Groove Of The Week #13

Here’s groove of the week #13, things are gonna get pretty tricky this week!

This is one of those grooves that just kept evolving and growing, I kept finding more fun things to add to it. Let’s get to work on our 4-way co-ordination.

Get The Groove

First, let’s look at the basic groove. Here’s what I built upon to create this groove:

The basic groove

Hopefully that looks pretty easy to play, but, if it causes you problems, check out Groove Of The Week #11 because it’s almost the exact same beat and I break down how to play it in that post.

Now we’ll look at the 3 elements that we’ll add to this to create the final groove. We’ll look at them separately first before we start combining them.

The first element is the ghosted 16th note triplets. When I play these, I don’t count them, I just feel them between the 8th note triplet pulse and I count the 8th note triplet. Here’s the basic groove with the ghost notes added:

basic groove + ghost notes
Count out loud and feel those ghost notes

Play this beat until you can do it without thinking. Once you’ve got it down, then you can try the next two elements.

The next element is the quarter note ride bell pattern. Here it is with the basic groove.

basic groove + bell
Ring my bell

Once that is comfortable, try adding the ghosts back in:

basic groove + bell and ghost notes
You rang m’lord?

You may want to stop here, this sounds like a pretty good groove already, but, if you want the 4-way co-ordination workout then proceed.

The final element is the displaced quarter note triplet hi-hat. Here it is with the basic groove:

Basic groove with hi-hat foot added
Don’t forget to count & breathe…

Once you have that try it with the other two elements. I suggest doing it separately at first. Here’s the first combination:

basic groove + ghosts + hi-hat
Ghost Notes + Hi-Hat

And the next combination:

Basic groove + bell + hi-hat
Bell + Hi-Hat

Finally, add it all together to get the complete groove.

The full groove
The Full Groove!

Take things slow with this groove. It’s an advanced groove with 4-way co-ordination. Take it step by step, practice it slowly, and eventually you’ll be able to amaze your friends and family with it.

Take It Further

As I was developing this groove, I had a few other ideas before I arrived at the final one. Here’s a few you can try.

First up, start the hi-hat quarter note triplets on beat 1:

full groove with hi-hat displaced
Move the hi-hats back to beat 1

Secondly, play quarter note triplets on the ride cymbal bell – alternating with the displaced quarter note triplets on the hi-hat.

full groove with alternative bell pattern
Hit the ride bell every other 8th note

Finally, switch the hi-hat foot and ride bell from the previous example:

full groove + alternative hi-hat and bell pattern
How much fun can you have with one groove?

I hope you’ve enjoyed the challenge of this groove. Working on your 4-way co-ordination will benefit your drumming no end will allow you to play more complex ideas.

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #12

Here’s groove of the week 12:

Groove of the week #12 is a pretty funky 2 bar pattern featuring a 16th note bass drum, 16th note hi-hat embellishments and, those awesome sounding open hi-hats on beats 3 & 4 of the 2nd bar. This groove reminds me of pop-funk grooves that you hear from from artists like Prince or Terence Trent D’arby.

Learn The Groove

The first step in learning this groove is to play a simple version of it with just an 8th note hi-hat pattern. Try this beat first:

The basic beat
Start with the basics

The next step is to add in the 16th note hi-hats in the middle of the groove. Note that the left hand just slots them in between the eighth notes on the right hand. Your right hand doesn’t need to change at all.

Add in the 16th note hi-hats
Embellish those hi-hats

The final step is to add in the open hi-hats at the end of the second bar. Adding an open hi-hat on the beat is not done as often as opening the hi-hat on the off-beats; you may struggle with this if you haven’t tried it before.

To get used to doing it try this exercise. First get the pattern between the bass, snare and pedalled hi-hat.

practice step one for open hi-hats on the beat.
Count and focus on your hi-hat.

Focus on opening the hi-hat on the beat, when you hit the bass and snare, and closing it precisely on the “&”. You should be counting 8th notes – 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & etc.

