Carter Beauford

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Carter Beauford
Carter Beauford 2008.jpg
Beauford performing in 2008
Background information
Birth nameCarter Anthony Beauford
Born (1957-11-02) November 2, 1957 (age 61)
Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
  • Musician
  • composer
  • arranger
  • drummer
  • Drums
  • percussion
  • vocals
Years active1991–present
Associated acts

Carter Anthony Beauford (born November 2, 1957, in Charlottesville, Virginia) is an American drummer, percussionist, and founding member of Dave Matthews Band. He is known for his ability to adapt to a variety of genres, and both his ambidextrous and his open-handed drumming styles. He plays the drums and sings backing vocals in the band. Beauford was ranked number 10 by a Rolling Stone magazine reader's poll in 2010 for greatest drummers of all-time.[1]


Beauford was first exposed to the drums at age three. At the time, his father had bought tickets to a Buddy Rich concert and could not find someone to watch his son, so he took young Beauford along to the show. Beauford was mesmerized by Buddy Rich on stage. After that show, Beauford's father bought his son a tin drum set with paper heads, since Beauford showed so much interest in learning the instrument. Beauford began performing professionally when he was nine.[2]

Beauford explains his unusual playing style in his instructional video "Under The Table & Drumming", attributing his use of left-hand-lead on a right-handed kit to playing his own kit in front of a mirror as a child in an attempt to emulate his favorite drummers, like Buddy Rich. He unknowingly set up his drums in reverse of whichever performer and set that he had in mind, in an attempt to make the mirrored image of himself match that of the audience's perspective, as he had seen it on stage and TV. This helped him to become completely ambidextrous at a very early age, albeit by accident.[citation needed]

Beauford earned a degree in Occupational Therapy from Shenandoah University, in Winchester, Virginia.[3]

Secrets, Dave Matthews Band[edit]

Members from Toots & the Maytals and Dave Matthews Band when performing together in 1998. Paul Douglas (left), Carter Beauford (back), LeRoi Moore (front), Toots Hibbert (right).

Eventually, he joined Secrets, a Richmond-based jazz fusion band. Other members included childhood friend and next-door neighbor saxophonist LeRoi Moore, trumpeter John D'earth, vocalist Dawn Thompson, bassist Keith Horne, keyboardist Butch Taylor, keyboardist Dane Bryant, saxophonist Eddie Williams and virtuoso guitarist Tim Reynolds. Secrets performed throughout Virginia, at places such as The Jewish Mother in Virginia Beach, and at Miller's, the bar in Charlottesville where Dave Matthews worked as a bartender. Beauford also played jazz in Blue Indigo with LeRoi Moore, Sal Soghoian, and George Melvin. Blue Indigo performed regularly at Tokyo Rose and Miller's, and was featured at the Delaware Water Gap Jazz Festival. Eventually, Matthews approached both Beauford and Moore regarding some music he had written that he wished to record. Beauford agreed to perform on a demo, which is how he became involved with the group that was to become the Dave Matthews Band.


Beauford has also worked with other artists on jam projects, including Vertical Horizon, Carlos Santana, Rashawn Ross, John Popper (of Blues Traveler), Tim Reynolds, Béla Fleck and Victor Wooten; both alone and within Béla Fleck and the Flecktones.[4]


Beauford behind his drum kit with the Dave Matthews Band

Beauford uses a Yamaha Drums Recording Custom drum kit, a Ludwig Alex Van Halen Signature Rosewood snare drum, 6.5x14" with a die-cast hoop on the batter side and a triple flanged hoop snare side, Zildjian cymbals, Remo drumheads, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Yamaha and Drum Workshop hardware including a Yamaha Hex-Rack since the 2008 Summer Tour and various Latin Percussion cowbells, woodblocks and other assorted percussion equipment. He also uses FootJoy golf gloves rather than traditional drum gloves. Prior to Vic Firth, Beauford was an endorser of Pro-Mark sticks and even had his own Pro-Mark Carter Beauford signature drumstick.

Beauford has used several Jeff Ocheltree, and Ron Dunnett custom metal snares in the past, the most common being a bright purple with gold hardware he used for the better half of the 2000s. Around the 2006/7 tour season, the Dunnetts were replaced by a prototype silver Yamaha metal snare later to be confirmed by to be Carter's forthcoming Signature Snare. The Yamaha Signature "Carter Beauford" Snare Drum is still a prototype, not in production. As of April 2009, photographs of Beauford live showed him using a Ludwig Black Beauty in place of the Signature Snare. This has raised questions if the Signature snare has been dropped by Yamaha.

Drums: Yamaha Recording Custom and PHX:

  • 22"x18" bass drum
  • 8"x8" rack tom
  • 10"x9" rack tom
  • 12"x10" rack tom
  • 13"x11" rack tom
  • 14"x12" rack tom
  • 16"x16" floor tom
  • 18"x16" floor tom
  • Ludwig Black Beauty snare

Cymbals: Zildjian:

  • 20" A custom projection ride/19" K custom hybrid china (stacked)
  • 18" K dark crash medium thin
  • 14" K mini china
  • 6" A custom splash
  • 8" A custom splash
  • 14" K mastersound hi-hats
  • 10" K custom dark splash
  • 19" K dark crash thin
  • 10" A custom splash
  • 16" K dark crash thin
  • 22" K custom medium ride
  • 16" A custom crash
  • 21" A ultra hammered china
  • 19" K china/18" fx oriental china "trash" (stacked)
  • 18" A custom EFX

Heads: Remo:

  • Snare: Controlled Sound X Coated black dot or Ambassador Black Suede, Ambassador Clear Hazy snare side on bottom
  • Toms: Pinstripe Clear, Ambassador Clear on bottoms
  • Bass: Powerstroke P3 Clear

Sticks: Vic Firth (formerly Promark sticks):

  • Carter Beauford SBEA signature sticks
  • RUTE606 fiber sticks

Personal life[edit]

Beauford has a daughter from his first marriage and two children from his second. Beauford discusses his family briefly while riding with the band in a helicopter over The Gorge Amphitheatre in their DVD The Gorge, in the "special features" section.



  1. ^ "Readers' Rock List: Best Drummers". Rolling Stone magazine. February 8, 2010. Archived from the original on April 13, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
  2. ^ "Carter Beauford". Official DMB website. 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
  3. ^ Delancey, Morgan (2001). The Dave Matthews Band: Step Into the Light. ECW Press. p. 1968. ISBN 1550224433. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  4. ^ Griffith, J.T. (2010). "Carter Beauford". All Music review. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 14, 2010.

External links[edit]