constant hats ?


Senior Member
I notice most drummers keep constant time with the left foot on the hats, when thay arnn't playing the hats with sticks. I never learned to do this. how important is it ? I always keep time with eithert my right hand, wheather it's playing hats or ride cymble, ot what ever, I don't have an issue with loosing time, but it seems like every time I watch a drummer, that left foot is constantly in motion " clapping tha hi hats. opinioins on this please ?


Platinum Member
well how much better do you think you'll be using 4 limbs instead of 3?
playing without keeping time on the hat sounds awful
the hi hat chick & ghost notes is what makes grooves


Silver Member
its important to have balance between your limbs

your left foot can be your anchor keeping time or can be used like a second snare drum accenting and playing grace notes

balance is the key

the left foot...(on a right handed player) the sleeper...the secret weapon

develop it

4 way independence truly makes you a complete player


Senior Member
Apart from being an anchoring tool for time, it is great for versatility.

If you can develop another 'voice' as such, you give yourself more options to express what you wish.

A good example can be seen by playing a simple 4/4 beat. Keep time on with your left foot by playing quarter notes on the hats.

Stay with the exact same beat but change your left foot to play eighth notes and see the difference it makes to the feel.

Or play quarter notes when playing the beat and eighth notes when playing a fill.

It adds a somewhat subtle new dimension to your playing, and as mentioned, can really create the type of groove or feel that you're looking for.


Senior Member
sigh...ok another thing I have to start working on this week... A friend of mine came over here and sat down and my kit and just blew the back of my head off with his playing, just grooved like mental..and I thought, oh man I never play the hats that we go again. thanks all


Platinum Member
Left foot on hats adds an extra flavour to your grooves. I find that the heel-toe rocking motion often works nice and is fairly easy to coordinate.
I do it alot and there aren't alot of drummers my age doing it much, It's came to the point I don't even think about it it just happens? But it definitely adds flavor and keeps the beat alive!

You can even put a tambourine on you're hi-hat pull rod (I do sometimes) and it sounds awesome! But yeah, definitely learn to do that man! Learn ghost notes too, those add ALOT of flavor!


Senior Member
sigh...ok another thing I have to start working on this week... A friend of mine came over here and sat down and my kit and just blew the back of my head off with his playing, just grooved like mental..and I thought, oh man I never play the hats that we go again. thanks all
I think you're taking the wrong attitude into it though.

Instead of sighing and thinking that you'll never be able to do it, recognise that it is another opportunity to improve your playing.

It may take some time, but every single drummer had to learn how to do it originally prior to becoming proficient.

Enjoy the experience rather than dreading it and use any progress, no matter how small, as inspiration.

Red Menace

Platinum Member
I really don't mean to be mean but who else read this with a valley girl accent in their head?

Like Oooh Mah Gawd!! He tow-dally did! Nuh-uuh!!


Silver Member
I believe that playing time with the left foot can really open things up for your right hand. There are many ways to keep the forward motion of a groove happening and many people use their right hand to do this which may mean keeping straight quarters, eighths or sixteenths. If you shift this responsibility to your left foot it gives more options to your other limbs. It's also helpful to keep fills in time. Don't forget that you can play the hats silently with your heel and not opening the hats.

One guy who never ceases to amaze me with his left foot is Harvey Mason. It may not be left foot clave but the guy basically can play anything he would play with his right hand on the hats with his left foot.

It is a lot to practice but if it was easy it would'nt be as cool!

The Scorpio

Senior Member
I think playing the hats with your foot it's incredible. It's like spice. It gives this incredible kind of undertow to your grooves. Pick your moments with it of course, because sometimes it's just not necessary.



Senior Member
Matt, it's just the realization, that I should have been learing this all along, I'm ready to start the process now....I like drumming enough, to keep at what ever gets throwed at me...and RedMenace..I'm like totally not a valley girl, I'm a 49 year old guy, from the beach...totally not the valley...although I did buy my 13" aax hi hats in Van liike....

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I always keep time with eithert my right hand..
Perhaps you want to have a look in this thread, it's all about were and how we keep the time, might be of interest to you. :)

Left foot on hats adds an extra flavour to your grooves.
I agree...

I find that the heel-toe rocking motion often works nice...
I agree...

...and is fairly easy to coordinate.
I disagree, at least for me, it isn't, I'm comfortable with 1/4, 1/8 and even 1/16 depending on the tempo, but the heel-toe hi-hat rocking motion is pretty hard to achieve to good effect. :))


Senior Member
I used to have this same frustration that you're describing, mxo. I felt that I should have been working on left foot independence from day one, when in reality I played the drums for at least a decade before really focusing in it.

I feel that I should have done a lot of things. Then I realize that yes, I could have done X or Y, but I didn't. When I go down the "should have" road, there is no end, and I accomplish nothing.

A realization like this is useful to you because it shapes the decisions you will now make in the present, not because it makes you regret the past.

To echo what others have said, yes, this is a powerful skill to have in your arsenal! Have fun!


Senior Member
I started keeping time with my left foot when I got good enough at everything else to where I was comfortable doing it. I never really practiced it, it just happened. I like to use it as another layer other than just constant time keeping though. Like if I'm playing a beat on the toms I add the snare on the second phrase and the hats the next phrase or something like that.


Gold Member
Well, the way you asked the question, it sounds like you are good enough already without having to learn any pesky new techniques.

On the other hand, if you truly want to learn drums, learn as many things as your time alots you.


Senior Member
I actually never kept time on the hats until I started recording seriously, about 4 months ago. We always do the drum tracks first, so while Im listening to my guitarist in my headphones, I play the hats during the breaks to keep time, and for the guitarists playback so that they can record and keep time with me while doing their tracks. It was actually amazing to me how natural it came to me, considering I have never taken formal lessons. Just remembering to do it at crucial times is my biggest problem lol. Good luck, OP, and dont think of it as another "thing" to practice. Feel the groove, and let it come naturally.