Leaving Space Grooves

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In the age of flashy YouTube and Instagram drumming stars it’s easy to forget that it’s surprisingly hard to play slow beats with lots of space between the notes.

It makes sense to me: The more notes you pack into a beat, the easier it is to get away with sloppy placement or bad timing. Especially to the untrained ear.

Here’s a simple, yet challenging exercise I like to practice:

I play through all rate variations on the hi-hat while maintaining a simple beat between bass drum and snare drum. Note, there is no “One” on the bass drum, which really forces you to feel the rhythm internally, rather than relying on coming down hard on the downbeat with your right foot.

In the video I play each beat twice, before moving on to the next one.

Background music: So Cold (featD’Angelo on Rhodes)  by Don-E & Azure

You can download the sheet music HERE.

Quarantine Beats

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What do you do if you’re a drummer and in quarantine? Practice, of course!

I no longer have the luxury of an acoustic kit at home, but I don’t let that stop me from creating, practicing and experimenting.

I’m using a Roland TD-17KVX and trigger Addictive Drums 2 through my MacBook Pro.

Having said that, nothing beats a REAL drum kit and I look forward to striking plastic and metal objects in rhythmic intervals, with carved wooden dowels.

Hopefully sooner than later.

Aloha!

– Beck

Beat-Shift

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This one’s for my friend, Dauven, because he asked me about the beat-shifting thing.

Here’s an example with a click and a handclap on 2 & 4. Note: the high note of the click is on count “2.”

  • I shift the starting point of the groove, from 1 to 1E, to 1&, to 1 A – moving it one sixteenth note at a time.
  • It’s tricky because your mind tells you you’re off, and wants to establish a new reference point, a new “One”  …..  I love this sh*t

STYLES

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There are lots of materials out there on different styles and drum grooves. The sheer amount of method books and sheet music can be overwhelming.

I put together a PDF to provide a basic overview of grooves that are used in different styles.

You can download it HERE for free.

Whether you are a drum teacher or are learning by yourself , I hope you find it useful.

16th Note Hi-Hat Variations Loop

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Here’s a cool exercise one of my teachers shared with me, a long time ago:

  • You play 14 different 16th note variations on the hi-hat, one per measure, while keeping a continually repeated pattern (ostinato) on the bass drum and snare.
  • The bass drum syncopation includes a note on the “a” and “&” of the beat one and two, which makes it more challenging, coordination wise.
  • If you struggle with the independence between bass drum and hi-hat, try to play the variations over a four on the floor beat (quarter notes on the bass drum) first, and work your way up from there.
  • Focus on clarity, consistency, and groove. Make sure all the notes land in the right place.
  • Practice to an 8th or 16th note metronome, to identify where there’s a tendency to push or drag.
  • Practice each measure individually before putting them all together in a loop.

For a lot of people this is a hard exercise — it definitely is for me.

Its benefits are many: improved timing, coordination, and being able to stay in the pocket while transitioning between different variations, are just a few that come to mind spontaneously.

Remember: Slow, steady, and relaxed wins the race!

 

16th Note HH Var Loop.jpg