Do you find you make this mistake?


Senior Member
Since I've gotten back into drumming, I notice that I still have the same bad habit. Sometimes with my right hand - can be on the hi-hat or ride cymbal, I can stop playing on just the one beat where I'm hitting the snare, and it's not fluid eveness on all the 8ths or 16ths. It's something I'm working at overcoming - it just sounds better if you hit every note with the right hand (if you're right handed). I'm not off on the other notes, and I've heard drummers in songs play sometimes like this on purpose, but it's for that effect. The majority of the time, I don't do it, but when the speed of the song increases, it's more prevalent. Sounds like an amateur mistake I should have gotten over years ago, but I've been off and on with the drums for so long, but still no excuse. Have you done this?



Silver Member
Nope, can't say I've ever had that issue. It's kind of a strange problem to have, I think.

All I can really suggest is to pay more attention to what you're playing? Run through the first few pages of Ted Reed's Syncopation, playing 8ths on the hats while your left hand reads snare and your bass foot reads, well, bass. When you're comfortable with 8s, play 16s.


I haven't done that personally, but I know many drummers that have (and still do). Definatly something to work out, but your not alone. I think there's quite a few drummers who just don't realize that they do it.


"Uncle Larry"
You said that the majority of the time, you don't do it. So you're doing it the way you want, most of the time, but on the faster songs it happens?


Senior Member
Pretty much on the faster ones it's been a problem, but not all of them - I'm conscious of it now so am working to eliminate it. To give you an example of a few songs - Wilson Pickett's Land of 1000 dances - it's easier to play quarter notes or miss the note on the snare hit when the drummer lays into the groove, but I'm able to get through now without a problem. Also another song - Bee Gees - Nights on Broadway - a lot easier to play 8th notes rather than 16ths since the drummer is throwing in some accents and crashes on some of the offbeats, but it doesn't sound right with the 8ths, it's not the song the way it is played - so for me now it's a matter of just working on this until I overcome it, I don't think it will be too hard. I'm super aware of it now, so I don't want to play like that anymore unless it's totally by choice rather than a bad habit - probably won't choose to play that way if I can help it.

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Platinum Member
I don't want to play like that anymore unless it's totally by choice rather than a bad habit - probably won't choose to play that way if I can help it.
Here's Charlie doing it by choice - He did it on Miss You too. Maybe that's his funk shtick?

I do a similar weird thing where I occasionally drop an 1/8th note on the hats when I'm trying to keeping the downbeats solid and trying to keep the upbeats light. Maybe about once per rehearsal or gig. Occasionally one of the upbeats is so light it's simply not there. It bugs me greatly when I do for the same reason as you, Fishn - it comes across as a bit clumsy and beginnerish, but since there's always plenty of song left to focus on I forget about it (and chances are that the strings and keys will make worse mistakes - lol) ... until I make the mistake again ... I really don't wanna think about that stuff when I play because then I'm not "in" the song so I just wear it and tap on the pad at home.


Senior Member
Up most of the night tonight, have been sick, but it might give me an opportunity to record some drum stuff while I stay out of work later on today. Pollyanna, that was a good example with Charlie - he does it quite a bit on certain songs. I was going to say it's more seen than heard but that's not true, can hear it in other songs too. It's not that it's bad, but I think it's a beginner mistake that can become a habit that gets carried over. If your self taught, I think it's more prevalent.



Platinum Member
I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Personally it's not my style and I wouldn't do it deliberately (unless for a specific effect). But that doesnt make it wrong. However, if you find yourself doing it and you'd prefer not to. The answer is simple. Practice. Back to the basics of quarter, 8th's and 16th notes with your right hand on your hi-hats over a straight 4/4 beat. Ensure that your right hand (assuming you drum right handed) actually 'sticks' all beats of the pattern on the HH. As always, start slowly at first and build your speed as you gain control (control first and foremost though, for my vote) and in a week or two your right hand is doing what your brain is telling it to do. Of course, if it doesn't bother you then disregard all the above and continue to play what you feel.


Pioneer Member
Here is a song that I recorded with a singer/songwriter back in '95. I'm doing it here...
I have this problem(?) too. I'm mostly self taught and I think my tendency to do this comes from not having created the habit or discipline of straight 8ths and 16ths that would have come with lessons early on.

So, as others have said, practicing even 16ths has been helpful to me. Another element to this might be how you accent your high hat strokes with your left foot. Over the years, as my playing improved, I have concentrated on keeping the high hats closed (or to whatever degree open) the same amount. This helps me be very aware of when I slip into the Charlie Watts thing. It also keeps my right hand timekeeping from getting repetitive because of how opening the HH slightly hides (or embellishes) the dropped 8th or 16th.

Then I can pull that groove out when I want and it's as comfortable as an old pair of shoes.