Stop keeping time on ride and hi-hats

Croc

Senior Member
In some instances where I've tried not being Mr. Metronome, the other musicians told me to get back to eighths on the hat or ride. Hey, if it keeps things moving and on-groove, I have no problem doing it.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Back in the mid 90s, Carter Beauford forever changed my perception of what a hi-hat or ride pattern could be. When I first heard "Satellite" by Dave Matthews Band, it blew my mind.

I think he was the main credit for inventing (or at least popularizing) this technique, and I still use it today (when appropriate), albeit in a more subtle way usually.

 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Back in the mid 90s, Carter Beauford forever changed my perception of what a hi-hat or ride pattern could be. When I first heard "Satellite" by Dave Matthews Band, it blew my mind.

I think he was the main credit for inventing (or at least popularizing) this technique, and I still use it today (when appropriate), albeit in a more subtle way usually.

Awesome. Now I’ve got something new to play with for the next 6 months.
 

moxman

Silver Member
It's all about the groove. If you're playing a straight pattern with your right, put as much expression in it to make it sing with the song using accents, tight or loose swings, dynamics and feel.. And sometimes the song calls for a straight ahead driving linear groove.. But its how you put it all together to build a tight groove that fits and rocks both your band and the audience. As for the foot on the hats.. Its all about the interplay with the rythmn and what your other limbs are doing.. Basicilly putting it all together to synergise the groove. Foot patterns can be all kinds of things.. From repetitive straight patterns on 1 or 2 or offbeat or 8 s or totally asymmetric where you use the chirp as part of a rythmn.. Vinnie Coiliuta does this all the time - I do too sometimes if it fits the music.. But its just a matter of using the chirp as another voice on the kit. Also don't forget the foot splash.. Comes in handy sometimes! Try Gary Chesters New Breed to improve independence on all your limbs ( including your head as you sing). That will keep you busy for a good while and enhance your playing..
- the Carter Beauford example above is great demonstration of using syncopation to spice up rythmns - if it fits the music.
- good exercise for dynamics:
- and check out JoJo Mayers demo at the end:
 
Last edited:

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Right. Play for the song first.

Watch this video of the Jazz Messengers playing "Moanin". Art Blakey keeps time on his ride most of song. That's all. He's Mr Metronome on this piece because that's what the piece called for. But you'd never refer to him as Mr Metronome.

After listening to this, you'll no longer worry about plateauing, or stop keeping time with the right hand on cymbals and hi-hats, or breaking through playing quarter notes, eighth notes and sixteenth notes as a constant between the ride and hats for tempo. Find other ways to move forward with your creativity, like on your solos.

Play for the song or groove first.
Get too 'creative' and no band will want to play with you.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Or Buddy Rich. I don't think he apologized for "keeping time". Now, he may have apologized for playing in a bathrobe lol

It's what the piece calls for (swinging groove keeping time on hats and ride, not the robe lol)

 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Or Buddy Rich. I don't think he apologized for "keeping time". Now, he may have apologized for playing in a bathrobe lol

It's what the piece calls for (swinging groove keeping time on hats and ride, not the robe lol)

the bathrobe part would have been a lot funnier if he wasn’t wearing pants. LOL
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Wanting to be creative as one of the top priorities for a drummer IMO is misplaced. The longer I do this, the more I realize that my job...it's not about the drum part or the complexity of the drum part. It's ALL about the EFFECT of the drum part. I'm there to create the flow, the silky smooth movement of time, and to not introduce any resistance to that flow. To maintain that flow at a steady rate. Let it happen. And leave space for the really sweet sounding instruments to fill up. Of course this doesn't apply everywhere, but as a general guideline for working drummers, it applies.

For me this means I'm the motor oil that the engine (the band) needs to run smooth. Motor oil is essential. You just need it to do the job, that's it. The more I can shed MY wants and replace it with giving the others what they need in a drum part...the better drummer I am in everyone's eyes. In my world this translates to a really great feeling beat, honed tempo sense, with dynamic ups and downs, a tight ending. Clean execution and absolutely no showing off, unless I'm playing an old Who song or something that demands it.

In my world, fills disrupt things more than smooth things out so the less I play them, meaning just keep the beat where a fill could fit...the better everyone else likes it. I can feel it. So I just roll with it. The whole no resistance thing. Signature fills and needed parts excluded, they need to be there. Plus...it's easier not filling...but the real payoff...tension. It builds tension! Ha ha. Easier is better in my world. Lotsa headroom rules. Being on the edge of my abilities would never work. And the whole tension/buildup thing is a formidable force when it releases. It's a yet powerful yet subtle weapon we have in our arsenal. It takes time to build up, tension, more than one verse at least, usually more, and there's basically no fills when things build.

You metal guys....you have my respect. I simply don't want to work that hard to get through a song. To me that's self torture lol.
Creativity on drums has it's place. But outside of that, most musicians just want us to just make things feel good, stabilize things, and play less than most drummers want to play lol.
 
Last edited:

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
If the drummer puts the drummer first...that could be the very worst way to approach things.
100% correct, & something we all grow out of eventually - some faster than others ;)

Back in the mid 90s, Carter Beauford forever changed my perception of what a hi-hat or ride pattern could be.
Very cool, & when inspired by the music, it can be incredibly effective!!!
 

_alex.king.666_

New member
Thanks for all of the response!

To generalize the responses, most of what I've been recommended is to pocket my grooves and sit comfortably in the music.

Where I'm coming from is that the band I'm playing with now hired me on because of my particularly busy playing style that I had with my original post-hardcore band I played with. The ensemble is asking me to play more chaotically.