The next step is to add the right hand on the quarter notes and create the open hi-hat sound.

practice step two for open hi-hats on the beat
Keep counting.

Your focus now should be on the open hi-hat sound and making them all consistent. Make sure to hit the hi-hat in the same manner each time and focus on keeping your hi-hat opening and closing smooth and precise.

When you are comfortable with opening the hi-hat on the beat, try adding it to the groove of the week.

The full groove.
The full groove

Take It Further

The two main things to take from this groove are the 16th note hi-hat embellishments and the open hi-hats on the beat. Try adding these two elements into other grooves.

Here’s the 16th note hi-hat embellishment applied 3 different ways to a simple beat:

Variations with 16th note hi-hat embellishments
Embellish those hats!

And here’s the open hi-hat applied to the same simple beat:

Variations with open hi-hats on the beats.
Open those hats!

Opening the hi-hat on the beat adds a strong rhythmic element to the groove. You can hear it on Squib Cakes by Tower Of Power, Material Girl by Madonna, Walk This Way by Aerosmith and Umbrella by Rihanna to name a few.

I hope you enjoy Groove Of The Week #12. If you’re in Singapore and would like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the Contact Us page.

Groove Of The Week #11

It’s that time of the week where we get groovy! Here’s groove of the week #11:

Groove of the week #11 is brought to you by I’m The Only One by Melissa Etheridge, Dazed & Confused by Led Zeppelin, and, countless Blues Songs. Let’s get into it.

Get The Groove

This beat is based on the eighth note triplet. A lot of Jazz & Blues & early Soul music is based on the eighth note triplet and it’s important to become familiar with it. It was also heard in a lot of pop and rock music from the 1960s and 1970s as the music was heavily influenced by blues and soul music.

Listen to bands like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Queen, & The Jimi Hendrix Experience and you’ll hear the triplet feel come up quite often. More recently, Duffy, Ed Sheeran, Meghan Trainor and Alicia Keys have had hit songs with the triplet Feel.

Let’s start by counting the triplet Hi-Hat:

Count Out Loud

Next, lets add the bass drum on 1 and 3 and the snare on 2 & 4:

Keep Counting

Once you are comfortable with that basic groove, then you can add the remaining bass drums.

The Full Groove

This is a great sounding groove and one of my favourites to play with a band. Try it out at your next blues jam session.

Taking It Further

A common thing to do with an eighth note triplet hi-hat pattern is to add the occasional 16th note triplet to it. Check out these two examples:

Side order of 16th notes during beats 1 & 3
Bonus 16th notes during beats 2 & 4

Have a listen to “Bring It On Home To Me” By The animals for ideas on where this is used.

Another thing we can do to spice up this groove is add accents to the hi-hat pattern. Let’s start with the basic one:

Accents on the beat

Accenting the main beat helps to drive the groove along even more. Try this one for more fun:

Quarter Note Triplet Accents

Accenting every other note highlights the quarter note triplet and makes for interesting listening. Hear it in action on “Black Velvet” By Alannah Myles. Play the 8th note triplets on the ride cymbal and put the accents on the bell for more fun. Or… try this:

My Head Hurts!

Now we’ve displaced the quarter note triplet accent to create another interesting variation… you can hear something similar to this on the Tears For Fears song “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”. Again try it with the accent on the bell of the ride cymbal for extra fun.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #11. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, let us know on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #10

Here’s groove of the week #10.

This week’s groove is a two handed 16th note groove and it’s basically the main groove from the Simple Minds’ song Alive & Kicking but with accents added to give it a little twist.

Accents added in this manner can bring a groove to life and give it a new feel. Let’s learn this groove.

Get The Groove

The first step in learning this groove is getting the accent pattern correct. Here it is played on the hi-hat:

Count 16th notes while playing this.

Next, lets add the snare drum on 2 & 4. Focus on the accents with the right hand before and after each snare drum hit.

