Drumming with no hi hats

utdrummer

Senior Member
Just---I like how you're thinking outside the box. I say go for whatever you hear in your head and try to duplicate it to the best of your ability. Lots of new, nontraditional thinking going on now in music in general and it all works. Post some photos of your setup and some videos once done. The Y/T linked drummer was phenominal and I'll go try some of that this week. I like the mallets as well. Personally, I would miss the "chick" of 8th note hats while keeping time on my ride, and the occasional "bark" of open hats for accents. Other than that, one could always incorporate something else in its place. Have you thought of any other instrument on your kit you can use a left side pedal on to take your hats place? Many drummers are conditioned over the years to keep the left foot going while off the hats. Just curious, and again, interesting concept.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
Just thinking about no hi hats brings back nightmares of having to do a jazz gig without hats once.

I somehow managed to show up to the John Coltrane Jazz Festival without my hi hats in the bag. It was absolutely awful, not being able to define 2 and 4, and it drove the bass player crazy too. Thankfully it was a short set, but I totally can relate to the "like leaving the house without pants" kind of feeling.
 

synergy

Senior Member
Its your kit- play whatever you feel like.

Though leaving the hats to me would limit some on those wonderful little accents I so love about drumming.

However it also depends on what genre your playing?

How would you keep time? I know you count in your head etc/feel the time,

Personally I dont know what my left leg would do without a peddle to sit on?

I'd look a right plank drumming with no hats and my leg bouncing up and down like it usually does keeping me in check
 

Algorithm

Senior Member
Personally, I think it's great that you're defying convention, as long as you're doing it because it's what you want to do.

We need to continue to progress this instrument.
 

toddy

Platinum Member
There's "thinking outside the box", and then there's doing something that can only make you sound worse. The hi-hats are the best cymbals on the drum kit, I have no idea why you wouldn't want to use them. Yes, yes, ofcourse everyone has an opinion, well this is mine.

What are you replacing them with? what's your left foot doing?

It's not like you're an idiot, I just don't understand why.
 
D

DSCRAPRE

Guest
There's "thinking outside the box", and then there's doing something that can only make you sound worse. The hi-hats are the best cymbals on the drum kit, I have no idea why you wouldn't want to use them.

I would have to agree. The only time I can think of where any significant player didn't use hats was Kieth Moon, and back when he was playing recordings weren't clear enough to really make out the drums anyway, they sounded mostly like padding. Again for the sake of versatility, you should consider putting in an X-hat or some kind of remote hat, just so that if you want that sound at any time, it's there.
 
C

Crazy8s

Guest
Heck, I play 2 pairs of pedalled hats and 3 other stacks of cymbals that sound like hihats, though all different from one another. They are way too useful to not use....
 

ricc333

Senior Member
One thing to consider is that there was a time when hi-hats didn't exist, yet drummers did. (Anyone remember "sock hats" or "sock cymbals"?) Digging up some recordings from this era could shed some light on how to approach your idea. I'd suggest something, but I'm at work and can't research right now.

I'm interested in hearing what comes of it.
 
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Pollyanna

Platinum Member
To those who can't see the point, I don't think it's such an off-the-wall idea. As ricc said, hi hats weren't always around. These days hats are so important to so many players that to not use them will immediately force you to play differently as you try to come up with workarounds.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
To those who can't see the point, I don't think it's such an off-the-wall idea. As ricc said, hi hats weren't always around. These days hats are so important to so many players that to not use them will immediately force you to play differently as you try to come up with workarounds.
I'm listening to Discipline as I read this and it occurs to me that Bruford doesn't use hats on this whole record, but he does have Simmons pad that makes a cute little "ding" noise to semi-simulate closing a hi hat - speaking of which, you could probably fit in a low-hat that would be out of the way even if ridiculously hard to find.
 

zfzgg

Senior Member
Personally, I'd strongly recommended you keep the hihats

Firstly: not having a set of hats pretty well guarantees that you will never play in a cover band, ever. This may not sound like a big deal right now, but trust me, it is. I'd say 75% of my gigs are covers gigs and 100% of my gigging income comes from covers (in fact, my originals band has cost me more than it's made me). It's completely valid that your drumming 'voice' doesn't have to have a set of hats, but almost every other drummer does use one. If you want to recreate other drummers, you'll need the hats.

Secondly: you say you're "still new to drums." I don't want to speak down to you, but I think it's highly likely that, a few years down the track, when you have some more experience, you'll really regret not having a hi-hat (and it's more than that, if you only just started playing. A few years down the track you won't even know how to play a hihat.). My 'ideal kit setup' has changed so many times that I can't even keep count, and some of them have just been ridiculous. Guess what? Now my ideal kit is a four piece with hats, crash and a ride. Hah, funny how that happens. Don't expect to still idealise your 10/14/15/16/24 setup in another two years, or even another two months.