I am familiar with most of the handbooks that have been referenced. I have gone to years and years of clinics hosted by many of the popular jazz and rock drummers. Most of my issue is breaking the mental barrier of taking my grooves off of the ride mostly (and a bit off the hats).

Playing on the ride has always been my backbone in my playing, and where my current group wishes me to go, feels like I need to fall off from that.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
OK so chaotic is what's wanted from the others. That changes things. I would still play what you feel is best. Trying to be chaotic when you don't feel chaotic probably won't work. Sometimes what people say they want, and what they actually want, are 2 different things. I would play the part that you feel works best in your opinion....and don't try and live up to their adjectives at first. If they like your choices, you should too, because you picked it. If they aren't happy with your part, I'd let them tell you exactly what they need and adjust it then. Assuming they know exactly what they want can be problematic.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Perhaps they're after some sprang-a-lang, some shuffles, some fancy hi hat and ride work. Try flip flopping the roll of the kick and ride/hats. Keep time with your foot and accent with your hands instead.
 

decadeA

Active member
for trying not to keep time with ride and hats you can do eighth notes with the bass drum and whatever notes you were playing on the bass drum would now be on the hi hat, like ‘swapping roles’ of the bass drum and hi hat/ ride while keeping the snare the same
 

buddhadrummer

Junior Member
...Most of my issue is breaking the mental barrier of taking my grooves off of the ride mostly (and a bit off the hats).

Playing on the ride has always been my backbone in my playing, and where my current group wishes me to go, feels like I need to fall off from that.
A lot of insight in the responses here - insight into the firm grip this way of playing has on us all. The general consensus is to dig in further to the limitations of letting the right hand dominate and set up the concept in the mind of a grid. A grid upon which other notes are orchestrated. While I certainly do not dispute that this is what is generally expected in most band settings, I think alex.king.666 is seeking a way to break out of this limitation. I don't think he is saying he will through the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.

Breaking out of this is largely unimaginable to many and very difficult to do for those who try, once the pattern has been established habitually, culturally. In your response above you said the ride playing has been the backbone of your playing. Here is, in part, the problem: the "backbone" is in the notes you're playing instead of within you in your core. If you can transfer all knowledge and ownership of time internally and deeply, the freedom to play virtually anything becomes apparent. Of course what followed would involve intuition and experience to play appropriately for the music of the moment.

If I understand you correctly, you are trying to break free from the limitations of steady eighth's or even the jazz ride pattern on a cymbal with your dominant hand. This involves establishing deeper internal time, combined with a deeper assimilation of rhythmic concepts that can be orchestrated differently and still maintain or even create more forward momentum and integrate more deeply with the other musicians.

I think conceptually you'd have to break the habit of relying on the right hand to be the time leader and get the time inside you more deeply. That alone takes a lot of work. Then balance that with richer rhythmic ideas (Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms for example, and a deep understanding of universal rhythmic pulsations) that can then be (a) articulated comfortably on the drumset and (b) distilled and minimized to reflect, extract and convey their core components, perhaps even without playing them directly, as would be the case as learned from a book, for example.

It takes significant time and effort, yet it is an extremely worthy endeavor. In the end, I've found it actually strengthened my articulation of repeating patterns on a cymbal, and made my grooves more multi-dimensional rather than two-dimensional as in the grid way of relating. My grooves have a ton more weight, depth, and momentum than before.

There are different concepts of linear playing, and like any unique way of playing, come with their own limitations. The idea of which you speak, I think, has more to do with clear articulation of rhythmic ideas, developed through intensive listening and through touch, after which almost any instrumental voice may be used as long as it is placed carefully within the time flow, something that most drummers neglect, imo.

As was mentioned earlier, Gary Chaffee's concepts can get you headed in the right direction to break ingrained habits. It's more about expanding options than simply throwing out tradition. Actually, the "tradition" of the drumset IS freedom and innovation, with responsibility.
 
Last edited:

Otto

Platinum Member
The perception that the HH or Ride is keeping time is usually an illusion.

The illusion stems from the different frequencies cymbals make than drums(the way they cut through the mix).

I argue that you can stress the 'time keeping' on any specific drum set 'voice'...such as the Bass Drum or Snare...and allow cymbal work to be free and pursuing more erudite paths....or the inverse...or all voices focus on time keeping or, heaven forbid, none.

In fact, I usually hear more variance in millisecond timing on cymbals than I do on Bass Drum or Snare Hits...though, due to the way they are usually used, toms tend to violate explicit metronomic tempo more than cymbals.

Sometimes its not even the drum set keeping the time...but dances around it! << say it isn't so!! ; ) >>

No one instrument keeps time...they all do...so breaking that illusion is one of the more important steps in developing a satisfyingly consistent tempo for a song. (note: I did not say 'metronomic tempo').
 
Last edited:

Rock Salad

Junior Member
Cool ideas shared!
From my years on other instruments, I would say you don't need to get too deep with it. I surely did not understand drums and drumming then, (now just starting to.) Probably just accent the off beats more, ting TA ting, one And two And three And four AND. Also crash=chaos. It is enough to keep My guys on their toes to crash the And of two or four.
 

Shedboyxx

Silver Member
Check out Bill Bruford on "Elephant Talk"...
+1. I was thinking of the same but on Frame by Frame

At approx 1:39 Bill starts riding on an Octoban. Back then he also would ride of a 'rhythm log'. It was woven into the King Crimosn Music so it worked musically.
 
Top