Hit the Snare on 2 & 4 instead of the Hi-Hat

Our final step is to add the bass drum. Here’s the full groove:

The full groove

It you are having trouble with this groove, you may need to practice the groove without the accents first. Try this:

Groove minus accents.

Get the base groove into your muscle memory first and then try adding the accents once you find the base groove easy. You may also want to try the first two examples from the next section as they feature a simpler bass drum pattern.

Taking It Further

Once you are comfortable with the hi-hat accent pattern, try it with different bass drum patterns. Here’s a few to get you started.

Let me hear those accents!

For different take on this, you can try putting your right hand on the ride cymbal and playing the right hand accents on the bell of the ride. You may need to play a little slower as the right hand has a long way to travel between snare and ride bell; Hitting the bell consistently may be a problem to start with.

Ring The Bell!

I hope you enjoyed Groove Of The Week #10. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons. send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #9

Here’s groove of the week #9:

This week’s groove of the week is brought to you by the song Monsters by Shinedown. I’ve been working on Monsters this week and the groove stuck in my head. You’ll also recognize this beat from chorus of Maroon 5’s This Love, although it’s played about 20bpm faster than this. Let’s learn it!

Get The Groove

The main challenge on this groove is the 16th note bass drum pattern. You may need to spend time just practicing the hi-hat and bass drum part & focus on separating the right hand from the right foot. Keep a nice steady 8th note pulse on the hi-hat and don’t let the right foot interfere with it. Take it slow – 50bpm – and count out loud. I’ve beamed them together to make the relationship more obvious.

Hi-hat + Bass Drum & Counting

Once you can do that, throw in a snare drum on 2 & 4 and you’re all set to rock!

Full Groove + Counting

Taking It Further

If you’re trying to learn the song Monsters by Shinedown then you’ll need this variation on the groove:

Groove of the week #9 + extra bass drum

Adding an additional bass drum on the “ah” of 4 gives the groove a little extra forward momentum. Listen to the song and try to hear where it happens.

If you’re trying to play This Love by Maroon 5, then you’ll need to be able to add an open hi-hat on the “&” of 4, like so:

Groove of the week 9 + open hi-hat

You’ll hear the open hi-hat every other bar in the song. Another variation that you’ll need for the This Love is this one – you’ll hear it at the end of each chorus and during the bridge.

Add some crashes to the bass drum

In this variation the hi-hat is replaced with crashes that copy the bass drum pattern. This is a cool way to create interesting variations on a groove. Substitute the crash for the bell of the ride cymbal or a stack and it creates more options. Try the whole of groove 9 like this:

Ride bell copying bass drum

Try playing 2 bars of the groove normally & then 2 bars with the right hand following the right foot. To hear this idea in action listen to Absolution Blues by Coverdale Page.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Groove of the Week 9. If you’re in Singapore and would like a free trial lessons, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Groove Of The Week #8

Let’s bounce along and enjoy Groove of the Week #8:

Groove of the week 8 is, of course, a shuffle. A groove that has powered countless Blues and Country songs as well as many popular Rock & Pop songs. You’ve probably heard shuffles on Confident by Demi Lovato, Ex’s & Oh’s by Elle King, Grace Kelly by Mika, Black Night by Deep Purple, Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen, Roadhouse Blues by the Doors and many other great songs. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

The most important thing for the shuffle is having a consistent feel between the notes on the hi-hat. The shuffle is formed by playing the first and last notes of the 8th note triplets. It can be hard to keep this steady at first. Lets try to develop a nice steady shuffle.

Step 1:

Shuffle development exercise 1
Pay attention to the sticking and count out loud.

In step 1 we play all of the 8th note triplets. The right hand plays the first and last note of the triplet, the left hand plays all the middle notes (the “puh”)

Step 2:

Shuffle Development Exercise 2
Move the right hand to the hi-hat; Keep counting.

In step 2 the pattern is the same as step 1 but we move the right hand to the hi-hat. You should be able to hear the shuffle rhythm on the hi-hat now.

