Using less hat

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I'm just thinking out loud really.

This is a new one for me - I just started playing covers and not too long ago I had a wrist injury (so that might factor in) but playing alot of these 4 on the floor type beats, money beats etc I almost feel like the hihat can be a waste of energy, and if they're being drowned out by the kick or snare, what's the point?

It's a flawed argument because it does sound and feel a bit different but I am running with it, just for a laugh. Maybe a stylistic thing, maybe to save my wrist, maybe because I don't care for some songs.

Actually I couldn't even do it before because I never had the limb independence to play without the hi-hat as a time keeper.

This feels like some kind of milestone. Am I out of line? Is this a sin in the drum bible?
 

dmacc

Platinum Member
My opinion which may be very "dated".
If you think in terms of a mix on a record/cd in much of Pop music, the hi hat is generally farther back in the mix. The time played on the hi hat helps to propel the overall time feel.

It's not generally there to be an in-your-face sort of thing.

Steve Gadd, Porcaro, and all the other major forces that recorded so many tunes were / are masters at this element of the set.

Just my view which isn't necessarily correct.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
Drumming is an art form, it is expression.

While we are bound by the rule of keeping solid time, and while there are aspects of drumming related to dynamics that should be obeyed to sound good, ultimately what you play is an expression of how you believe something should sound.

The moment you realise that the rule book about what you 'have to play' is blank and has been scribbled in with crayons by people who think they know everything, you can throw it out the window and play what you want.

Just make sure you're keeping good, solid time. Does the four on the floor fit without the hats? You be the judge.

Personally, when I'm stuck playing a four on the floor song, sometimes I won't even play it as four on the floor if I think I can get away with it, because to me that reeks of unoriginality and poor songwriting in a lot of cases. People might shout at me about this, but refer back to paragraph three for my response :p.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
Listen to early Peter Gabriel albums - he's a drummer but he had his drummers play without cymbals most of the time. There are lots of cool ways to play a groove. Leon Parker doesn't use a hihat - he sounds great.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I can do it, and have done it, but it's always been about making the choice. You can do whatever you like, just so long as the music you make doesn't suffer, right?

But as was stated, you don't need to play the cymbals as loud as some do because they naturally sit in the frequency range that nothing else is in, so however soft you play on them, they will be heard.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
no sins, in drumming or otherwise, but to me there is nothing like great hihat work - it can be subtle too.
to me i experience some opposite. the hihats can drown too. for example open sloshing for many minutes on end can be excessive and seem to drown other components. but if the song calls for it, then fine
 

adamosmianski

Senior Member
Certainly not a sin. It's been done many times before. Bear in mind though that even if you don't hear the hats, they can't be "felt", so it will definitely change the vibe, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It can be very cool.

Also, have you thought about just play larger note values? Maybe instead of 8th notes just play the hat on the quarter, or even half notes for a different vibe.
 

ncc

Silver Member
it also may depend on the hat types as to how they blend in. I know I never really gave that a lot of though until in replaced As with Ks.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
My bassist is all about the hi-hats. He stands on the side that my hats are on and has told me several times that as long as the hi-hats are in time he an do without the rest of the kit.

I also think there is an art to using the hi-hats. From wide open to fully closed a good drummer can alter the sound and feel of the song with just a flick of his left foot. Mastery of the hi-hat is something I have worked on for years.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My bassist is all about the hi-hats. He stands on the side that my hats are on and has told me several times that as long as the hi-hats are in time he an do without the rest of the kit.
I've heard more than a few times that bassists tend to listen to the hi hat to lock in. Me I thought it would be the kick drum, but the hi hat is easier to see being hit and probably easier to pick out hearing-wise for a bassist.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I like to include little inflections on the hat even when I'm not playing on it. It's amazing how much atmosphere and "feel" can be communicated with some interesting hat-close patterns or variations of dynamic splashes on the hats (with the foot).
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Dre, like you, I usually need the hats for stability and feel less confident when not mindlessly ticking on them (or the ride). It's a technical shortfall. I recently bought some sweet 14" Istanbul hats so it's not a flaw I'm planning to fix any time soon :)

I've heard more than a few times that bassists tend to listen to the hi hat to lock in. Me I thought it would be the kick drum, but the hi hat is easier to see being hit and probably easier to pick out hearing-wise for a bassist.
For the same reason it's easier to play 120bpm with the click at 120 than 30, young man.

Ringo often dropped out the hats and would let the guitars ride the 8th notes. It's a nice effect that adds variety.The more the drummer lays back, the more the melody is emphasised.
 

drum4fun27302

Gold Member
Most drummers have a problem having the hats bring too loud . They play it with their dominant hand (most often the right hand) . At the same time , the snare isn't loud enough in the mix , bring played with the weaker hand.

They to bring hihats down by playing them more quietly (exaggerate some) and hit the snare more with the other and feel/hear how the grove changes.
 

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
I've always loved quiet hats. My ideal sound is a nice huge kick, biting snare backbeat and a barely there hi-hat sound.

I've banged on about them in a number of threads, but my 12" zildjian re-mix hats are incredible for the way they sit way back in the mix.

Not sure i could do without them totally. but hey if you stop playing the hats you could play percussion parts with the right hand instead!
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I assume you play cross handed? If relieving your strong side wrist is the goal, then playing open hand occasionally is one option. I played open handed from day one, then learned to play cross handed years later. Now I use whatever feels most practical at any given time.
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I've always loved quiet hats. My ideal sound is a nice huge kick, biting snare backbeat and a barely there hi-hat sound.
I'm with you on this. Frank Beard, particularly on "LaGrange" is the person responsible for that. Except he was on the ride, but the concept definitely transfers to the hats. His dominant hand is played under everything else and to this day that sound continues to knock me out.
 
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