Developing the hi hat

Abhishek

Member
Hey guys

I must say that the hi hat is my favorite part of the kit, because it's just so versatile. I do get goosebumps seeing Steve Smith doing his hi hat solos, or seeing a video of Copeland doing his magic. I wish I could be half as good.

Could you guys recommend any exercise for developing hi hat independence, as well as various techniques to get different sounds from the hi hat? Also, some songs, which have a unique use of the hi hat (I really haven't listen to that many Copeland tunes), so I could get an idea on how to use it?

Thanks
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
Hey guys

I must say that the hi hat is my favorite part of the kit, because it's just so versatile. I do get goosebumps seeing Steve Smith doing his hi hat solos, or seeing a video of Copeland doing his magic. I wish I could be half as good.

Could you guys recommend any exercise for developing hi hat independence, as well as various techniques to get different sounds from the hi hat? Also, some songs, which have a unique use of the hi hat (I really haven't listen to that many Copeland tunes), so I could get an idea on how to use it?

Thanks

Before Hihat independence comes Hihat interdependence. Start simple - i.e. take page 5 of Stick Control and play all Rs with the RH and all Ls with the HH. Then change hands, or use the bass drum for Rs. You can also turn this into a three-way coordination exercise by playing an ostinato with the RH and playing the exercises with the LH and HH or BD and HH against the ostinato. That'll start to get your foot happening.

Also, simply try experimenting with the Hihats. Play a steady stream of single strokes and experiment with changing the pressure of your foot on the pedal going from tightly closed to entirely open and everything in between. Vary where on the cymbals you play from the edge all the way in to the bell. Try using the tips and the shoulder of the stick.

Or, if you're looking for some real fun, take something like the "Syncopation" exercises in Progressive Steps To Syncopation and play them on the hihat. All eighth notes are to be played closed, while all quarter notes (or longer) are played open. Rests are added to the value of the last note so that - for instance - a quarter note followed by an eighth-note rest would result in the Hats being open for a dotted quarter note. Do you follow?
 

cdawg

Member
i should say that i'm hardly as good as the guys mentioned, but i'm pretty comfortable on the hi-hat. i had made it a point to play left-handed on the hi-hat when i started playing (on a righty set-up.) my 1st drum teacher said this is a no-no. so i was taught righty. i write lefty, so i have better dexterity in my left, so some things just felt better lefty. so i played them lefty. i still do that. i found that being able to switch between the two had opened up a bunch of possibilities that a strictly right-handed person would have trouble with. so, i'd say switch it up. become as comfortable playing left as right, then the rest won't be so hard.
 

denisri

Silver Member
Hi
A suggestion for Hi Hat develop...strip your drum set of all other cymbals and play your set like that for an an hour a day for several months...You be amaze at what will happen! Denis
 

Meat the beat

Senior Member
I agree that the hats are the coolest part of the kit, I love mine, the emphasis, accents & musicality you can bring to your parts are amazing, treat her like a lady and spend lots of time alone with her!!!!!
 

R Furb

Member
I found that this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKRrf-VzgSU&feature=channel_page has some great ideas on developing Hi-hat playing and getting more sounds out of it. Also as Boomka said practicing books like Stick Control, Progressive Steps to Syncopation, and Master Studies just on the hats can really help with Hi-hat independence.
 

aboylikedave

Senior Member
Taking a lead from the 'New Breed' book, a great starting point is to take a bunch of your favourite groooves, or a set of grooves from any book, an go through them playing the hi hat with your foot on two and four, then quarters, then eighths, then all the off note eights. When you are comfortable with a pattern don't move on, but play it for 5 mins or longer to help get it into muscle memory.

As well as building independence you will start to hear other possibility open up.

Great excercise, takes ages and wil be the starting point perhaps to adventures in hi hat!
 

JoeLackey

Senior Member
Strip you're kit down to the hi hats, snare, and kick drum. That's it. You'll be forced to be creative and find the groove in everything you play. Try it for a month or and two and see if you like it.
 

Spinozalove

Senior Member
Check out 'Time Functioning Patterns' by Gary Chaffee. Lots to keep you going with the hats in there (all four limbs actually). My left foot has improved dramatically, and along side it my drumming in general, since I started working through that book.
 

funkytomtom

Senior Member
Strip you're kit down to the hi hats, snare, and kick drum. That's it. You'll be forced to be creative and find the groove in everything you play. Try it for a month or and two and see if you like it.

This. This is so key. You find your weaknesses pretty quick with this setup. The better you can identify problem areas in your playing, the better you can work through them.
 

Fuo

Platinum Member
I've been doing the accent exercises in Syncopation (pages 47-49) where an accent means open hi-hat, along with 1/4s on the bass drum. I plan to start altering the bass pattern soon, by using the patterns in the first 3 pages of Stick Control (where R is bass, L is no bass).
 

andSometimesY

Senior Member
Everything that the above posters have said is great advice. When reading your request for some good hi-hat listening, I recalled a couple of bands that I have recently dug in to. Jason McGerr from Death Cab for Cutie has some amazingly creative grooves and many of them make use of the hi-hat in a unique way. Derrick McKenzie from Jamiroquai makes use of some blistering hi-hat patterns in a funk context and his playing always brings a smile to my face. Those are the two most recent bands I've listened to and they both employ hat wizards! And of course you already know about Mr. Stewart Copeland and his antics.
 

Ainulindale

Gold Member
Hi
A suggestion for Hi Hat develop...strip your drum set of all other cymbals and play your set like that for an an hour a day for several months...You be amaze at what will happen! Denis

this is a great exercise!
 

Witterings

Silver Member
Might be an idea if they could add a button you could click on if you want to subscribe / follow threads rather than having to post an inane irrelevant comment like this one :)
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
Here's my latest linear groove:

FH H S K H S H S
FH H S K H S H S
FH H S K H S H S
FH H S FH H S FH K



FH = Foot Hat i.e. Left foot hat click
H = closed hat (RH)
S = snare (LH)
K = Kick

Sorry if this isn't the normal notation. But I lurve this linear groove, and you get to use your Left Foot loads.

Davo
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I have consistently used my left foot for 27 years of drumming and you are right, the hihat is a key part of the set and too often overlooked. I would rather play without a snare than a hihat.

I really encourage you to get a foot percussion pedal with a cowbell or block and try playing clave patterns with the left foot; this requires both independence and interdependence and is very hard to do well (for me at least) but it adds a great deal to your playing. Even just playing 4tr or 8th notes and switching between pedals is great, or playing a 3 pattern against whatever you are doing in 4. Phil Maturano has a terrific DVD about this, "Afro Cuban Drumming — An overview for the Drumset."
 
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