Hihat flavours/accents - ignored in rock?

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I'm referring mainly to pub/bar/club rock bands. Maybe it's just in my area, but I see many such bands, & one thing seems to be common amongst so many drummers, & that's pretty much static hihat usage. Tight & slosh seem to be the only choices on display. Perhaps the occasional bish, or even a hihat crash, but outside of that, not much.

For me, hihats offer just about the best groove augmentation in rock playing. My thinking is, rock benefits from simple open grooves. This means maintaining a very grounded bass drum & snare backbeat relationship. The moment you start to busy that up, the drive can be lost. Not on all rock stuff, but most of it certainly. Hihats (along with ride flavour changes) offer the best opportunity to skew the groove, but without taking away from the drive that rock music feeds on. I use a wide array of flavours. Accents to add a "skip", or to accentuate bass drum patterns. Lifts to bring a bit of funk into the mix, or progressive openness to build tension. My playing is brutally simple, but those little details transform a show IMHO.

Is static hihat usage something any of you find to be commonplace in your local rock scene? It is where I'm based, but also when I travel out of the area too. In many cases, otherwise very solid/good players missing a trick.
 
T

The Old Hyde

Guest
I do the progressive open thing during songs for a build-up as well. I actually play more hats loose than ride just for a little extra volume. my ride seems quieter to me during some choruses so ill keep it on a more open hat so the sound isn't lost. I also bish now and then.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I agree with you but I have played my share of metal and rock and at that dynamic it's a different ball game for me (I'm still learning to get comfortable). Competing with the volume and playing with intensity I think it's about finding the 'skeleton' and hitting those notes, and playing a bit less. Ghost notes and such probably aren't heard. Thats prob why i prefer funk and other things where I can use more patterns.

I've been playing along to sevendust this week and trying to imitate Morgan Rose, I realize its pretty hard to syncopate when you're trying to push hard.
 

porter

Platinum Member
I can't imagine playing in my rock band without hi-hat accents. They offer so many cool techniques and sounds! I've even used the stand itself before (for Come Out and Play by The Offspring).

However, I think the reason I use them so much is that growing up I listened to a lot of music where drummers utilized them extensively- Coheed & Cambria's Josh Eppard and Mike Portnoy come to mind. Plus I got really into Hannes Grossman two years ago and that really affected my drumming output. I'd say, just keep playing fancy with 'em, and maybe some players will notice and start to incorporate it more into their playing :)
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Agreed, Andy. I've felt that the left foot's role on the hi-hat has been trampled on (ha!) by the preoccupation with double bass drum work. When I was coming up as a young drummer, I was fascinated with the sounds you can get out of the hi-hat with the aid of the left foot. As you say, you can add a lot of spice to a part without messing up the fundamental groove.

Definitely seems to be a neglected aspect of modern drumset playing to me.
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
I struggle to play the robotic even hihats you talk about Andy. There is always a bit of to and fro in my playing. When I play 16ths there is usually an accent pattern that follows the bass line. It;'s not something i necessarily plan, it just happens. Even when playing single handed i tend to acent every 2nd 8th note- I can play evenly if i have to, but there is no swing to that. I use hihat barks, opening and closing and all of that other stuff too.

It stops me getting bored!
 

Dignan

Silver Member
I always try to change up the hihat a bit. Even when just doing straight rock beats. I listen to a lot of Carter Beauford stuff (Dave Matthews). Carter is the master at this. Even on songs where its pretty straight 2 and 4 snare and 1 and 3 bass, carter still adds some extra accents, rests and flavor to his hihat.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I have played rock all my drumming life and the hats are my "Thing". I love getting everything I can out of my hats. Some practice sessions I do little else but noodle around with different hi-hat sounds and patterns. I know what you mean though, most rock drummers dont get a lot out of them, perhaps the think anything subtle will get lost in a pub/club gig?
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
My hi hat usage and influences ,seem to stem from influences like big band to late 60's the early 70's ,where hi hat "barks" were very cool to play.Guys like Carmine Appice,Bonzo,Cozy Powell influenced my playing of the hats,and still do.

But I digress.I agree that most of what we hear today,for the most part are an open slosh,or closed,with the occasional accent on closed hats.

The hi hat ,was a much more used and versitile part of the kit,and should remain so,not just in solo work,but used in a song,like Appice used them in "Superstition".

Others may disargee,but that's how I see it.

