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.

Groove Of The Week #44

Here’s a funky shuffle for groove of the week #44.

That’s one funky groove right there. The challenge with this groove is keeping a a consistent shuffle feel in the right hand and placing the bass drum accurately within the groove. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at what is happening on the hi-hat.

shuffled hi-hat
Everyday I’m Shuffling

The subdivision we’re working with to create this groove is the 16th note triplet. To create the 16th note triplet shuffle we skip the second and fourth partial of each group of 16th note triplets. We normally count 16th note triplets as 1-ti-ta-&ti-ta-2-ti-ta-&-ti-ta etc. So if you’re counting along, don’t play the hi-hat on the “ti”.

Play this shuffle pattern at tempos between 40 – 85bpm and focus on keeping a consistent shuffle happening. Pay attention to the spacing of your notes.

Now let’s add in the snare drum:

add the snare
Adding The Backbeat

The snare drum is just on 2 and 4 as it is in most of our grooves. Make sure you’re shuffle feel doesn’t change when you add the snare.

The final step is to add the bass drum.

add the bass
Bringing In The Bottom End

The bass drum is playing a funky off beat pattern. All of the bass drum beats, except the first one, land on “ta”. Play this groove slowly at first and count out loud while doing so.

Taking It Further

With any groove you learn, you need to be able to add drum fills to it. With the funk shuffle, it’s natural to stay in the 16th note triplet subdivision for the fills. Here’s a few examples:

fill it up
Fill Fill Fill!

The first two fills are simple 16th note triplet fills around the kit using RLRL sticking. The final fill copies the shuffle feel from the groove before finishing off the fill with a flourish around the kit. Note the sticking on the last fill, it finishes with the right hand on the floor tom = crash after the fill with your left hand.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #44. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message from the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #43

Groove of the week #43 is brought to you courtesy of Matt Sorum.

This groove is taken from the song Double Talkin’ Jive Guns N’ Roses. Matt Sorum uses his bass drum and floor tom to create this powerful low end groove that drives the song along. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

The base for this groove is provided by the 16th note pattern between floor tom and bass drum. Let’s start by checking it out:

16th note bass
The Low End

The floor tom is playing eighth notes and the floor tom fills in the 16ths in between. This looks fairly easy to do, but I suggest you try it and record yourself doing so. Are you getting evenly spaced 16ths? Also, how hard are you hitting that floor tom?

To recreate Matt Sorum’s groove, the bass drum needs to be more prominent than the floor tom. Go have have a listen to the song, tell me which one you hear the most. In a situation where the kit is miked up and you have a sound man, it’s easy to do. It’s good to be able to mix it with your own limbs though and is an exercise in control.

Now let’s add the snare. This groove has a double time feel. Meaning, the groove sounds twice as fast as it actually is. The tempo of the song is 98bpm, but because of the snare placement it feels more like 196bpm. The snare drum is played on the “&” of each beat, rather than just on 2 & 4.

To the casual listener the beat is going to sound like this beat being played at 196bpm:

8th note version of the groove
How It Sounds

But it’s actually written & played as this beat at 98bpm:

Full version of the groove
The Full Groove

Taking It Further

There’s two things to practice with this groove. The first is moving between a normal time feel and double time.

Try playing the groove with the snare drum on 2 and 4 with our 16th note floor tom / bass drum pattern. This will create a fake 16th note double bass drum groove that is fun to play.

Fake Double Bass Drum Groove
Fake Double Bass Drum Groove

Once you have that happening, try playing 2 bars of the fake double bass drum groove and then 2 bars of the original double time groove, like this:

Going From Normal Time To Double Time.

The second thing to practice with this groove is adding in the pedalled hi-hat. This might create some co-ordination issues for you. Go slow and practice!

adding the left foot.
Get Pedalling

At first we’re adding the hi-hat on the quarter notes together with the floor tom. In the second variation we’re adding it the “&” of each beat to help reinforce the snare drum. Finally, those with fast feet can try adding the hi-hat to all the 8th notes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #43. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the Contact Us page.

Groove Of The Week #42

This week’s groove is a common groove spiced up with some ghost notes, an open hi-hat, and a 16th note triplet hi-hat embellishment in the style of Gavin Harrison. Check it out.

