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Red Line Drummerworld

Gavin Harrison:

by Rich Lackowski

(Track 3 from the Book CD)

Original Part:
(not included with the book's CD)

This excerpt is a perfect demonstration of how Harrison can drive a complex odd-time rhythm with a fluent, relaxed feel. In fact, most listeners contentedly nod along to this groove without even noticing that it alternates between 9/8 and 4/4 time signatures. A steady accent played on every other hi-hat hit is a key aspect that helps this beat flow very smoothly and glues these alternating time signatures together nicely.

Let's dissect the groove into smaller, more digestivle pieces, starting with this beat in 4/4. Start slowly and move onto the next lesson only after you can ply this smoothly:

Now play the same beat, but this time, add a snare hit to the "ah" of beat 1.

Next, add kick drum his on the "e" of beats 1 and 2, and the "a" of beat 3.

Now play the exact same phrase, but this time, add one more hit at the very end of the phrase so the hi-hat is hit a total of nine times. Notice that the time signature has changed in this exercise from 4/4 to 9/8 to accommodate this extra hi-hat hit.

Let's move onto the next part of the groove, which returns back to 4/4 time.

Now let's put the 9/8 groove and the 4/4 groove together and practice repeating these two bars until you can play them smoothly and comfortably.

Now, play the previous exercise while accenting every other hi-hat hit, starting with the first. Since there's a bar of 9/8 here and we're left with an uneven number of hi-hat hits as we get to the third bar, the accents on the hi-hat will flip and be opposite of what they were on the first two bars. this is part of what makes this groove feel so good and smooth, but it's tough to play, so be patient and stick with it.

Finally, in the fourth measure, open the hi-hat on beat 1 and again on the "&" of beat 4. These open hi-hat parts, the first played fully open and the second played partially open, should each ring out for the duration of an eight note.

"Halo" Full Song
(not included with the book's CD)