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  #1  
Old 08-29-2013, 09:39 AM
Sheepdisease Sheepdisease is offline
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Default Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Hello there,

I am desperate to learn how to do what I think would be described as hi-hat steps (open & close) using 8th notes (or if this does not describe what I mean, opening and closing the hi-hat on every beat like Chadd Smith in Californication and Dom Howard from Muse in a few songs).

I cannot get my left foot to play independently from the bass drum in this instance. When I try, I either start copying what I am doing on the bass drum or copying what I am doing on the hi-hat onto the bass drum.

I am able to do most other combinations, like alternating between hi-hat and bass drum every other note but this has been beyond me for a while and I haven't been able to find any material or advise on this particular subject.

I would be extremely grateful if you could share your experience and advice.

Thank you so much in advance,

Shaun.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:16 AM
sciomako sciomako is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

It took me years to be comfortable to play constant HH quarter notes with the foot.

It just takes practice, and practice really slow. e.g. 40 bpm

Add one limb at a time.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:28 AM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

From my experience it's actually easier to learn doing this on every 8th note and then gradually slowing down the motion to quarter notes. You might have an easier time learning this as the motion will become more familiar. Doing the open/close just in time at slower speed/on quarter notes isn't easy. Don't forget to learn/practice the triplet/in-between version.
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:08 PM
iwearnohats iwearnohats is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Keep practising.

Go back to your basic books and start from rock beat #1, work your way up. Try and concentrate on keep it in sync with your lead hand as you don't want any flamming to occur. If you focus on that synchronicity with the lead hand, it should help a lot.
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Here's a method I came up with to get past these roadblocks that has worked out very well for me. Play whatever pattern you are having trouble with....without your hi hat foot. What you need to do is first vocalize your hi hat part. Try saying the word "chick" every time you want your hi hat to close. Or if that is too hard, just grunt. If you can't vocalize the part, you won't be able to play the part. When you are able to vocalize the part, it's much easier to try to make your left foot follow your vocal.

If you have trouble vocalizing the part, what I do, is to downshift into just thinking the word "chick". When you can think it in time, then try saying it in time. When you can say it in time, then try playing it in time. I use this method to clear mental hurdles, because it is all mental.
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  #6  
Old 08-29-2013, 05:36 PM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

it has a learning curve so just think about it & work quarters w/ basic grooves & then do those same grooves w/ eighths (pac-man).

goofin on ideas helps too. just solo w/ HH (stomp), bass drum, snare & ride. think of the HH as a snare & just drop it in like BD bombs or snare cracks. got me to mentally think about the HH stomp as a staccato voice.

when you get passable w/ eighths, play along to "what is hip" by tower of power. its at 105 bpm about. garibaldi plays stepped eighths the whole time even when he is playing RH on the HH as well. master this & you will DESTROY rock grooves w/ eighths.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:00 PM
Sheepdisease Sheepdisease is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Thank you all for your help. It's not that I have a problem playing hi-hat at any point during a groove, I am quite happy doing this confidently. It is just when I try to open and close constantly throughout a groove.

It seemed that some replies were more focussed on adding one or two hi hat lifts in a groove rather than constantly.

There must be a way that you all started. I do understand that it requires practice, but as I said previously I need to know the foundations behind this technique.

Thank you once again and look forward to your responses.
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  #8  
Old 08-29-2013, 08:30 PM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Practice. And then practice some more.

To start, play the money beat: 8th notes on the ride, kick on 1 and 3, and snare on 2 and 4.

Use a metronome, and go reeeeeeealy slowly as you add the hi hat part with your left foot. Youíll probably have to start so slow that it wonít seem musical at all to you, but thatís okay. The point here is not to make music, itís to get your brain doing 4 things at once.

Once you can do that, speed it up a tiny bit at a time. Like over many days/weeks/months.

Eventually--with regular practice--youíll get there. There really are no shortcuts, and remember that every single drummer youíve ever seen started out not being able to play at all.

