'When You Love A Woman' Second Verse Groove

A nice slow two bar groove that makes use of several different voices, including the tambourine. Based on the song by 'Journey'.

In this lesson you will be learning a groove inspired by the song When You Love A Woman by Journey. The groove in questions comes in at around the 1:12 mark in the video linked, which is the start of the second verse. The pattern is two bars long and is a simple combination of an eighth note right hand played on the ride, quarter note kicks on beats 1 and 3 then the 2 and 4 back beat moved around various different voices, including a tambourine. What I like about this groove is that it doesn't use the standard snare voice at any point so it creates a really subtle part that in this case sits nicely behind the soft melody of the vocals.

The full groove looks like this:

A two bar groove using various different left hand voices

The key feature in this groove is the moving left hand and use of a tambourine, which in this case is most likely positioned somewhere to the left of the kit. If you aren't familiar with our percussion notation, the tambourine is the bold 'x' in the gap where the high tom goes. Note the Cross Stick on beat 4 of the first bar too. The trick here is the right hand playing the ride with the hands in 'open position', this frees up the left hand to move almost anywhere around the kit without interferring. The fact the tempo is only 65bpm really helps too!

In the example given, the groove is played to fit in a rock ballad but it will also fit nicely in any softer rock/pop song. The part will also sound quite nice sped up, even upto relatively high tempos. Using the different voices on the back beat is a great way to stop your grooves 'stagnating', which is a fancy way of saying 'not playing the same thing all the time'.

Simimlar Grooves

Below I have given three examples of how this part can be varied to create some similar patterns. I have kept the simple rhythm of the groove and the moving backbeat but have combined it with some other level 1 groove construction ideas.

Example 1

This is a very simple re orchestration of the left hand.

A groove based on the 'When You Love A Woman' groove

Example 2

Adding in a simple level 0 kick pattern. In this version I have also switched the right hand to eighth notes.

A groove based on the 'When You Love A Woman' groove

Example 3

Here I have used some simple displacement on the sidestick notes. This gives the part a bit of a latin feel.

A groove based on the 'When You Love A Woman' groove


  1. Learn all given examples at the tempo of the song (65bpm), then try speeding up to see how it sounds.
  2. Experiment with creating your own grooves based on this part.
  3. Try playing a long to the full Journey song, the rest of the song is built mostly from level 2 ideas but give it a go.