Step 3:

Shuffle Development Exercise 3
Stop the left hand; Keep counting.

In step 3 we stop playing the left hand on the snare drum, we now have just the shuffle rhythm playing on the hi-hat. Keep counting out loud to make sure you are leaving space for the middle note of the triplet. Try moving smoothly between step 2 and step 3 without stopping. Play 4 bars of each. Does you’re right hand hi-hat part remain constant?

Step 4:

The shuffle complete
Add some bass and snare drum. Keep counting.

Finally in step 4 we add the bass and snare drum to complete the groove. Keep counting out loud to solidify the feel.

Taking It Further

There are many great variations on the shuffle, but for now we’ll stick with this basic one and look at adding fills to it.

As with any groove you want to be able to move in & out of it using drum fills. Normally when playing shuffles drummers will stick to the 8th note triplet subdivision as a base for fills. Here’s 4 basic fills that you’ll want to be able to do.

shuffle fills
Four Basic Triplet Fills

Once you have these 4 basic fills down, then try moving your hands around the kit to create your own ideas. Check out Fill Of The Week #8 for a more advanced triplet fill.

I hope you enjoy shuffling along with Groove of the week #8. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, please contact us via the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #7

Here’s groove of the week #7 – possibly the happiest groove on the planet!

What a great groove. It is of course a Soca & it has to be one of the most popular grooves on the planet. You’ll have heard a slow version of it in Despacito. Ed Sheeran strongly hints at it in his hit song Shape Of You. Shakira used it in Waka Waka & Sia did a slow version in her song Cheap Thrills. There are countless Techno/Dance songs that use this beat because it is so upbeat and just makes you want to dance.

I first came across it on holiday in the Caribbean in the late 1980’s. It’s a beat that propels a lot of the music across the islands and can be heard behind steel drum bands and influencing the local pop music. It instantly became one of my favourite beats to play.

Get The Groove

You may need to start this one by learning the hands separately. Here’s the hands on their own. Focus on letting the right hand maintain consistent 8th notes on the hi-hat and just slot the left hand in between on the “ah of 1” and “ah of 3” and together with the right hand on the “& of 2” and “& of 4”

Just the hands
Just the hands

The next step is to add the bass drum on 1, 2, 3 & 4 to make it easy to dance to.

The full  Soca groove
Add the bass drum & Soca away!

When I play this groove I tend to accent the snare drum on the “& of 2” and “& of 4” as this is how I first heard it and I like how it adds a little more movement to the groove.

Taking It Further

Adding a busier hi-hat pattern to the Soca can increase the energy of the groove again. Here’s 3 suggestions

Hi-Hat variations of the soca
Hi-Hat Variations.

Variation 1 has the classic disco open/close hi-hat pattern added to it. Variation 2 has the right hand playing three 16th notes at a time instead of just 8th notes. This pushes the beat along even more. Variation 3 features two-handed 16th notes played hand to hand. The snare drum notes are shared between the hands, be careful with your aim when moving from the hi-hat to the snare – try to get both hands to hit in the same spot.

Here’s one of my favourite variations that I used to create a tribal groove for a cover version of a Rolling Stones song. It may inspire you to create your own variation.

Tribal Tom Tom Soca
Tom Tom Version

For this variation I just moved the right hand from the hi-hat to the floor tom and left hand played the snare drum part first on tom 2 and then on tom 1. Don’t play the floor tom too loud, the bass drum and Tom 1 and Tom 2 need to be the stars of this groove.

I hope you enjoy playing the Soca as much as I do. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, let us know on the contact us page.


Groove Of The Week #6

It’s time to get funky! Here’s Groove of the Week #6:

I first remember hearing this kind of funky, syncopated two bar pattern in the chorus of the Billy Joel song Easy Money from the Innocent Man Album. I instantly fell in love with the groove and it became one of my favourite songs to drum to. You’ll also hear this kind of pattern throughout funk music; Cold Sweat by James Brown is another great example of this kind of beat.

