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Groove Of The Week #73

This week’s groove is an exercise in snare drum control… can you control your snare drum?

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This week, we’re playing a funky two bar pattern. The challenge with this groove is getting control of the snare drum. Some of our snare drum notes are loud and proud, others are ghosted. Can you get the dynamics correct and maintain them for 20 bars or so?

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the basic groove.

Get yer groove on

Our basic groove is a fairly simple two bar pattern. Hopefully you’ll have no problem playing this. If you do have problems, slow down (40 – 60bpm) and count out loud as you’re playing it.

Now let’s add in the first of our additional snare drum notes. This will be on the “a” of 2 during both bars.

Loud & proud

The new snare drum note is to be played loud; at the same volume as beats two and four. This one snare drum note gives a new feel to the groove, it make it feel more aggressive. Now let’s add in the ghost notes.

The ghost notes appear on the “a” of 4 on both bars and on the “e” and “&” of 1 of the second bar.

Soft & subtle

Your challenge now is to play all of the ghost notes nice and soft while playing the other 3 snare drum notes loud. Good luck! Don’t let the changing volume of your snare drum affect the volume of your bass drum – the bass should always be loud.

Take It Further

Getting control over your snare drum is essential if you want to be a good drummer. A good exercise is to pick a groove – like groove #73 – and try different combinations of ghosted and non-ghosted snare drum notes. Try these variations:

Change it up

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #73. 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 #72

Rim Click vs Bass Drum – The ultimate battle!

Watch Groove Of The Week #72 on instagram

This week’s groove is a two bar pattern featuring a conversation between the bass drum and rim click – at least that’s how I like to think of it. We’re using 16th notes on the hi-hat (played by just one hand) to give a nice smooth back drop to the battle raging between the bass drum and rim click.

Get The Groove

Let’s begin by looking at the first bar of this conversation.

In the video, I play the whole groove at 75bpm. You may wish to start at a slower speed. The pattern is not a common pattern, it may take some time to get used to it. I tend to sing the rim click and bass drum pattern to myself while playing it.

Playing this one bar on it’s own, it feels like an incomplete phrase to me. Which is why I added bar #2.

The first three beats of the second bar are the same as the first bar, just beat 4 is different. Now we’re playing bass drums instead of rim clicks on beat 4 and we’re augmenting them with hi-hat barks.

Now let’s play the two bars together to complete the groove.

Do you hear the conversation between the rim click and bass drum? Do you hear how the second bar completes the idea of the first bar. No? Guess I must be crazy then!

Take It Further

In this groove we kind of substituted the bass drum for the rim click on beat 4 and beyond to create the two bar pattern & give the second bar an alternative ending. What would happen if we progressively switched bass drums and rim clicks throughout the rest of the bar?

Switch em

Our first variation sees us switch the bass drums on the “e” and “&” of beat 3 in the second bar to rim clicks.

Our second variation takes the groove from the first variation and now switches the voices during the second beat of the second bar as well.

Our final variation takes the groove from the second variation and now switches the voices during the first beat of the second bar to complete the idea. So now you’re playing the same rhythm, two completely different ways but it sounds like one long groove.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #72. 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 #71

The feet do the walking, the hands do the talking.

Due to changes at instagram and facebook, I can’t share the video here right now… so… while I’m working on a solution to that, please click this link to enjoy the video on instagram:

Groove Of The Week #71

This week’s groove is a fun tom tom groove. I’ve taken a fairly simple bass and snare drum pattern, added a quarter note hi-hat with the left foot and then added toms to give the groove some colour.

If you enjoy tom grooves, check out groove of the week #69 for a linear tom groove.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the bass and snare pattern we’re going to be augmenting.

Bass & Snare

We have one 16th note bass drum to worry about on the “ah” of 1. Everything else is on the beat or on an “&”. Play this pattern with your metronome and get confident playing it without the normal help from your right hand keeping time on a cymbal. You might want to count… Now let’s add the left foot.

Bass & Snare & Hats

The left foot is going to be our time keeper for this groove. It’s just pumping out quarter notes to keep everyone in line. Again, go slow and practice this with a metronome… are you still counting out loud?

