In this lesson, we’ll create linear grooves by following three simple rules. Linear grooves never have more than one voice played at the same time. In general, I feel that the two most important elements of a groove are the bass drum figure and the snare accents. We’ll start building linear patterns using a skeleton groove that consists of these two components….
Disco, a style of music popularized in the 1970s, launched dance crazes, drove up record sales, and sometimes caused a lot of frustration among the era’s working drummers. (Some players found the repetitive rhythm to be mind numbing.) Much of today’s music also heavily relies on repetition. Pop, dance, R&B, and even country music make use of strong four-on-the-floor pulses. In this lesson we’ll explore ways to spice up the basic disco feel….
This routine takes a little over an hour and is split into two thirty-minute sets. Each set consists of six bass drum patterns that are played for five minutes each without stopping. Even if your technique starts to fall apart, dig deep and push through until the end. The goal is to reach your breaking point and then push a little further….
In the second part of this series, we’ll continue to create new grooves by displacing the snare drum. We’ll start with a basic pattern that consists of 8th notes on the hi-hat, snare hits on beats 2 and 4, and a funky bass drum phrase….
There are sixty-four 8th notes in eight bars of 4/4, so the 11/8 riff repeats five full times. Then the band fills the remaining 8ths with the a portion of the riff before cutting back to the top on beat 1 of the ninth bar….
For this lesson, we’ll use a six-note grouping that begins with an accented stroke, continues with two sets of unaccented (tapped) double strokes, and closes with another accented stroke. This grouping has a powerful sound and really swings. At first, try playing the rudiment on the snare, and play the accents as rim shots. Also, practice these with a variety of ostinatos on the kick drum….
This lesson starts off with the five-stroke roll on the hi-hat as it dances around these “money-beat” feels. The rudimental cornerstone also sounds great on the snare after a strong backbeat. As the exercises progress, we’ll voice the five-stroke roll between the hi-hat and snare drum, experiment with hi-hat openings, and apply bass drum variations. The five-stroke roll is the super glue of the drum world, so make it stick!
In the first part of this series, we’ll create new grooves by displacing the snare drum. Our basic pattern consists of 8th notes on the hi-hat, snare on beats 2 and 4, and a specific bass drum phrase….
One of my favorite rhythmic tools is implied metric modulation. This trick can make music appear to change tempos dramatically. The modulation is implied because the tempo doesn’t actually change. The bpm will stay the same, but the pattern will feel faster or slower by changing its subdivision….
In this lesson, I’m sharing some of the warm-ups I use before hitting the stage with Jason Aldean each night. I improvise with rudimental figures that isolate both sides of my body, which helps me focus on my weaker hand. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these exercises continually find their way into my routine….
I’ve owned and operated my own teaching school, Jeff Salem’s Music Studio, for eleven years. Prior to that I taught percussion lessons at a local music store for twelve years. When I decided to branch out on my own, the decision was made after being on tour with a band for five months. When I returned home I wanted to start teaching again. My first thought was, “If I was just starting to learn the drums, where would I want to go for lessons?”
Changing subdivisions on a dime is a fundamental skill for playing double bass in modern heavy metal. Switching gears to a faster subdivision can help build intensity, and with a careful execution it sounds incredibly tight and powerful. A great example of this would be playing a 16th-note groove and then ramping up to 16th-note triplets.
Finding creative ways to apply rudiments to the drumset can be a great way to discover new vocabulary. In this lesson, we’ll discuss what I call “squashed stickings.” A squashed sticking applies a specific roll to a steady subdivision but inverts it so that the accent starts the phrase.
This month’s lesson focuses on the crossover, a technique that legendary drummers such as Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson, Jo Jones, and Sonny Payne popularized in their extended solos. Employing crossovers can help maintain the continuity and flow of single-stroke phrases you play around the kit without altering the sticking.