Donny Gruendler

Donny Gruendler

Donny Gruendler was born and raised in the diverse musical surroundings of Detroit, Michigan. As a result, Gruendler grew up alongside an unusually broad range of influences including: soul, funk, pop, hip hop, traditional swing, hard bop, techno, house and blues.

At age twenty, Gruendler graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor of Music Degree. At age 21, he earned his Master of Music Degree from Wayne State Univ. in Detroit, MI. Now living in Los Angeles, Gruendler has performed, programmed, toured and recorded behind such artists as: Kenny Burrell, John Medeski, D.J. Logic, the Funk Brothers (Motown), D.J A-Ski (Unique 74), Art Bleek, Charlie Sputnik, Rick Holmstrom, and Kirk Fletcher.

He has composed and/or played on jingles for Axe Body Spray, RE/MAX on the Boulevard, and NPR. His select film/TV credits include Last Holiday, Father of Invention, and the Showtime feature Chicago Overcoat. Donny is also a noted producer under the pseudonym Inc and one half of the funky-jazz-soul-electro duo Rhett Frazier Inc. Okayplayer describes their productions as cosmic brilliance delivered via a well-stirred pot of soul, jazz, rock, funk and gospel.

In the education realm, Gruendler is the President of Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California, and he is also a member of the Modern Drummer education team and a frequent columnist for the magazine. Donny has also released many instructional books, DVDs and online content under his own name. Gruendler endorses the following companies: Yamaha Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Remo Drumheads and Vic Firth Sticks. For more information, please visit

In 2018 Guitar Center named Donny Gruendler Vice President of Music Education.

Donny Gruendler:
Backing Tracks

This method combines all four of the previous concepts (Drum Loops, Percussion Loops, Instrument Loops, and FX Loops), and it is also the most challenging aspect of performing with loops.

Nowadays, when you are called upon to work on a track in the studio, you are usually the first (or sometimes only) live instrument to be recorded. Up until that point most composers write exclusively with MIDI instruments and Drum Loops of all types. Not only is this method cheaper than the days of demo recording, but it allows the composer to point the musicians toward their artistic vision without a player's style coloring the composition.

When these sessions occur, you are typically asked to play with an existing programmed drum track (or loop) and add the feel and tone of live drums as well. This is extremely difficult because not only do you have to play (and groove) with the synthetic drum track present, you also have to become one with the feel of the bass loop, guitar loop and every other sound present.

Rhett Frazier Inc.


As a student trying to learn the indispensable skill of grooving with loops, this book is an invaluable resource for me. Aside from working with him directly (he does give lessons, folks!), this book is the only way to access Donny's encyclopedic knowledge of what it means to actually play WITH a loop, not just over it, or worse, against it. Plus, there's a bunch of hot fills in it. Sick!
C. Green (PIT, Hollywood, CA)

Donny Gruendler has put together a very practical method of learning to play with loops, an all important tool for the modern drummer who wants to work! This book and CDs seem to be the only educational tool out there to cover this material. Very well done!
Chuck Silverman "drummer, educator" (LA, CA, USA)

If you are interested in becoming a commercial drummer in either Rock, Pop, Metal or Hip Hop -- this book is for you. Gruendler clearly walks you through his tried and true methods of playing along with Drum Loops, Instrument Loops, Sound Fx and Full Backing Tracks. There are approx. 150 loops to play along to and clearly presented demo tracks (On 2 CDs). AND you can go to Gruendler's website and download additional loops with the code provided on the inner cover of the book. So thats 300 Loops!

Also included are chapters on developing a live rig for use with a band and MIDI/DAW/Programming concepts and instruction too! Overall this is a great (and FUN)resource on a subject that has not been covered -- Until now!
Dave Dorchester (New York, NY)

Donny Gruendler - Bernhard Castiglioni (Drummerworld)

thanks for your visit!

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