Left hand technique for fast 16ths on hi-hat

Mastiff

Senior Member
I'm working through Everlong for Foo Fighters. I can get through it now, but I'm working to get it comfortable and easy. The thing about the song, aside from some unusual fills and accents, is the speed of the 16ths on the hi-hat. I'm not sure if I have an issue, but where my right hand is loose and using a nice combination of wrist and fingers, my left hand is mostly just wristing it out. Thing is, the angle my left hand comes at the hat, it almost like there's no other option, unless I awkwardly rotate my whole torso over to aim/center better on the hats. So, my question is, is this the way everyone does it (mostly wrist with left hand, less elegant than right) or is there a better way?
 

danondrums

Well-known member
Everyone's weaker hand is less elegant than their stronger one. It's more a matter of the finger dexterity of the weaker hand not having been trained in muscle memory to the degree that your stronger hand has been. Also the weaker almost always has more space between notes than the stronger hand so not only does it strike a drum or cymbal less often, when it does, it's more often playing backbeats with larger silence between the notes than what your strong hand does on the kit. When you ask your weak hand to perform the same functions as your strong hand, things get as you describe.

What happens when you play the 16th notes at that tempo (158) all on the snare drum or a pad? Are they even and do your hands actually perform identically? I'll bet that they don't. Regarding the torso rotation, when playing the pattern you describe, your upper body should be no more twisted than if you were playing a pattern with your right hand leading on the ride and your left on the snare (just the opposite rotation obviously).

Most drummers get by just fine with some degree of this. Record yourself and decide if it sounds so uneven that you need to fix it.
 
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Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member
I just try it out, my hands play the same way, only the right is traveling up and down for the back beat , but while up is the same as the left: small wrist and small fingers moving along, this is not a fast tune and does not require any special technique.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
I just try it out, my hands play the same way, only the right is traveling up and down for the back beat , but while up is the same as the left: small wrist and small fingers moving along, this is not a fast tune and does not require any special technique.
No special technique for sure, but it does require each hand to be able to play clean 16ths alone at 79 bpm. I would bet that many intermediate players have trouble keeping solid and clean 16ths at 79bpm with their weak hand.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Well, your right hand should involve a combination of wrists and fingers, because it has a few different tasks. It has to play the snare on beats 2 and 4, and probably also play small accents on beats 1 and 3, and non-accents on the "and"s. So, your right hand has to alternate between accents, taps, and switching the stick from the hi-hat to the snare and back.

However, the left hand notes are all of the same volume (and therefore the same stick height), and on the same surface (the hi-hat), and are played constantly on the e's and ah's. If you can do these notes at speed with the left wrist, that's fine. It's not necessary to engage the fingers or do anything fancy -- all the left hand notes are in the same place, at the same rate, and have the same volume.

Personally, I aim my shoulders a bit toward the hi-hat, by twisting at the waist a little bit. Nothing extreme though. As I play the snare on 2 and 4, I'll momentarily twist a tiny bit to the right. These are all small movements, but they allow me to stay relaxed and fluid, and that's the important thing.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
I have no idea what your setup is like. But it will likely be easier to do if your hihat is lower And you are striking the top of the cymbal more than the edge.
 
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