Finally, and I haven't read the thread too carefully, but I don't think it's been mentioned yet: According to your original post, your argument is this: "I don't want to use a hi-hat because my four toms and two snare drums are more important, and I can't fit it all on the kit." Ask any drummer on this board and I can all but promise they will tell you otherwise. The hihat is arguably the most expressive and versatile part of the kit, whereas having a fourth tom adds very little to your voice.

I can sort of understand your logic, but because you say you're only new to drums I'll say this: It's best to learn the rules before you try to break them. My advice is to stick with the hats, take some lessons and really learn how to play them. You. Will. Not. Regret. It.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
To me, going without hats would be like a guitarist playing without a string or two. I think the hats are the most expressive part of the set, capable of barks, sssips, sloshes, ticks and more. I would rather play without a snare than without hihats.

Many drummers ignore their left foot almost entirely, unless they are playing double bass, and then the left foot is suddenly very important. It is just my opinion, but I think drummers who ignore their left foot are lazy.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I'm listening to Discipline as I read this and it occurs to me that Bruford doesn't use hats on this whole record, but he does have Simmons pad that makes a cute little "ding" noise to semi-simulate closing a hi hat - speaking of which, you could probably fit in a low-hat that would be out of the way even if ridiculously hard to find.

Good point, Mike. Fripp told him not to use them (or cymbals at all) because he thought it interfered with the frequencies he and Adrian B were getting with their guitar gamelan thing.

In the same vein, if I remember rightly Peter Gabriel didn't want any "metal" on his Shock the Monkey LP. Both quirky albums, admittedly.

I've done a number of tracks, both in the old days and now, where I use no or minimal hats in songs, but for the most part I have a pretty heavy hi hat dependency. Maybe they should start a chapter of HHA?

"Hello. I'm Pocket/Larry/Dscapre/DMC and I am a hi hat addict ..."

:)
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
To me, going without hats would be like a guitarist playing without a string or two.

DMC, while I agree with you just wanted to point out that some guitar players do this. Kieth Richards famously plays a 5 string guitar and 4 string tenor guitars were very popular in the 30's. Now I suppose it helps your case that these are really more for rhythm playing. While Kieth (Richards not Moonie) is a rhythm player that's not to say he's a talentless noisy hack like the other Kieth (Moonie not Richards.)

Calm down you old-timers, I'm kidding.
 

Duckenheimer

Senior Member
To me, going without hats would be like a guitarist playing without a string or two. I think the hats are the most expressive part of the set, capable of barks, sssips, sloshes, ticks and more. I would rather play without a snare than without hihats.

Many drummers ignore their left foot almost entirely, unless they are playing double bass, and then the left foot is suddenly very important. It is just my opinion, but I think drummers who ignore their left foot are lazy.

Not saying this applies to everyone, but it is absolutely true to an extent.

I played for years without using my left foot for anything other than taking it off the pedal for choruses and putting it back on for verses. I did open it once in a while for an 8th note or two, but I didn't even learn how to keep it half open (too much control required!) I certainly couldn't keep it going on 2 and 4. I never learned to play the hats because I didn't want to bother; I have a couple of friends who just switch off the left foot pedal, and it's absolutely because they don't want to bother learning with the left foot, because the left foot is the most difficult limb to control, and you can to extent (playing rock, especially) you can get away with it the most.

Then last year I decided to learn the basics of drumming overall so that people - any people - would be happy to play with me. And the toughest thing was my hi hat playing - I could have solved myself hundreds of excruciating hours had only I spent a few minutes a day doing hi hat work. Now, I can hardly stop my left foot; it helps me keep locked into time when I'm in trouble, and I can do so much more with dynamics and sound.

You can absolutely play drums and get good and be expressive without hats, but you'll be excluding yourself from most opportunities to join bands/play gigs, and this does reduce opportunities for own individual creative goals. One guy said learn the rules before you break them... If you want to ensure least number of regrets, this is a good idea.

And nothing wrong with big kits, but it takes so long to get adequate at one snare and two or three toms; two snares, four toms, and no hi hats for a raw beginner seems a bit lopsided, in terms of practise time and what can be learned.
 
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KBadd

Silver Member
I am a HH junkie. I agree with dethmetalconga. HAVE them but don't use them.....just have them. Bash on them totally open. Then you're just hitting "2 cymbals" at the same time.
 
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