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Groove Of The Week #23

Let’s get Linear with groove of the week #23.

Groove of the week #23 is a syncopated groove played two ways; First it’s played in the standard “Layered” method and then I’ve added some Linear elements to it to spice it up, keeping the basic groove the same.

For those not in the know – If we’re playing something in a “linear” fashion, it means we’re only hitting one sound source at a time; If we’re playing in a “layered” fashion, it means we are hitting more than one sound source at a time (which is more often the case – snare and hi-hat, bass & hi-hat etc.)

Get The Groove

Let’s have a look at the basic beat that this groove was built it on. I started out with this:

The basic groove
The original beat

After playing this groove for a while & getting comfortable with it, I thought, hmmm…. how can I spice this up a bit? So I stripped it down to it’s bare elements; just the snare drum and bass drum.

The basic groove stripped naked
The bare naked groove

This gives you a blank canvas to paint on. You can add anything you like to fill in the gaps or to accent certain beats. All subdivisions are available – eighths, 16ths, 32nds, triplets etc… All sound sources are available – hi-hats, crashes, splashes, chinas, tom toms etc…

I decided to keep things fairly simple. I wanted it to be mostly linear and I didn’t want to add extra bass or snare drum notes that would change the groove (not even ghost notes). So after some experimentation I arrived at this:

The final linear groove

The first two and half beats are totally linear, while the last beat and half are filled in with open hi-hats. The linear elements really help to create a different feel from the original groove and the open hi-hats help to complete it.

If you’re new to learning linear grooves, you may find it best to learn then beat by beat. Adding on a little bit more each time. For this groove you can start with this:

the first beat
The first beat

Get comfortable playing that against a metronome. When you’re ready try adding beat 2, like so:

The first and second beat
The first and second beat

Once you have that happening, try beat 3:

The first, second and third beat

And finally add in the last beat:

the whole linear portion of the groove
The first, second, third and fourth beats

You may need to break it down into smaller blocks or even take it a note at a time. Take your time with it and go slow – 40bpm is a good starting tempo.

So all that remains now is to add our layered and our linear grooves together to create the two bar pattern.

the full 2 bar pattern

I think this sounds like a pretty cool groove, however, I’m not sure where I would use this. I would definitely play the first bar as groove in a song, the 2nd bar would be more like a fill or a groove variation – maybe every fourth or eighth bar.

Practicing the two patterns together in a two bar phrase however will help you get used to going from layered to linear grooves. Find other grooves that you like and try to create linear versions of them – they don’t have to be totally linear, but take the basic bass and snare patterns and try to spice them up.

Take It Further

If we go back to our basic snare and bass drum pattern, we can look at some alternative second bars.

The first variation keeps it simple and just changes beat 3 – removing the open hi-hat on the “&” and putting a closed hi-hat on the “ah”.

Variation #1

The second variation puts the open hi-hat back on the “&” of 3 but changes up beat 4.

Variation #2

The final variation changes the whole 2nd bar. We’re going to play an accented hi-hat every third 16th note starting from the “ah” of 1.

Variation #3

I think this last variation is my favorite. Try playing the hi-hat notes on the bell of the Ride cymbal or on a Stack cymbal instead of the hi-hat. You can also add in the open hi-hat on the “&” of 4 to make it feel more complete.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #23. Go and take some of your favourite layered grooves and try to linear them up a bit. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons, send us a message on the contact us page.