Our final step is to add in the toms.

Bass & Snare & Hats & Toms

On beat 1 we’re playing a linear idea between the kick drum and the floor tom- KLRK. This almost sounds like a double bass drum being played. I play the left hand first in this combination to give it more time to get back for the snare drum on beat 2. On the “&” of 2 and 3 the right hand is playing the 2nd tom together with the bass drum and for the first bar I’m adding tom 1 on the “&” of 4.

Take It Further

It’s time to try this out for yourself. Here’s some bass and snare drum beats with the hi-hat played by the left foot. Your job is to add in the toms to give them some colour. Think linear. Think layered. Think melodically. Good luck!

Colour between the lines

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #71. 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 #70

It’s a 12/8 kinda week…

This week’s groove is in the 12/8 time signature. That means we’re gonna have to count to 12… yikes! I don’t have that many fingers! Normally, when playing in 12/8 we still imply a 4/4 pulse. It’s like we’re playing 8th note triplets in 4/4. We use the 12/8 time signature instead of 4/4 because it makes it easier to write and count these patterns – in 4/4 you’d have to write a whole bunch of 3s over the top of the triplets and trying to count rhythms combining 8th and 16th note triplets isn’t easy. With 12/8, as you’ll see, counting is a lot easier and it’ s faster to write.

Get The Groove

Let’s look at the basic 12/8 groove we’re going to modify to create this groove.

The basic 12/8 groove

Note the counting on the groove. When I count “7” I actually say “sev” and when I count “11” I actually say “lev”. This helps to avoid playing on extra syllables in those words and also shortens them for faster counting.

We’re going to modify this basic groove by adding in some 16th note bass drums, snare drums and hi-hats. We’ll start with the bass drum. The great thing about playing in 12/8 is that 16th notes simply get counted as “and” (&). This makes counting them really easy. Here’s the basic groove with the 16th note bass drums added.

16th note bass drums coming in hot

Play this groove slowly at first. Work with a metronome. To play this groove, I used a metronome counting in 4/4 set to 76bpm. I play three 8th notes per beat, so beats 1, 4, 7 and 10 all line up with the beat on the metronome. You might want to start at 60bpm.

Now lets finish the groove off with some ghost notes and extra hi-hats all played by the left hand.

Left hand getting busy

The left hand is adding ghost notes on the “&” of 5 and 6 and then addition hi-hat notes on the “&” of 11 and 12. Hopefully you’ll find those easy to add in.

Now lets take a look at the groove if it was written in 4/4 using triplets.

It’s so ugly… get it away from me… no no no no no!

Does that look as user friendly to you? I added the standard 8th note triplet count underneath, but how you’d count the notes in between “puh” and “let” I don’t know!

Take It Further

If playing in 12/8 is new to you then you might want to spend some time adding fills to the groove. Drum fill of the week #70 will be a 12/8 drum fill but, here’s some to get you started.

Fills fills fills

Our first drum fill just plays simple 8ths notes in unison on the snare and floor tom starting on beat 10. A classic drum fill that always sounds good. Try extending it back to start on beat 7.

The second drum fill starts on beat 10 again but this time we move 16th notes around the kit.

The third drum fill starts on beat seven and kind of combines the previous two drum fills but modifies both. We play the second drum fill but starting on beat 7 and on the “&” of 9 we play a bass drum instead of a floor tom. This sets us up to play the first drum fill starting on beat 10 but I’ve modified it by putting the bass drum on the & between the unison notes. Give it a go – slowly.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #70. 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 #69

Let’s have some linear fun with tom toms.

This week we’re going linear with a 16th note tom tom groove. The last time we did this was on groove of the week #35, check that one out too.

Get The Groove

When I’m thinking up linear grooves, I often start with the snare and bass drum pattern that I want to work with; then I work on filling in the gaps. Let’s take that approach to this groove. Here’s the basic bass and snare drum pattern for this groove.

Just the bass and snare

Hopefully you can play that bass and snare pattern already. By default I always count all the 8th notes and then add in any 16th notes that I play. I find it helps me to be more accurate with my timing at slower tempos.