Go for it!
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  #9  
Old 08-29-2013, 08:59 PM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Have you tried practicing your feet by themselves without the hands? Like iwearnohats said start basic. Just play 1 and 3 with your kick while stepping quarters on the hi hat. Then move to 1 +3... then 1 3+.. etc. Practice both heel up and heel down on your hi hat foot.

Once your comfortable with just the feet. Add in the right hand. Get comfortable with that, then add the back beat.

You don't need to start at an unreasonably slow tempo like 40 bpm imo. Start somewhere comfortable, but manageable (like 80-100) just so you can break those coordination barriers. Once you've freed your feet (and your brain), then perfect it by cutting the tempo down.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:14 PM
EricT43 EricT43 is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

One of my relative strengths is my ability to keep time with my high hat pedal. I worked hard at it for a while quite some time ago, and now I don't even really think about it.

This is all about de-coupling your right and left feet.

How I started was with straight 8th notes on the pedal, like someone else suggested above. I started by just doing that during fills. When I got used to doing that, I would start doing it when I play my ride cymbal. A cool beat to start with is quarter notes on the bell of the ride, kick 1 and 3, snare 2 and 4. It sounds good when you have the quarter notes emphasized by the ride, with the 8th's ticking away on the high hat.

Once you get those two things down, start varying your bass drum pattern, but stick with 8th note patterns.. Again, 8ths on the high hat. This way your L and R feet will always hit at the same time, which as you know is the natural tendency, but you are adding extra hits with your left foot in between.

Once you are comfortable with THAT, then go down to quarter notes on the high-hat. You might want to start by just doing it with feet only. You just have to get used to hitting your left foot independently of your right. It's just like when you started learning to play the kit, and you had to do something different with your right and left hands. This is the same thing, only now it's sort of like your left foot is your "riding" hand.
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  #11  
Old 08-29-2013, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheepdisease View Post
Thank you all for your help. It's not that I have a problem playing hi-hat at any point during a groove, I am quite happy doing this confidently. It is just when I try to open and close constantly throughout a groove.

It seemed that some replies were more focussed on adding one or two hi hat lifts in a groove rather than constantly.

There must be a way that you all started. I do understand that it requires practice, but as I said previously I need to know the foundations behind this technique.

Thank you once again and look forward to your responses.
I'd recommend starting with a standard 4/4 beat................kick on one and three and snare on two and four.................while playing eighth notes with your left foot.

Once you get that down solid, you can then make it more difficult.
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:21 AM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

One thing that I learned to do early on is to rock my foot from heel to toe in order to open/close the hats when keeping time (2&4 with the snare or quarters, or even upbeats in a funky closed/open beat). Once you get the hang of that, then you can learn later to just to the "toe" part if you want to play heel up.

Try this:

Assuming you are using the standard "right handed" setup with your left foot on the hi-hat and right foot on the bass drum pedal, sit somewhere away from your drums at first. Start with your left (hi-hat) heel on the ground and then rock your foot so that the toe is on the ground and your heel is up. At all times either you heel or your toe touches the ground.

Count yourself off (slowly!) out loud and play quarter notes with your toe, and the upbeats with your heel. After a while, add in a 1 and 3 "bass drum" with your right foot. After a while, add in a 2 and 4 by tapping your left leg with your left hand, and then add in the "time" by tapping eighth notes on your right leg.

Once you get a basic pattern down, keeping a little "extra time" on the hats is easy. You can do the same thing on 2 and 4 by rocking your foot to the heel on 1 and 3 and the toe on 2 and 4.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:25 PM
Sheepdisease Sheepdisease is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

I would like to thank you all for your advice. I think the response below most closely matches the answer to my question, so thank you! Now I must go away and nail this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BradGunnerSGT View Post
One thing that I learned to do early on is to rock my foot from heel to toe in order to open/close the hats when keeping time (2&4 with the snare or quarters, or even upbeats in a funky closed/open beat). Once you get the hang of that, then you can learn later to just to the "toe" part if you want to play heel up.

