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Groove Of The Week #60

This week we’re upgrading a favourite groove. Let’s take look:

On the surface we’re playing a groove that most people learn in their first few months of playing. However, we’ve upgraded the ride pattern to include some 16th notes and the bell of the ride cymbal and we’re adding an offbeat pedalled hi-hat just for fun.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by taking a look at the basic groove we’ll be modifying.

The basic groove
The Basic Groove

Hopefully you’re already familiar with this groove. Let’s start modifying it. We’ll start by changing the ride cymbal pattern.

Changing The Ride

Now we’re playing a common 16th note rhythm on the ride cymbal. This adds a co-ordination challenge between the hands. The left and right hand are playing very different rhythms. You may want to spend time just focusing on the hand pattern.

Just The Hands

Go slow with this pattern and get comfortable with it. Listen for accuracy, are your hands really hitting together when they are supposed to?

Once you have this hand pattern down, then try adding the bell of the ride cymbal on the quarter note pulse.

Add The Bell

When you can execute this pattern cleanly, then we can add the bass drum back in.

Bring in the bass

The final touch will be adding the pedalled hi-hat on the off beats. To be able to do this, you may need to go back a few steps. Let’s try adding it to the basic groove first.

Basic Groove + Left Foot

You may need to break this down into smaller steps. Play just the ride cymbal, bass drum and hi-hat first. Then add the snare drum on beats 2 & 4. Finally add the 16th note snare drum in. Once you can play this pattern, then we can change up the ride pattern.

Not So Basic Groove + Right Foot

Again take this slow and break it down into smaller chunks if you need to.

The final step will be to add in the bell of the ride cymbal to give us the full groove.

The Full Groove

Taking It Further

Congratulations on conquering a tricky groove. Now let’s use the ride cymbal pattern and the offbeat hi-hat pattern in some further grooves.

Getting Tricky

The first groove has the challenge of putting the bass drum on a 16th note.

The second groove has more bass drums on 16th notes but the left hand pattern is a lot simpler.

The final groove features more 16th note bass drums. You may want to focus on getting the footwork correct first on this one.

Follow the steps we used to play the original groove to play these ones. Good luck!

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #61. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Groove Of The Week #59

Drums: Do you still love me?

Me: Yes, I’m still into you.

This groove is borrowed from the song “Still Into You” by Paramore. It occurs for 8 bars during the bridge of the song, but it’s not really audible on studio versions of the song, but if you check out the live versions you’ll see the drummer doing this. The version I picked this up from had Ilan Rubin playing it. Search “Ilan Rubin Still Into You” on youtube and you’ll find a video with a clear view of his right hand playing the tambourine.

Get The Groove

I picked this groove because it’s a great 4 way independence exercise and also a good example of the benefits of open handed drumming. Our first step in playing this groove needs us to comfortable playing the base groove with the left hand on the hi-hat.

the base groove,
Give your right hand a rest.

The base groove has us playing a common disco groove with a four on the floor bass drum pattern and open hi-hats on all the offbeats; however, we’re playing it with just the left hand. The left hand is responsible for the hi-hat and the snare drum. Your right hand should be doing nothing. Get this groove down first before moving on.

Now lets work on the independence needed between the hands to pull off groove of the week #59. We’ll put the left hand on the hi-hat and the right hand on a surface of your choosing. If you have a cowbell or tambourine you can hit with your right hand, then use that; If you don’t, use the bell of the ride cymbal. Let’s play the cowbell pattern against the 8th note hi-hat.

basic hand pattern
Just the hands.

The left hand is playing the 8th note hi-hats (1&2&3&4&) the right hand playing the cowbell pattern. I suggest taking this slow and counting out loud as you play it.

The next step will be to add in the snare drum. The left hand is going to move from the hi-hat to the snare drum on beats 2 & 4. Keep everything else the same.

adding the snare drum
Adding The Snare.