Now we’ll start to fill in the spaces. On beat 1, we’ll just add in the floor tom with the right hand on the “e” and “ah” of the beat.

Filling in the space on beat one

For beat two, we’re going to add the floor tom on “&” and “ah” using a Right-Left sticking.

Filling in the space on beat two

For beat 3, we’re going to let the left hand wander up to the mid tom to add some more colour to the groove; the right hand stays on the floor tom. We’ll use a Left-Right sticking for this.

Filing in the space on beat 3

Finally, for beat 4, we’ll copy the rhythm of beat 2, but the left hand will wander up to the high-tom on the “ah” of 4.

Completing the groove.

Taking It Further

Now you’ve learnt the groove, try re-orchestrating it around the kit. You can also try adding bass drums or pedalled hi-hat in the 2 remaining spaces (“e” of 2 and 4). Once you’ve played around with that, try filling in the spaces on these bass and snare patterns.

Three for you to try

Get comfortable with each of these bass and snare patterns first, and then start filling in the spaces. I suggest going one beat at a time like we did earlier. You don’t have to always hit the snare drum with your left hand, if it makes the groove you’re trying to play easier, then use your right hand.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #69. 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 #68

Shuffle along and get linear with this week’s groove.

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Shuffle your shuffle until it turns linear…

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This week we’re playing what I call a layered to linear groove. The first bar is a regular layered groove and the second bar is a linear version of it. The goal is to keep the main voices (normally the bass drum and snare drum) the same and then fill in the gaps between them with hi-hats and ghost notes. Check out groove of the week #53 to hear the idea in action with another groove.

Get The Groove

Let’s start of with the easy part, the layered groove. We’re playing a fairly regular shuffle groove.

the basic shuffle groove
Shuffle away

Hopefully you can play that already. If not, check out groove of the week 8 for help developing your shuffle.

So now we’re going make this groove linear. If a groove is linear it means that nothing hits together. To start, let’s strip our layered groove back down to the main elements – the snare and bass drum.

The naked groove - no hats.
The naked groove

Now all we have to do is replace the rests with other voices. I kept this groove simple and just played the hi-hat in all the spaces. Here’s the full linear version of the groove with the sticking pattern outlined for you.

The linear groove
The linear groove

Now we just need to put it together with the layered groove to create the two bar pattern.

The full two bar pattern
The full two bar pattern

Practice this until you can transition smoothly from the first bar to the second. Focus on keeping the bass drum and snare drum pattern sounding exactly the same from bar to bar – be careful with your note placement.

At higher speeds, you may struggle with the transition from the linear groove back to the layered groove because of the 3 hi-hat notes in a row that are required. If you’re struggling, change the last hi-hat note on the right hand to a ghost note on the left hand.

Alternative full groove
Alternative groove

Take It Further

Here’s some more linear to layered shuffles for you to get your teeth into. After playing these shuffles, create some of your own.

3 layered/linear shuffles
Shuffle all day

The first two variations are similar to our original shuffle groove and we’re just using the hi-hats to fill spaces as we did previously.

The third variation has a lot more space in it so I use ghost notes in the left hand to help fill the space as it would be too much work for just the right hand on the hi-hat.

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 #67

Here’s groove of the week #67:

This week we’re augmenting a 16th note bass drum groove with ghost notes, the bell of the ride cymbal and an open hi-hat… too much? Let’s find out!

Get The Groove

Let’s check out the basic 16th note bass drum groove we’ll be building on:

The basic groove
Starting Basic

Hopefully, you can already play this groove, if not, go slowly at first and count out loud; note that we’re playing on the ride cymbal already, and not the hi-hat.

Our first addition to this groove will be the bell of the ride cymbal. We’ll play the downbeats (1,2,3,4) on the bell of the ride cymbal and the upbeats ( the “&”s) on the body of the ride cymbal. Try to get a consistent motion here. If you’re not used to doing this, you may want to practice just the ride cymbal on it’s own at first & then maybe try it with some simpler beats. You want to get it on autopilot.

