How To Play Riptide On The Bongos

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Who doesn’t love Riptide by Vance Joy? There are a lot of instruments going on in the mix and I noticed what sounded like bongos! They could be congas, but I thought I’d piece out the rhythms and make them available to you.

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The Riptide Rhythm on Bongos


Bongo Notation For the Song

High Drum/Macho:

Low Drum/Hembra:

When the song starts with the ukulele playing and he sings “I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations”, the bass drum starts and the bongos start playing this rhythm.


Main Rhythm

Although there are definitely embellishments going on, the main rhythm is then repeated through the verse and chorus:

The main rhythm going through the verse and chorus

Although I couldn’t figure out what exact embellishments are going on, you can easily add simple fills like this every 4 bars:

Simple fill idea for every 4 bars

Alternate Rhythm for a Lead Bongo

If you have bongos and you are looking for a rhythm that can replace the drums, this rhythm plays along very nicely with the main ukulele rhythm during the verse and chorus

Alternate Rhythm for a Lead Bongo Player

This same rhythm can be played with a slight modification of the hands to give a different feel and open up for different rhythms:

Peter Mitchell

Founder of this website. Lover of sound, music, hot sauce, and technology.

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