Groove Of The Week #32

How did we get to Groove Of The Week #32 without playing a Tom-Tom groove? Time to put that right!

This groove was inspired by the one that Rikki Rockett plays during the introduction of the song “Unskinny Bop” by Poison. Tom-Tom grooves are fun to play and can add a lot of colour to a song; just don’t play the Toms too loud, you still want to be able to hear the snare and bass drum and the rest of the band.

Get The Groove

I often find that when students look at Tom-Tom grooves they get confused because the groove doesn’t look like the normal ones they play. However, a lot of Tom-Tom grooves are just regular grooves orchestrated around the toms. This groove is exactly that. Here’s a groove you’re probably familiar with:

basic groove using hi-hats
Does this groove look familiar?

Now let’s move the Right hand from the Hi-hat to the Floor Tom:

Bring in the floor tom
Floor Tom Fun

Next, let’s re-orchestrate the Left hand snare notes that are on the “ah” of 2, the “e” of 3 and the “ah” of 4. The first two get played on the high tom, the last one gets played on the floor tom. The back-beat on two and four remains on the snare.

Throw in some other toms
Tom Tom Trouble

To give this groove a bit of an upbeat lilt, I added the left foot hi-hat on the “&s” of each beat.

Step on the Hat!

If you are having trouble with the left foot, build up the groove from the feet. Here’s the steps:

Work that left foot.

Step 1 has us just playing the feet. Take this slow and count out loud.

Step 2 adds in the right hand on the floor tom playing all the 8th notes. Keep it slow and keep counting.

Step 3 add in the back beat on 2 & 4 on the snare. Still going slow and counting?

Step 4 is the full groove. You may find it easier to play the 16th notes on the snare drum to start with, once you find that easy, then try moving those notes to the toms.

The final thing I need to mention is all the 16th notes are swung, just like groove of the week #31. Check out that groove if you’re unsure how to swing 16th notes.

Take It Further

Let’s take a look some more Tom Tom Grooves:

Our first groove is a simple 8th note beat with the right hand playing the floor tom instead of the hi-hat or ride cymbal. The left hand moves across to the tom on the “ah” of 4 just to give the groove a little push. This has to be one the most useful tom grooves.

The second groove is a little more complicated. The right hand is still just playing 8th notes, but now we’re moving it around the toms. You might want to get used to the right hand movement first. The left hand is just filling in some 16th notes and playing the snare on beats 2 & 4. Moving around the toms like this adds a melody to your grooves. .

The final groove had a real sense of forward momentum, I refer to it as the gallop. I mellowed it slightly by adding the floor tom on the “&” of 4. Note that the right hand is now playing the snare on 2 and 4.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #32. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.