Stop keeping time on ride and hi-hats


New member
Hi there, new here.

I've been playing for about 10 years and recently I've noticed that I've plateaued. I play for a jazz/rock group. I was wondering if anyone has a good idea on how to stop keeping time with the right hand on cymbals and hi-hats. I feel if I can break through playing quarter notes, eighth notes and sixteenth notes as a constant between the ride and hats for tempo, I can keep moving forward with my creativity.


My kit
Pearl Vision Series shells
14x5.5" Gretsch Energy share
20" Zildjian Custom A medium ride
14" Zildjian Custom A hats
16" Zildjian S Family crash


Well-known member
- do it left handed - called "open" style. Use your right hand for the back beat on 2 and 4
- use another surface like the rim, the floor tom...something to break up the sound monotony
- use alternated 16ths on the HH, or split between the HH and ride; or split between 2 toms
- use paradiddles split between the HH and ride, or toms
- play only on the ands, disco style

is this what you are looking for?

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Have you considered moving your ride cymbal to the left side of your kit or if that's too radical getting an x-hat positioned next to your regularly placed ride cymbal to alternate sounds.


New member
I do have a secondary crash/ride that I could place on the left side. I guess mostly what I'm asking is how can I make my regular playing a bit more linear, much like my my fills?


Gold Member
Lots of jazz and rock have the standard patterns played sparsely and infrequently, if you listen to most recordings you probably won't here much if any. Just count the beats, and play the accents I do this often especially when my arms get tired from typing all day. I've also gone to playing a less busy pattern like clave with my right hand. I also pat the beats with my right foot especially quarter notes. I have a jazz independence practice book and it said to pretty much just play the accent patterns no need to play the swing pattern.


Platinum Member
A lot of music suits a steady ride or hihat pattern. Only go linear if the music needs it. Otherwise you’re just making things worse.

I’ve mixed a few jazz bands lately where the drummer has overplayed everything with cross rhythms, constant fills and complex beat divisions, and it sounds so disjointed that there’s no sense of groove or swing.
So don’t try and make it difficult just for the sake of being difficult - make sure it enhances the music.


Silver Member
.......... I feel if I can break through playing quarter notes, eighth notes and sixteenth notes as a constant between the ride and hats for tempo, I can keep moving forward with my creativity.
"Nothing kills creativity more than overthinking." I utilize a dozen or more techniques that keep the beat moving without repetitive tick=tick=tick on the hats or ride. If you were here I could show you but don't ask me to write them down. I used to read music when playing clarinet in orchestra but when I decided rock and roll was my music of choice and started playing drums I just listened and played. Self taught and can play any type of music. Then again, music to me is like a first language.


Platinum Member
If you want to expand your vocabulary, there are countless resources. Books, lessons with a teacher, or just YouTube videos. I'd recommend Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials 1.0 and 2.0 as a good start. He covers every musical style you're likely to encounter and gives you lots of options and variations. Plus, you get to play along to drumless tracks and feel what it's like to play the grooves to music.

Just remember that sometimes those patterns you're trying to avoid work for the music. Rather than force your "creativity" on the music, make sure to find music where the stuff you want to do is appropriate to play.


"Uncle Larry"
You could not ride anything. What do you have in mind for the hand that used to ride?

IMO, the feel of the song is way more important than the drummer's desire to be creative...unless they can somehow be made to compliment one another. But the others have to think it's complimenting, not just the drummer.

I can't help many other members of the band want their drummer to "get creative"?

In my world they just want me to play the song as it is and don't mess with it too much. That's the way it works best.

I always got in trouble when I indulged my musical wants onstage. I learned that the stage is not the place for my wants. I didn't like how my "wants" sounded on the recordings anyway, so I dropped that whole mental approach like the bad habit it was, did a 180, and now I indulge the others instead of myself with something rock solid that they can build on.

The funny thing is, everything that I was "seeking" by being "creative" (accolades mainly)....flowed to me freely after I became a responsible drummer and played what the others really needed, a rock solid foundation. If the sands are always shifting, the others can't settle in. This is really when I started to understand the role of the drumset in a band. I can't approach my instrument like a lead guitar for instance. Drummers and bassists have more musical responsibility than anyone IMO. We perform a vital function, an essential need that the band has to have in order to work.

The drum chair needs a responsible person who understands the function of the drums in a band, and can deliver that in fine style. The drummer has to put the others first. When that happens, the drummer gets all the love they deserve, because they understand their role in a band. If the drummer puts the drummer first...that could be the very worst way to approach things.


Well-known member
Start out by losing the hi hat on 2 and 4, do that for awhile and see how it feels. Then ease back on the ride. Not really sure how to explain it. I recently got to the point where Ding ga ding with hats on 2 and 4 just sounded really ancient, like how Dixieland sounded when I was a kid.
If you haven't worked through this yet, I liked working through Linear Time Playing by Gary Chaffee, it's a fun book. It could help you think outside the box when you want to come up with something different. Be careful though, you may end up over doing the creativity. :)


Platinum Member
Another approach is to learn some Beatles beats. Ticket to Ride, Come Together, Something, Lady Madonna...