Moving from one surface to another can be tricky and you may trip up here. Again, take it slow and don’t move on until you can play this pattern with ease.

Now lets add the bass drum.

adding the bass drum
Bringing In The Bass

The bass drum pattern is nice and easy. Just pumping out quarter notes. Take your time with it and get this groove to a point where you can do it without thinking. Can you play it for a while and then stop it and start it again. Can you play it for a while, take a 2 hour break, and then come back and play it immediately? Can you play a different groove and then change into this one, play it for 8 bars and then change back? That’s how comfortable we want to get with this.

Our final step is to add in the open hi-hats. This just involves us lifting out left foot up on the “&s” and putting it down again with the bass drum on the beat. If you could play the base groove from above, then you should be able to do this. Here’s the full groove:

The full groove
The full groove.

Good Luck!

Taking It Further

There are other songs where we need to be able to play a groove between the left hand and the feet while the right hand plays a percussion part. Often songs have a prominent cowbell or tambourine pattern that was overdubbed on the original song but needs to be played by the drummer in live, small band settings. Honky Tonk Woman by the Rolling Stones, Stone Free by Jimi Hendrix, Listen Like Thieves by INXs and the Everlasting Now by Prince all spring to mind. Let’s look at some ways you can develop this.

Here’s the base groove that we’ll build on. Again, the Right hand should be doing nothing right now. The left hand should handle the hi-hat and bass drum part.

The new base groove
Our new base pattern.

Here’s 5 patterns to overlay on top. Again, use a sound source of your choosing – Cowbell, Tambourine, Ride Bell, Tom Tom, it’s up to you…

5 groove variations
5 grooves of doom.

The first groove has us playing just quarter notes on the right hand. You’ll hear this in Stone Free and Listen Like Thieves.

The second groove has us playing the off beats. Always a cool and funky addition to any groove.

The next groove has us playing all the “e” and “ah” of the 16th notes. Try playing this on the ride and not too loud. Keep it subtle. It’s a nice alternative to playing both hands on the hi-hat.

The next 2 grooves have us adding a Latin flavour. The fourth groove has us playing a 3:2 son clave on the cowbell and the final groove reverses that to a 2:3 son clave.

Once you’ve mastered these, pick another base groove and do it all again. Add open hi-hats to taste.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #59. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Groove Of The Week #58

Things are about to get weird….

Groove of the week #58 starts out with a straight forward, rock solid, triplet groove but then at the end we add a touch of weirdness by playing 8th notes on the bass drum instead following the triplet subdivision. Back on Groove Of The Week #16 we did this the other way round; we played a triplet bass drum pattern against an 8th note hi-hat. You might want to check that out too.

Get The Groove

Groove of the week #58 is a bar pattern. The first bar is a common groove so we’re not going to look at that. Let’s focus on the second bar. Here it is:

the second bar
The troublesome second bar

The part of the bar we need to focus on is the last two beats. This is where we’re playing a little 3 over 2 polyrhythmic phrase. Let’s look at those last two beats in greater detail:

two beats with counting
Two beats of trouble

As you can see, the right hand is playing triplets – 1 puh let 2 puh let – and the right foot is playing 8th notes – 1 & 2 &. This is where the trouble starts. The left hand simply hits the snare on beat 2.

To learn the rhythm of this pattern, we can use this simple phrase: “Cold Cup Of Tea.”

Instead of counting “1 puh let 2 puh let” for the right hand, we can count “Cold Cup Tea Cold Cup Tea”.

Instead of counting “1 & 2 &” for the bass drum, we can count “Cold Of Cold Of”

Put the two together and you get: “Cold Cup Of Tea Cold Cup Of Tea”. It looks like this:

cold cup of tea
Two cold cups of tea please.

Practice playing this slowly until you can do it easily. I suggest using a metronome that can count the triplet subdivision. Focus on keeping “Cold Cup Tea” together with the metronome and slipping the “Of” smoothly between “Cup” and “Tea”. Once you can do that, you can play the full groove:

The full groove
I’ll have two cold cups of tea and a side of groove.