Adding ghost notes, open hi-hats and hi-hat embellishments can drastically change the feel of a groove. Let’s check out how these things combine to change a basic groove into our groove of the week.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the core of our groove of the week.

The basic groove.
The Core Groove

The first step in turning this into our groove of the week is to add the ghost notes on the snare. Ghost notes are notes – normally played on the snare – that are softer than regular snare hits. Our ghost notes for this groove occur on “ah” of 2 and the “e” of 3 – this is an extremely common placement.

Adding the ghost notes
I Ain’t ‘Fraid Of No Ghosts!

Try playing these notes with the stick about 1 inch (2.5cm) from the head of the snare drum. Just let the stick drop from that height, don’t put any power into them. Practice it slowly at first and try to get a big contrast between the backbeat snare notes on 2 & 4 and the ghost notes. I played rimshots on beats 2 & 4 in the video to get an even bigger contrast.

The next addition to our core groove is the open hi-hat. I placed the open hi-hat on the “&” of 1. Let’s add it in.

Adding the open hi-hat
Open Your Hat

The final step is to add the 16th note triplets starting on the “&” of 4. This week I thought I’d play them in same manner as drum great Gavin Harrison did on the Porcupine Tree song Bonnie The Cat. He plays two rights and then flicks up the left hand to catch the edge of the hi-hat.

On groove of the week #41 I played 16th note triplets in a more conventional fashion – RLL – bringing the left hand up to hit the top of the hi-hat. Gavin’s method is more efficient but slightly trickier. Here’s the full groove:

The full groove
The Full Groove

Taking It Further

Let’s add the same ghost notes, open hi-hat and 16th note triplet hi-hat embellishment to some more basic grooves. Here’s 3 basic grooves:

Basic Grooves
Basic Grooves

Here is those 3 basic groooves with the ghost notes, open h-hat and 16th note triplets added:

Blinged up grooves
Not So Basic Grooves

Often when you hear a complex groove, it’s just a basic groove that has had other elements added to it. Try taking some basic grooves you know and add some of these elements to them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #42. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #41

Let’s get funky with this week’s groove!

Syncopation is a great way to create funky sounding grooves. This groove only has one bass or snare that’s in a non-syncopated position, however the accented hi-hat solidifies the groove and keeps the beat in the listeners mind. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

Let’s start with the basic idea that the groove grew from.

The basic groove
The Basic Groove

This is a very syncopated grooove, the bass drum on beat one anchors the whole groove, after that none of the snare or bass drums are on the beat. Play this groove slowly – 40-50bpm and count out loud as you do it.

To help keep the groove moving forward, to help the listener hear the 1-2-3-4 and, to highlight the syncopation, I added in the accented hi-hat on the beat. This movement on the hi-hat really helps to bring the groove to life.

adding hi-hat accents
Accent Your Hats

I achieve the accented hi-hats by hitting the hi-hat on the edge with the shoulder of the stick and then hitting the top of the hi-hat with the tip of the stick. This should give you two distinct sounds from your hi-hat – one louder and fuller and one softer and weaker.

You may need to spend some time practicing this movement with easier beats until you get it into your muscle memory. Eventually you’ll be able to add it to any groove without really thinking too much about it.

The final thing I added to this groove was a little 16th note triplet flourish on the “&” of 2. I play these notes with a double on the left hand. Here’s the full groove with the sticking indicated.

The full groove
The Full Groove

Taking It Further

When you learn any groove, you want to try adding fills to it. This is a tricky groove to add fills to; I think there are only 2 places to add fills to this groove and have it sound natural. Those 2 places are the “&” of 3 and the “&” of 2. Let’s look at adding fills to these two spots.

Fill Variations
Fill It Up

Our first two fills start on the “&” of 3. The first is a simply played on the snare drum – you can orchestrate this as you wish. The second is an example of the kind of fill you can come up with. This fill ends with a flam on the snare on the “&” of 4 to echo the snare on the & of 4 in the groove.

The last two fills start on the “&” of 2. Again, the first fill is just a simple 16th note snare fill that you can orchestrate as you wish. The final fill is an example of that fill orchestrated. Come up with your own variations.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #41. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #40

Here’s a fun groove that splits eighth note triplets up between the hi-hat and ride cymbal.

Splitting eighth note triplets across different surfaces has always been one of my favourite things to do because you can create so many interesting patterns. This groove simply splits the triplets between the hi-hat and ride cymbal; the addition of the ride cymbal bell adds more rhythmic interest. Let’s learn the groove.

