Sugar Soul Wednesdays @ Hawaiian Brian’s

In January, The Project (@jaykeyzproject) started to host a weekly Neosoul/Funk/HipHop flavored jam session at Hawaiian Brian’s, in Honolulu.

We usually open the night at 10 PM with a short set, and then invite people up to jam and improvise.

It’s a great opportunity to hang, vibe, network, and play with some of Hawaii’s top musicians!

There’s no cover at the door, so please show some love to the excellent bar staff at The Studio. Hope to see you there!

– Beck

Get a Grip

Other drummers have asked me about my (default) grip. Just flip a stick and catch it. That’s it: The brilliance of simplicity.

Note: I use a middle finger fulcrum as my “home position,” the index finger comes in to close the hand, add control and pressure, only when necessary (fast doubles, press rolls, etc.).

This allows me to utilize the rebound I get from the drums and cymbals, and to play with the least amount of effort.

#KeepItSimpleStupid

 

16th Note Hi-Hat Variations Loop

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

Drumming Videos

 

Here are two simple, yet cool triplet combos: ||:Left Right Kick:|| (Gadd is a master at this!) and then something I’ve heard Bonham do a lot: ||:Left Right Kick | Right Left Kick:||


In this songo improv I play open handed, aka left hand lead (I’m not crossing my sticks), which allows me to get around the kit more easily.


Here’s an Elvin Jones inspired afro-cuban pattern. It has a 6/4 kind of feel, and the hi-hat splashes and tom accents make it challenging to keep balance. I’ll try to follow up with a transcription, soon.


I recently came up with this cool beat:

8th note heel/toe hi-hat splashes over a polyrhythmic double stroke bass drum pattern. 1&A cymbal pattern + snare drum on 2&4.


 

16th Note Hi-Hat Variations in a drum beat

Here’s something I like to practice:

I’m improvising grooves while working my way through different 16th note variations on the hi-hat. I’ve found this to be a great way to come up with new ideas, strengthen my coordination, and improve my timing on the drums. Too often we drummers forget about the endless possibilities seemingly simple rhythms can offer, especially when applied in a creative, groove oriented way. Have fun! – bex out!

Time Feel Exercise

This is great exercise to deepen your pulse and improve timing on the drums. I start playing a beat at the downbeat, then move it to the “e” of the beat, then the “+” and the “a.” I’m basically moving through the 16th note grid, using each 16th note as a new starting point.

 

Online Lessons

Aspiring drummers!

Depending on your level and interest, topics include hand and foot technique, grooves, timekeeping, phrasing ideas, sight reading, odd time signatures, fills, soloing and studio techniques, etc. Lessons are conducted in English or German.

Things you need:

  • A Skype account.
  • A PayPal account.
  • A laptop with camera and mic (can be built in) + a high-speed internet connection (fiber optic, cable, DSL).
  • A practice pad and/or full drum set ( I need to have a clear view of your hands.)

If you don’t live in Hawaii and want to study with me – this is a great option.

Use the contact from on the lessons page to find out more, or to book a lesson.