Similar to Groove of the week #5, this is a two bar pattern and presents the same challenges. You need to be able to perform the two bar pattern consistently and you need to be able to add drum fills to it.

To work on adding drum fills, use a 4 bar pattern like this:

Fill goes on the 4th bar

Try the groove with a variety of fills – such as the ones suggested in groove of the week #5, any of our fill of the week suggestions or the fills below. The fills for groove of the week 5 all started on the beat, all of these fills start and the “&”. You want to be comfortable starting fills both on and off the beat.

Practice your fills!

Once you are comfortable playing groove #6 and adding fills to it, try keeping the snare drum pattern the same, but changing the 8th note bass drums. Here’s some examples:

Change it up!

Another way to extend your practice with this groove (and any 2 bar pattern) is to reverse the order of the bars – try these:

Hit Reverse!

The last 2 examples of the reversed groove may prove tricky as there is no bass drum on beat one of the first bar. This might throw you off, but it is something you want to be able to do. When playing beats with no bass drum on beat one it is common to play the bass drum on beat one of the first bar when you start the groove and after drum fills. Here’s an example using the 4th pattern from above:

8 bars of fun!

Have fun with groove of the week 6! 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 #5

It’s time to get groovy! This week’s groove of the week is a simple 2-bar pattern. Here’s groove of the week #5:

I’ve always loved this beat. Skipping the bass drum on beat 1 of the second bar gives this groove a very upbeat feel and adds a certain swagger to it. A song that really shows off that swagger is the rock classic Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf. This groove drives the verses of that song and gives it the rebellious feel needed.

Grooves that are 2 bars in length, such as this one, present their own challenges when playing them. The first challenge is being able to play the whole pattern continuously without changing it. I find that singing the pattern in my head while playing helps me to keep it correct. Record yourself playing the groove for an extended period of time; can you play it for 3 minutes without changing the pattern at all?

The second challenge is adding in drum fills. Normally with 2 bar patterns, drum fills will occur on the second bar. You want to practice adding drum fills to the second bar and then resuming the beat from the first bar. Here’s how I practice adding fills into this beat:

Groove of the week 5 played as a four bar pattern with fills added on the fourth bar.
Add some fills to spice things up!

Obviously, you can change the fills to suit your musical needs, make sure you’re able to play fills starting on any beat of that last bar. For suggestions on fills, head over to our fill of the week section.

If you’re in Singapore, and you’d like a free trial drum lessons, contact us via the contact us page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

Groove Of The Week #4

It’s groove of the week time! Here’s groove of the week #4:

Here’s one of those grooves that occurs in more songs than you’d think. Having the bass drum on the “ah” of 2 followed by a bass drum on the “&” of three is extremely common. Check out “How To Save A Life ” by The Fray, “Only Wanna Be With You” by Hootie & The Blowfish, or “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” by The Script to hear examples of this bass drum pattern.

As with Groove Of The Week #3, the challenge for beginners is to get the bass drum landing accurately on the 16th notes in between the hi-hats. As always, work with a metronome, go slow (50-60bpm), count, & focus on keeping your hi-hat steady. Here’s the groove with the counting added to help you out!

Groove 4 with counting added
Don’t Forget To Count!

The open hi-hat on the “&” of four may also need attention. Open hi-hats can sound sloppy very easily, focus on not opening the hi-hat until the & of four and closing it perfectly in sync with the bass drum on beat 1.

For more advanced players, try changing the hi-hat pattern to 2-handed 16th notes, this will force you to work on your co-ordination between your left hand and right foot. Are the bass drums on the “ah” of 1 and 2 really landing perfectly in time with the hi-hat? Record it and find out… if you’re having problems, slow it down and really focus on the left hand & right foot accuracy. Be precise with you note placement.

Groove Of The Week 4 with 2 handed 16th notes on the hi-hat
Keep Counting, Be Precise!

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, you can arrange one on our contact us page.