What do you do to spice up the 2 & 4?

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
I know this is a pretty basic question but...

Suppose you're playing a lot of groove-oriented dance music, and the drum parts on this music often consist of very simple drumming...8th notes on the hats, 1&3 on the kick and 2&4 on the snare. What do you find yourself doing to "spice it up?" when you have several songs in a row and they all have that same beat?

Also, do you find that some songs just don't lend themselves to anything BUT that feel? Take Kool and the Gang's "Celebration" and "Ladies Night" for example. Both of those go over (of course) extremely well at our gigs. The second one is a real chore sometimes for me to get through. A bunch of women dancing makes it less painful. I know...focus on the groove and not what cool licks I can throw in.

Although, I'm sure we ALL have our bag of tricks we like to use to spice it up and keep from going insane.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
I'll throw in some ghost notes on the snare (mostly for me because most others can't hear them) or use a variety of hi-hat barks. Keeps the groove in place and provides a little spice of life.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I don't. "Spicing it up" too often seems like a self-indulgent exercise in making it more interesting for me, but at the expense of what's right for the music. Sometimes, leaving it alone is exactly the right thing. And I've learned to appreciate the hypnotic effect playing that way can produce.
 

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
I don't. "Spicing it up" too often seems like a self-indulgent exercise in making it more interesting for me, but at the expense of what's right for the music. Sometimes, leaving it alone is exactly the right thing. And I've learned to appreciate the hypnotic effect playing that way can produce.

Awesome! Thanks for the reply.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Hi-hat barks. Alternating the sound of the snare hit (maybe a rimshot on the 4 but a regular stroke on the 2, or striking a different spot on the batter for 2 and 4). Adding a tambourine on every other 4. Ghost notes (really ghosted). Dynamic variations.

But there's also nothing wrong with just wringing every single drop of sweetness out of that money beat. Believe in it 100% and groove the hell out of it.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Depends on the song. Usually a song will suggest a pulse to go with the beat so I might accent that. A song might have a signature riff or repeating motif so I might help make that stand out. If all it need is a steady 2 and 4 then thats all it gets, I try to play the song.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I don't. "Spicing it up" too often seems like a self-indulgent exercise in making it more interesting for me, but at the expense of what's right for the music. Sometimes, leaving it alone is exactly the right thing. And I've learned to appreciate the hypnotic effect playing that way can produce.

Exactly.



20202020
 

Skrivarna

Senior Member
I don't. "Spicing it up" too often seems like a self-indulgent exercise in making it more interesting for me, but at the expense of what's right for the music. Sometimes, leaving it alone is exactly the right thing. And I've learned to appreciate the hypnotic effect playing that way can produce.

The correct answer, in my opinion.

If playing originals, and you want to add some variety to songs that just asks for simple 2-4 beats, try to replace or remove something (usually the hihat). E.g. replace the hihat with a shaker for some variety. Or just skip the hihat completely (awkward and sometimes hard to do, but very effective). Add a tambourine or tom to every second backbeat. Simple things like that makes a lot of difference.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I don't. "Spicing it up" too often seems like a self-indulgent exercise in making it more interesting for me, but at the expense of what's right for the music. Sometimes, leaving it alone is exactly the right thing. And I've learned to appreciate the hypnotic effect playing that way can produce.

100% agree!

Especially where the OP is specifically talking about dance music. Often when it comes to dance music, simple and in the pocket is better. You want people to feel the groove/backbeat.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Enjoy the groove, enjoy each other, and enjoy the crowd.

Bask in the glory of so many folks being happy with such a simple thing you are providing.
 

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
A little hi-hat embellishment never hurt anything.
I find it beneficial to really put 100% concentration into laying down the groove, and "meaning" every note.
I did "Would I Lie To You" recently with another drummer and it really took a lot of focus to keep it heavy and consistent.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Yep, nowt wrong with the old 2 and 4, but every 2 and 4 is very slightly different. The trick is tapping into that difference.
 

Dutch

Senior Member
I know this is a pretty basic question but...

Suppose you're playing a lot of groove-oriented dance music, and the drum parts on this music often consist of very simple drumming...8th notes on the hats, 1&3 on the kick and 2&4 on the snare. What do you find yourself doing to "spice it up?" when you have several songs in a row and they all have that same beat?

Also, do you find that some songs just don't lend themselves to anything BUT that feel? Take Kool and the Gang's "Celebration" and "Ladies Night" for example. Both of those go over (of course) extremely well at our gigs. The second one is a real chore sometimes for me to get through. A bunch of women dancing makes it less painful. I know...focus on the groove and not what cool licks I can throw in.

Although, I'm sure we ALL have our bag of tricks we like to use to spice it up and keep from going insane.

If you really must, drop a note on the snare 1/16th before the 1 after every 16 bars. But only if you really must..

Dutch
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Everything can be felt deeper.

Go deeper into the pocket, deeper into the trance.

Combine that with what Larry8 said holy crap was that good.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
We're all gonna quote Larry (8Mile) here.

If you can't hypnotize yourself with the 2and 4, pick out the hottest dancer and hypnotize yourself with her a$$, errrrr, her rhythm. ;)
 

evolving_machine

Silver Member
I do not do anything to spice it up. Dispite how boring it may be, and how it is torture, I try to play it straight. A song like "just what I needed" by the cars is painful. Yet I try to do my job and play the tune.




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