Keeping Time with your left foot. Why?

D

Deleted member 525878

Guest
I've seen drummers up-close in acoustic jazz bands using the rocking heel-toe method for 2 and 4, barely opening and closing the hats, not producing an audible chick sound. I would consider that an example of wasted motion. If you need to, work on producing a nice chick sound.
I played lots of eight note chicks on the hats back in my teens. Tony Williams was a big influence on me back then. and I loved his quarter-note pulse on both ride and hats when swinging. His teacher, Alan Dawson said Tony copped it from him.

DeJohnette, Jones, and Haynes blew it wide open for me when they used the hats in more non-time ways.

So many great options for hihat playing with just your foot!
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I've seen drummers up-close in acoustic jazz bands using the rocking heel-toe method for 2 and 4, barely opening and closing the hats, not producing an audible chick sound. I would consider that an example of wasted motion.
I know what you mean, but it's not a wasted motion if its objective is to permit the drummer to keep internal time when he doesn't wish to produce an audible chic. Only if the drummer intends to excite a chic sound but fails to is the motion erroneous.

I'm not a jazz drummer, but when playing a backbeat with my hi-hat closed tightly for maximum stick definition, my heel is still bouncing off the hi-hat pedal in a rhythmic manner. That's part of my subconscious timekeeping strategy. I have no desire to introduce a chic sound in such instances.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Well keeping time with hat foot a lot less problematic than using kick foot- I can tell you that. My right leg is always hopping
 

iCe

Senior Member
I never did it until a few years ago when when i heard/saw Todd Sucherman suggest it (believe on one of his dvd's). The reason i wanted to do it was to use it as an extra sound source. It was a bit akward at first, but after a while i noticed that my timing vastly improved. For some reason it's so easy to let my left foot keep time (mostly quarter or eight notes, not fancy 16th notes like Taylor Hawkins) and that the rest of my body does whatever it needs to do. I really feel instinctively that my timing is better and have an actual sound source to focus on to hit each note as precise as i can.

And with songs I've been playing for ages i like to spice things up and keep time on the up-beats. Or in between fills for some added spice.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
Because it lets your fellow musicians know where the time pulse is, but is subtle and neutral sounding enough not to draw too much attention. This also gives more freedom to play more interesting rhythmic phrases on the other parts of the kit.
 

gish

Senior Member
Everyone seems to do this and say if you can't you should learn how. My question is why?
Thought I would revisit and share a link to a performance recently shared on here. Check out his left foot hi hat work; not just keeping time but adding chicks and splashes to color the music. Great example of how foot controlled hi hat work can add spice to the music.
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
Everyone seems to do this and say if you can't you should learn how. My question is why?
Don't overrate the value of my opinion - I'm definitely a learner - but I took a dislike to that mechanical 'clack' going through my playing.
I love the hihat - but as a closed sound for my stick/s - and for the beautifully expressive, funky accents of an open one - but as a metal metronome? I'm not convinced.
 

gish

Senior Member
Don't overrate the value of my opinion - I'm definitely a learner - but I took a dislike to that mechanical 'clack' going through my playing.
I love the hihat - but as a closed sound for my stick/s - and for the beautifully expressive, funky accents of an open one - but as a metal metronome? I'm not convinced.
Check out the Aja drum cover I posted above for an example of how having command of the hi hat foot can add a wealth of color.
 

GOOSE72

Well-known member
Check out the Aja drum cover I posted above for an example of how having command of the hi hat foot can add a wealth of color.
gish I understand but in drummer speak i'm black and white. Appreciate you though!!
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Don't overrate the value of my opinion - I'm definitely a learner - but I took a dislike to that mechanical 'clack' going through my playing.
I love the hihat - but as a closed sound for my stick/s - and for the beautifully expressive, funky accents of an open one - but as a metal metronome? I'm not convinced.
Think of it like this: keeping time by opening and closing the hats will make it easier to open the hats in random or odd places to add an accent. Or a pattern of open accents.

You dont have to mindlessly keep time by opening and closing the hats. But being able to do it helps other areas.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Don't overrate the value of my opinion - I'm definitely a learner - but I took a dislike to that mechanical 'clack' going through my playing.
I love the hihat - but as a closed sound for my stick/s - and for the beautifully expressive, funky accents of an open one - but as a metal metronome? I'm not convinced.
It's not always about you, all the time; sometimes it's just for the band. But as a practical technique, it should definitely be learned, if not for keeping time, then as a stepping stone to more musical, non-timekeeping things.

Where and when it gets used is another matter entirely. The question was: why learn it?
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
Think of it like this: keeping time by opening and closing the hats will make it easier to open the hats in random or odd places to add an accent. Or a pattern of open accents.

You dont have to mindlessly keep time by opening and closing the hats. But being able to do it helps other areas.
Interesting. I'd assumed the opposite - being locked into a steady beat.
I do struggle with repeat open accents though (the drum break in Rocksteady by Aretha Franklin, for instance) and haven't figured out why...
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
It's not always about you, all the time; sometimes it's just for the band. But as a practical technique, it should definitely be learned, if not for keeping time, then as a stepping stone to more musical, non-timekeeping things.

Where and when it gets used is another matter entirely. The question was: why learn it?
Ha! I'm all for playing fo
All of my limbs keep time on the drum set. Sometimes, maybe for a few bars or maybe a whole tune, the hi hat cymbals go "chicky" on 2&4.
That's me too. That clockwork 'chick' seems to fill a gap that don't need filling to me. Feels too rigid and busy.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
It really builds independence, and when you can do it, once you take out the left foot it is even easier.

it helps you keep MUCH better time.

It is a maker during solos so when you are messing with modulation / displacement the people watching don't just hear a mess. It keeps YOU in time and really ties it all together.

100% learn this.
 

Hav2rock

New member
for me it just came naturally, the bass player can see it and it helps with timing, plus the fact that it looks cool.
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
Evolution of the instrument. Evolution of the music. Genre specific.

In jazz, listen to people like Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette (and others) and today's players such as Bill Stewart and it no longer is a 'rigid' time keeping element but is instead a voice.

In Pop/Rock people like Gadd and Vinnie use it to enhance the groove / pulse but then also turn it the other direction and use it as an independent voice depending on the context.

Why learn it? Expands possibilities the same as learning other elements of the instrument do. I've met plenty of drummers over the years who never spent time working out the independence required to free up the hi hat foot. Some care - others don't. Up to you what you deem is important to explore.
 

tfgretsch

Junior Member
Off the top of my head:

1. If you're just starting out, you'll probably find that you play more evenly, as soon as you've developed the necessary coordination. The extra limb acts as a sort of personal metronome, because you're that much more aware of the 8th or quarter note pulse throughout a song.

2. In rock or pop, you can keep that left foot hi-hat going as you play a fill, which adds fluidity to the overall sound. This way, there isn't a "gap" whenever you depart from the beat to play an accent with the band, or a fill.

3. If your soloing or fills get too "out there", the rest of the band has something to listen to, in order to stay on the beat. It's a nice skill to have when you're playing with people you haven't played with before, or that aren't very advanced.

4. Sometimes, the song just sounds better. A steady left foot hi-hat may even be on the original recording.
Great Info thanks for sharing
 
Top