Allright, let’s wrap up this recycle session. For those of you who haven’t been following this little series, we’re taking a basic exercise from one of the first books I ever worked out of, Combination Study 5 from Understanding Rhythms by Michael Lauren. So far, we’ve worked on our stick control by playing the exercise as softly and quickly as we can and we’ve gone to the other spectrum by playing the exercise on double bass drums while playing a simple groove over the top with our hands. Now, we’re gonna travel to the R&B world and get a little work done on our hi-hats.
So, here’s the two ways we can work this out. In either case we want to go at a silky smooth tempo around 75-80 bpm, and we’ll just play a simple groove of kick on 1 and 3 and snare (or cross-stick if you’re really feeling the R&B vibe) on 2 and 4.
- Our first way to work this exercise is to use two hands on the hi-hat. This brings a little more complication into the groove, ’cause you have to remember to bring your right hand down to the snare. But, I’ve always felt that two hands on the hi-hat put a little more “air” or space in the groove. If you want, you can even try swinging the 16th notes to get that sweet click-a-click-a-click sound. Also, don’t be scared to use a cross-stick on the snare with this version. It can be a little tricky, but it can be done (check out this video from Carter Beauford for evidence).
- The second option is to play the exercise with just one hand on the hi-hat. You’ll probably need to slow the tempo down just a bit for this one. Playing with just one hand gives a straighter feel to the groove and makes it easier play around with different accents in the pattern. Be sure, when you do this method, that you do it once with your right hand on the hi-hat and then with your left hand. Open playing (using the left hand on the hi-hat) can really change the way you view the drums and present some new possibilities to you that you hadn’t thought of before.
Well, there you go. Three lessons on three vastly different drumming ideas all based around one tired old exercise. Have fun folks!
You ever find yourself wanting something to practice, but you’ve already worked through all your book and don’t want to go buy another? Here’s some ideas to recycle your old exercises into new ideas for the drumset.
For this series, we’re gonna use Combination Study 5 out of Understanding Rhythm by Michael Lauren. This is the kind of exercise that’s really easy to recycle ’cause its relatively simple and bland. But let’s explore how we can add some hot sauce to spice up these leftovers.
If you don’t have this book, you can always download our example here. Or just go into your beginner books and find similar examples from your earliest snare drum or band books.
First off, let’s use our example to work on speed and finger control. This is a really simple concept. We’re just gonna play the exercise really fast and really soft. To start, try playing the exercise at 140 bpm and a ppp dynamic level (1 inch of the drum). If it seems a bit daunting, try just playing one line at a time. Once you’ve mastered this tempo, bump it up and keep going. Our final target for this one is 200 bpm or higher.
By the end of the week, your stick control will really be refined and you’ll have a better idea of how to relax when playing fast.
I’ve been working on this deal since last August, so please believe me when I say that I am majorly stoked to announce that I just signed a deal to be an Educational Endorser with Sabian Cymbals! The reason I chose Sabian is almost the exact opposite of why I chose Vic Firth for my drumsticks. I’ve always played Sabian. Since 1998, I’ve a very few other cymbals. I’ve even tried to get away from Sabian before. I looked at all the other cymbals companies out there and I never found one that had everything I wanted. Some had great hats and rides, others had great crashes, and still others made killer effects cymbals. But I’ve never found another cymbal company where I could build an entire set-up and love every cymbal I put on the kit.
But that’s exactly how I feel about Sabian: I love every stinkin’ one of my Sabian cymbals. I love the dark, raw energy from the HHX. The cuts-like-a-knife quality of the AAX. The old-school sound of the AA. And the classic, mellow vibe from the HH. And then there’s the Signature and Vault cymbals that get really crazy cool! I just love everything I’ve ever played with a Sabian logo on it. Heck even the entry-level stuff like the B8 or B8Pro have a great quality to them! It’s just awesome.
If you’ve got questions, I’d be glad to answer ‘em. I’m just pretty humbled right now that two major percussion companies think this kid from Wichita is worthy of a business partnership!
Not only is Gregg Bissonnette a monster on the drums, he’s also one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. He started his career as a jazz musician, but has also played rock and pop gigs too (including a stint with David Lee Roth).
Drumline Check Patterns
In drumline, we use check patterns to assure that we are 100% accurate and precise with our note placement. We also make sure that we use standard sticking patterns like right hand lead.
Drum Set check Patterns
On drum set, we can do the same. First, try playing the drumline exercise on your snare, and then try moving to different drums on each beat. Once you’ve mastered that, try adding bass drum to all of the rests, like in example A & B in the drum set exercises. You can also work on your four-way coordination by adding left foot hi-hats on the quarters. Then try playing the same exercise on the hi-hats while you keep a basic groove on kick and snare. Give it a try!
The long-time drummer for Dave Matthews Band is a flat-out beast on the drums. From blazing fast tom rolls, to sick ghost note grooves, and amazing coordination, Carter has it all!
Next up on our journey of taking standard drumline exercises and applying them to drum set, let’s take a look a Tap / Accent, the exercise used to develop solid two-height playing. On the field, the difference between a good drumline and a great drumline is the difference between solid two-height playing and well . . . not so solid. The same thing applies to the drum set. Check out guys like Steve Gadd or Carter Beauford for examples of just how much taps and accents make a groove sooooo much better.
Here’s the drumline version. Remember when you practice this to keep your taps low. It’s easier to communicate the difference between a tap and an accent when the tap is nice and low.
Now look at what happens when we apply these ideas to the drum set. Exercise one keeps the taps on the snare and the accents move around the toms. The second exercise uses a repeating pattern around the drums with changing accents. That’s harder! Finally exercises #3 and #4 put the accents on the hihat over top of a simple groove in the kick and snare. Play #3 with one hand on the hihat and #4 with two hands.
Jim Riley is a drummer who’s getting recognized more and more lately – not only because he’s the drummer and bandleader for Rascal Flatts, but also for his dedication to education. Checkout these clips to get a sample of Jim’s work.
Oh . . . and did I mention that he’s going to be at Midwest drum and Percussion THIS SATURDAY for a clinic! Don’t miss it! Click the picture <– to learn more!