Add the ride cymbal bell
Adding The Bell

Our next step is to add in the ghost notes. Here’s what that will look like:

Adding the Ghost Notes
Adding The Ghosts

The secret of drumming, as always, is: Go slow & count. If you’re having trouble with this groove, slow it down and count it out.

The final piece of the puzzle is the open hi-hat on the “&” of 2. Yes! You can add open hi-hats to grooves even when you’re playing the ride cymbal. I use my left hand to play the open hi-hat on the “&” of 2 & I close the hi-hat on beat 3 with my left foot. Here’s the full groove:

The Full Groove
The Full Groove

Check out groove of the week #59 for another groove where the left hand plays the hi-hat while the right is otherwise occupied.

Take It Further

Let’s explore the idea of using the left hand to add open hi-hats to groove further. Here’s some grooves to start with.

open hi-hat exercises.
Open Hi-Hat Surprise

For the first variation we’re adding open hi-hats on the “&” of 3 and the “&” of 4 while playing a simple 8th note rock beat. The hi-hat is closed with the left foot on beat 4 and beat 1.

The second variation sees us adding open hi-hats on the “&” of 1 and the “&” of 3. The hi-hat closes on beats 2 & 4 with the snare drum.

Try adding the bell of the ride cymbal on the downbeats to both of these grooves too.

The final groove has us playing the open hi-hat on all the off-beats. The right hand has moved from the ride cymbal to the floor tom to provide a low end groove & the bass drum has got a little syncopated. Good luck!

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #67. 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 #66

Let’s get linear-ish….

This week’s groove features a funky 16th note bass drum pattern and a spicy 16th and 32nd note hi-hat pattern. Meanwhile the snare just plays it cool on beats 2 & 4. If you like this groove, check out groove of the week #37 for a similar idea.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the groove that gives us the basis for this one.

The basic groove
The Basic Groove

So our basic groove is a funky 16th note bass drum groove with your standard 8th note hi-hat pattern and snare on beats 2 & 4. Play this groove first and get a good feel for it before you start changing it.

Our first step is to make beat 1 linear. We do this be simply moving the hi-hat on beat 1 to the “e” of one. I play the “e” of 1 with my left hand and the “&” of one with my right. This gives my left hand enough time to come down to play the snare on beat 2. You can play both hi-hat notes with the right hand, but the left hand coming up to play the hi-hat looks cooler.

Getting linear on beat 1
Beat 1 Going Linear

Beat 2 is going to stay the same throughout these changes, so our next change will be to beat 3. We’ll take this transformation in 2 steps. The first step is to play sixteenth notes on the hi-hat on beat 3. I play these hand to hand – RLRL – with the right hand coming down to strike the snare drum on beat 4 and then hitting the hi-hat on the “&” of 4.

adding in 16th notes
Beat 3 Getting Some 16ths

Once you are comfortable with this variation of the groove, then you can add the 32nd notes into beat 3. We’re going to double the right hand on beat 3 and the “&” of 3.

Add in 32nd notes
32nd Notes In Da House!

The final modification is to beat 4; we’re going to change the “&” of 4 to 16th notes, and play them RL. Here’s the full groove with the sticking pattern to help you out.

The full groove
The Full Groove

Taking It Further

Here’s some further grooves using similar ideas.

3 variations on the groove
Variety Is the Spice Of Life

In these 3 variations we’re adding 32nd notes and linear ideas to fairly simple Bass and Snare drum beats. You can start as we did earlier, by playing the bass drum and snare drum pattern with a regular 8th note hi-hat and then changing one thing or one beat at a time until you can play the full groove.

Once you can play these ideas, create some of your own.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #66. 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 #65

Let’s add some colour to our grooves this week.

This week’s groove is a funky 2 bar pattern that’s been spiced up with the floor tom and the rim of the snare drum. We recently looked at adding the rim of the snare drum to our grooves on groove of the week #62; you might want to check that one out too.

Get The Groove

This week’s groove is a two bar pattern. Let’s start by looking at the basic groove for the first bar.