Take It Further

You may never get the chance to play this groove with a band. I can’t think of any songs with it in. However, getting comfortable with polyrhythmic phrases is always beneficial to your drumming and will help to expand your vocabulary in other ways.

Now that we can play this strange pattern between our hands and feet, lets create more grooves with it.

3 groove variations
Tea, Cool!

Our first variation just extends the polyrhythmic phrase over the whole of the second bar.

The second variation is a one bar pattern that plays the polyrhythmic phrase over beats 2 & 3 instead of beats 3 & 4.

The final variation applies the phrase to a regular 8th note rock beat. The right hand will have to switch from playing 8th notes on the hi-hat to triplets. You might find this one tricky.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #58. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Groove Of The Week #57

Pssh… Groove Of The Week:

This week we take a rock solid groove and add a little hi-hat sound effect and a paradiddle lick to take it to the next level.

Get The Groove

Let’s take a look at the basic groove that we’re going to build this beat on.

The basic groove
Beat Of The Week

Hopefully, you can play this groove already. If not, spend some time practicing it. Get a rock solid groove happening before moving on to the next stage.

Our first modification is to add the open hi-hat sound effect on beat 1. This is not a true open hi-hat or even a hi-hat bark, it’s just a sound effect. I achieve it by relaxing my foot on the hi-hat pedal just for that one beat. The hi-hat doesn’t even open.

It’s an effect that Roger Taylor from Queen is known for using on beats 2 & 4 very often.

Adding the open hat
Pssh

Experiment with your relaxing your foot on the hi-hat to find a sound that you like.

Adding the paradiddle lick
RLRRLRRL

Now let’s add in the paradiddle lick on the second bar. We’re using a paradiddle / inverted paradiddle sticking to create this lick. Let’s check it out.

Take it slow and practice with a metronome. Note the ghosted left hands on the “e” of 3 and the “ah” of 4.

The final step is to put it all together to create the full 2 bar groove.

Two bars of funky fun.

Taking It Further

The slightly open hi-hat sound effect that we’ve added to this groove can be used to great affect with other beats & with other grooves. Let’s practice moving it on different beats of the bar.

Hat’s on the move.

Our first variation puts the hi-hat opening on beat 2.

The second varation has it on beat 4.

The third variation has it on beat 3.

The final variation has it on beats 2 & 4 ala Roger Taylor.

Which variation do you prefer? Pick some of your favourite grooves and try adding this sound effect to them. If you enjoyed this groove, check out groove of the week #25 for more paradiddle + open hi-hat fun.

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

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Groove Of The Week #56

It’s funky bass drum time!

This week’s groove features a busy sixteenth note bass drum pattern and some 8th note hi-hat openings. Can you handle the footwork on this groove?

Get The Groove

Busy sixteenth note bass drum patterns can be challenging on their own, add in some open hi-hat work and you have recipe for disaster – or at least a messy sounding groove.

To learn this groove & make it clean, let’s start by looking at the bass drum pattern in relation to the closed 8th note hi-hat.

Funky bass drum pattern.
The funky bass drum pattern

Practice this pattern slowly with a metronome, count out loud and get all of the bass drums happening in the right place. Focus on your right hand, it should be playing consistent, evenly spaced 8th notes on the hi-hat. Don’t allow the bass drum to interfere with the spacing of the hi-hat notes.

Once you can play the bass drum pattern easily, then we can add in the open hi-hats.

bass + open hi-hats
Open those hats

We’re opening the hi-hat on the “&” of beats 2, 3, and 4. That means we’re closing it on beats 3, 4, and 1. To make this groove sound clean, we need the hi-hats to open and close precisely and to produce a consistent sound. Practice this pattern slowly and record yourself. How clean is your groove? Are the open hi-hats interfering with the bass drum placement?

