-rock singer Tim Rose, glam rock pioneer Roy Wood, and the eccentric Screaming Lord Sutch. Bonham's reputation as a versatile and dynamic drummer had already begun to take shape during these early stages of his career.

However, it was his work with Led Zeppelin that cemented Bonham's legacy as one of the greatest drummers in rock history. The synergy between Bonham, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist John Paul Jones, and vocalist Robert Plant created a musical juggernaut that forever altered the landscape of rock music. Bonham's drumming was the heartbeat that propelled Led Zeppelin's iconic sound, and his influence can be heard in the work of countless drummers who have followed in his footsteps.

Learn to Play Like John Bonham with Melodics

Many would argue that no drummer has ever reached the levels of John Bonham’s drumming ability - not even the other drumming greats!

But for drummers seeking to develop their drumming ability, Melodics offers a comprehensive and engaging learning experience. Using advanced feedback and gamification, we help users develop their drumming skills in a fun and effective manner.

With Melodics, aspiring drummers can access a vast library of lessons and exercises specifically designed to improve their coordination, timing, and overall drumming proficiency. Our interactive feedback system provides real-time guidance, allowing users to identify and address areas for improvement.

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Melodics' engaging and user-friendly interface makes the learning process enjoyable and rewarding. By combining the app's interactive features with a supportive and encouraging brand persona, Melodics empowers drummers to unlock their full potential and develop the skills necessary to emulate the powerful performances of John Bonham.

Why not start with our Good Times, Bad Times lesson!



Come Together

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