The first bar
Basically Funky

This groove features a funky 16th note bass drum pattern. Hopefully you can play this groove already. If not, play it very slowly with a metronome (40-50bpm) and count along as you play.

The only change we’re going to make on the first bar is to add a floor tom on beat 1. The Right hand comes across from the hi-hat to the floor tom, combines with the bass drum and makes the first note of the bar sound BIG.

The first bar with floor tom added
Going BIG on beat 1

Now we’ll look at the second bar. Here’s the basic groove:

The second bar
Funky basics

The only difference between the first basic groove and this one is that we’re missing a bass drum on beat 3.

Now let’s add in the floor tom on beat 1 again to get that BIG beat 1.

The second bar with floor tom added
Bash that tom

Our final change to the second bar is to spice up beat 3 by playing the rim of the snare drum on beat 3 and the “e” of 3.

the second bar with snare rims addded
Bar 2 complete.

Now all that remains is to put both bars together to create the full 2 bar pattern.

the full groove
The 2 bar groove.

Taking It Further

On groove of the week #62 we explored adding the snare drum rim into our grooves. So now lets explore adding the occasional floor tom into our grooves. Here’s three grooves to try:

floor tom groove variations.
Floor Tom Fun

The first variation sees the right hand moving from the hi-hat to the floor tom on beat 3. It’s sandwiched between two bass drums with open hi-hats. This adds a nice colour change at the low end on beat 3. Be sure to close the hi-hat on beat 3 with the floor tom.

The second variation takes a very common groove and has us play the left hand 16th notes on the floor tom instead of the snare drum. Note that we’re playing the ride cymbal here to make it easier for the left hand to access the floor tom.

The final variation is a linear groove. Your right hand should play the floor tom part and the left and plays the hi-hat and snare drum parts.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Groove Of The Week #65. 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 #64

It’s groove of the week time!

This week’s groove sounds relatively simple, but the coordination required to pull it off may trip you up. We have a busy, accented, 16th note hi-hat pattern, rim shots & ghost notes and, 16th note bass drums to work with.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the basic groove that was built upon to create this week’s groove.

The basic groove
Just the basics.

Note that we’re playing rim shots on beats 2 & 4 already. Hopefully you can already play this groove. Our first change will be to add in a ghost note on the snare. The ghost note will be on the “ah” of 2. Try to get a big contrast between the rim shots (loud) and the ghost note (soft).

adding in a ghost note.
Ghost me.

The star of this groove is the hi-hat pattern, let’s add a basic version of the hi-hat pattern to this beat.

changing the hi-hat
How’s my hat look?

The hi-hat pattern has now changed to playing the first three 16th notes of each beat: 1 e & 2 e & 3 e & 4 e &. This makes the groove sound a lot busier. Play this groove very slowly at first (40-50bpm) and count all of the 16th notes.

Once you can play that then we can add the finishing touches. The first one just adds a bit more movement to the groove: accents on the off beats.

add accents to the hi-hat
Going offbeat.

This is a fairly subtle change. I’m accenting the hi-hat on the “&”s of each beat but it’s not super loud. I achieve this by playing the first two hi-hat notes on top of the hi-hat with the tip of the stick and I play the “&” with the shoulder of the stick on the edge of the hi-hat. The sound is actually generated from the arm movement. If you watch the video closely you’ll see my right arn is moving back and forth. This is a technique most drummers use to add accents to their hi-hats and to make them sound more like a shaker.

The final finishing touch is an open hi-hat on the “&” of 4. I keep the arm movement mentioned above happening so that I get a full sound from the open hi-hat by accenting it as I open it.

The full groove
Your groove is complete.

Taking It Further

You’ve just spend time working on an awesome sounding hi-hat pattern, why not practice it with some more grooves?

Variations on a groove.
Groove is inevitable

The first variation just allows you to get more comfortable with the hi-hat pattern.

The second variation changes up the bass drum pattern.

The third variation adds the “ah” of two back in on the snare drum, but this time it’s not ghosted and has a syncopated bass drum on the “&” of 3.

The final groove challenges your bass drum/ hi-hat co-ordination. Take this one slow.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #64. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.