You might like to try this exercise where we focus just on the foot pattern.

just the feet.
Just the feet

Watch your hi-hat and focus on opening the hi-hat on the “&” of 2, 3 and 4 and closing it on beats 3, 4 & 1. I suggest playing this with a metronome at 50-60bpm to start with. Count out loud. Once you think you’ve got it, add the right hand back in on the snare drum and listen for consistent open hi-hats.

The final step is adding in the snare drum on beats 2 and 4. Here’s the full funky groove.

The full groove
The groove is complete

Take It Further

I find that open hi-hats really help to complete a groove and can change the feel of a groove. It’s always good to experiment with hi-hat openings and find where you think they sound best in a groove. Here’s the same groove with some alternative hi-hat openings for you to try.

groove variations
My hat is always open

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #56. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Groove Of The Week #55

Bass in the hole…..

This week’s groove is a two bar shuffle pattern. Shuffles can be quite challenging; obtaining a consistent, confident swing feel takes time. This groove challenges the shuffle further by placing the bass drum on the middle note of the triplet. If you’re playing blues or rock, you’re probably not going to use this; but if you’re into more progressive music or jazz, then you may hear the bass drum in the middle more often.

Get The Groove

The most difficult aspect of this groove is the bass drum placement. Let’s start by playing the shuffled hi-hat with the bass drum on the second partial of each triplet. Go slow and count!

bass pattern 1
Bass in the hole!

Once you’ve got that, let’s look at playing two bass drum notes – one on the second partial of the triplet and one on the third. Don’t forget to go slow and count!

bass pattern 2
Double the bass, double the fun!

Finally, lets look at playing the bass drum every other eighth note triplet partial, this will give us a quarter note triplet pattern on the bass drum.

bass pattern 3
Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh

Now lets put together elements of all three of these patterns to create the two bar pattern for this week’s groove.

the full bass pattern
Groovy Bass Drum

Once you can play the bass drum pattern with the shuffled hi-hat, then all that remains is to add the snare drum on beats 2 & 4.

the full groove
The Full Groove

Taking It Further

Now that you can confidently place the bass drum on the second partial of the triplet while playing a shuffle, go ahead and create some more grooves with it. Here’s 3 ideas.

3 funky variations
Fill those holes!

All three of these grooves use the previously practiced bass drum patterns. The second one also introduces the displaced quarter note triplet bass drum pattern in the second bar. I always enjoy adding that to my grooves. After playing these create some of your own.

I hope you enjoyed groove of the week #55. If you’re in Sinapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Groove of the week #54

Let’s get groovin’:

This week’s groove takes a simple groove and just spices it up with some 16th note triplets and some open hi-hats to create a two bar pattern. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the basic groove we’ll be messing around with:

the basic groove
The basic groove.

This is a fairly basic groove that sounds great and has been used in a lot of songs. Now lets add some 16th note triplets to it.

adding the 16th note triplets
Adding the 16th note triplets.

I’ve add the triplets between beat one and the “&” of 1. I’ve elected to play these as single strokes so I could attack them and get some more volume into them. If I wanted them to be more subtle I might go with RLLR as a sticking.

I play the snare drum on beat 2 with the Right hand. I don’t play the hi-hat with it. I feel this lets the groove breathe more after the busy first beat. It also allows me to attack the snare drum and get a nice loud hit without having to rush my left hand down to it.

Now let’s add the open hi-hats.

the full groove
The full groove.

On the first bar I added the open hi-hat on the “&” of 2. On the second bar I’ve added it on the “&” of 2 and the “&” of 3. This creates a nice two bar phrase & feels like a complete musical idea.

Taking It Further

To take this groove further, I suggest applying the 2 bar hi-hat pattern to some other grooves and seeing how that sounds. Here are a few examples for you:

groove variations
Change up the bass.

