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.

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.

Groove Of The Week #50

We’ve reached week #50! Let’s celebrate with some cowbell!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B90ldlEgfm8/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

This week’s groove is a linear groove. The last time we played a linear groove was groove of the week #35. Linear grooves are when we don’t play two surfaces together at the same time. They can present timing and accuracy problems because you’re not playing a consistent ostinato anywhere that all your other limbs can relate to for timing information. Let’s check out this week’s groove.

Get The Groove

I often find the place to start with linear grooves is to build it up one chunk at a time and let your muscle memory remember the pattern bit by bit. Let’s start with the first four notes:

The first 4 notes
The First Four Notes

Our first four notes are Kick, Left, Right, Kick played on the first four 16th notes. Our left hand is on the hi-hat and right hand is on the cowbell. If you don’t have a cowbell experiment with different surfaces; ride bell, floor tom & stack cymbal all work well.

Play these first four notes slowly with a metronome at 50bpm. Are you playing 4 evenly spaced notes? Try using a metronome that’s counting 16th notes. Can you get right on top of the beat so that you can’t hear the metronome? Once you can play these four notes easily, then try adding the next 3 notes.

The Next Three Notes

Our next three notes are Left, Right, Kick and are played on “2 e &”. The left hand will move from the hi-hat to play the snare drum on beat 2. The right hand will play the cowbell throughout the groove. Keep repeating these 7 notes against a metronome until you can play them easily with out much thought.

Our next chunk is six notes in length, let’s check it out:

The next 6 notes
The Next Six Notes

The next six notes are Left, Right, Kick, Left, Right, Left starting from the “ah” of 2 and finishing on beat 4. The first two lefts are played on the hi-hat, the third left is on the snare drum. You may want to play this chunk separately at first to get used to it. You may even want to split it into two smaller 3 note chunks; find what works for you. Keep working with the metronome and listen for how accurate your note placement is.

The final chunk is just three notes. Here’s the whole groove:

The last three notes
The Whole Groove

The final three notes are Kick, Right, Left starting from the “e” of 4. The left hand is back on the hi-hat for this chunk. Now you’ve got the whole groove, repeat it until it’s easy and slowly speed it up.

Take It Further

Let’s look at adding fills to this groove. There are a couple of places that feel natural to add fills. Here’s some ideas:

It’s Fill Time

Our first fill is just four sixteenth notes starting from beat 4. We’re playing these 4 notes left hand lead because the right has to play the cowbell on the “ah” of 3. If you want to add a crash on beat one after the groove then try changing this fill to a left paradiddle (LRLL) so your right hand is free to crash and your left has time to get back to the hi-hat on the “e” of 1.

The second fill is a similar idea just starting from the “&” of 3 after the kick drum on the “e” of 3. We’re going left hand lead again on this one which is always fun because it opens the kit up in a different way. Again for crashing purposes you may want to try this one as a left double paradlddle (LRLRLL).

The final fill is more in keeping with the linear style of the fill and is just Left, Right, Kick, Left, Right, Kick starting from the “&” of 3. Orchestrate it however you like.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #50. 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 #49

This week we’re taking a favourite rock beat and adding a couple of finishing touches. Check it out!

I always find it amazing how just adding a four stroke ruff here and a couple of accents there can completely change the feel of a groove. Let’s learn the groove.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the simple groove that we are changing up. Hopefully you can already play this one:

The basic groove
The Basic Groove

Our first stop in changing this groove up is to add the 4 stroke ruff starting on beat one. This is an open 4 stroke ruff played as three 16th note triplets and an 8th note.

Adding the 16th note triplet
It’s Starting To Get Ruff

I accent the final note of the 4 stroke ruff and play the snare drum on beat 2 with the right hand.

Our final step is to add in one more 16th note and two more accents. We’ll be playing an accented hi-hat on the “ah” of 2 with the left hand and an accented hi-hat on beat 3 with the right hand. Here’s the full groove.

The full Groove
The Full Groove

Take It Further

If you like the embellishments that we’ve made here, then you can try adding them to some of your favourite grooves. Keep the hi-hat and snare drum pattern the same, just change up the bass drum. Here’s some ideas:

Variations on a theme
Change It Up

Try out these four variations and then try to come up with some of the your own.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove #49. 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 #48

The Stack Is Back!

I’m not sure where this groove came from. I was messing around with inverted paradiddle grooves and orchestrating them around the kit and some how it morphed into this groove which uses double paradiddles, paradiddles and an inverted paradiddle. It sounded good to me, so here it is!

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the sticking pattern we’re using for this groove.

basic sticking pattern
Back To Basics

Take this slowly at first. Use a metronome and count out loud. Once you’ve got it in your hands and can play it repeatedly without mistakes, then you can move on to the next step.

