Johnny Cash – No Drums, But Plenty Of Rhythm

Here’s Johnny Cash with “Get Rhythm”

This was a excerpt from Tex Ritters Ranch Party TV Show, approximately 1955-1958.

Do you notice anything about this band?

Yea, I guess my title gave it away but…no drums…..

Back at this time period the drums were not so common in Country Music. Without drums, the entire soundscape changes as the responsibility of the rhythm falls on Johnny and his acoustic guitar.

There’s some that prefer it this way (myself included), as the most popular of country artists in the 50’s such as Hank Williams didn’t feature drums live or in recordings.

Johnny Cash on the other hand greatly benefitted from the drums, mainly the train beat snare which became a trademark sound of his.

Drums or no drums? Please let me know what you think below.





  1. Jay Tolbert

    Alison Krauss & Union Station never need drums although a few of their tunes have included them on occasion. With all the great picking going on in that group the drums would be unnecessary.

    • Hey Jay, yea, the bluegrass configuration makes it so that all the sides of the beat are covered (kick drum= bass, mando= snare, etc.,) . There’s been trad bands using drums like the Osborne Brothers but, just a snare with brushes. Full kit weighs down the delicate acoustic tones and changes the roles of the instrument rhythmically. Acoustic instruments and full drums don’t mix all that well. Is that why Les Paul invented the electric? (but he didn’t use drums either on his early recordings.?)

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