Try this:

Assuming you are using the standard "right handed" setup with your left foot on the hi-hat and right foot on the bass drum pedal, sit somewhere away from your drums at first. Start with your left (hi-hat) heel on the ground and then rock your foot so that the toe is on the ground and your heel is up. At all times either you heel or your toe touches the ground.

Count yourself off (slowly!) out loud and play quarter notes with your toe, and the upbeats with your heel. After a while, add in a 1 and 3 "bass drum" with your right foot. After a while, add in a 2 and 4 by tapping your left leg with your left hand, and then add in the "time" by tapping eighth notes on your right leg.

Once you get a basic pattern down, keeping a little "extra time" on the hats is easy. You can do the same thing on 2 and 4 by rocking your foot to the heel on 1 and 3 and the toe on 2 and 4.
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2013, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

When you listen to music at home/school/work, do you tap your foot to the rhythm?

If you do, then great, that's the foundation.

If you don't, start doing it.

Or if you do it with your right foot, start doing it with your left foot.

That's hours and hours of practice on the daily, without actually practicing.
Sticking with it for some time, it becomes second nature
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  #15  
Old 08-31-2013, 12:40 AM
Brian Brian is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

I say this a lot, but Gary Chaffees Technique Patterns and the concepts there helped me a lot with orchestration as well as left foot. The basic hand/foot permutations against playing hi-hat on the downbeat /upbeat/triplets etc, helped eliminate the immediate physical barriers.
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Old 08-31-2013, 01:05 AM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
I say this a lot, but Gary Chaffees Technique Patterns and the concepts there helped me a lot with orchestration as well as left foot. The basic hand/foot permutations against playing hi-hat on the downbeat /upbeat/triplets etc, helped eliminate the immediate physical barriers.
one of the best responses I have seen here

I see too many young players.... especially rock players.... leaving the left foot to be reserved simply as a time keeper

which is an absolute shame because the hi hat is one of the most, if not THE most expressive instruments in the kit and should be worked on and used as such

develop your left foot to have its own voice and you will stand out among those who designate it solely as a time keeper ......and they are in abundance
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Old 08-31-2013, 01:24 AM
Brian Brian is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

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Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post
I see too many young players.... especially rock players.... leaving the left foot to be reserved simply as a time keeper

which is an absolute shame because the hi hat is one of the most, if not THE most expressive instruments in the kit and should be worked on and used as such

develop your left foot to have its own voice and you will stand out among those who designate it solely as a time keeper ......and they are in abundance
Yeah, you are right. The flip-side is that rock music doesn't require much expression or voicing with the hi-hats. At least the majority of rock or pop music, away from fusion/progressive/avant garde etc.
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Old 08-31-2013, 01:43 AM
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  #18  
Old 08-31-2013, 03:21 AM
iwearnohats iwearnohats is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Danny Carey doesn't really count as it's not like his band is comparable with AC/DC.
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Old 08-31-2013, 03:25 AM
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:16 AM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

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Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post
completely subjective

when played tastefully in any genre of music it can enhance a mood, relay an emotion, or just color an otherwise colorless line beautifully

lots of the more seasoned rock guys use this transparently quite a bit

Matt Cameron displays this beautifully on some old Soundgarden records
Danny Carey is another
Josh Freese is another
Bonzo even colors parts nicely with some left foot texture

the list goes on and on
adding flavor to a basic 4/4 rock beat is not a requirement, but a possibility. I totally agree that coloring the groove is ultimately one of the main things to master, JMO, but it's not necessary to get a simple rock gig.
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Old 08-31-2013, 12:31 PM
Sheepdisease Sheepdisease is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

This is turning out to be an interesting thread. I do think that using the hi-hat and treating it as though it has 'its own voice' makes a groove sound much more interesting.

I have been practicing this morning and think that I have made some serious progress with left foot independence. I followed the instructions of starting with regular foot up and foot down on the hi-hat, then introduced the bass drum on 1 and 3.

Once I could play that consistently, I moved on to playing hi-hat in the same fashion without the bass drum and introducing snare on 2 and 4.

Then once I managed that consistently, I moved on to playing it all together.