Our first two variations are fairly straight forward. The first one just plays the bass drum on the “&” of 2 instead of the “&” of three. The second variation plays the bass drum on both of those beats.

The last variation plays a typical rock bass drum pattern, but now you have a bass drum coinciding with the left handed hi-hat on the “&” of 1. This may cause some problems. Take it slow and try to get them lined up.

Once you’ve mastered these variations, create some of your own. Also don’t forget to add in some fills to the second bar and make sure you get your hands back to the hi-hat in time to play those triplets. I suggest trying fills that end on the “&” of 4.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #54. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Groove Of The Week #53

Woo Hoo! We’re back after 3 months! Here’s groove of the week #53:

This week’s groove is a layered/linear hybrid. The idea is to take a commonly played layered groove and create a linear version of it & then play the two back to back. You might not play this 2 bar pattern as a normal groove, but you may use the linear groove as a fill every now and then. I also find that practicing this helps me to slip linear ideas into my playing more easily. Let’s get to learning!

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the first bar of the two bar groove, this is the layered groove that the linear groove gets created from.

Basic Layered Groove
The basic layered groove.

To create the linear groove, we strip out the most important parts of this groove. In this case, and for most cases, that is the bass and snare drum pattern. Here it is:

Groove stripped to the core
Back to basics.

Try playing the bass drum and snare drum pattern with a metronome before continuing. Being able to place all these notes accurately and securely without the safety of a consistent hi-hat pattern will help you to play the linear groove in a strong, confident manner.

Now lets start building our linear groove bit by bit. First we’ll look at beat one. There are many options you could use to fill the space between the two bass drum notes. I opted for two 16th note hi-hats. The right hand will play all hi-hat notes in this groove.

starting the linear transformation
Start to fill it up.

The next block we will fill up is from beat 2 to the “&” of 3. There are two 16th notes between and the snare on 2 and bass drum on the “ah” of 2, and two 16th notes between the bass on the “ah” of 2 and the bass on the “&” of 3; I decided to treat these two spaces the same, with a hi-hat and a ghosted snare. The left hand plays all the snare drum notes.

more linear
Did someone say g g g g ghost????

The final block to fill is from the “ah” of 3 till the end. I put a hi-hat on the “ah” of 3 to make the accented snare on beat 4 easy to perform. I then put hi-hats on the “e” and “&” of 4 and a ghosted snare drum on the last note so that beat 4 echos the first beat of the linear pattern, albeit with the snare rather than the bass. Here’s the full linear pattern:

fully linear
Let’s get linear, linear. I wanna get linear, linear….

Now to create the full 2 bar pattern we just need to add the layered groove on the front.

two bar pattern - layered to linear
Two bars of awesome.

Take It Further

When transitioning from a layered groove to a linear groove there are many ways you can fill the spaces between the main notes. A good way to expand your vocabulary is to explore as many of those options as possible. Here’s some other variations you could try with the linear portion of this groove.

Change it up
Change it up!

The first variation sees the hi-hat-snare-bass combination extended througout the groove.

The second variation sees the hi-hat taking on more work in the middle of the groove.

The third variation is the trickiest of the bunch. The hi-hat-snare-bass combination has changed to snare-hi-hat-bass. This gives a different feel to the groove but now you have to contend with executing ghost notes straight after an accented snare drum note. This is a more advanced groove. You may need to leave it for another time.

The final variation just re-orchestrates the original linear pattern onto the tom toms. The right hand plays the floor tom, the left plays the snare and high tom. This could be used a cool sounding fill or you can change the layered groove to use the floor tom as well to create a powerful 2 bar tom groove:

Tom tom version
Toms of fury.

We haven’t even started to incorporate other voices like the ride cymbal, cowbell, stack cymbals… there are lots of ways to explore the kit with this groove. Have fun with it! If you’ve enjoyed this groove check out Groove Of The Week #23 for another layered to linear groove.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Groove Of The Week #53. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Groove Of The Week #52

Open Hi-Hats, No Bass Drum… are you sure?

