Groove Of The Week #45

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Let’s go!

This week’s groove is a funky 7/8 groove. This is our first foray into odd time signatures with groove of the week. The 7/8 time signature is one of the most popular odd time signatures and is one of the easiest to learn. Let’s learn this funky groove.

Get The Groove

This week’s groove is in the 7/8 time signature. That means we’re counting 7 beats in a bar and each eighth note gets one beat. So we’ll be counting our 8th notes as 1 2 3 4 5 6 Sev and any 16th notes will now be counted using “&”. Note that I say “Sev” & not “Seven” to avoid putting an extra beat on the “en” of seven.

I thought this week I’d show you how this groove evolved. I was going through a worksheet of 7/8 grooves I’d previously written when I came across this groove:

The original groove.
My Inspiration

I thought it was a pretty funky groove but it could sound better with a bit of work done on it. The first thought that popped into my head was to try it with two handed 16th notes. That looked like this:

basic groove + 16th note hi-hats
Adding 16th Note Hi-Hats

I liked that sound of that, but I wanted to feature the three 16th note bass drums in the middle more. So after a little experimentation I found that not playing the hi-hat on beats 4 and 5 gave a funky staccato effect to the groove. That looked like this:

featuring the bass drum
Bringing Out The Bass

But now, the end – beats 6 and 7 – sounded too busy, so I stripped them back to just 8th notes. Here’s what that looks like:

Changed the end of the groove
Stripped Back Ending

Now the groove was really sounding great, but I felt it needed one final touch to complete it, so I changed beat Seven to an open hi-hat and my work was done. Here’s the full groove:

The final groove
A Groove Full Of Funky Goodness

Taking It Further

Whenever you hear a drummer playing a cool sounding groove, it’s often something that started as a simple idea and then evolved the more the drummer played with it. Whenever you learn a groove, ask yourself, “how could I evolve this groove?” Then play with it till you create something you like.

I generally keep the bass drum and snare drum pattern the same as they are the heart of any groove. I’ll play with the cymbal pattern and orchestration and maybe bring in other voices. For the pattern we just played, try hitting a floor tom on beat 7 instead of the open hi-hat. Or maybe make it a two bar pattern, hit the floor tom on the first bar and the open hi-hat on the second.

As with any groove, you need to be able to add fills in. If you’re not so comfortable playing in 7/8 then I suggest you start with these simple fills:

7/8 fills
Fill Time

The first two fills last a whole bar. You’re probably familiar with the 4/4 version of these fills. We’re just chopping the last 8th note off of them.

The third fill goes over beats 6 and 7. That feels like a natural spot for a fill within this groove. Once you’re comfortable with these fills, try to create some of your own.

This week’s fill of the week will also be in 7/8 too. So check that out as well. I’ll add a link to it here once it’s ready.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #45. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.