Alternate hand 16ths on hihat


Senior Member
I'm what I would call a lower intermediate player in that I've only been playing a couple of years but can hold good time and not embarass myself in our covers band.

However my alternate hand 16ths on hi hat sound terrible, I wouldn't like to unleash them live! They sound heavy handed and cumbersome, basically lacking in any groove. One problem is difficulty playing anything other than a big hit on the snare drum when playing this way its hard to do it with any finesse.

So - does anyone know of any good excercises which are particulalry relevant to hand-to-hand 16th? Or excercises which address common problems like my total heavy handedness?

Sometimes experienced players know what a certain style of playing requires even though the person with problems can't articulate me!



Gold Member
Some quick thoughts:

- Without seeing your set-up, I can't say for sure, but how is your hihat/snare balance? Are your hats set up in such a way that you need to move your wrist position between snare and hats? Is the snare so far away from the hats that you have to cross the Grand Canyon to get to the snare and back?

One thing I always stress with students, especially in their first few years, is that you should set up as much of the kit as possible so that your wrists can keep one motion going to play all parts of the just move your arms to the desired spot, and you are playing correctly on that instrument.

- Try to play it slowly at first, and really concentrate on each hit. Get the placement exactly correct. Make it one fluid, even motion. Then build up speed slowly, trying to keep your focus on the stuff I just mentioned.

- Don't forget, even though it's single strokes, to let the stick bounce. I see a lot of players use great rebound on their drums, but when they get to their hats, they play through them. This will take away the fluid motion I just mentioned.

- Keep practicing. This stuff doesn't come easy. But if you can get even 16ths on your snare, you should be able to apply the same technique to the hats.


-Make sure you have your set set up properly.
-Start slow
-Relax, use fluid motions
-Use the bead on the top of the hats, don't use the shaft on the side
-Try putting some snare hits in with your left hand
-The keys is to make sure that your hands are on auto-pilot while your arms are moving, try doing 16ths around the set, doesn't matter where.