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 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:
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:
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.
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.