After that, I managed to introduce a double bass drum on 2 and. I was surprised when I realised that I wasn't trying to close the hi-hat at the same time as the second bass drum beat.

I think I am able to really get cracking from here.

Keep sharing your views on the topic of hi-hat and how best to use it dynamically.
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Old 08-31-2013, 04:46 PM
Sheepdisease Sheepdisease is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Ah, now I see my problem. I need to do 16th hi-hat open/closes. Hmmm...
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:28 PM
iwearnohats iwearnohats is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Hmmm.

I'm not sure I understand your last post, but perhaps you are overthinking it?

Since you're still just developing the coordination and technique, just focus on the 'tap tap tap tap...' of your foot, or 'down down down down ...'. Don't worry about the up motion. This is why I suggested playing in synchronicity with your right-hand, to get used to the coordination.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheepdisease View Post
Hello there,

I am desperate to learn how to do what I think would be described as hi-hat steps (open & close) using 8th notes (or if this does not describe what I mean, opening and closing the hi-hat on every beat like Chadd Smith in Californication and Dom Howard from Muse in a few songs).

I cannot get my left foot to play independently from the bass drum in this instance. When I try, I either start copying what I am doing on the bass drum or copying what I am doing on the hi-hat onto the bass drum.

I am able to do most other combinations, like alternating between hi-hat and bass drum every other note but this has been beyond me for a while and I haven't been able to find any material or advise on this particular subject.

I would be extremely grateful if you could share your experience and advice.

Thank you so much in advance,

Shaun.
I used to be like this. It was as simple as slowing WAY down and counting. I mean slow as in....there were huge gaps sometimes between each note. Granted I wasn't always sober practicing it...but I would sit there at my desk and practice on my lap for like 8 hours a day sometimes... I practiced lots of independence exercises. I used to play Rh Lf Rf Lf and throw a diddle around it. so RR lh rf lf, rh LL rf lf, rh lh RR lf...etc etc
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:49 PM
Sheepdisease Sheepdisease is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

This is the speed I am trying to build up to on the hi-hat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdFUja2c4lY
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:29 PM
iwearnohats iwearnohats is offline
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Just keep practising.

It's not going to happen overnight, you have to work on it. It'll happen when it happens :)

It could be a week - it could be 6 months. You've been given plenty of good advice, so go and apply it :).

Also, don't forget the obvious - practise JUST tapping your left foot on the hihat while doing nothing else. Focus on the technique, try to avoid letting the pedal 'top out' (where the spring forces it to full extension and creates an audible clicking noise).

Just go and practise it and you'll get it :)
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:31 PM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Quote:
Originally Posted by iwearnohats View Post
try to avoid letting the pedal 'top out' (where the spring forces it to full extension and creates an audible clicking noise).
this is one of the main keys right here for achieving a good sound

good advice
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:49 PM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Here's a method I came up with to get past these roadblocks that has worked out very well for me. Play whatever pattern you are having trouble with....without your hi hat foot. What you need to do is first vocalize your hi hat part. Try saying the word "chick" every time you want your hi hat to close. Or if that is too hard, just grunt. If you can't vocalize the part, you won't be able to play the part. When you are able to vocalize the part, it's much easier to try to make your left foot follow your vocal.

If you have trouble vocalizing the part, what I do, is to downshift into just thinking the word "chick". When you can think it in time, then try saying it in time. When you can say it in time, then try playing it in time. I use this method to clear mental hurdles, because it is all mental.
I'm liking this a lot. Nice tip Larry.

Davo
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Yes.. vocalizing works.. check out the Gary Chester book 1 'New Breed' .. it will improve co-ordination, time, sight reading etc. You sing the 'melody' lines (like the kick, hat, snare , tom parts etc.
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:04 AM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

This is a great thing to work toward. The left foot is so overlooked, mainly only viewed as a way to play double bass. The left foot is the drumset of the drumset - it does for the drumset what the drumset does for the entire band: Timekeeping and anchoring. But you can do so much more with it.