Get the Groove

Our first stop when learning this groove is to be comfortable splitting the triplets between the hi-hat, ride and snare drum. Here’s the basic pattern:

The basic hand pattern
Just the hands

The left hand is splitting its time between the hi-hat and playing the snare drum on beats 2 & 4. For now the right hand is just playing the body of the ride cymbal. Take time getting comfortable playing this pattern before trying to move on – you want this on auto pilot before trying the next step.

Our next step is to add in the bass drum. You may want to start with the bass drum just on beats 1 and 3 before trying the full pattern shown here.

Adding the bass drum pattern.
Adding the bass

The tricky part of this pattern is the 2 consecutive bass drums on the “Let” of 2 and beat 3. The first is with the left hand and the second with the right. As always, play this pattern slowly, count out loud and focus on getting the bass drums to coincide accurately with the hands.

Again, practice this groove until it’s on auto pilot before moving on to the final step.

The last thing to add to this groove is the ride bell pattern. We’re going to alternate the right hand between the body of the ride cymbal and the bell. This adds an interesting colour over top of the groove. You may want to practice just the hand pattern again and then add the bass drum back in. Take it slow.

The Full Groove
The full groove

Taking It Further

Spend some time with this groove and change the bass drum pattern to create new grooves; that’s a great way to expand your abilities. What we’re going to do is look at some ways to change up the bell pattern.

changing the hand pattern.
Ring in the changes

Our first variation reverses the right hand pattern from our original groove – now we play the bell first and then the body of the ride cymbal.

The second variation has us play the first three right hands on the body of the ride cymbal and the last three on the bell of the ride cymbal.

The final variation has the right hand hit the bell of the ride cymbal when the right hand coincides with a bass drum.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #40. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #39

It’s groove of the week time. Let’s get to it!

Groove of the week #39 features a an interesting rhythm played between hi-hat, snare and the stack cymbal. This rhythm is often heard in drum fills and linear grooves, but this week we’re using it in a more regular groove.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the rhythm the hands are playing.

The basic patten
Getting the groove

Make note of the sticking that we’re using here. The right hand is playing any 8th notes (1 & 2 & etc) , the left hand plays any 16th notes (e ah).

Play this pattern slowly with a metronome. I use a metronome playing 8th notes, I find it helps with the accuracy. Count out loud as you practice!

Now lets orchestrate the hands around the kit. The left hand is going to play the hi-hat, the right hand will move between the stack cymbal the and snare drum. If you don’t have a stack, try moving the right hand to the bell of the ride cymbal or the floor tom or a cowbell.

Moving around the kit
Moving around the kit

The final step is to add the bass drum. The bass drum is played together with the stack cymbal.

The full groove
The full groove

Taking It Further

Now that you’ve learnt to play the groove of the week, the easy way to change it up is to keep the hand pattern the same and change the bass drum. We’ll play the hands just between the hi-hat and snare drum, but if you want to split them up between different surfaces, please do! Here’s three useful variations:

changing it up
Changing up the bass

Pay attention to where the hands and bass drum coincide. We’ve now got some bass drums that occur on their own and some that occur with the left hand. Practice these grooves slowly and count as you play them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #39. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #38

It’s time to get a little bit latin with groove of the week #38.

This groove is taken from the classic early rock ‘n roll song La Bamba by Ritchie Valens. The song itself is a Mexican folk song, but Ritchie spiced it up and gave us the version we all know and love. Let’s get to learning!

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the pattern being played on the bell of the ride cymbal.

The Bell Pattern
Ring my bell

Like most latin grooves, this groove features a broken rhythm on the ride bell. This can be challenging if you haven’t attempted latin grooves before. Spend some time with a metronome playing this pattern slowly, counting out loud and getting it into your hand.

Now let’s add the snare and tom toms.

Add the left hand
Two hands are better than one

Our left hand will be moving between the snare and first tom. You might want to practice each bar separately at first and then try playing them consecutively. Keep it slow and keep counting.

