open handed - low hi hat - 16th beats

If you play mainly or exclusively open-handed a lower hat is where its at.

If you mainly play right handed but wanted to play this beat via left-hand lead, then a raised hat would help this groove. But I think it remains the case that learning to play an alternating handed 1/16th note groove with left-hand lead defeats the purpose of playing open-handed.

Playing this groove left-hand lead leaves you playing occasional offbeat notes on the snare with right hand (arms are uncrossed) but leaves you awkwardly crossing the left hand under the right for the backbeat, which usually needs to be louder and more centered on drum than offbeat 1/16th notes.

However, playing an alternating 16th note groove right-hand lead allows the hand that is moving to the snare to play the backbeat (the right hand), to NOT be in a crossed position, and in my opinion the offbeat left-hand notes are not hard to place since you don't have to place them as much in the center of the head.

However, depending on how you position your arms and where your hats are positioned in respect to your body and snare, you can certainly find a comfortable way to play this groove with either hand leading.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Being an open handed player since day one and for the last ten years, a lower hi hat is much more comfortable and ergonomic than the height that a right handed player would use. I set the hats only about 2in above the snare however i also set up the snare pretty high up, right around belt buckle height. Watch Simon Phillips, his snare drum and hihat are almost even in height. Another solution would be using a side snare, i just started experimenting with one and already it has opened up many creative possibilities.
I have always played open handed (left hand hats and ride, right hand snare) and I agree, it is much easier to have a low hihat, relative to the snare.

One of the benefits of playing open is that you can keep important components of the set closer together. Instead of the ride cymbal and hats on opposite sides of the set, you can put them within inches of each other. Instead of the hats and snare being far apart to accommodate arm crossing, you can have the hats and snare close together. Intuitively, this seems like a much more sensible way of playing, yet it is seen as a very unusual way of playing.
 
Curious as to if any of you open handers plays traditional grip.

I find playing both hands on the hats at any height is more comfortable for me with trad grip even though I am a matched player.
 

Crazy+Hands

Senior Member
Being an open handed player since day one and for the last ten years, a lower hi hat is much more comfortable and ergonomic than the height that a right handed player would use. I set the hats only about 2in above the snare however i also set up the snare pretty high up, right around belt buckle height. Watch Simon Phillips, his snare drum and hihat are almost even in height. Another solution would be using a side snare, i just started experimenting with one and already it has opened up many creative possibilities.
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
Now I've started moving to 16 beat rhythms, especially the ones with both hands on the hats and you have snare notes with both hands.
As you can see, the groove at hand isn't your run of the mill 16th note beat, but a beat that features both hi-hat and snare strokes with both hands; downbeat 8ths with the right hand and upbeat 16ths with the left hand. No matter which hand you use to lead, you still need to cross under one way or the other. The only solution is to raise the hi-hat.

It's called a hi-hat for a good reason...
 
Raising the hats will definitely help with this groove.

But I think this question hints at the heart of this problem:

are the left hand snare notes played at the same time as the right hand on the hats or in a single stroke LRLRLRLRLR etc pattern?
If you are doing the latter where you are playing a single stroke roll on the hats starting with the Left hand and then trying to bring the L Hand over to the snare for back beat on 2 & 4, then this may not be an ideal groove for open-handed playing.

We learn open-hand playing partially to become more ambidextrous but most often to avoid the "unnatural" position of crossing our arms. For me, playing this latter type of 16th-note groove in regular right hand-lead playing, and therefore starting with the R hand, is a groove where I don't feel any need to play it open-handed because the R hand is already playing the snare, and the arms are already "open".
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
I think that is the case. The high hat does not to be really low even if you are playing open handed. The other question is where is your seat? If you have a problem with raising the high hat, then you may be sitting too low.

The other solution is a remote hat on the right side, which is really nice sounding.
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
If you're playing open-handed, a lower hi-hat is much better and smoother.
Apparently not:

Now I've started moving to 16 beat rhythms, especially the ones with both hands on the hats and you have snare notes with both hands. I'm having trouble with the movement of the left hand under the right to hit the snare. Even I myself am uncomfortable with it.
I don't understand why particularly open handed players tend to set their hats lower than what is practical. Why not place the ride cymbal on the level of the floor tom, then? I don't find playing a hi-hat with the left hand one bit uncomfortable even if I just let it be set up as it always is. It has been noted that having some air between the snare and the hi-hats facilitates both hands' movements between these two parts of the kit. Of course, one needs to understand not to cross one's arms when doing motions that require both hands to move between the hi-hat and the snare drum: when the left is "crossing" under, the right stick should be aimed towards the two-to-three-o-clock of the hats.
 

onedevilsst

Senior Member
Hey all

I've encountered a problem with a student of mine. He's learning to play open handed with the hats on the left hand and has gotten accustomed to a rather low hi hat. It's about 2 inches or less above the top of the snare.

Now I've started moving to 16 beat rhythms, especially the ones with both hands on the hats and you have snare notes with both hands. I'm having trouble with the movement of the left hand under the right to hit the snare. Even I myself am uncomfortable with it.

So for someone who plays a low hi hat, should this left hand stroke on the snare during a 16 beat be something that causes problems like that? is there a particular method that you can recommend to help make the movement slightly more comfortable? or should I try a slightly higher hi hat to give more space for the hands?
could be a stupid question, but are the left hand snare notes played at the same time as the right hand on the hats or in a single stroke LRLRLRLRLR etc pattern? If at the same time, you could work in a movement that brings the fight high enough to let the left do what it needs to in order to play.

As regards the Low hi hat position, from watching Buddy Rich play I'm constantly amazed at the lack of height from his hats to the snare and how he managed to do all that work with his left, but then if you look at his posture, his left shoulder slumped, he must have had a reet bad back!
 

sciomako

Silver Member
How about move the hi-hat away from the body, to just next to the tom? (i.e. the HH would've occupied the space of the hi tom if you had 3 toms on the rack.) So you open up your chest space for your left hand stick to hit the snare.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
I'm with wavelength on this one. He's usually right anyway. :)

The other thing you can do is bring th high hat in more towards the top of the snare, as in having it at at ten to the hour. I tried that for a while, but then I just raised my hats a bit.
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
Raise the hi-hat. There's no reason why one should keep the hi-hat so low that it obstructs movements between different parts of the kit.
 

Daphfz

Senior Member
Im just gonna throw this out there, but why not try using traditional grip with your right hand and german/american with your left? Its just an idea lol, im not proclaiming that it'll work, but it might :).
 

k3ng

Silver Member
Hey all

I've encountered a problem with a student of mine. He's learning to play open handed with the hats on the left hand and has gotten accustomed to a rather low hi hat. It's about 2 inches or less above the top of the snare.

Now I've started moving to 16 beat rhythms, especially the ones with both hands on the hats and you have snare notes with both hands. I'm having trouble with the movement of the left hand under the right to hit the snare. Even I myself am uncomfortable with it.

So for someone who plays a low hi hat, should this left hand stroke on the snare during a 16 beat be something that causes problems like that? is there a particular method that you can recommend to help make the movement slightly more comfortable? or should I try a slightly higher hi hat to give more space for the hands?
 
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