Pump your heel up and down while you play with the hats closed or keep it moving up and down while you play ride, getting a neat ssssip out of it to accent something or mimic the melody.

I was fortunate in that my first teachers taught me to always keep the left foot going on the hats. either with whole, half, quarter or eighth notes. I can now play clave beats on the left foot (hooked up to a pedal-activated wood block) and play the hats in three while everything else is in for, or keep the hats going with quarter notes while playing in 7, 9, 11 or other unusual meters.

The advice here is good. I would suggest integrating it from the beginning. Go back and get it going in whole, half, eighth and quarter notes in a simple rock rhythm, the move to the next most-simple thing you have, then the next, and so on. With a short time, you should be integrating it into whatever you are doing now. The integration will go more slowly the closer you get to your current level.
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

I try to practice my hihat and bass drum ostinato (salsa, samba) while I warm up and/or do my rudiments on top.
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Old 09-22-2013, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheepdisease View Post
Ah, now I see my problem. I need to do 16th hi-hat open/closes. Hmmm...
Ahm, I don't think that's it. You're talking about doing what Chad Smith is doing right here, right? What he's doing is playing 8th notes on the hihat with his left foot-- or he may just be moving his leg in an 8th note rhythm. The opening is implied-- you don't have to think about it or make it part of the rhythm. You can do it by just tapping your heel on the floor or on the footboard. After you can make steady 8th notes that way, you can start moving your leg a little more to move the cymbals and get the sound you want. Then get out whatever rock book you own-- Funky Primer, whatever-- and practice the beats, with your RH on the cymbal and your LF doing the 8th notes. For me this technique only works at certain tempos-- maybe ~80-126. It requires a continuous motion that falls apart at slower tempos, and it uses your whole leg, which is generally not a fine enough instrument to go a lot faster. Find the tempo where your leg is naturally most comfortable doing that movement, and then expand your range of tempos from there.
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  #32  
Old 09-23-2013, 12:57 AM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post
one of the best responses I have seen here

...the hi hat is one of the most, if not THE most expressive instruments in the kit and should be worked on and used as such

develop your left foot to have its own voice and you will stand out among those who designate it solely as a time keeper ......and they are in abundance
Sheepdisease - It's cool that you're looking to develop you're hihat foot. 2 things you can try are foot strengthening exercises, and coordination exercises.

Strengthening - Go through the book Stick Control with your feet. Start slowly and play heels down - this will strengthen and stretch those muscles around your ankles.

Coordination - Check out the Fatback exercises in Gary Chaffee's Time Functioning Patterns. Start as he suggests playing on the hihat, but eventually move to the ride and add different patterns with your hihat foot to the grooves. Start with 1/4 notes, then upbeats, 1/8ths, etc.

Also check out Billy Ward's DVDs - Big Time and Voices in My Head - he has some nice sections on playing the hihat...
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Hi-Hat Stepping (Lift & Close on every beat)

Lot's of good tips here already; Here's a quick list of some things that worked for me;
- the hat foot used as a 'chick' pulse or meter is usually an afterthought for most drummers and the last thing to 'come online' once they've mastered the basic co-ordination with the hands and kick foot. If you can learn to incorporate it early in the game, it will help in the long run.
- even when the hat is firmly closed, try to tap the heel as a time keeper - keep it natural like a slight bounce; you want to avoid the hats from slightly opening as it can sound sloshy in some cases.
- practice riding the cymbal with a basic back beat and play the 'chick' sound with the foot on 1/4s or 8ths and the off beat (on the 'and')
- take up double kick (even if you don't need it for your band tunes.. but practice with it and use your feet like your hands - this will greatly improve your foot co-ordination... plus it's fun!
- try working in the foot splash into your rythmns.. eg. play a shuffle pattern with ride and snare and try to control your hats well enough to throw in splashes with your left foot. For extra bonus points - splash it and close it by rocking your foot to create the 'cheop' sound like you'd get if you hit it with a stick. Similar to the double kick exercise - it just adds more independence to your weaker left foot.
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