This week’s groove is a 2 bar pattern which features a busy bass drum pattern in the 1st bar and then just hi-hats and snare in the second bar. The two bars provide a nice contrast to each other and sounds like two sides of a conversation. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

We’re using two handed 16th note hi-hats throughout this groove. Bass drum placement can sometimes be a problem with this kind of groove. Is you bass drum really hitting accurately with the Hi-Hat; are they perfectly in sync? Let’s look at just the first bar.

the first bar
The First Bar

The trickiest part of this first bar for most people is the bass drum on the “ah” of 1 that is together with the left hand on the hi-hat. Playing the bass drum together with the right hand on the hi-hat is something we tend to do from day one of our drumming adventure. Playing the bass drum and the left hand together normally needs a bit more attention.

Play this groove slowly at first together with a metronome and really listen to hear if your bass drum and left hand are really in sync on the “ah” of 1. Don’t neglect the other bass drum notes either, pay attention to all of them. I suggest starting at 40bpm and working your way up.

Now lets look at the second bar. This second bar brings your open hi-hat sound into focus. Let’s check it out:

the second bar
Who stole the bass drum???

This appears to be a very simple groove, but use it to have a really good listen to your hi-hat openings. Do all 4 of them sound the same? Are you closing them accurately on the beat? Are you addressing the hi-hat in the same way each time you hit them? Really try to tune into your hi-hats and iron out any variance in how you play them.

The final step is to put it all together:

the full groove
The Full Groove

When playing the full groove, record yourself and listen for any pushing or pulling that may be going on within the groove. Are you slowing down to fit in the bass drum on the “ah” of 1? Are you rushing through the open hi hat bar? Are the 4 snare drum notes evenly spaced? Make it sound good!

Taking It Further

Here’s a few variations on the second bar to give the groove a different feel.

change it up
Vary Your Hats

Our first variation has us playing an accent on the off beats of the second bar instead of the open hi-hats. It still feels similar to the original groove, but maybe not as noisy.

The second variation has us keeping the hi-hats closed again and playing accents on the “ah” of 2 and the “e” of 3. This is another very common place to accent in a groove.

The final variation has us changing the hi-hat rhythm in the second bar. Play this bar R RL R RL R RL R RL…

Now try come up with some of your own variations.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #52. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Groove Of The Week #51

Here’s this week’s groove:

This week’s groove takes a funky snare and bass pattern and adds the bell of the ride cymbal and the tom toms to provide some colour. To hear a similar groove in action, check out song “Everlasting Now” by Prince with the late, great John Blackwell on drums.

Get the Groove.

Let’s start by looking at the basic groove we’re playing here.

The Basic Groove

Play this basic groove slowly at first; use a metronome playing 8th notes or even 16th notes to help check the accuracy of your bass drum placement. Record yourself playing it, does it sound good? If you’re having trouble with the bass drum accuracy, then try playing the groove with 8th notes on the ride cymbal, like this:

Get Your Bass Drum Accurate.

Once you have the 8th note groove sounding good, then try playing one bar with 8th notes on the ride cymbal, and one bar with quarter notes on the ride cymbal. Does your bass drum sound the same on both grooves? Concentrate on not changing when the bass drum hits when switching between the two grooves.

Our final step is to add in the left hand on the tom toms. We’re playing the high tom on the “e” and “&” of 3 and the low tom on the “&” and “ah” of 4. Again work slowly on this and use a metronome.

The Full Groove.

Taking It Further

Let’s take this groove further by looking at other ways we can incorporate the tom toms into this groove.

Tom Tom Trouble

Our first groove just has us putting the tom-toms in the spaces on beats 1 and beats 3.

The second groove has us putting the tom-toms in the spaces on beat 1 and beat 4.

The final groove just switches beats 1 & 2 of our original groove with beats 3 & 4 so the toms come at the start of the groove.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #51. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.