Groove Of The Week #29

This weeks groove is real smooth. Let’s check it out.

Groove of the week #29 uses 16th note triplets (sextuplets) for the hi-hat ostinato. I’ve always loved the sound of 16th note triplets on the hi-hat – they create a very smooth backdrop. Check out “Angel Footsteps” by Jeff Beck or “Flaws” by Bastille to hear the 16th note triplet hi-hat in action.

Get The Groove

The challenges with this groove are keeping the 16th note triplet hi-hats smooth and accurate bass drum placement. Let’s look at the full groove.

the full groove
The Full Groove

The first challenge is to play perfectly smooth single strokes on the hi-hat. We want all of the hi-hats to sound the same. There are no accents on the hi-hat in this groove. To achieve this, keep your hands relaxed and loose & observe your stick heights. If your sticks are matched, you’re addressing the hi-hat in the same manner, and your stick heights are the same, then you should get the same sound from the drum.

I’ve seen people hitting the hi-hats in different spots and expecting to get the same sound. You can’t have the right hand hitting on the top of the hi-hat with the tip of the stick and the left hand hitting the edge with the shoulder of the stick and expect the same sound. It’s not going to happen!

Another problem I see often is the lazy left hand. The right hand produces a good looking stroke but the left hand barely comes an inch away from the hi-hat. Your sticks should be hitting from the same height, they should look the same when you are playing unaccented notes on any surface – cymbal, drum or table top.

Start learning this groove by just practicing the 16th note triplet hi-hat pattern at 40bpm and make it as smooth as possible. Every note the same.

just the hats
The groove starts here

When they are smooth, add in the snare drum on beats 2 & 4. Do not change the sound of the hi-hats when you return to the hi-hats from the snare.

add the snare
Step 2

The final step is to add in the bass drums. I chose this groove because all of the bass drums, except for the first one, coincide with the left hand on the hi-hat. This is often problematic but with determined practice you can get more comfortable with this. Here’s the full groove once more. Notice that I have put in bold the hands that coincide with the bass drum.

Full groove
The Full Groove

Play the groove very slowly – drop to 30bpm if you have to. I find that intently watching my sticks hit the hi-hat helps me to place my bass drum more accurately. Some drummers find that watching their bass drum helps them to time it better. With determined, focused and deliberate practice you’ll have this groove happening in no time & good precision between your bass drum and left hand will become a habit.

Take It Further

With any groove you learn, you need to be able to add fills to it. Let’s look at adding fills to this groove. We’ll stick to the 16th note triplet subdivision to keep those hands flowing. Here’s a couple of ideas for you.

Fill Fill Fill

All of these fills are played with alternating singles – RLRLRL etc. The first two fills start on beat 4, the last two fills start on beat 3. Work on moving smoothly from the groove to the fill and back again. You should be able to do this without interrupting the 16th note triplet flow.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Groove Of The Week #29. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons, send us a message via our contact us page.