How to make hi-hats swing sideways?


Senior Member
Hi everyone,

I've seen some videos of Steve Smith, Jojo Mayer, etc. playing music where they kept pretty quick time on the left foot and the hats moved in an interesting way -- they kind of "swung" back and forth, left and right, with each note, instead of just staying put. Does anyone know how to adjust hi-hat stands / clutches to achieve this effect? If you need pics and/or video for clarification tell me and I'll add some.


Pioneer Member

Loosen your top hat clutch so that the cymbal can move the most that it can along the post in the clutch. Set the cymbals just far enough apart that they don't touch at all in the rest position.

Get them moving by striking by stick and bouncing your left foot. When you have hit them enough by hand to have them dive down, use your left foot to bounce them up and then repeat. They will start sloshing back and forth without the stick hit once you get them moving and keep them moving with your foot.

Steve Smith is the master of this technique. It can certainly sound great in certain applications.