The next step is to orchestrate the pattern between the hi-hat, ride, and snare drum. We’ll leave the stack and bass drum out of it for now. The left hand is going to play the hi-hat and beats 2 & 4 on the snare. The right hand will be on the ride cymbal. Here it is.

basic sticking pattern orchestrated
Moving Around

Once you are comfortable with that, we can add in the bass drum. The bass drum pattern is fairly simple and plays together with all the Right hand Single Strokes except for beat 3 of the 2nd bar. Let’s put it in.

Adding the bass drum
Bringing The Bass

The final step is to add the stack, if you have one. If you don’t have a stack, use the bell of the ride cymbal instead. The stack is played together with every bass drum.

The Full Groove

Taking It Further

If you’ve been working on grooves based around paradiddles then hopefully this will inspire you to experiment with your orchestrations. You never know what groove you’ll stumble onto. Hopefully you’ll find something you like the sound of.

As always with new grooves, we need to be able to add in drum fills. Here’s three ideas for this one.

drum fills added to the groove.
Time For A Fill

Our first variation just plays the last two notes of the second bar on the snare drum

Our second variation is just a single stroke roll around the kit starting from the stack/bass drum on the “&” of 3.

The final fill uses the stack, bass, and snare drum with a RLLRLLRL sticking pattern.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this groove of the week. 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 #47

Here’s Groove Of The Week #47:

We’re keeping things simple this week. We’re taking a common groove and just adding some open hi-hats to it to make it sound funkier. Let’s get to learning!

Get The Groove

Let’s start of with the basic groove we’re changing up:

The Basic Groove
Your Basic Groove

This groove has been featured in many songs and is one of my favourites to play. However, we’re going to augment it with open hi-hats to create a new groove.

You most often hear open hi-hats on the off-beats, and most commonly on the “&” of four. However, they can be played on the beat also to great effect. Check out these songs to hear the open hi-hat being played on the beat:

  • Walk This Way – Aerosmith
  • Umbrella – Rihanna
  • The Man Who Can’t Be Moved – The Script
  • You Give Love A Bad Name – Bon Jovi
  • Squib Cakes – Tower Of Power.

Here’s our groove modified to include the open hi-hat:

The Full Groove
The Full Groove

If you’re not comfortable putting the hi-hat on the beat then this may feel strange to you at first. As always, when you’re playing open hi-hats, try to make them sound the same and last for the same duration. Focus on closing the hi-hat together with the right hand on the “&” of 3 and the “&” of 4.

Taking It Further

Once you get comfortable playing the open hi-hat on beats 3 and 4, try adding it to other beats. Here’s some examples:

Changing the groove.
Change It Up

Our first two variations are very common 8th note rock beats. The final variation features a 16th note bass drum on the “ah” of 3; this might cause some co-ordination issues. Take it slow until you can make it sound good.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Groove Of The Week #47. 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 #46

Let’s get off-beat with this week’s groove.

This week’s groove features an off-beat hi-hat pattern played over one of my favourite bass and snare patterns. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

The starting point for this groove is to play the bass and snare drum pattern with an 8th note hi-hat. Hopefully you can already play this:

Basic 8th note hi-hat groove
The Starting Point

The next step is to play this basic groove with an off-beat hi-hat pattern instead of the 8th note hi-hat pattern. Here’s what that looks like:

Adding In The Off Beat hi-hat
Going Off Beat

Play this groove slowly with a metronome and count out loud as you play it. You want this groove sounding strong before moving on. Listen closely to the spacing of your hi-hat notes; are you playing a consistent off-beat pattern?

The second bar of this week’s groove has just one extra note that differentiates it from the first bar. Here’s the second bar:

the second bar
Just One More Note

We’re playing an additional hi-hat note on the “e” of 1; I use my left hand to play it. You could play both notes as a double stroke with the right hand, but because I’m playing the offbeat hi-hat pattern quite firmly in order to drive the groove, I didn’t want to lose any volume when playing the two 16th notes. Playing the two 16th hi-hat notes as single strokes allows me to keep the solid feel of the groove.

Once you can play the first and second bars, add them together to create the full groove. Here is the full groove:

The full groove
The Full Groove

Take It Further

Adding just one additional hi-hat note to a groove can really change the feel of a groove and create interesting variations. Try out these variations for the second bar of the groove:

alternative versions
Move That Hat

Our first variation has the additional hi-hat moved to the “ah” of 2.

The second variation moves the additional hi-hat to the “e” of 3.

The final variation puts the additional hi-hat on the “ah” of 3. For this variation I suggest playing the hi-hat on the “ah” of 3 with the left hand and snare drum on beat 4 with the right hand.

Try adding one additional hi-hat note to your favourite grooves, you might find something you like.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #46. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, please send us a message on the contact us page.

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. Here’s a link to it: Fill Of The Week #45.

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.