The final step is to add in the bass drum. For this groove the bass drum is playing just on beats 1 and 3. Again, practice it all slowly, before gradually bringing it up to our target speed of 152bpm.

add the bass drum
The full groove

Taking It Further

Getting the groove is the first step in learning any beat. Once you have learnt a groove, you need to be able to play fills with it and get in and out of it easily in order to be able to use it in a song. Here’s some basic fills to use with this groove. Try not to lose the pattern as you add the fills.

add some drum fills
Fill it in

I suggest playing these fills in a 4 bar pattern: play two bars of the original groove and then add on the 2 bar patterns shown above.

Our first fill goes over the whole of the second bar of the groove.

The second fill starts on beat 2 of the second bar. Note the sticking pattern – LLRLRL.

The third fill starts on beat 3. Again this one also starts with the Left hand – LRLR. I would suggest crashing with the left hand after this fill to give your right hand enough time to get back to the ride bell on beat 2.

The final fill is two notes on the floor tom starting on beat 4. The left hand on the first tom on the “&” of three is just part of the original groove.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #38. If your in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #37

Let’s spice up our hi-hats with groove of the week #37.

Groove of the week #37 is a simple groove spiced up with some 32nd note hi-hats and some accents. Let’s get to it!

Get The Groove

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

The basic groove
Going basic

This is fairly simple 2-handed 16th note hi-hat groove. There’s a little bit of syncopation on the bass drum. Hopefully you can play this groove already.

Our first step to spice this groove up is to add in the 32nd note doubles. I decided to play a double stroke on the right hand every time I hit the bass drum. Here’s what that looks like:

adding in the right hand doubles
Doubling up the right hand.

Play this at a slow speed and focus on playing the hi-hats at an even volume. You may need to spend time working on your double strokes to get each double perfectly even.

The final step is adding in accents with the left hand. For this groove I accented the “ah” of 2 and the “e” of 3. This is a very common place to accent. To get the accents I drop my left hand lower and play the accents with the shoulder of the stick on the edge of the hi-hat. The rest of the notes are played with the tips of the stick on top of the hi-hat. Here’s the full groove:

the full groove
The full groove

Take It Further

Let’s take this groove further by changing up the bass drum pattern. We’ll follow the same pattern of doubling the hi-hats with every bass drum. We’ll leave the accents out for now. If you’d like another groove with hi-hat accents, try groove of the week #36.

3 variations.
Change it up

Our first two variations are just very simple grooves with the hi-hat doubled on all the bass drums.

The third variation throws in some bass drums on the 16th notes together with left hand. However, I only double the hi-hat when the right hand and bass drum coincide – doubling the hi-hat with every bass drum would be a little too much. Try doubling the hi-hat when the left hand and bass drum hit together instead of the doubling the right hand, you might prefer that variation.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #37. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #36

Let’s accent how awesome groove of the week #36 is:

Groove of the week #36 shows how you can take a simple groove, and spice it up using accents. Let’s get to accenting.

Get The Groove

The groove that we’re spicing up with accents is a simple two handed 16th note groove with a sparse bass drum pattern. Let’s check out the basic pattern first.

the basic groove
The Basic Groove

Hopefully you won’t have any problems with that groove. If you do, use a metronome, go slow, and, count. Don’t proceed until you can play this groove easily.

Now lets look at the accent pattern we’re going to apply to the groove. Here it is played on the snare drum:

the accent pattern
Accent Pattern

Learn to play this accent pattern on the snare drum first. As always, go slow and count focus on getting two sound levels – one level for the accents and a softer level for the unaccented notes.

Once you can play this pattern easily, then we can try orchestrating it between the hi-hat and snare. The snare drum will naturally add another accent to the accent pattern. Hit the snare drum at the volume you would usually use when playing a back-beat.

accenting the hi-hats
Accenting The Hats

To get the accents on the hi-hat, I use the shoulder of the stick on the edge of the hi-hat. For the unaccented notes I use the tip of the stick on the top of the hi-hat. Watch how my hands move to in the video to see this in action. Practice this movement until you can do it smoothly.

The final step in our groove is to bring in the bass drum. Here’s the full groove:

Accents on the hi-hat
The Full Groove

Take It Further

Once you have learnt the groove of the week, experiment with the bass drum pattern to create other grooves. Here’s 3 examples.

additional bass drum patterns
Experiment!

After experimenting with that accent pattern, try to find some accent patterns that you like the sound of. Here’s one more pattern for you to try, with two examples with the bass drum added.

additional accent pattern
Create!

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #36. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.