Steve B
 

EarthRocker

Senior Member
The hi-hats are seriously neglected these days. I think it's mostly self-taught drummers that do it, and I'm sure it's because self-taught drummers aren't taught the importance of hi-hats, and put them on the back burner. The thing that really irritates me is Metal drummers who clamp their hats closed and turn the pedal away so they can have more room for their double pedal. The hi-hat should really be the most valued part of your drum set, or at least one of them. To ignore it is an abomination.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
I have always thought it was a shame that the hi hat has become nothing more than a time keeper with eighth notes whacking away on it ....or just bashing out a "bark" along with a bass drum kick

it is in my opinion the most expressive voice on the instrument and is completely overlooked and overshadowed by bombastic back beats and bomb dropping kicks.

the left foot is all but ignored if it is not parked on the slave of a double pedal for the most part

off the top of my head I can only think of a few rock players who express it nicely .....Matt Cameron, Danny Carey , Darren Jessee and Jason McGerr

subtle nuances are too often ignored by most rock players .....which makes many sound one dimensional to me .

I watch bands on just about a nightly basis whos drummers ignore dynamics, ignore touch, ignore restraint, ......and ignore their left foot

but hey!....they can twirl sticks , drop an after beat from over their head , and point at the crowd with their sticks right before a huge cymbal crash on the one
 

shemp

Silver Member
As a newer drummer this is why I stick to a single bass drum and single bass pedal and only 1 mounted tom...

My thought was to include the basic elements of a drum set so that I can spend time exploring each of them without too many things to hit. Hihat is "hi" on my list for experimentation and use and development.

One of the songs I started with is One of These Nights by the Eagles because I love the hihat pattern in that song...also Too Rolling Stoned to get that kind of vibe as in the intro
 

Dignan

Silver Member
As a newer drummer this is why I stick to a single bass drum and single bass pedal and only 1 mounted tom...
Agreed. I've been drumming off and on for about 18 years and still haven't gone to double bass. Maybe never will but if I do, I'm going to make sure I'm VERY good at all the basics first. I'm not against double bass, I just don't like the idea of not having my left foot on the hat pedal at all times. I feel like I lose control of too much.

Anyone have experience with this book? "The Hi-Hat Foot" http://www.musiciansfriend.com/books-sheet-music-media/alfred-the-hi-hat-foot-book-mp3-cd

I'm planning on picking it up soon.
 

shemp

Silver Member
Agreed. I've been drumming off and on for about 18 years and still haven't gone to double bass. Maybe never will but if I do, I'm going to make sure I'm VERY good at all the basics first. I'm not against double bass, I just don't like the idea of not having my left foot on the hat pedal at all times. I feel like I lose control of too much.

Anyone have experience with this book? "The Hi-Hat Foot" http://www.musiciansfriend.com/books-sheet-music-media/alfred-the-hi-hat-foot-book-mp3-cd

I'm planning on picking it up soon.
I'm with you on this. I suspect it will take many years for me to feel like I have a reasonable way to address the most basic 1 up, 1 down single kick setup. It seems a distant and not very interesting goal to work on double bass when I have the hats there.

From a beginners/intermediate/advanced drumset standpoint and from my standpoint I think double bass should be eliminated from the equation for *years*....but I understand the desire to play it.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
In my fairly non-metropolitan area of the world, most of the working drummers are barely at what I'd call an intermediate level, and nuance is unheard of. I don't mean to sound snobbish, but it is true. The bar for someone to be able to work in clubs is very low, IMO.

There are a few players here who are quite good, though, and they do incorporate a more interesting left foot and hi-hat voice. There are gems in every area, I believe.
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
I've been trying to switch everything up as much as I can in my band. We're a normally straightforward rock thing with punkish and proggish in there at times, but for the most part it doesn't really "need" anything special from the hihat.

But I've listened to far too much Rush to keep my hihat on eighth notes the whole song. I threw in a Jack Irons-inspired syncopated-accent thing in one of our songs and I think it's one of the best drum parts I've ever written. The hihat follows the lead guitar and the kick follows the bass/rhythm guitar.

I also have a tendency to keep my left foot going whenever I'm not playing the hihat with my hands. Usually it's just foot chicks, but every now and then I'll throw in a couple splashes for shiggles.

We played a show two weeks ago and I'm pretty sure I was the only drummer out of four bands that used any cross-stick whatsoever.

More than any single part of the kit, though, I'd like to stress whole-kit dynamics. It doesn't matter what you're playing, if it's too loud, it sounds bad.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I don't know about just rock but I do feel that the majority of working drummers I see, guys in the same boat as me... don't use the hi hat expressiveness nearly as much as I'd like. Sometimes a tom fill disrupts the groove too much but that same figure played on the HH works beautifully and doesn't overpower things. The HH never seems to sound out of place, whereas the toms can definitely sound out of place and ruin the mojo. That's why I would never play double bass unless I grew another leg. To me leaving the hi hat unattended is the same as using both oars on the same side of the boat. Or something like that. It's the yin to the bass drum's yang.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I play metal, but make damn sure that if I'm not running my feet my left foot is on the hi-hat pedal. Not just to keep it shut, either. But I do agree, most people seem to neglect it. I happen to think that the "pssst" a quickly open hat makes is one of the coolest sounds on the set. I absolutely love using it in fills and as a substitute for splashes.
 
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